My name is Janet Cheatham Bell. I am an author, an editor, a recovering academic, a mom (to comedian W. Kamau Bell), and a grateful grandmother (to the smartest, funniest grandchild ever... although I may be totally biased).
I have been self-publishing books since the 1980's. And thanks to the Internet and Kickstarter it is much easier now than it was back then.
I plan to publish and promote my new book (manuscript completed), a collection of essays titled Not All Poor People Are Black and other things we need to think more about.
These essays taken altogether, are a call to empowerment. We, the people, hold the power in this country, but by not paying attention and not holding our elected officials accountable, we have given our power away. We need to think about and figure things out for ourselves, rather than being frightened or beguiled by the simplistic sound bites delivered by politicians and the media. We must be creative about our lives and responsible for the world in which we live. It’s time to take our power back.
I begin the book with personal essays about experiences that helped me discover my own power. In other essays I offer my take on events and conditions in contemporary society that need our attention; like ending our romance with automobiles and expanding mass transit. In the title essay, “Not All Black People Are Poor; Not All Poor People Are Black,” I write about escaping the racialized culture in which we are immersed. If we don't, politicians will forever pit us against one another so they can remain in control and in power.
When you publish your own work, you don’t have the staff of a major publisher marketing and promoting your work, or sending you out on tour. I want to raise enough money, not only to publish my book, but to promote it as well, which is a major expense. To publish it, I have to hire a book and cover designer, and pay for the printing, binding and distribution of the book, including making it available as an e-book and audio book. If I succeed in receiving pledges in excess of my budget, I will use those funds to reprint some of my out-of-print titles.
"My mom has never been shy about expressing her opinion, and that’s exactly what she does in Not All Poor People Are Black. She writes about women, movies, aging, religion, extrasensory perception, politics, and of course, racism. Read it; you might be surprised at what she thinks.” W. Kamau Bell
Your $40 pledge is rewarded with the new book plus one of these books.
For a pledge of $70 or more, you will receive the new book and a first-edition copy of my memoir.
A pledge of $200 will get four lucky people these no-longer-on-sale collectibles.
Risks and challenges
I've been in the book publishing industry since 1978, so I'm familiar with all aspects of it. Writing and publishing a book yourself takes a lot of time and a lot of work. I know because I've done it before, successfully.
In 1986, I started Sabayt Publications to publish my own books.(SAH-be-aht is a transliteration of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics meaning “to understand; to transfer wisdom.”) After we sold more than ninety thousand copies of Famous Black Quotations and some not so famous and Famous Black Quotations on Women, Love and Other Topics, major publishers were interested. In 1994 I licensed the publishing rights to these two titles to Warner Books and closed Sabayt Publications. My subsequent books have been published by major publishers and a university press.
Digital technology has changed the book publishing landscape considerably since I first started. The process is now easier and less time consuming, but it still takes work. I have revived Sabayt Publications to publish my own books again using the new technology.
I have already re-published an out-of-print title using this technology and found it to be quite efficient. Since the manuscript for Not All Poor People Are Black is completed, I expect the finished book to be available 8 to 10 weeks after the campaign ends.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)