Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Moving from Cleveland to Atlanta for a Fresh Start and Opportunities!

Fall of 2012 was the season I made the biggest decision I've ever made in life. Believe it or not, I had never been to Georgia a day in my life, and I had no idea what to expect from the lifestyle. All I know is that one morning I woke up wanting a change. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love my hometown, but I was yearning for a fresh start. I wanted to meet new people--preferably like-minded ones.

I slept on the decision months before finally making my mind up. Putting all my reservations to the side, I scraped up as much money as I could: selling clothes and shoes to Plato's Closet, selling my video games, designing book covers (though my skill was minimal lol), typing up manuscripts, and borrowing from friends. I was determined to start fresh with a new career in a new city. Two months after carefully planning, I crammed all my belongings inside my '96 Regal, and took a 10 hour drive (ten for me since I drive at the pace of a snail lol).

At that time, the only other states I had ever visited was New York, Washington D.C, and Michigan. I didn't know what to expect when I moved down South. I had no family down in Georgia, and only one friend who thankfully guided me along the way. Although I was nervous, I had faith I'd fit in and adapt well over time

I didn't have much when I moved to Georgia. As a matter of fact, I had no more than $1500--which was just enough for the rent and deposit of the apartment. I'd only been writing full time for about two months, so I didn't have much saved up. I had no family down in Georgia, and only one friend who thankfully guided me along the way.

For those who don't know, Atlanta was NOT the first place I moved to. As a matter of fact, it was Augusta. Though a beautiful city with wholesome and friendly people, the pace just wasn't for me. However, I utilized my time there to my advantage. Since it was a slower pace and I didn't know many people, I spent many hours in my apartment, writing and networking online in an attempt to grow my audience. In that time, I wrote the highly rated novel "Ebony and Ivory"--one of my faves if I might say so myself ;)

I also took the time to go out in the city and network by spreading the word about my work to anyone who would listen. Every week I went to the mall and interacted with people which in turn led to paperback sales. That little bit of cash came in handy with groceries, gas, and things like that. So with that said, my advice to aspiring authors is NEVER SLEEP on 'on foot marketing'. You'll be surprised at the number of people you walk past every day who might ACTUALLY be readers. And don't be discouraged if there are people who won't want to hear your pitch. Remain polite and keep it moving.

Anyway, while living in Augusta I stumbled across a site known as Meetup; an online social networking platform that offers offline meetings in various locations around the world. I figured not only would this be a good way to meet new people, I could also introduce them to my work. I definitely encourage authors--and entrepreneurs--to join this site as it offers awesome perks. I've also sold a bunch of copies during the meetups to people I've met. There are tons of book clubs on there, so the possibility of potential readers are endless.

Another cool thing I did was hit the army base, Fort Gordon every other week. I was actually surprised by the number of great people I met not to mention the paperback sales. Truth be told, I'm an introvert and not much of a 'people person'. However, I knew I had to eventually come out of my shell if I wanted people to know my name and my work. A great author, Treasure Blue told me that once ;)

I stayed in Augusta about six months repeating the same strategy until I finally decided to move to Atlanta. As I mentioned before, Augusta was nice but the pace was a little slower than what I was looking for and used to. So April 19, 2013, I packed my furniture and belongings in a U-Haul and headed to ATL.

The pace and lifestyle was exactly what I was looking for, and I had no problem fitting in. The opportunities and good people are plentiful here. With a plethora of restaurants, you never run out of food options. Plus there's endless fun things to do. In my opinion, I think its ideal for both a family and professional singles. The cost of living and housing market are also a couple things I like about the city. Though it did take some adjusting, I have no complaints so far. I love it! And for those who haven't visited yet, you will too! :)

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