Afrofuturism and the Black Fantastic or Technique 22 to Make Do

I’ve had an unconventional writing career in many respects: I got an MA not an MFA, have never pursued an agent or submitted to the Big 5. This aligns with my idiosyncrasies and values, but it also makes things harder. So I’ve had to do most things differently. 

Whenever I discover a new way to do something I don’t particularly enjoy, it’s a great day. So a few years ago, Melissa Scott by way of Catherine Lundoff’s recommendation (thanks, Catherine) invited me to take part in a storybundle, a bundle of ebooks sold for a limited time at a special price. It gave me exposure to new readers, allowed me to work with other authors (most of them indie) and provided real value to readers. 

Needless to say the model fit; so I sought out an opportunity to curate a bundle. I could choose the topic as well as the authors/works. I just had to get everyone (publishers included) to agree to be in the bundle and do promo. I say ‘just’ but in reality it can be quite a lot of work. 

The payoff is the cooperative energy of working with other authors and publishers, as applicable, to reach a common goal. The system is not perfect, but can yield solid results and lighten the promo load. 

It can also be an effective way to introduce readers to something new: like a genre, author, or format. I’m happy to say the latest storybundle I curated, launched just yesterday, does all three. 

Afrofuturism and the Black Fantastic is a way in to those genres for newbies, is packed with new voices and celebrated authors and includes my latest project, a fiction album. 

It’s really a great group and all the participants have been and continue to be lovely to work with. 

On top of all they’re pay what you want (with a minimum) and readers get the chance to donate to Mighty Writers, a nonprofit that fosters literacy, young authors, and supports communities (just lately by way of delivering food to those in need during the pandemic)

For the next 3 weeks it’s my job to recommend people check it out. I’ve had worse jobs. 

And it helps me do what I love (create) while helping others do the same. So it’s a great day.

Tenea D. Johnson



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