The Delphine Queen – Tamika Newhouse
Today’s publishing world is full of trick steps, strokes of luck, heartbreaks, and incomprehensible (see inconsistent, changeable) standards. Writers find dozens, sometimes hundreds, of obstacles between them and their dream of publication.
But the savvy have learned how to dance through those tricks steps, outsmart luck, endure heartbreak, and forge their own paths. One such writer is Tamika Newhouse. A writer, publisher, public speaker, radio host, award winner, and entrepreneur, Newhouse has overcome great odds to carve out a literary niche that allows her to tell truthful stories about African Americans and her own experiences as a black woman.
“I have been writing since I was eight years old. I didn’t begin to write it’s just something I have always done. I always tell people I didn’t choose to write I was born to write… [I write] stories that display black love in its ugliest form as well it its most beautiful form. Love isn’t perfect so therefore I never write a perfect life.”
Newhouse’s first book, The Ultimate No No, delves into the complicated and treacherous nature of love and revenge. “Publishing that first book was the biggest and [most] important step. Without that accomplishment none of this would exist. I would still be lost not knowing what to do with my life.” Despite the criticism that her plot was mediocre and the difficulty she faced in spreading the word about The Ultimate No No, Newhouse says, “I didn’t want to wait for someone to say they wanted to publish my book. I went ahead and made it happen myself.” With that determination, she formed her own publishing company, Delphine Publications (named in honor of her mother) at the age of 21. The company now publishes the work of other up-and-coming urban authors as well as continuing to publish Newhouse’s work.
Since that first novel, Newhouse has gone on to write and publish nine other books, including Trust No Nigga, published by SBR Publications. I was approached by… David Weaver on creating a story that can empower women but also show how we can react in certain situations. The title itself is risky and controversial as society has dubbed it as a horrible word. However this version of the word “N” refers to man or homeboy. It is a strong word and for Trust No Nigga there was no other title. I simply had to take from my personal experiences with men and from others I know and create an original plot. The drama is realistic and it is meant and portrayed this way to create a reaction.” In addition to heart rending personal situations, Newhouse does not shy from addressing the economic and racial issues faced by many African Americans. Indeed, she hopes to raise awareness of the continued plight of many throughout the United States.
Self-publishing is always an exhausting prospect. Authors have to take on the role of their own agent, publicity, marketing expert, delivery person (in many cases), secretary and much more. “The marketing aspect is always hard because there is always someone who hasn’t read my book so I have to creative with getting the word out.” When asked about the benefits of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, Newhouse remarked, “Working with other publishers I am able to gain exposure through their reach. I am always excited about opportunities to be exposed to new readers. [Though] I am able to make what they give me in a year in a month… the exposure is worth it.”
That exposure, coupled with her own enormous marketing efforts have made Newhouse a bestselling author and winner of numerous awards and accolades including the 2009 African American Literary Awards Self-Published Author of the Year Award; in 2010 she was inducted into the Who’s Who in Black San Antonio; a nomination for the 2011 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award; the 2013 Author of Distinction E. Lynn Harris Award; and the 2013 African American Literary Award for Self-Published Author of the Year.
As a natural offshoot of her writing and publishing career, Newhouse tours the country to do public speaking events. Her main message during these events is “That in spite of mistakes, economical reasons, and lack of faith you can make it happen. You can follow your dreams but it’s all up to you. No one truly controls your fate but you.”
To share her passion for books and literature, Newhouse founded African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC), which seeks to bring together radio, online chat groups, and the book club format in an innovative and exciting new platform.
While nurturing her public speaking career, helming Delphine Publications, and running AAMBC, Newhouse has several new writing projects on the horizon including a planned erotica series; Trust No Nigga 2; a spin-off series from The Ultimate No No; and a new series called The Illest Na Na now out in digital format.