The Writer’s Journey – Guest, Shirley Harris-Slaughter

My next guest for THE WRITER’S JOURNEY is SHIRLEY HARRIS-SLAUGHTER. Photo2Welcome and Thank you, Shirley, for sharing your journey to publishing.

Kim it is a pleasure to be invited to your Writer’s Journey Blog. Thank you so much for your hospitality.

My Pen Name is Shirley Harris-Slaughter. My writing started in the year 2002 with a nagging dream of preserving our historical presence in the Catholic Church.  Here is my story.

I am the author of the book:  “Our Lady of Victory – The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community.”  This book evolved out of years of frustration at the total disregard and lack of respect for the contributions of Slaughter CoverImageBlack Catholics in the city of Detroit.  “We are not mentioned in the pages of history along with the other Catholic churches that sprung up during the World War II era, and that needed to be corrected.  You couldn’t even go on the web and find anything about this historic black Church.  So my mission began — fill this void!

My love of history and an interest in old buildings is what drives me on this mission.  My thesis in College was about saving the Michigan Central Depot, an old train station in downtown Detroit. An opportunity arose to attend a conference sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and while there I learned that I was a Preservationist.  Such a novel word. I never would have thought of it on my own.

The book was published in 2007 and launched with a book event held at my merged church: Presentation-Our Lady of Victory and was the most successful book event I would ever do. I published with iUniverse initially, but moved away from them in 2014 when I republished under Createspace and had a Facebook Re-Launch Party sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.

Iuniverse worked for me in the beginning but over time, they were not giving me much for the huge sums of money they were getting from me. And they showed little respect for me as an Indie Author. They were to my horror a “vanity press.” Had they revealed themselves as such early on, I never would have went with them. I have to admit they did do a very professional job of editing and publishing my book. I got plenty of compliments on so I was very pleased with their work. But it all went downhill after that.

Createspace doesn’t do too much better. You are basically on your own with them or be prepared to pay huge amounts of money if you allow them to do it. The only thing going for them is their sister arm Amazaon. That’s it!

What I’ve learned from the publishing experience is knowing how to do your own formatting preparation and graphics for paperbacks and ebooks. And learn to do it correctly. Then you can control every aspect of your book publishing and not have to pay huge amounts of money just to hire someone else to do it. Smashwords is a good place to start. You can hire a freelance if you can’t do it yourself.

My second book is a perfect example of doing things yourself. Book title is CRAZY! HOT! AND LIVING ON THE EDGE!!Crazy!_Hot!_And_Livi_Cover_for_Kindle I had to hire an editor because I needed one desperately. So I found someone locally who used to publish for a local magazine here in my town and it worked out well. She helped me to develop my story and she did editing. My only problem with her was that she was not using up to date technology for editing like what I got from iUniverse. She was doing it the old fashioned way (cut and paste literally). Thank Goodness she knew what she was doing, because I was sort of lost. By following her instructions to the letter, we got through it and I would recommend her again. Her company is called Esteem Multimedia. The proof was what my readers thought of the book.

I hired an artist friend to do my bookcover design and it turned out fabulously and at minimum cost. You have to get creative in getting your book published and that’s what I learned.

Lastly, I had to hire an old friend to help me format the manuscript and then I went to Createspace to publish.


Our Lady of Victory – The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community


25 thoughts on “The Writer’s Journey – Guest, Shirley Harris-Slaughter

  1. Shirley, your factual recall of the way African Americans Catholic have been ignored, overlooked and downright disrespected, though they still are so quick to forgive, yet slow to protect. The dignified path that you’ve taken to let it be known, that the treatment of the Church toward Black Catholics is a absolute disgrace and must be dealt with sooner than later. I applaud you over and over again.

    Your Rebel Friend

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gwen if it wern’t for Rave Reviews Book Club, I would not have had a platform to engage in this kind of conversation. I always wanted to and I think that’s what most of us authors want. So the path is dignified because of venues like this. Thanks for adding your comment to the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mamie, I’m so thrilled to see some of my personal family and friends add to this discussion and you especially since you are such a dear friend of mine. Thank you so very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Shirley. What a great story of your writing and publishing journey. Lots of great tips here for writers and those looking to self-publish. Congrats on both of your books. Our Lady of Victory is on my kindle and I’m looking forward to the read. Cheers to you, my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so proud of Shirley Harris-Slaughter, who is not only a remarkable writer/author, but happens to be my maternal Aunt. Aunt Shirley, your amazing journey is both inspirational and aspirational, especially for up-and-coming new writers, who may be challenged with how to navigate the unpredictable publishing arena. You are my muse!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi dear nephew! I’m so thrilled that you visited my post today. I hope you got some information that can help you in your writing career. And, of course, you can call me anytime to walk you through whatever you need. Love you and much success in your working career.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When I clicked into the “Presentation Our Lady of Victory” link in the post, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have my book information in the “Reminders” tab. Never saw that before. Its a scrolling advertisement.

    Liked by 1 person

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