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The Story of Shontell, Explained

 

Charles Book Cover 3-1 YES

Storm Over South Central (2018)

For those of you just tuning in….

2018 has already started to be a year of hard choices and challenges. I should act as if I should care, but I really don’t. Whatever is going to happen will and whatever doesn’t, nothing to get excited about. It is all about the Storm, though…….

Let’s get to the main event; The Story of Shontell. This is a poem that is part of Storm over South Central, the anthology coming out this year. I’d like to share more of Shontell’s story and why it’s important for her tale to come out. You may state a Black man has no business writing about a young Black girl, but as a teacher who has met many Shontells over the years; this is very much my business.

As a ‘conscious’ writer or as someone who writes about South (Central) Los Angeles, I must be honest and present the positive as well as the negative of what goes on in the neighborhood. In 2003 when The Voices of South Central was published, much of the poems I wrote about were a reflection of what I’ve seen, heard and experienced as a teacher, a volunteer counselor for my local YMCA, a resident of the community. So I know of what I write about here.

There is a Shontell in each of our lives. She’s faced so-called ‘directionless dudes’ who left her nothing but a bloated belly and a newborn in their wake. The reality of writing ‘conscious’ poetry is to touch on the subjects we’d rather not discuss or talk about. To keep them private as we celebrate Black Girls Rock and Black Girl Magic. Shontell may eventually have her day in the sun but as the poem will show, that day is a far off. We men have to be more disciplined when approaching a young woman like Shontell and display our gentleman-like qualities to them or better yet, practice before you approach.

Women want a real man, and when they say that from their lips, they want a man young or old, to have a depth of knowledge, able to speak clearly and concisely about what’s on our minds, to prove our passions aren’t restricted in our pants but rather what do we have to advance ourselves and hopefully a woman who takes a chance to build a life with us. It’s no mistake Black women are in the media doing big things now. It’s not because we Black men have failed, but there haven’t been many of us who tried and succeeded past the street-like attitude we’re content to remain in, our social quicksand, so to speak.

Of course, we Black men have heard this before along with the criticisms that devalue our worth in this society. This isn’t to place the blame squarely on those directionless dudes, but to acknowledge Shontell is in the predicament she’s in merely on her choices with the men she’s fooled around with. You and I make choices that affect our lives believe it or not. Whether or not we stand our ground or run away from those decisions depends on each of us. Shontell made her decision in the poem as you will find out. It is a life choice many of us rich or poor, Black, brown or white either has made or will make. The Story of Shontell is a poem that I hope book clubs, schools, libraries and readers will give great pause and consideration for discussion. It’s time we deal with the Shontells in our lives. Not to learn or criticize their example, but to take the time out and show them how much we love them without prejudice, to be by their side if help is needed.

Charles L. Chatmon
President, Chatmon’s Books
Author, Storm over South Central (2018)

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Posted by on January 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Final Thoughts of 2017

-A few words from the owner and president –

First and foremost, I’d like to thank God The Father for allowing me to live throughout 2017. Yes, I believe in God, and He matters.

I would like to thank Him for not only life, but the blessings he’€™s given my family. If we are allowed to see 2018, it will be a challenging year for not only myself, but my family as the last few days has shown me.

Storm Over South Central will be out! I’m not sure of the date, but it will include a discussion series of The Changing Face of South Los Angeles which will explain some of the topics in Storm as well as issues not found in the book, but should be discussed. I’€™m looking forward to this.

You know, I’m going to say this and leave it at the door. Anyone who will have a problem, has an issue, disagrees with anything I’€™ve written or will write; I encourage debate. This is something we do not stress anymore since we as human beings, Americans, seem entrenched in our extremes as far as beliefs, political views, etc. Social media has caused all of us to not enjoy the freedom of speech and the freedom to debate logically. This must end. This must stop.

This is going to be a long, hard fight. Perhaps futile, but I’€™m willing to hold on to my freedom of writing what needs to be said….at the sake of everything else.

That’€™s it. Have a Happy New Year.

Charles L.Chatmon
President, owner, Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

A Conversation with Charles Chatmon Jr. (Poetry International Online)

Hey peeps, I’m a featured interview in the latest Poetry International Online

(Of course, they decided to go with the author name of the Depths of CCJ instead of the updated version of CLC, but I’m not complaining!)

My interview with the talented Dee Alston was a pleasure! I look forward to her future endeavors. Thanks a lot Dee!

