Sunday, October 15, 2017

Being an Entrepreneur Is Hard...Very Hard

One of my favorite people to follow, read on and watch his videos is Gary Vaynerchuk. You either like him or you don't, there's nothing in between. He's blunt, he's honest and he curses every few sentences to get his point across but that's just who he is. I watch some of his YouTube videos over and over again just to remind myself of the process I'm going through.

While he's in the business of sports, media and marketing, along with being an author himself, we share one big thing in common...we're both entrepreneurs. Being an entrepreneur is hard...very hard, and for many reasons. There's this false sense of reality that it's yachts, parties, pretty girls, champagne and living the life. The reality is, it's nowhere near that. It's work...a lot of work...and every single day.

Most people want to be entrepreneurs, run their own businesses and do whatever they want as far as work hours. You don't get breaks, there's always something that has to be done and within a short time frame. Given the fact that I'm an author, writer, blogger and screenwriter, people assume that I can just write whenever I want, and post content whenever I want. While that holds true, there's also the laziness factor that kicks in when you don't write consistently.

Even though I do write at my own pace and I don't force the issue (because most of my books are already written in my head), I do make sure that I'm consistently writing and challenging myself to the fullest potential that I can be. It's not because I have to, but because I want to. Every. Single. Day. There aren't many breaks for me.

I work a full-time job, plus write short poems, do YouTube videos, post content on social media, write my books, edit and proofread them, record my own audiobooks (which is coming soon) and I put a timeframe on when I want to complete things. It forces me to be diligent, hone my craft and keep my mind stimulated daily.

So I'm meticulously planning things on a regular basis. I'm constantly writing, "to do" lists weekly so I stay consistent in what I'm doing and the reason why I'm doing it. Some weeks I have to invest in things, some weeks I don't. I have to budget things, I have to plan release dates for books, sometimes I have to rearrange the order in how I want to release my books. I have to plan marketing strategies, get book reviews, do book exchanges sometimes and constantly stay afloat with what's going on in the social media space.

It's very time consuming and it drains me mentally, physically and emotionally. There are days I don't want to go to work and I want to just sit home and do things at my own pace. But, that's not how life works (at least for now). Eventually, I will get to a place where I'm just focusing on writing for hours every single day instead of a few days a week.

While I love the grind of this, it's hard and it's challenging. Everyday, I put in bare minimum of an hour into something and some days, I'm going at this process for 5-6 hours a day. No I don't work like Gary Vaynerchuk for 18 hours a day, that would burn me out. He's dedicated to his game and his process and I am dedicated to mine too.

Just know that if you ever decide that you want to be an entrepreneur and control your own destiny, it's a lot of work and every single thing will fall on you. You can enjoy the successes but there will be failures, bad investments and time wasted on projects you didn't need to do.

Along the way, it's all a learning process and you have to be ready for the grind. You have to be ready to be tired, drained, pissed off, angry, mad, happy, sad, depressed, stressed, gleeful and every other emotion and feeling that you can think of. Just embrace the journey, continually make goals and don't celebrate too much when you accomplish things. Also, don't share everything with the world, not everyone wants to see you doing better than them.

Be good, accomplish your goals and remember entrepreneurship is hard...very hard.

Jamell Crouthers
Aquarianmind

Friday, October 6, 2017

Writing A Book From Beginning To Publishing

When I meet people and we discuss the passions we have and what we do, when I tell people I'm a writer and author, the astonished faces that I see are amazing. It's like this surreal feeling that someone is actually speaking to a published author. Then comes the questions of what I write about, how I do it and if I went through a publishing company. Then I tell them I do it all on my own (90% of it, I'm not going to lie) and that I'm a self-published author.

To make things easier on people and just in case anyone comes across my blog and sees this blog post, I'm going to break down the whole process for me from beginning to publishing. I will address marketing and book reviews in another blog.

Brainstorming: This is the most important process to any book that you will write. I have a blue book that I use to write every single idea or concept for a book, my to-do lists along with each chapter for my books. I basically write anything and everything that comes to my mind. Even if it doesn't sound right, right away, eventually there will be a good 2-3 chapters that may not fit into what you're trying to write and the message you're trying to give to the readers.

