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VL Towler

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Everything posted by VL Towler

  1. I want to thank Mel Hopkins for her exhaustive review of Severed, A Novel. I am so grateful for her insights. It's fascinating to see how people interact with my characters. It's even more intriguing when they see things I did not see myself.  Watch her space. She's up and coming. We need more writers like her who are willing to put the time in, to be thoughtful, critical, yet supportive. Thank you, Mel. You do me the greatest honor, to critique a novel written for Black women. 

    1. Show previous comments  4 more
    2. Mel Hopkins

      Mel Hopkins

      I adore you, @Troy ! Thank you for all you do for us writers, readers and everyone in between!

    3. Troy


      Back at you Mel.  When we connect I wanna hear more about your NDE Sounds like a tragic accident became an enlightening experience. @VL Towler I don't recall.  Have we ever talked about your Wheatley award experience?  Did you attend? So far every book I encountered was positively reviewed--it looks like a good reading list...

    4. Mel Hopkins

      Mel Hopkins

      "When we connect I wanna hear more about your NDE Sounds like a tragic accident became an enlightening experience. "

      Yes it was! I will do my best but it is a winding road that took me off a path.  At times, I don't even feel like myself but then I can remember my life as far back as 2 years old... so at least no one walked-in to my body.  I think "they" just kept the door open.