Remember, 2018 means the #StormOverSC is for real and inside the interview, I mention a few words of you readers will find in the anthology.

Until then, best of the holidays to you!

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Storm Over South Central Update, November 2017

Charles Book Cover 3-1 YES

UPDATE 11/26/17

You would think by this time I would announce my first (or second) book signings for Storm Over South Central, but I regret to inform you that I have to move the publishing date (again) due to personal reasons. I plan to release Storm by Spring or Summer 2018 which means I’m going to miss the 2018 book fair season which really disappoints me (don’t smile). I do want to get this anthology ‘right’ so it’s worth the sacrifice.

Along with the book signings, I plan to hold a series of discussions about the changing face of South Los Angeles and other communities taking place. Most of the subject matter will be taken from several poems or short stories from Storm.

In the meantime, I’ll keep you informed the closer I get to actual completion. Rest assured for those of you who’ve been following me all these years, the wait is truly almost over! #StormOverSC

Charles L. Chatmon
Author, President of Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Poem: Help Meet (#StormOverSC)

‘Help Meet’ one of the poems in the upcoming anthology, Storm Over South Central (2018) #StormOverSC

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Importance of Libraries

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(Photo: L.A. Central Library, C.L. Chatmon 2017)

LIBRARIES are the centers of acquiring knowledge and wisdom. They serve our human databanks well, our brains. In this era of corporate and technological influence, we don’€™t see libraries -“ or for that sense -€“ reading as highly paramount in our lives. It’€™s no surprise to learn the wealthy see libraries as a threat, championing closures across the country. This link dated this January, unravels the struggles these places of learning face under assault from affluent entities and a lack of funds to maintain services.

Most of you readers know my story. I grew up in a library in South Los Angeles reading plays, Peanuts from Charles Shultz, and books I found interesting and engaging. I believe if it wasn’€™t for a library, I would not be a writer today. It was in a library I began writing my short stories, poems and other creative works I indulged in. It’s also not a surprise to read a legend such as Ray Bradbury promote the positives of a library. For example, this is a quote from Mr. Bradbury on the importance of such an institution:

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.

It’s understandable why the Powers That Be aren’€™t too fond of libraries. As they long as they exist, an individual can do research of the claims made daily of what Propagandist Media uses for ‘proof’€™. A trip to the library disproves those claims. (Hint: the Propagandist Media isn’€™t just CNN. It’€™s ‘foxy’ to assume they’re the only one) A trip to the library will as I’ve often advocated in the past, opens up your mental heart to new experiences, different lives and stories often kept silent. A library doesn’t turn you into one of the arrogant ‘€˜elite’€™, it provides you with knowledge and hopefully wisdom to show this world is more than your city block.

With thirty two million adults in America who are illiterate, seven hundred seventy four (774) globally, more than ever libraries are not only necessary, they should be mandatory to stay alive, visible for everyone to access and build a foundation for literacy. As I look around Los Angeles and see the changes taking place at Playa Vista, aka ‘Silicon Beach’€™, tech is becoming a major force in shaping the world we live in (for now), and it takes an educated work force to compete globally as well as nationally. Enrolling in a college or university can be expensive, but our public libraries are always free and patrons can get the training they need by glancing at a book. Hopefully readers of this blog will take this advice and take the time to enter a library this week or sometime when your schedule allows.

Finally, not only have I spent my adolescent years in a library, I’ve also taught writers workshops in them too. (Looking at you African American Museum and Library at Oakland/AC Bilbrew in Los Angeles). Call me biased, but the author of this column encourages you all to check out a book in a library, sign up for a library card, tell your friends, and hold your book clubs there. Libraries are an important part in obtaining optimal knowledge from a variety of different sources including the sources we prefer not to research in our extreme political climate today. I would wager reading a book does not brainwash you, but it will do wonders for your brain.

Charles L. Chatmon
President, Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Top 5 Book Selling Tips

Top 5 Book Selling Tips
by Brent Sampson

TIP # 1

Online reviews are paramount in importance when it comes to drawing attention to your book. And the best part is, you’re in control of your own destiny!

If you haven’t yet submitted your own review on sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, what are you waiting for? This should be one of the first steps for every published author.

Encourage other family members and friends to review the book, too. They’re inclined to be more generous than perfect strangers, but don’t underestimate the effect of any honest review. Published reviews on sites like Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and the many other sites Outskirts Press books appear demonstrates interest in your book. And that’s a good thing! Post a review for your book today, and ask others to do likewise.