Every book I've written goes through the brainstorming sessions which can take 1-3 days at a time. A lot of times, it can go longer but once I write down chapters, I will write what will be discussed in that chapter and with characters, there has to be story line development and whether it's going to sound good, it's well written and has substance. Most of this comes natural to me because of the fact that I've been writing for over 20 years and I've been honing my craft for so long. Along with that, I'm always writing shorter poems, screenplays and working on a plethora of other projects.

Book Title: This is harder than what you think. You don't want to have the same book title as others because it'll get lost in the shuffle on book websites. You also want to have a book title that grabs someone's attention and gets them intrigued (I still have issues with this after writing 6 books). You don't want anything boring and it sounds generic either. You want it to appeal to someone who comes across your book right away so don't lose sight of that.

Writing the Book: For some people, this is the hardest part for numerous reasons. People's schedules, lives, kids, family, distractions and plenty of other things. If you have a goal to finish a book by a certain time, stick to it. I talk to people who ask me about the process of publishing a book, I ask them, have you written the book and I get the answer, "not yet." You can't skip the important steps before even getting to the publishing process.

Write consistently, no matter what. It doesn't take me long to write books because I buckle down and get to work. That means I don't go out much, I don't hangout with friends, I don't let many things distract me and I know what my goals are. I hold myself accountable for my own lackadaisical ways and goofing around. If you need someone to keep you on track and pushing you, then do that. Otherwise, you won't finish your book and you'll concoct excuses as to why you can't finish your book or haven't finished it.

Editing/Proofreading: Honestly, I do this myself, it's my book, my content, why wouldn't I do it myself. I do miss things here and there. I haven't read a perfect book in my life. Certain sentences can be worded differently to sound right, sometimes a word gets misspelled, that's just part of it. If you're book is formatted correctly and can be read efficiently, then you're good to go.

If you want to pay someone to read over your book, go for it. If anything, get a family member or friend who loves to read to go over your book with you. Basically, find ways to keep your costs down when it comes to things like this, it'll benefit you in the long run if you're a new author.

Formatting: This is the most crucial part of your book, no if's and's or but's about it. Especially for paperbacks which will be your bread and butter. eBooks is important too because you don't want your book to look sloppy and unreadable. While there are plenty of places and websites you can use, I go with Fiverr to get someone to format my books.

I have someone who is amazing at it, he copyrights it all for me, and formats it to where you can see the title of the book on the top and my name on there. Using people who have high ratings, great reviews, you can spend $50-100 dollars instead of hundreds of dollars.

Depending on how long your book is, word count and the sizing you want will determine your price. Oh and don't forget to tip them when you get your masterpiece back!

Book Cover: To answer the question before it's even asked, no you don't have to spend $500 dollars for an extravagant book cover. Once again I use Fiverr and I've found someone who does great work for me. They made my book covers for Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun and America Under Mind Control.

For my other books, I made them myself by using canva.com. It's a website where you can make your own book covers for eBook and paperbacks. It's a great website, but sometimes the options are limited but those are the websites I've used to create book covers.

Synopsis: You want to talk about your book and what it's about but not too much. It makes sense but then it doesn't. If you give too much information about the book, then there's no incentive to buy it. If you give too little, then it's not enticing enough to get someone to buy your book. So there has to be a common ground in what will work and what won't. The good part is you can change it a few times before it officially hits bookstores and is on sale.

Stress the important aspects of the plot and story line and discuss your main character briefly. You have to draw readers into what you're writing about and why. A good 6-8 lines about your book should be sufficient enough to get readers drawn in. If you need help with it, there's nothing wrong with that, always remember that.

Book Publishing: The easiest way to get your books to a bunch of bookstores is to use a website that will give you that opportunity. I use Draft2digital because it allows you to send your books to all of the major book retailers except Amazon. I created an Amazon account separately and used Createspace (owned by Amazon) to create my paperbacks.

