Oakland, California (PressExposure) March 19, 2008 -- Advice columnist and dating expert Deborrah Cooper was selected for the prestigious "The Best Black Books of 2007" award by syndicated critic Kam Williams. "Sucka Free Love: How to Avoid Dating The Dumb, The Deceitful, The Dastardly, The Dysfunctional & The Deranged!" was listed alongside publishing heavyweights such as Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D.
Surprisingly, the fact that the book was published at all is, in Deborrah's words "a miracle!"
For years Deborrah considered writing a book on dating. During the mid-1990s she hosted the "HeartBeat" talk show on The SoulBeat Television Network in Oakland. After leaving the station, she launched her own website (AskHeartBeat.Com) and continued her work as a dating expert and advice columnist on the Internet using the moniker 'Ms. HeartBeat.'
It took 10 years, but Deborrah finally decided to stop talking and get busy DOING... thereafter devoting 10-15 hours per day in the fall of 2006 to prepare her manuscript. "I didn't leave my computer much and socializing was cut to a minimum. I ate, I wrote, I slept. I was absolutely determined! Or maybe crazy is a better word!" she laughed.
Though Deborrah produces a weekly advice column and has written dozens of articles over the years, the effort required to organize material for and write a book was a shock. "We've all said 'oh, I have a lot of important things to tell the world... I should write a book!' However, I didn't think much about the fine details of actually making that happen! Well, let me tell you, writing a book is more than a notion, and a lot more work than I ever thought it would be!"
Self-publishing was unquestionably the best option after discovering it is standard for major book publishers to have contract clauses which allow them to change covers, titles and content at will. "I didn't want anyone to change the book title, the chapter titles or any of the content. Spiritually, I felt it important to put the book on the market exactly as I'd envisioned it. So that's what I did."
Creative strategies were employed to raise the funds necessary to print and promote the book, including selling home made sweet-potato pies! "I made so many pies... it was just ridiculous! My house smelled like a bakery for months and I gained at least 5 lbs! But it was wonderful to have so many people around who supported this venture and did everything they could to ensure my success."
SUCKA FREE LOVE! advises readers on modern dating situations such as friends with benefits, interracial relationships, dating people with addictions and other baggage, and the importance of establishing and maintaining boundaries -- "the real issues people are dealing with every day" explained Deborrah.
"I deliver the message in a way my readers can relate to, sometimes with a humorous twist, but always down to earth solid advice. It seems to be working because here I am!"