Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Recap

I began the year by giving my two cents on the subject of diversity in book publishing. We need to hear from a greater range of voices in literature. We need to amplify those of us who are telling stories in #OurOwnVoices. What we probably don't need to do is get angry and shout down every white author / white character. Diversity means everybody, including those who are currently over-represented.  But some more of those who are under-represented sure would be nice.

I made my very first book trailer! I think it's awesome. I don't know if many people outside of my household like it too. I have no idea if it's helped me to sell a single copy of Matters of Convenience. But I'm still prouder and more pleased by it than I have reasonable right to be. Go me!

A post shared by Roy Pickering (@roylpickering_author) on

Technically it was at the end of 2016 (a few days before Christmas) that my family acquired a dog. The one and only SHADOW!!!  He was a ceaseless source of amusement and affection throughout 2017. I don't know if everyone should have a dog, but certainly every WRITER should have a dog. As it turns out, I got the BEST one.

I wrote installments #1 and #2 in the Ava Appelsawse book series. One of my resolutions for 2018 is to get going on #3 while my wife completes illustrations for the first book. Publication date TBD.

Speaking of my wife, I saw how much she was enjoying Instagram so decided to join up too. I set up an account. I got hacked. I set up a replacement account. That one got hacked as well. I seriously considered surrendering but decided to give it one more shot. The third try has proven to be the charm. I still have plenty of exploring to do on there, but one treasure I did discover in 2017 was Bookstagram.

I partially embraced my inner nerd in 2017 and attended a Comic Con for the first time. It was a fantastic experience, definitely one to be repeated. Perhaps in 2018 I'll go full nerd and attend in high quality, budget bending costume. I think I'd make an awesome Black Panther.

I urged people to buy more books, particularly of the ink printed on paper variety. This is something I'll do every year until you guys are buying so many books (perhaps even some of mine) that I no longer feel the need. Until that magical moment happens, here's yet another reminder from me to BUY BOOKS.

Statues were toppled. I found this to be a good thing because those particular statues were testaments to bigotry and segregation and race based oppression and hatred. Surely a person can reside below the Mason Dixon line and be a proud southerner on account of something other than being on the losing side of the Civil War. The good guys won it for a righteous cause. Hanging on to confederate symbols of the battle to retain slavery is not a good look.

Mother Nature lost her mind and did a great deal of damage as hurricanes (and earthquakes and wildfires and...) followed each other in rapid succession. Among the devastated places was my beloved birthplace of St. Thomas, USVI. Also nearby Puerto Rico. Unfortunately we currently have a president who does not seem to realize that the people who live there are fellow Americans. He certainly doesn't believe that man caused climate change is a reality to be dealt with. Too much of 2017 was unfortunately spent being angered and sickened by Trump's behavior. But being furious all the time isn't good for the soul. Sometimes you gotta do whatever is required to generate a sense of calm even as the world is falling apart around you.

One of the ridiculously unfortunate aftereffects of the absurd election of Donald Trump (in addition to irritating Jemele Hill so much that she got herself suspended) was the normalization of Nazis by members of the media who have apparently lost their damn minds in pursuit of click bait. So I felt compelled to shout out to people in the back row who somehow missed why we fought World War II and seemingly have never seen an Indiana Jones movie or any of the countless other films and TV shows which clearly showcase that the Nazis are the bad guys.

As I began my year in blogging by writing about the diversity (or lack thereof) in book publishing, so I ended 2017 writing about Sensitivity Readers. It's a topic that inspires much passion on both sides of the debate. I wonder what a sensitivity reader might have said pre-publication of Patches of Grey, or in advance of the release of Matters of Convenience. Will manuscripts for The Absolutely Amazing Adventures of Ava Appelsawse pass before the eyes of a sensitivity reader before being given a thumbs up? Probably not. But that's just a guess on my part for it's in the future, something that I along with all of you know nothing with certainty about.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

You need a book with SENSITIVITY

Becoming an editor may have ended up being very frustrating to me. I want to create my own characters/stories/worlds - not help other people do it. Yes, it's hard to find black editors & lit agents. But it's also damn hard just to find readers. And still I strive...

Of course, it's one thing to feel that the existence of sensitivity readers (which if nothing else, perhaps we can all agree is a rather terrible job title?) is an example of Political Correctness gone too far rather than seeing it as an unfortunate necessity in an excessively lily white industry.  It's another to go as far as Tucker Carlson did. Not that his snide point is entirely without merit.