Draft2Digital has an easy menu and layout and they guide you step by step on how to get your books out to all readers. You get to choose what bookstores you want to publish them on and it saves you the time from having to create accounts for every bookstore such as Barnes and Noble, Apple, Scribd and many others.

Createspace can be a little meticulous with creating your paperback but there are representatives that are available 24 hours a day to help you with the process of creating your paperback. You're also allowed to order 5 proofs so you can see them before publishing them to Amazon.

Pricing: As a first time author, it's totally up to you with pricing but if you make it too high for eBooks and/or paperbacks, you won't see many sales. If you're an unknown and you want people to take a chance on you, have an audience before your book is published, have a few reviews and have a low price point for the time being.

Sometimes you can drop your price to 0.99 cents and get some sales and if you get reviews for those, that boosts your book on Amazon. Promotions are key and important but that'll be discussed in the next blog.

That's the process with my books and how I do everything. Your journey doesn't have to be the same as mine but there is some good information I provided.

Be good and accomplish your goals.

Jamell Crouthers
Aquarianmind









Friday, September 29, 2017

My Success

I've accomplished a lot in my life (so what other people say), which is true in a lot of ways. The crazy thing is those things don't define me at all. I graduated high school, college and worked for some of the biggest companies in this country and the world. I'm not gonna go naming companies because that's not what this blog is about. 

None of those jobs I've had even mattered and the one I have now doesn't matter to me either. I work for the biggest and most well-known hospital in the U.S. and it doesn't phase me. People make a big deal when they see my résumé but it doesn't matter to me. 

See Corporate America doesn't work for me, I don't fit in it and it doesn't fit into my life, my talents and goals. Corporate America to me is monotony, there's no change (maybe in company policies or departmental changes) but in hindsight, it's the same routine every. fucking. day. Waking up at the same time and doing the same routines. Basically being a programmed robot.

My biggest success and accomplishment in my life was writing and publishing my first book. The Struggles and Growth of a Man was the game changer to my life. That's when I realized my purpose in life. It's to inspire, motivate and empower others and to break people out of societal standards and expectations. It's to get people to think about themselves, their lives, the environment they live in and to stop their bad thinking habits.

With every book that followed, to me, that was more success. With every new book idea, that's success. With every small poem I write, that's success. With every person that I reach and get to critically think about life, I've done my job. Some days I write, most I don't. I don't put pressure on myself to do it, which I why I very rarely get writer's block. My words just flow and I'm glad that my words can resonate with others.

Sometimes I lose track of my successes and forget that I'm impacting others. There isn't going to be any defining moment to me that says, "I'm successful." For me, it started the moment I brainstormed my first session on my first book and wrote about a character named Robert that relates to me and a lot of the struggles I deal with as a man in his 30s. Especially in a crazed world where your mind can drift all over the place because of a plethora of distractions daily. 

If I ever become a best selling author or I start getting recognized for my work and what I'm doing, that's when people will start saying that I'm successful. It's funny how life works and how the world manages to program and train your mind to think and define success as awards, accolades, being on a television screen or being heard behind a microphone. 

Everyone has their own definition of success, I've just learned and realized that I don't need a huge house, expensive cars and lavish this to show off to the world. I'm already successful, I just have the bigger goal of having millions of people reading my books and being impacted by my words. I honestly only want to take care of my parents, buy a townhome, drive a Genesis G70 and travel the world.

As mentally draining at this process is, it's worth it. I just would rather be focused on the journey everyday instead of some days. Having a full-time job cuts into a lot of what I'm trying to do and accomplish. But eventually I'll figure out how I can focus on my writing more and less on things that don't matter to me.

Don't let society determine what you think success is. Stay humble in the process and know that most people don't care and they only will when the light is shining on you. Not many will walk with you through the dark tunnel. 

Stay focused and take mental breaks when needed. 

Be good

Jamell Crouthers
Aquarianmind 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My Books Aren't For Everyone

The inevitable was going to happen...I got my first bad review of one of my books...the book...America Under Mind Control. Is it bothering me? Nope. Do you want to know why? Because there's way too many catastrophic events going on in this world to be griping about one bad review.

