VerySmartBrothas: From Blog to Book to TV

Panama Jackson on Weekly with Ed Gordon
Panama Jackson is the headlining guest on “Weekly with Ed Gordon” on BET. He’s talking about the book, "Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night.”

So. This happened.

It’s all been happening kinda fast, but if you didn’t know, we (meaning VerySmartBrothas.com) released a book a few weeks ago, called Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night: the Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime. Panama Jackson and Damon Young (fellow co-founders and generally awesome writers of the blog) wrote this book three years ago, and one day asked me to help them set up and run a site/blog that would be a companion for the book. We’ve been rockin with the blog for a minute now and they finally released the self-published book early last month.

I have been touch and go with the book promo. To be honest, the book was suddenly ready and Damon kinda wanted to hurry up and get the book out for public consumption. I’m seemingly never ready to do anything (I like to wait for the proverbial “perfect time” that never happens), but we released the book (self-published on Amazon.com) without any real publicity plan (I’ve been super busy).

Anyway. A week or so passes, we get some press on TheRoot.com, a few book reviews here and there on some blogs. We top a chart or two on Amazon.com. And then some national press starts knocking on our door. Or, our e-mail inbox. We have a piece running in a national newspaper soon (fingers crossed). BET’s Weekly with Ed Gordon invited us to be on their relationships episode, and they asked us to be the headlining one-on-one segment (which is why PJ is there alone, without Damon). We have a satellite radio interview coming up soon, as well. All because of our talent as a team, great writing by the guys, some social media and branding mojo and a supportive community.

This has been interesting, to say the least. We don’t have agents. We don’t have publicists. We typically are poor at networking with other bloggers. We barely find the time to publicize ourselves (outside of Facebook, Twitter, and most recently, Tumblr). But it’s been cool to see how far this book and our message can reach people, with just a blog and a self-published book. I don’t want to say we didn’t try to make this happen, but we really are winging it at this point. Thankfully, some cool opportunities have been coming our way.

I spent today with Panama at the taping of the Ed Gordon show. It was pretty fun. Sure, this isn’t NBC Nightly News or anything, but…my best friend is on TV! For a project that we (us + Damon) have worked on for the last three years. I am pretty happy and amazed. And proud.

We haven’t been told when the episode will air yet, but the show airs on Sunday nights on BET. I watched the whole thing from the dressing room and thought P did a bang up job. We heard the producers were cracking up in the control room during his interview, and I could tell afterwards that the show’s staff really took his tongue-in-cheek relationships advice to heart. He’s such a natural, and this is totally his element. I hope he gets more opportuities to do TV, VSB-related or not.

 

Ask My BFF Anything

GuySpeak.com, a new website by WeTV, launched this week and my BFF Panama Jackson is one of its featured writers. P’s character, or persona, is the “Girls’ BFF,” which is funny to me because that’s exactly what he’s been to me for the past several years. You can read his bio and archive on GuySpeak over here. If you’ve been keeping up, you know P from our blog VerySmartBrothas, or his throwback blog Jackson G Tickle.

I’m so proud of P for landing himself a writing gig on the web. It seems like it was just yesterday he was a hilarious stranger leaving silly comments on my lil ole blog. That was back in 2004, and he has grown so much since then.

Yes, I am proud. But I am more interested in making him work for the money, so go ask him your relationship-themed questions, stat!

Where I've Been

It’s been a rough few weeks here at lizbdotscom. I’ve been everywhere doing everything, yet nowhere doing nothing. All at the same time. So, let me give an update to the few people who keep up with me on my pitiful little piece of cyberspace:

  1. I’ve been consulting on the side. Yes, cheating on all of you! I am a web/social media/technology consultant. It’s been fun so far, I have some super awesome great clients, and I have been learning so much. I love it. I will at some point launch a website for my consulting company. Right now, I am too busy doing the actual consulting work though.
  2. I am working with a startup. Those in the inner circle already got my e-mail telling them what I am up to. I will announce more details here, shortly. I promise!
  3. I went on “vacation”!! I put vacation in  quotes because it wasn’t a true vacation, I was so busy! I was in DC,  for my dear sorority’s 100 year anniversary celebration. Alpha Kappa Alpha worked it out in DC, ya’ll! This was my second national convention since I was initiated six years ago. It was lovely–the little piece I saw of it. Truthfully, I couldn’t take off enough vacation days to spend the whole time there, and I was in the middle of launching a site into beta while I was away. I did get some time to catch up with some of my prophytes, had a chapter reunion, saw some of my sands I haven’t seen in years, met and hung out with a soror  who is an avid reader of VerySmartBrothas (I’ll have to write a post on the experience of meeting your readers). I also spent some a lot of money on paraphernalia, and had the opportunity to spend some time with the BFF and his main squeeze. I still missed seeing some important people on this first round, but I think I am going to be back in DC in January, so hopefully I can finish the rounds then.
  4. I snuck a quick trip (24 hours) to NYC while I was on “vacation.”  Spent some time with some of my favorite people 🙂 New York loves me, I tell you! I was in BK exiting a restaurant, when I heard somebody call out to me by my government name. Turns out one of my friends I hadn’t seen in years was walking by and saw me. Crazy. I thought he was in LA this whole time, but turns out he had moved to NYC since we lost contact. An iPhone restore gone bad has erased his number from my phone tho! LOL.*sigh*
  5. Let me not even go there with Apple right now. They deserve an entire entry over this whole new iPhone fiasco.
  6. I’ve been in a grouchy mood lately, and I realized it’s because I hadn’t heard any new music (I haven’t had time to look in my usual spots). I am back on the bandwagon though. Amanda Blank and The Cool Kids have revived me out of my funk. Check Amanda out on Santogold’s “I’m A Lady,” and take The Cool Kids’ Bake Sale for a spin.
  7. I recently gave a presentation called Blogging 101 for the local chapter of the NABJ. It was a great experience. Even though I have been blogging here and everywhere for the past five years, when you sit down to articulate your experiences and best practices to a new audience you realize there is an art to this whole blogging thing.

Now that everyone is thoroughly all up in my business, I think I’ll shut up now. New blog tagline courtesy of The Cool Kids. 

VSB: First Press

For those who didn’t catch it on my Twitter, Flickr and Facebook
accounts, Very Smart Brothas.com was featured in The Metro News
yesterday in three markets (Boston, NYC, and Philadelphia).vsb_metro_scan.jpg

To say I was ecstatic is an understatement. A few months ago, Panama and  The Champ came to me  and said they had a blog concept in mind, with specific goals to be attained with said blog. They had their content ideas fleshed out, with a few strategic ideas being tossed around as well. I volunteered myself to make it happen on the tech side, and advised them on site strategy. Since then I have been working as an advisor/manager for the site.

Forty-five posts and 7,000+ comments later, the community over there is awesome, and is growing everyday. I’ve been applying many of the concepts I learned in my master’s program to the site, and I’m also testing out some other ideas. Even though the site looks pretty basic (for now), a lot of thought and debate goes on behind the scenes between the three of us. I am personally close with both of these gentlemen, and I have a couple academic degrees that certify me as Internet Expert #1, but they don’t let me get away with just anything. Ha. It’s great though, because I get practice in defending and supporting my arguements and cases for the strategies I pitch. So far, everything has been working better  than we ever expected.

Aside from that, I think it’s pretty cool to see Panama’s words in print in somebody’s newspaper. That’s my BFF right there.