My Book Publishing Journey for The Real Barbados Story: Is about creating and publishing ‘Rogues in Paradise‘, The Untold Real Story of Barbados’ Rogues and Heroes, People, Place, and History. For the purpose of this book it is important to understand exactly what is a Rogue. It’s an endearing term that has existed through history. In fact some of history’s most outstanding characters were Rogues. ‘This one-of-a-kind Barbados Book captures the spirit of the Caribbean and examines how people of the first slave society survived slavery and systemic discrimination to become a thriving, independent, democratic republic, a Caribbean hub, a regional financial center and a leading tourism destination.
The book started as a set of essays of the fun characters I met while building and running the island’s first official website, The Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia. That took on a life of its own as we created eleven thousand pages of content, software, artificial intelligence, and galleries of photos, graphics, and videos. see statistics
The essay editors loved the stories and the voice of the book. It was an original voice that featured ordinary Bajan, the unsung heroes of tourism who are the real story of Barbados. They are the real people, often overlooked, who are a vital part of Barbados’ Culture. The editors asked me to expand the book to include more Black history, more history, more people, and more places. What intrigued them was the lyrical portrait of Black roots, dialect, and character. There are not many books that do this, and Rogues paints an uplifting account of these witty and joyful ordinary Barbados people. I had become obsessed trying to understand this character, after 300 years of slavery and discrimination. With the editor’s encouragement, this became a key focus of the book, and I delved into history, and people’s stories analyzing the Bajan roots and identity.
It was an evolving work that moved from proofreading to line editing, development editing, validation, and sensitivity reading. Not the typical trajectory but it worked. I gave the book to the publisher for the third evaluation edit: this followed copy and line edits, development edit, and proofreading between revisions. The evaluation editor loved the book and suggested I change from essays to the “Real Story of Barbados People, Place and History”. She said it is a true untold story of Barbados: “You just need to make it flow.”
Easier said than done, but she was persistent. “It is an important book with a lot of potential. It’s fun but also serious. You deal with sensitive topics in a fair and balanced way.” She made suggestions to completely reorganise the book putting history first. There were good reasons for that, but the book was about the people of Barbados, and I did not want history to be the main feature. It was not the book’s focus, and the troubled history of slavery was not where I wanted to start. However, I did heed the need to anchor the work in the past and moved things around.
The first chapter was an imaginative story of a real authentic rogue. I imagined being in his mind, inhabiting the madness of being high on his herbal substances. It set the stage for the character, tone, and voice of the “Real Story of Barbados” behind the facade of colonial luxury that visitors see. The first chapter changed, and to this day, I am not sure why. But I learned to respect the editors. All were professionals with years of experience working with major publishers. They knew what worked. Some editors loved the first character, but a sensitivity editor said starting the book with hallucinations was inappropriate. So it changed.
My book grew by volumes with new sections on tourism, visitors, and the black experience. It took on a new dimension as I tried to understand the influence of history, heritage, and the environment on the nature and character of the island and its people. See more on writing the real story of Barbados >>>
The changes and additions took time, and the document got into a mess, so I gave it to a 4th editor to merge and sort out adds and deletes, recording, and rewrites. This was proofread and structure edit that took forever.
The book is now with the fourth editor and will go back to the publisher again for evaluation.
Rogues in Paradise is not about recovering from slavery, prejudice, and discrimination. It acknowledges its existence, but it does not dwell on it. It is far more about character shaped by history. A section on the Black experience moves through bondage to freedom in colonial times and the post-colonial experiences. It shows how Aftro-Bajans rose above the past to be world leaders. There are examples of some, born poor, who were well schooled and rose to be world leaders in their field.
I had not included this section in my Book Publishing Journey, but my publishing editor suggested I do that. The black experience is not well documented as most of Bajan history was written by the British, and that was what was taught in schools. I pieced these stories together from deep dives into history and stories from friends and people who overcome obstacles and set examples.
To get more of the story of Barbados slavery and the excesses and brutality of some planters, read Washington Black. Esi Edugyan narrative nonfiction story creates a fascinating picture of the horrors of this time. It is Creative nonfiction (another word for literary nonfiction or narrative nonfiction or literary journalism and verfabula), and Esi crafts an imaginary story based on fact. She uses a literary style and creative techniques to create a factually accurate story of Barbados in 1800. It is stylish and highly descriptive as she puts herself into the mind of the oppressors and the oppressed.
The goal and purpose of Rogues in Paradise is to tell a fun story that has meaning and significance beyond the stories.
It is to uncover why Bajans are so charming and joyful after 300 years of slavery and systemic discrimination. It is not a small wonder that they have moved Barbados to a free and independent, thriving democratic republic. Rogues in Paradise is a fun, provocative true story of Barbados told through the lens of the Bajan people: From rogues to heroes and knights of the realm. It blends character, race, and culture through history to today. It is a study of people, place, and time moving from the current into history and back, pulling insights on heritage and character to answer the book’s purpose.
I also wanted to use the stories to highlight life-lessons. The characters are larger-than-life personalities and everyday folk. They each shed light on individuality, personality, coping, and excelling in living a fruitful life. You will find warmth and caring in even the most outrageous rogues. These are the life lessons from Paradisethat conclude each chapter.
