Black Blogger Month: A Belle in Brooklyn, Making Relationships Work

Author Demetria L. Lucas transforms her successful blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, into a powerful business and brand

Author/Blogger Demetria L. Lucas of A Belle in Brooklyn

Relationship guru and author, Demetria L. Lucas (Image: Subject)

Unlike most bloggers who fell into the field of writing, Demetria L. Lucas has been a professional journalist for the better part of her career. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, the English major, who earned her Master’s Degree in Journalism from New York University, started off penning entertainment stories for national magazines but eventually found her voice in the world of relationships in 2007. As the creator of the award-winning blog A Belle in Brooklyn, Lucas, 31, has carved out a lane for herself as the “go-to girl” on relationship advice and issues geared towards women. A licensed life coach, she’s shared her perspective on CNN (Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell), VH1 (Let’s Talk About Pep) and BET (Being Terry Kennedy) and been a guest speaker at Princeton University, Harvard College, Spelman College, and the Congressional Black Caucus, to name a few.

Continuing to expand her brand beyond the blog platform, Lucas also hosts several annual events—including Brunch with Belle, Cocktails with Belle and the Belle Affair—that are centered around networking and female empowerment. Her latest brand extension is in the world of book publishing with A Belle in Brooklyn: Your Go-To Girl For Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria), which hits stands this June. As BlackEnterprise.com kicks off its first annual Black Blogger Month, Demetria L. Lucas shares the secrets of her success.

I started blogging because…

I was looking for a place in the media where my friends and I were represented and I wasn’t finding it… I really liked Sex & the City and it had a big impact on me; I felt like so many of the issues that those four women were going through were things that I could relate to but it really bothered me that there were no Black women featured. It was like only White women have these lives and then you start talking about Black women and dating and it becomes something daunting and tragic instead of fun and adventurous and light… I was waiting around for another show, or a book, or a blog… something to give voice to what I was feeling and it wasn’t happening so I just started blogging and people started reading, and I kept on writing.

I realized blogging was a business when…

A Belle in Brooklyn logo

Lucas' brand power

I moved my blog [over from a BlogSpot domain] to my own site and maybe four months in I got an email about an interview, and I was like, “Oh, you want to interview me because I have a blog? That’s weird.” I realized what I was talking about was more than writing and I was becoming like an outlet for people. It was more about being a writer and providing a safe space… I realized that people depend on me for something and I wasn’t quite sure what that was and as I started to do more interviews out of nowhere I started to get calls and one of the first places I made an appearance was Princeton. They sent me an email through my blog, like, “Hey we’re doing something about female leaders; would you like to come speak to the Black female population?” Then, people started paying me to show up places and host stuff. I totally wasn’t expecting it, but I definitely went with it.

Building a brand is important because…

It tells people what they’re going to get before you even open your mouth, before they even click on the page. Like anytime you see the A Belle in Brooklyn logo, whether you see it on Twitter or Formspring or Facebook or you hear one of the events, Brunch with Belle, Cocktails with Belle… you know that you’re going to be getting something that’s empowering for women, you’re going to get something that’s well written, you’re going to get something that’s classy and uplifting, and you’re going to get something that someone actually took the time to put some thought behind. A brand is how you represent yourself, it means everything.

People trust the A Belle in Brooklyn brand because…

I write about my life, not as much as I used to, but when I do I put it out there flaws and all… I really put it out there and people trust me because it’s relatable, it’s not holier than thou, it’s not disgusting made-for-TV drama. It’s not salacious where it’s sex, sex, sex. I think people relate to it because they know it’s a real woman writing real feelings. And I think my realness is relatable to their lives.

In business, you should never be afraid to…

A Belle in Brooklyn book cover by Demetria L. Lucas

From blog to book: A Belle in Brooklyn

Say what you want. A lot of times, especially women, we tend to be afraid to ask for what we want. One of the things I’ve been able to do with the blog is to do a bunch of events. Belvedere has sponsored multiple events, Essence has come in and sponsored events, but the idea of that just sounded crazy for some folks, like, “You’re just going to ask them to sponsor your event?” Well, yeah. Some of those things have been entirely easy but just honestly just saying, This is my demo and this is what I want to do, I’ve lined everything up and here it is on a platter I just need XYZ from you to make it hot and then it happens. But asking for what you want, that’s like a really huge thing.

I measure my success by…

I tell you, getting a book deal off my blog was a huge marker—it’s not the only measure of success but, professionally, that was a huge thing. I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life. I wanted to be an author as well but that seems so farfetched to writers sometimes and so when I was able to make that happen that was everything. Like, I can’t wait to hold it in my hands and be like, “Oh, my gosh, I wrote this.” It’s great to see things on screen, it’s great to see them in magazines but that’s a collaborative effort that everyone puts together. On the screen it’s not something tangible that you can see, like, you don’t feel the words, you don’t feel the screen but to have a book and to see my name on the spine that’s kind of a big deal.

Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.

Videographer: Melissa Johnson; Video shot on location at The Inn at Irving Place & Lady Mendel’s, New York City

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