The reality is, my books aren't for everyone. I won't post the review on here because for one, it'll drive attention to the reviewer and that's surely not my goal. Secondly, it'll make me look like someone who's petty and mad and the reality is, I'm not and I don't care that much.

The reason why I'm writing this is because a lot of people who write don't know how to handle and deal with criticism and bad reviews. For me, it doesn't bother me because I've dealt with plenty of criticisms in my life about who I am and many others things. At the end of the day, we're all growing, human beings trying to better ourselves (or so I hope).

America Under Mind Control was written to get people to think about what's going on in America today. The reviewer said I need to do research and I was paranoid about too many things. To me, research isn't necessary on subject matter that's right in front of our faces. Things that are being done intentionally to try and keep us under control from the decisions we make to the food we eat to the things we buy.

This is the only book so far that when people read it, they're not going to agree with plenty of things I say. That's why I wrote it, to bring more discussion to what's going on in the world today. I'm trying to change the world one book at a time and the more readers that read it, the better it is to have an open forum on the subject matter that I wrote about.

I tackled a lot of topics and if you don't get it, that's perfectly fine. It's a lot to take in all at once and I've already learned that not everyone is going to like my books. For one, I write my books in poetry format and it's about societal issues. So going in, it's not the traditional book and secondly, you don't know what to expect. I like knowing that when a reader gets their hands on my book.

So to all of the writers, authors, bloggers and creators, keep writing. Chicken Soup for the Soul and the Harry Potter series didn't take off right away and those are some of the best selling books of all-time. My goal isn't bestseller status and getting accolades, I do this because I love it, it's my passion and I feel I'm blessed with a talent to impact others.

I want people to feel, emote and express themselves and that one reviewer did that. I could respond on Goodreads where the review is posted but there's no need to. You're not going to be liked by everyone and your talents and abilities aren't going to resonate with everyone.

I love the grind, and I loved getting that review. It only motivates me more and keeps me going. I've dealt with enough rejections in my life from not getting into the high school I wanted, the college I wanted, jobs not hiring me, not making it as a sports broadcaster and many other things. I guess that's what keeps me humble in this whole process. I never get too high and I never get too low, I'm always even and level-headed. I try to stay in the moment and keep striving for greatness.

No matter how far I go in this, I will always be thankful for the readers and the fans that I do have so far. So keep going everyone, life is a journey we must embrace.

Be good and go accomplish those goals!

Jamell Crouthers
Aquarianmind

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Characters I Write About In My Books

When I began writing, I never really thought I was going to write as many books as I have. I surely didn't think I would have this many book ideas that would come to me. But with so many societal issues that are going on, I knew that I could write about characters that would resonate with others. Throughout my reviews, people have felt and emoted through reading about these different characters that I write about.

I choose not to share my reviews on my blogs because you can easily go to my Amazon page or Goodreads page and see them yourself, my goal isn't to be boastful about my reviews that I receive from people.

The Struggles and Growth of a Man

Robert was created out of people that I know and have experienced things living in a bad neighborhood and going through struggles in their lives. Some of his experiences emotionally are things that I've felt and gone through. A lot of the other things I write about were experiences friends have gone through and also seeing bad neighborhoods that I've lived in or have gone through at some point while living in New York City.

I knew that I had to get people drawn into him early on in my first book so it keeps you the reader reading the book. It's a journey through life with Robert and Part 2 (coming in December) will be nothing short of more experiences that he'll experience in his life. This series of books is to open people's eyes to what masculinity is and why society has brainwashed us men into thinking that being mentally, physically and emotionally tough is not what makes a real man.

Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun

Gary is a police officer on the force and while we all have this perception of what a police is or should be, I wanted to shine light on the interpersonal thoughts that may go on inside of their minds. I wanted to bring some emotion to this book of how there just might be that one police officer who knows the wrongs that are going on but he/she hasn't figured out a way to make it right without sacrificing their careers.