I wanted to give voice to the ordinary and extraordinary people of Barbados. Naturally, I want the book to be an international bestseller, constructive positive, and contribute to the readers, visitors, and Bajans. All the rogues are an integral part of this remarkable story of Barbados. They will share in royalties and in the success of the book. I want them to be proud of their contribution, and I want them to be amply rewarded. 50% of royalties will go to the rogues. I will keep 50% to pay from cost and promotions, after which Rogue’s will share 70%.
Rogues in Paradise is Travel Literature: It goes beyond travelogues and memoirs to leave a lasting impression. Books like Eat Eat, Pray, Love: by Elizabeth Gilbert, do this – I have heard it sold over 12 million copies. That would be nice – The rogues will be happy!
I am not deluded with expectations that Rogues in Paradise will succeed on this scale. But I am motivated to offer more than a story. I studied the Caribbean literary icons and have quoted George Lamming, whose prose and style is exceptional. All Barbados Literacy Authors set a very high standard.
Editors always want a voice, and it seems I have one. It’s not contrived. I often write late at night and sink into a trance where ideas collide with rhythm. I catch it talking as I write and will pause to check the resonance and meaning. I love the simple cadence that happens by chance. Like, Woolly “striding briskly with an English gentleman’s umbrella, looking a little like, a very British gent.’ Or Ace musing, “Got to borrow just a little time, take a little for a time—plenty time and money here. Movie cameras, laptops, fancy cars, and stereos fetch some dollars on the street. ”
Reedsy review made the following comparison ” like Roald Dahl’s writing in Boy and the first few chapters of Going Solo in the rhetorical flourishes applied to the characters. A bit of Ruskin Bond’s flow in the poems and rhythms applied left, right, and centre, which is not to imply a lack of originality.
You have to have a commercially successful story to get an agent and publisher. It has to be outstanding and not just another me-too story. After sending the proposals and drafts t0 over a dozen agents and getting no replies or polite rejections, I was ready to give up and self-publish. My editor convinced me to keep trying. I needed to work on the blurb and proposal. She said I was probably sending it to the wrong agents, and my thinking about The Book Genre was wrong. You want agents to see this as literature, which is what is it.
I joined Author Membership and found rejects were part o the course. The key was my Query letter. It was just wrong. There is a way to query an agent, and I had to learn it. I’m queueing to rework it in workshops where I can make verbal pitches to actual agents and get feedback. The point is the Query Letter must grab attention and demonstrate my uniqueness. What I messed up was establishing a bond, a hook, a comparison/competition (comp), a storyline, intriguing characters, and a voice. All in under 300 words! And it must be tailored to the agent.
Check this example of an Agent QUERY LETTER – an essential step to getting an agent in the Book Publishing Journey.
The genre is important to book publishers and agents. To find the right agent and position a book, it is vital to be clear on the genre the agent represents and, more specifically, is looking for. Agents are particular about this, and it is a big mistake to position your proposal in a genre that they are not pursuing. They also change their focus from time to time as reading tastes and habits change. Placing Rogues as a travel book did not resonate with literary agents. That travel genre has a specific niche and rogues’ strayed way of limits. I did not find agents I wanted to work with within a strict travel niche. Other authors agreed rogues was bigger than travel. After a pile of research, I found the agents I like were Narrative Non-Fiction. They were advocates for a wide variety of literature that had meaning.
I reposition my proposal as Narrative Non-Fiction, Race, Culture. And yes, it is based in Barbados, and it certainly does have a travel interest. This was a necessary clarification that is essential when seeking a literary agent. My ideal agent will be interested in Narrative Non-Fiction, Race, Culture, and Travel.
This does not mean that it will not sell on a travel shelf and by book stores specializing in travel. It goes deeper into the psyche of people than most travel books. I shall undoubtedly place it under travel as one of the sections in Amazon.
Readers will find the book by searching for rogues in Paradise or Ian R. Clayton. It will appeal to people who are interested in the following
Barbados Literature | TWN
Barbados Travel Literature | TWN
Barbados Caribbean Literature | ripJ-btl
Travel Literature | Borg-reads
Evolution of Travel Literature | Borg-evo
Caribbean Literature | Borg-evo
Narrative Nonfiction | ripJ-genre
Book Genre | ripJ-genre
Race and Culture | ripJ-sl
Barbados History | ripa-his
Barbados Heritage | ripa-his
Barbados Charter | ripa-ch
Barbados Civil War | ripa-cw
Rachel Pringle | ripa-prng
Barbados Berringer Yeamans Murder | ripa-aby
Errol Barrow | ripa-ind
Barbados Freedom Fighter | ripa-ind
Barbados Independence | ripa-ind
Slavery | ripa-eman
Barbados Slave Rogues | ripa-eman
Barbados Slave Trade | ripa-eman
Barbados Government | ripa-rep
Barbados Republic | ripa-rep
This book is the most sensational read.
Click the button below to find out what happens in this true-life story and let me give you the first few chapters for freeCLICK TO READ