  2. @Pioneer1 I hear you about "winning" versus justice, but you'll see that the arc of history is long and it does bend toward justice - DESPITE the legal system. I contend that as the man on the street starts to really analyze the legal and other words we all take for granted (like in the Pledge of Allegiance), they begin to question the system. Change comes from below, from fearless individuals (like Kaepernik, the man who stood in front of the tanks in Tiananmen Square), not through the lawyers, who get lost in the shuffle of justice and/or who tend to lose sight of what brought them into the profession in the first place.
  3. That is so exciting, Troy. Wonderful. What a service you're providing!
  4. Hey, @CDBurns, I'm feeling you. I read your posts, and know you're an excellent writer. I'm finding that the biggest obstacle to getting more publicity is reviews. You must find other people who are willing to read your book (fiction/non-fiction) and who are willing to be honest about what they feel. I am very discriminating about who writes my reviews. I did use a UK company called BookViral and they wrote a review. I did have to pay for the review, but they didn't have to write the review the way they did--it was wonderful http://bookviral.com/severed/4592052195. The question is whether someone is going to be truly honest about what they think of your writing because so many don't know how to write a review without feeling insecure. Trust no one. But you do need to find someone. Mind you, my novel received a 3-page critique by a professional, who years later, took my work and created her own novel based upon it and received critical acclaim. So you have to be discerning about to whom you give it. I'm also convinced that we have lowered our standards so much here in the US that there is no real honest arbiter of good writing -- because nobody wants to recognize it and give it to you unless you're already famous. If you're self-published, like I am (I created my own publishing company), it's rough. If you're published by a large publisher, it's easier but you still have to do the work. If you're on Twitter, you can follow me @2ysur2ysub or @VLTowler (strictly for writing, but 11,000 less followers!). My thing is that writers must support other writers and help each other, especially if we're writing good stuff. If no one is wiling to champion us, then who will. We must champion each other. This is why I respect Troy so much and want to help him get the word out. Social media does not equal reads. You MUST get reviews. I think you likely know that already, however, so please excuse me if I'm stating the obvious.
  5. Hi Trina -- My concern for you is that your book is priced way too high for a book of only 48 pages. If you sell it for 99 cents, I think you'll get more traction. My novel is 358 pages. I also think you should reconsider the cover. Most books for children or young adults that I know of do not showcase the protagonist individual's photo on the front. I would put that on the back cover, and come up with something a bit more showy (colors, fonts, etc.) If you used Author House or Create Space, they should be able to come up with a suitable cover. It took me 15 years to write my novel and I've only published one book, so I don't think I am an authority. I just want you to be realistic about what you're going to get with the price you're asking people to pay. As you can see I am pretty critical, so I'm not the best reviewer for you. But I do wish you well.
  6. @Pioneer1 I hear what you're saying, but I beg to differ slightly with your feelings of uselessness when a woman doesn't "need" you, in effect. Even the strongest of women are vulnerable in some manner, just like the most muscular and macho of men can be vulnerable. What you're really saying is that you need to be made to feel "strong" by the woman being weak. With all due respect, for the sake of discussion, that is not a sign of masculine strength. That's kind of a cop out. It's like when brothers say, "Let me be the man." If the man has to ask, then he's exposing that he isn't one. I think men need to feel needed. I get that. But sometimes, what we want is a partner. Ride or die. Not a savior. But I think there's something in the genetic make-up that makes men want to rescue women. A man can "rescue" a woman by being thoughtful - yes, FLOWERS; cooking a meal, massaging her feet. There are so many ways to provide support to a "strong" woman. Asking how her day was and actually listening. Some men are just too insecure to think outside the box. This is no diatribe against you... but to raise the discussion, because you are so thought-provoking....
  7. @Pioneer1 Well, you might be interested in my novel. There's freedom of original speech; not copying it and hiding it. That's what I had to learn the hard way when I sued a filmmaker for copyright infringement. And lost. But I was Black. I got my day in court (made it to trial, but jury wasn't allowed to decide). I should have asked for more than my day in court, I guess. Anyway, I would have had to spend 40 years going after all the people who have stolen from me. As a lawyer who once worked for the Justice Department, believing I was on the right side, you can imagine my disappointment to learn that there are no good sides in this country when it comes to Black people. So, I write my issues out in my novel. And encourage intelligent writers to do the same. I'm glad I found this site. I'm really digging what Troy is doing here. What a quiet warrior he is. Respect.
  8. I agree. I believe our very survival as a people will rest on our ability to articulate FOR OURSELVES what our needs are. Consider me in your camp. I have watched you over the years, on Twitter (lol), and I have mad respect for you being such a strong pioneer for Black American writers. I'm here to help in my small way. Let me know what you need.
  9. You raise very strong points, Troy. Excellent ones. And you're absolutely right. We DO need a platform for our own voices. And yes, these mainstream platforms are used more to market to Blacks and reap financial benefit, than anything else. So I hear you, loud and clear. I think part of the problem is that Black people, if I may generalize, for the sake of argument, tend to compete for scarce resources, than collaborate, pool resources and build for the whole. This is the problem. So, instead of stepping in line to support each other, we create separate camps. And the financial resources that we need end up dissipating as we find ways to disagree and fall out from each other, than to weather the storm for the sake of our futures. Lastly, it's always about dollars, and the best of us can be lured by money, which always silences our voices as we cater to our financial masters. Which is why I self-published my novel. No one can ever tell me what to write. Because they really don't have our best interests at heart, honestly. They have their own financial interests at heart. Thanks for the reminder that we need to do for us, by us, and for us.... but the question is... can we unite $$$$$$?? Imagine if every black person gave $1.00 -- that's $13M for businesses. But we don't. But that's another story.
  10. I actually use Twitter a lot, to advertise my novel. I love Twitter, although less so, now that my novel is published. But I can tell you that it is a great place for networking, more than Linkedin because you must use photos on LinkedIn (which I think hurts more than helps Black people--I make my living on the Internet as an attorney, and my clients have no clue of my race until the discussion of race comes up -- AFTER I've proven what I can do for them). I think Twitter's usefulness depends upon what you use it for. I like to talk politics, and it's opened my eyes to a lot of diverse views. I have a lot of conservative followers with whom I discuss Black issues, because the dialogue is important and they don't always talk with Black people candidly. I found @aalbc on Twitter! I have made a lot of contacts. I've had people with whom I've dialogued purchase my novel. I think Black people have a larger voice because of Twitter. #BLM, Shaun King, and even Joy Reid, Deray got their fame and/or jobs because of Twitter, to my knowledge for better or for worse. I could go on and on. So, I'm a Twitter fan, but less so, now that I need to market my novel in brick and mortar stores. Personal contacts ALWAYS work, but access to people is the problem. Facebook advertising is 100% better than Twitter - $50 goes a long way (I'll be using @aalbc during the holidays). Let me just add that the reason Twitter works is that corporations get to hear from their customers. I have tweeted corporations to complain, to extol good customer service, etc., and get a 99% reply. I've been mentioned 3 times on C-span. I would not get a voice otherwise, in my opinion. Corporate America cares about demographics. They get it on Twitter. I agree that the shaming on Twitter is deplorable, and the fact that it is anonymous is problematic. And I hope that is changed (I read that Twitter is going to stop the trolling). Just my thoughts.
  11. @Cynique - As a lawyer, and someone who has been a serial victim of copyright infringement [my novel addresses the issue], let me assure you that copying the text of another person is perfectly okay if it is done so to advance discourse, in the sciences, arts--in other words, to advance discussion and to enlighten people. Copyright laws kick in when you make money off of what someone else writes. So, copy away! As @Troy said, just provide the name and original source of the information you're copying, and you're good to go.
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