Interview with E-Book Author Chicki Brown
July 12, 2012 13 Comments
Today I’d like to introduce you all to author Chicki Brown. Chicki is another author I “met” via Twitter and whose stories I loved after reading her novel Hot Fun in the Summertime. I really admire how Chicki embraced the rise of e-books and e-publishing. I can relate to all of her reasons for choosing e-books. So sit back and get to know Chicki. Enjoy!
Me: Describe your journey to becoming published?
Chicki Brown: Tedious, frustrating, challenging and unbelievably rewarding. My second career began when the first one took an unexpected turn due to a job layoff. I started writing at work out of sheer boredom, just to have something to do. When what started out to be a short story turned into a full-length novel, I asked several people to read it. They all encouraged me to seek publication. It was a great story, but since I knew nothing about the craft of writing, I made the huge mistake of submitting that first manuscript to editors. Of course, it was rejected numerous times. The rejection only encouraged me to find out what I was doing wrong. I put that manuscript away and began a second one, this time simultaneously studying the craft.
Over the next six years, I joined a local writer’s group, participated in online critique groups, signed with an agent, became a member of Romance Writers of America/Georgia Romance Writers, and even led a local writer’s group for three years dumped the first agent and signed with another. Eventually I started researching the industry.
Being the gadget girl that I am, the introduction of the Kindle in 2007, grabbed my attention. Author Joe Konrath’s fantastic Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog had become part of my daily reading. When he began his experiment in publishing to Kindle, I followed it closely. His success convinced me to try a Kindle experiment of my own. I figured if I could even sell a few books, I’d make more than I had been making, which was nothing!
It has proven to be a very positive experience. My books have developed a following, and the reviews have been wonderful. Looking back, I can say without hesitation this was the best decision I’ve ever made. The best part of the journey has been meeting so many incredible new people – readers, writers, reviewers, and book bloggers.
Me: You’ve chosen to only publish e-books, what made you choose that route?
CB: I guess you could say I made the decision to self-publish when I got sick and tired of the traditional submission process. E-publishing is the future and the future is now. All of the numbers for 2011 the first quarter of 2012 show e-book sales now outpacing paper. Rather than sit around and allow this author-positive change in the industry to pass me by, I decided to jump in. The introduction of e-readers fascinated me. I’m a gadget girl at heart. If you want to make me giddy, turn me loose in an electronics store!
I had no desire to self-publish a paper book and have to deal with ordering stock, doing signings, etc. From everything I’d read back in 2008-2009 about the Kindle, e-publishing seemed to be the perfect place for me to start. Actually, I put my first book, Have You Seen Her? on Kindle in June of 2010 as an experiment just to see if I could sell a few copies. Each month the sales increased, and when Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook some months later, I also uploaded the book there. So far I am thrilled with the success of the books and intend to continue e-publishing for the foreseeable future.
Me: Who or what inspires you as a writer?
CB: Joe Konrath has definitely been my indie publishing mentor. Beverly Jenkins and Eric Jerome Dickey have influenced me more than any other authors, even though they don’t know it. I so appreciate their creativity, style and example of how to carry yourself as an African-American author.
Me: When do you make time for writing?
CB: When I got laid off from work, I asked my husband if he would mind me giving the writing a chance. Every six months or so, I’d ask him if I should go back to work. He’d say, “Let’s give it a little while longer and see how it goes.” That was eleven years ago.
My note: Love him already! So, wonderful to have a supportive husband!
Me: What made you pick your genre?
CB: I write what I love to read – contemporary women’s fiction, because I love stories that deal with women’s issues and concerns and romance because I’m a sucker for a happy ending.
Me: What advice do you have for other writers?
CB: My advice to aspiring e-book authors is to learn everything about e-pubbing before you even consider putting a book out there. Now there are scads of great, informative sites out there, which offer free education. The amount of information you need to know about formatting, cover art, differences between e-tailers, and marketing can be overwhelming. It’s not something you can learn in 30 days.