|Excuse Me... 7-7
Sunday, April 27, 2008
In this edition, I decided to print an interview that I did with “Wordz in Motion” a telelvision program based in Detroit. It gives some insight to questions that I have been asked over the years and I thought that I would share them with you. I’ve been interviewed for radio, newspaper and television programs most recently in Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida.
We at Wordz in Motion took a timeout to talk with some of the top powerbrokers in the literary industry and this is what they had to say:
Wordz - How long have you been in this industry? What does it mean to you to be known as one of its powerhouses?
Rina - I have been in the newspaper publishing industry for just over 7 years. To be known as a powerhouse? (laughter)....... My power is generated by the people who support, subscribe to and read the paper.
Wordz - Why did you choose publishing/writing/pr? If you weren’t an author /publisher/publicist, what would you be doing?
I fell into it. It chose me, I certainly didn't choose it. God has a business plan and I’m just following it. I was working at a dead end job for a large insurance company in Lansing and met a man who told me that he owned a paper. That was a mess and I’ll tell that story some day (laughter). I’m going to keep this on a positive note. I did a story for him about the Caribbean Day Festival in Brooklyn NY. The parade is on Labor Day and I returned to work and quit my job. Then 9/11 happened and when the whole world was in an up roar, I knew that I had made the right decision. When I was thinking about a name for the newspaper "The New Citizens Press" just popped into my mind as clear as day. I’d probably be at a dead end job, sick and unhappy.
Wordz - In today’s society men are often intimidated by strong, aggressive sisters. Do you come across this situation often and how does it affect your love for the job?
Rina - We are talking about the publishing industry (laughter). On top of that we are talking about the newspaper publishing industry. Of course, there are some men who are intimidated. But you just keep smiling and stay strong and positive. Believe it or not I have more problems with Black male publishers than anyone else. When I first started it was crazy. When I come up against adversity from anyone I would just remember my own goals and aspirations.
Looking back, I’m sure they didn’t not think I would make it. If I told you some of the things that were pulled, you’d ask me when was my dramatic miniseries going to start.
There are women out there too who can’t deal with strong individuals either. It doesn’t affect my job performance at all. I have three children ages five, seven and sixteen, I have to continue to build something for them. I personally look at it as a way to grow and weed out what is not healthy.
Wordz - Who are the two people who have inspired you most?
Rina -The one person who has inspired me the most is my mother, Kay Carrington. She has been supportive of me through thick and thin. I adore the air that she breathes and would recycle it and sell it if I could. She taught me the virtues of being a strong woman, to have honesty and integrity and not to be afraid of anything.
The other person, I never met. His name is Conrad Parrish and he used to publish the Metroplex newspaper which was in Detroit and Lansing and some other areas. In spirit, he gave me the push to do this because if he could do it, I could.
Wordz - If the grammatical errors weren’t so vast and editing so poor, in the new genre of books would you support the huge growth we have had in writers these last few years?
Rina - There are a lot of books coming out right now. Actually, the publishing or printing companies don’t care. It’s up to the purchaser to make sure that problems and issues are brought to the light of the author. They need to be told that this is unacceptable. However, there isn’t a template for “new urban authors”. If book clubs and those who they are pitching the books to would say something then there may be a change but ultimately it is up to the reader.
Wordz - What is ‘shameless promotion’?
Rina -Shameless promotion occurs when you compromise your honesty and integrity for your craft. Be rest assured that will come back to haunt you. ie. Enron and MCI.
Wordz - What’s on your nightstand right now?
Rina - “Paradise” by Toni Morrison and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R.Covey.
Wordz - How have the recent tragedies of our country (Louisiana, Florida) changed your life?
Rina -I have realized how little a value some in this country put on human lives. I realize that the mainstream media has a way of skewing the view of the public. What is unfortunate is that those of us who have niche publications are not supporting us in the manner in which they should. Why not go to Meijer, Kroger, Quality Dairy or any other mainstream store and ask why the publication is not in that particular store.
We want to talk about how tragic things are around the country but we don’t want to talk about what is going on in our local communities. Soon their will be the haves and the have nots.
Wordz - Tell our readers something personal they wouldn’t know about you.
Rina - I love to garden both vegetable and flower. I can also quilt, knit and sew. I also cook almost every night and since I have been publishing I have stayed home with my children. All of my children were breast fed and I’m still home to meet the bus almost every day.
My mother is an immigrant from Curacao and my grandmother still lives in the Netherlands Antillies. In essence, I’m Black and Dutch. I love to cook Caribbean food and dance to the music. It’s one of the things I enjoy.
Wordz - Do we, in your personal opinion, still have a long way to go to ‘take our place in literary history’? What is your biggest challenge?
Rina - We have a long way to go. Historically, we have less assets to work with and the ability to raise capital for our dreams. My biggest challenge is that my grandfather didn’t start this business and I’m the starting point for my children and I had to learn on the way. Another challenge is finding people who you trust who are not using you only to put you out of business.
I have met plenty of people in that category who have not idea what they are doing themselves. They don’t understand your business but want to be in your business (laughter).
Wordz - What is your one piece of advice for the new author /publisher/literary promoter coming up today?
Rina -Keep your head up and believe in yourself and educate yourself before you pour a lot of money into a venture. If you are serious, write a business plan, get a lawyer and most DEFINITELY an accountant. One year later assess where you are and be honest with yourself. If you are doing well GET A FINANCIAL PLANNER or accountant. I prefer an accountant, they keep the number straight. Trust good hearted people. Getting the right people behind you will save you heartache in the future and no one will be able to stop you from getting to the top peaks of the mountain without your consent.
Editor’s Note: Some of the answers have been updated for this edition.