TIP #2

Enhance your online listing with Amazon.com by participating in their “Search Inside the Book Program.”

Sign up to join this revolutionary new way to merchandise your book on Amazon.com. When customers search for books on Amazon.com, actual words from inside your book — not just the author or title — are engaged to return the best possible matches. With this powerful new search feature, customers can discover books that may never have surfaced in previous search results!

With “Search Inside the Book,” customers can also browse sample pages and do additional searches inside a particular book to confirm that the title is just what they’re looking for. All of this helps authors like you sell more books.

Once you sign Amazon’s Publisher Participation Agreement and are accepted into the program, you will need to provide Amazon.com with a physical copy of each book you would like to include in the program.

TIP #3

Become an “expert” in your field and book sales will follow. It’s true that promoting a book requires a great amount of resolve, but it is also true that working smarter, rather than harder, can help reap those rewards.

By projecting yourself as an “expert” in the genre in which you write, you can open new doors for networking, doors that often remain shut without that expertise status.

How does one go about making himself or herself an expert? Easy! You already are one. The name on your published book proves it. Now just use that book as a calling card to line-up speaking engagements, freelance writing gigs, and other opportunities at a variety of venues.

Two good places to begin are AOL and the ABOUT.COM information network. Both have category-specific forums in which you can participate, and by mentioning that you are the “Author of such-and-such” within the scope of your communication, you begin to label yourself as an expert to fellow participants.

Being recognized as an expert in a technical or “non-fiction” category is admittedly easier than the largely subjective category of “fiction expert” but even if you have written a work of fiction, becoming a recognized expert is conceivable.

Whether you’ve penned poetry, horror, or romance, there is a forum in which to voice your opinion. The Internet is full of chat rooms, use groups, genre-sites, and more — all thirsty for content from published writers. You just have to know where to look. Start selling books tomorrow by being an expert today.

TIP #4

“Pay For Performance” internet advertising is making big waves lately. While most search engines feature such sponsored links, there are currently only a number of engines providing the back-end technology, and of those, only one serves the majority of search engines used by the public: Overture.

The way pay-for-performance (or p4p) works is simple. You bid on search terms (either words or phrases or a combination of both). Your webpage link then appears in search engine results relative to the price of the bid. If you’re the highest bidder, your webpage appears at the absolute TOP of many search engines. Remember the frustration of typing in a search for your webpage and never finding your link? No longer!

But that’s not even the best part. The best part is this — you only pay if someone actually clicks on your link. And since you’ve defined the search term, the people clicking on your link are already predisposed toward your subject. In essence, they’re already pre-sold.

Let’s look at an example. Say you’ve published a mystery novel about the death of a land baron in Louisiana. Not exactly a new plot, and yet millions of “whodunit” readers would be anxious to read it. Your solution? Open an Overture account and bid on search terms like “Louisiana Mystery Novel” and “Mystery Book Plantation” and similar terms. Counter intuitively, the more vague the term, the better, since very specific searches deliver very motivated buyers to your page, and since you’re paying for each click, you want those people to buy!

That brings us to the down-side. You have to be very careful managing your bids, or it can be expensive. Do not bid on ridiculously vague and popular words like “book” because you will never recoup your money. Instead, focus your search terms as specifically as possible.

If you’ve been clamoring for more traffic to your free Outskirts Press webpage, Overture may be just your ticket. To sign-up, click below. They’ll even give you a $10 credit to begin. Visit Overture at their website for more information.

Tip #5

Use ebooks to help promote and sell your paperback or hardback edition.

Think of e-books as a teaser. With a lower purchase price and more immediate gratification, many people are inclined to give an e-book a try when they might pass on a traditional paperback. Furthermore, if they like the e-book, 80% of people end up purchasing the “real” book, too!

There are three schools of thought concerning the way in which e-books should be sold.

1 – Some believe that e-books should have a very low purchase price, somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.00 for the entire book.

2 – Other believe that e-books should only contain excerpts, or sample chapters of the full book, and that they should be provided for free.

3 – Still others believe that e-books best serve their purpose when the entire e-book is given away. This encourages word of mouth about the author and the book, which in turn helps support additional book sales and really shows dividends when a subsequent book is published by the same author.

Whichever course you follow, there is little doubt that e-books are beneficial to your promotion efforts. If you don’t yet have an e-book, what are you waiting for?

Copyright © Brent Sampson

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

 
 
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