Monday, August 25, 2008
FEATURED AUTHOR: Titus Pollard
Titus Pollard has ventured into new artistic ground by signing to the Urban Christian imprint with a highly anticipated debut novel scheduled for release August 2008, Living Right on Wrong Street. He is also a critically acclaimed Classical, Jazz & Gospel musician, educator, clinician, playwright, and actor.
He is personally responsible for teaching some of the most renowned artisans of contemporary music. Some of his former students have been in the employ of Dr. Bobby Jones, Maynard Ferguson, the New York Repertory Theatre, Kelly Price, The Clark Sisters, The O’Jays, and the Morehouse Glee Club.
In addition to his writing, his most recent projects include his role as Rev. Cole in the film A Black Woman’s Guide to Getting Married (2008), the Gospel music CD Conversation with a Psalmist (2007), and the musical director of the stage play The Whole House (2008). He is probably best known for his world-renowned video instruction series Learn to Play Gospel Piano (1989).
Living Right On Wrong Street
You can have it all, and then lose it. How you regain it, and define it, depends on you. Living Right On Wrong Street is a contemporary tale on the Biblical story of Job.
Job Wright gains notoriety as the founding partner of Wright & Storm, a commercial real estate firm. When Delvin Storm, his partner, is convicted of embezzlement, Job loses his license and closes the firm.
This story weaves three main characters through a series of victories and challenges that hold their relationship to God, or the lack of it, to the proverbial light.
When the race ends at Rong Street and the desert dust settles, the characters come to realize the meaning of true salvation and the essence of living right.
• What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
No matter where you feel you are in life, whether you believe yourself to be a success or failure, the forces of evil can and most often do, come after you, but if you hold to your faith, you can overcome adversity.
• What did you learn while writing this book?
In finding Bible verses (for the opening of each chapter) that relate in some way to that part of my story, I learned that there is no contemporary situation in life we face that hasn’t already been addressed by the Word of God. There is a Bible answer for every Bible question; any question that doesn’t have a Bible answer, is foolish.
• What is the hardest part about the business?
It is difficult balancing my time, energy, and financial resources for marketing, publicity, and advertising while, at the same time, writing my next piece.
• What one thing about do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Non-writers often pick apart things in or about the book that, many times are out of our control once we hand the manuscript over to the publisher: the cover art, the storyline, sometimes even the title. Bear with the writer. The more popular he or she becomes, the more control is retained.
• What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?
Personal contact with relatives and friends who want you to know that they are with you and want to support you. Let them know you have a book. Follow up with them to make sure they have purchased your book. Then, ask the same people to tell others to support you as well. It works when as author asks, “By the way, did you know I have a book coming out?”
Another marketing device that seems to work for me is sending postcard packs to bookstores after you’ve made an initial call to a willing manager or clerk, asking them to place them into buyer’s bags at the time of purchase. As an incentive for that manager or clerk, give them a signed copy. It works.
• What are two things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
Well, this question can be difficult; you know, narrowing hindsight down to only two things.
1) Marketing begins from the time you outline the story, or decide on the title. Begin your word of mouth at that point.
2) The inception of the manuscript to the published book really does take years!
• This month our theme is Getting Out of The Slush Pile. Do you have any advice for getting an editor/agent to request your manuscript?
Some writers may disagree with me when I say that I wouldn’t do this process without securing an agent first (may I give a shout-out to Kim Matthews of Kissed Literary Agency?) Research for an agent who fits the genre(s) you write in; don’t waste time trying to break the mold. Get actual sample query letters from published authors and formulate yours to one you like. And don’t rely on your first draft of the query to be the one you send. Have a traditionally published author critique and edit your letter. If you want to catch an agent’s curiosity, have a catchy title and an intriguing storyline. Then, after you have secured your agent, then the two of you can work collaboratively to pound the pavement for an editor/publisher. This should narrow your rejection percentage. I did my research while as I wrote my book. I sent three queries to agents. Two requested the first three chapters of my manuscript. One became my agent.
• What was the last conference you attended and what did you like about it?
I attended a Christian Fiction & Arts Conference hosted by Jacquelin Thomas (The Prodigal Husband/Jezebel, and some 30 other titles). She is my mentor and the one who encouraged me to write. I love her conferences because they are designed specifically around the Christian writer; classes, mentoring sessions, agent pitching, fun activities and entertainment.
• What do you do to make time for yourself?
I’m an early-morning writer; from 5:30 to 8:30am, there’s no cell or home phone to answer, no one in the house wanting one-on-one time. My creativity flourishes best during those hours (hey, I answering these questions during these hours!) I keep books on the craft strewn all over the house, and I pick them up all during the day. And…am I allowed to say “bathroom time”?
• What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
Sorry readers. You may be holding on to your seats for my last favorite fiction read. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The last book that kept me awake is Spunk & Bite, by Arthur Plotnik. It’s a book (I found my first copy of this book in a Salvation Army for 50 cents) designed for writers who are looking to make their writing more engaging. I’ve read it, reread it, outlined it, and marked all over it. I have recommended it to anyone in the editing phase of their writing. And the one book that works for me anytime of the day is the Bible. You can’t get enough of it.
• How can readers get in contact with you?
I love to hear from readers and even potential readers of my book(s).
Post Office Box 6165
Raleigh, NC 27628
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
You never know – once I get to know you, you may get my phone number!
- I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.
I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.
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