One of the highlights of the weekend was having the opportunity to participate in the At The Beach L.A. Literary Panel.
Trent Jackson, Alphonso Morgan, Brent Dorian Carpenter, and I sat on the panel. Stanley Bennett Clay facilitated. It was tough. But very fun and community affirming. A nice intimate crowd of about a dozen came through during our hour together.
Stanley wove the conversation through many challenging topics: literary versus commercial fiction tastes; the mainstreaming of black LGBT literature; the creation process; navigating the industry whether you're self-published or published by a NYC publishing house. My favorite part of any panel is when it opens up to audience members for questions. The number one question: What advice would you give to aspiring writers/authors? The number one answer I hear: write... and write often.
Sometimes I feel like aspiring writers/authors put those who are published, by whatever means, on a pedestal and that we've reached the pinnacle. Yes, it is a great goal to have achieved publication. But I'm also not an expert. And we're all far from reaching our goals... we're all works in progress.
I enjoyed being on stage with Trent, Alphonso, Brent (a fellow Detroiter!!!), and Stanley. Great day. Great energy. Continue to look for great things from these guys and from other up and coming black LGBT writers. And definitely buy their books.