I needed to bring a perspective that no one has seen in books related to the police and I wanted to write it from a police officer's perspective. There's a lot of emotion that goes into it because Gary has a son that wants to be a police officer too and he has a family who loves and cares about him in so many ways. So there's a sense of what to do, guilt, thinking about other people's families, something that is not done with his superiors within the department and the police commissioner of the city.

So that's my thought process while writing these books. The World We Live In Series, with 19 characters, I'll delve into those characters and my thought process with them in my next blog. The World We Live In Part 3 releases on Friday by the way!

In the meanwhile, please take sometime and look at my books on Amazon and if you like one, you know what to do! My books are on other platforms (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Tolino, 24 Symbols and many more).

Amazon Author Page

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Sacrifices to Success

When you finally make the decision to carve your own path to success, you'll soon realize that you'll have to make sacrifices to get there. You will not know in the beginning what those sacrifices will be but as time goes on, you'll soon figure them out.

You'll learn that you'll have to watch less television to get your work done. You may have to wake up earlier or work late into the night to get things done. You'll have to stop going out every weekend and only go out some weekends to get the work your need to get done.

There will be family events you'll have to miss, birthday parties, maybe even some weddings, especially when you're determined to live the life that you want and impact others. No one ever tells you these things which is why I tell you now what it takes.

Anytime, I have downtime, I'm either thinking, planning, strategizing, writing, marketing or brainstorming. Your drive will keep you going and you won't take many days off. Even when you take time off, you'll feel like you're not getting anything done.

You will be tired all of the time, especially if you have a full-time job while trying to get your own business going yourself. Sleep is something you'll cherish as most of my days are 18 hours on average except on the weekends where I get more rest time. Being an entrepreneur can't be done by everyone. Honestly, I don't hang around too many people who are striving for greatness. I have a few fellow Aquarians like me who are working as arduously as me but beyond that, there aren't many people.

You'll lose motivation daily but you have to think of the bigger goal and why you're doing it. Whether it's to impact people, the world, live comfortably or a combination of all three. It's never going to be easy and I realized that early on. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and there would be a lot of rich people walking around in the world.

The point is whatever you put into your work, just keep going. Whether you work on things for hours at a time or a few minutes a day, it's getting you closer to your goals (whatever those may be). So be prepared for the sacrifices you'll have to make to get to where you want to be. I know I am, but are you?


Be good everyone and work to accomplish your goals!

Aquarianmind

Friday, August 4, 2017

20 Books by 2020

The biggest goal for me is to publish 20 books by year 2020. GOD willing I live that long, I know that this is something that I WILL accomplish. The biggest thing about doing what you love is to set high goals and standards for yourself. Which is the reason why I don't celebrate many accomplishments that I achieve. There's a bigger goal and a bigger picture for me and there's more than just publishing a book.

I have a vision and I want millions of people to be reading my books and coming away with something after reading it. I don't want to be the author who just publishes books and goes on about my business. The process of writing the book until completion where I release it to the public is exhilarating and really exciting.

When I wake up on Friday's, Saturday's and Sunday's, there is this excitement brewing inside of me that I'm going to do what I want to do for the day which is working on my projects. No matter how much I do for the day, there's a sense of fulfillment at the end of those days that I've done the necessary things to get myself to the next step in my writing journey.

With that said, book #6 will be released on September 15th and it's the continuation of The World We Live In Series. This will be Part 3 of 5 in the series and I plan on releasing part 4 and 5 sometime next year back to back and that'll be the ending of the series of those books. There's a reason behind it and sometimes you don't want to drag a series and feel forced into writing content. But, I promise that the last book of the series will be a great ending to all of my 19 characters. If you haven't started reading the books, please do, I promise it'll be worth the read.

You can find my books on Amazon and all other major bookstores. Be good and do what you love. Turn your dreams into reality because eventually, I'm leaving Corporate America myself.

Books on Amazon
Jamell Crouthers
Aquarianmind

Being an Entrepreneur Is Hard...Very Hard

One of my favorite people to follow, read on and watch his videos is Gary Vaynerchuk. You either like him or you don't, there's noth...