Tag Archives: publishing

Guess whose Back?

It’s been a long time! But I am back. I’ve been busy promoting my short story collection, Street Magic: Stories and Tales. If you don’t know, Street Magic is a collection of nine short stories that I wrote while a student at the University of Baltimore. The characters are zany and authentic. Everyone who has read my book always says, “Your writing is so vivid. I could picture the stories.” I’ve been playing with the idea of creating a book trailer or adding an audiovisual component… we shall see.

My New Year’s resolution was to get back on track. I have been a few places to promote my book. I’ve been to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History luncheon held in Washington, DC on February 28th. It was my first vendor opportunity. In retrospect, I was not that prepared to play with the big boys. I brought myself and my books—no business cards, not even a poster. Needless to say, when I saw the other authors bring their A-game, I knew I had to kick it up a notch.

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Mary B. Banks at the ASLAH luncheon held during Black History Month 2015.

My book, Street Magic, on display.

Street Magic on display at the ASALH’s Authors Event held on February 28, 2015 in Washington, DC.

At the event, several people purchased my book. Me being the bibliophile that I am, I ended up spending the money buying other authors’ book. Although, I spent majority of the money on the same day, it was fun to get out of Baltimore to see other parts of the country. That is what I love about writing–it takes you on a journey. Are you ready for the literary ride?

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life after the MFA

Next year, I’ll be graduating from the University of Baltimore with a MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts. I’m excited about the prospects of starting a new chapter in my life, but at the same time, I’ve been asking myself the hard question, “What next?” And honestly, I don’t have an answer. Of course, I would love to become a published author, but that sounds lofty–even published authors need a day job. I’ve been thinking about teaching at the university level, but I’m not sure. If I were to teach, I would love to teach a fiction course with an emphasis on Black female writers such as Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Ann Petry, and Toni Cade Bambara. But if I could have any wish, it would be to have my own publishing house. I would focus on publishing experimental and literary fiction. I want to publish fiction that touches people to the core. If you tell the universe what you want, things eventually happen. For those of you who have obtained your MFA, what are you doing with your degree? For those of you who are still in school, what  are your future plans? We got to keep believing, dreaming, and writing. This is what we are born to do. It is our calling.   

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get your publishing on!

I’ve been interested in establishing my own publishing house, which I know will be hard, but with this new wave of technology, it can be a bit easier now. In Baltimore, there is a small publishing house named Publishing Genius. The founder is Adam Robinson, a graduate student at the University of Baltimore who is studying creative writing and the publishing  arts (I’m not sure if he has already graduated or not). Anyway, Robison operates a small press where he publishes fiction and poems. I love the cover art of Robison’s books–it’s very artsy and modern. That is what I love about UB–it’s so full of creativity. UB’s writing program emphasizes not only writing, but also design. In most graduate writing programs, students only produce a manuscript, but at UB students design their own books. I have designed a couple of books myself, check them out! I made them by hand, which was extremely tedious. One of my books, Chocolate Dreams (2009), is featured in The Indiestry Magazine, Spring 2010, Writer’s Block Issue. In my article, “How to Hand Make a Hardcover Book,” I explain how I constructed my book; click here to read the article.

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