Friday, February 10, 2012

Black History Month Hop: Author Interview Quiniece Sheppard


Quiniece Sheppard has returned to answer a few questions about her journey and marketing strategy.  Ms. Sheppard writes Christian non-fiction,  established Chasing books Book Club, and is the founder of a women's ministry.  For more information about Ms. Shepard, please check out her websites: www.iamthechase.com or www.chasingbooks.com.  Feel free to check out yesterday's post as well.

Could you please tell us a little bit about your writing journey?

I started my writing career with the publication of my first book titled “The Seven Deadly Sexual Sins” in April 2009, which was very difficult for me to do because I didn’t know how I or my book would be received by the public since it a taboo topic. When God called me to write this book, it took me a year to get started because I was so scared of the rejection, but out of obedience to God, I finally surrendered to his will.

 I released a free e-book in January 2011 titled “Walking the Path to Real Love:12 Steps to Practice Abstinence and Celibacy” and this was released to prepare people for my third book which was just published in June 2011 and that book is titled “Before the Lights Go Out:11 Keys to Achieve Real Physical Intimacy”. I’m learning more and more with each book and since both of my books are totally different, it’s great because it gives people more to choose from based on where they are in their lives.

 The recent book is a self-help relationship book based on Christian principles and it was written to combat the dissolving relationships that are happening right now and to provide a greater level of understanding of what intimacy is about and how to achieve it in your relationships. It goes way beyond sex, but real intimacy is about having an emotional and spiritual connection. Those two areas are where a bond and a connection are truly established. You can’t get that bond solely in the bedroom. I’m hoping people will grasp that in this book.

 It appears that authors are now responsible for much of their own marketing efforts. How did you do this for your books and what advice would you give other authors? I

 have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communications and I have an emphasis in Marketing, so I had a little knowledge of how to market my books. I always tell aspiring authors or other authors that you have to know who your target audience is and how to reach your target audience. This information is so important because if you don’t know who you’re writing to, then you definitely won’t know how to reach them. Both of my books have a wide audience of readership, but my second and most recent book which is called “Before the Lights Go Out:11 Keys to Achieve Real Physical Intimacy”, is targeted towards couples. I wanted to those people who were in a committed relationship and married. Also, I wanted the single men and women to read it as well to give them some helpful advice and tools on what a godly marriage should look like. I wanted a book that everyone could read and benefit from, but from all the reviews I have received so far from the book, people consider it a book for couples. I began targeting book clubs as most book clubs are comprised of women, so I definitely wanted the ladies to read it. I also targeted churches and was blessed to have two local churches consent to having my book inside their church’s bookstore and some have even told me that would be using the book as a bible study guide for couples as well as singles. I use a lot of social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter to market my book. I also do a lot of book signings and blog talk radio interviews as well. Whatever I can do to get my books out there, I do it, but mainly I want to target churches with marriage ministries.

Do you think it is more difficult to market some genres over others? If so, why?

 I’m not sure how other genres market their books, but I have seen that people tend to like urban fiction books a lot. From my experience in doing numerous book signings, people always go for the urban fiction, erotica type books before they will read an inspirational book. This tells me that sex still sells and is still such a huge driving force in our communities. With the rise of HIV, AIDS and teen pregnancy, people continue to put more and more books out there about sex; therefore, continuing to feed into people’s habits. I know there are more books written on sex than there are on the prevention of HIV. It’s sad, but a proven fact. Just like there are a lot of reality shows on television and dating sites on the internet, there’s even more influences in books. Anyone can write a book, but not everyone can be on reality television.

 As a reader, I've found that it can be difficult to find books that feature minorities as characters. Where would you tell readers who are looking to diversify their reading experiences to look? 

I write non- fiction Christian books, so I don’t use characters in my book. My books come from real life personal experiences and situations that I’ve gone through or that others have gone through. They are in-depth and meaningful. I do enjoy reading fiction Christian books and there are so great books out there that depict minorities as characters. I suggest readers look in the Christian fiction section to find those types of books.

What advice you give authors who are just starting out in the process? 

My advice to authors is to make sure that you have a passion and desire to write a book because it is so time consuming and demanding and if you don’t have the passion for it, then you won’t do well. You’ll just put a book out there and let it die with the rest of the books. You have to put a lot of effort and time into it and make it look professional and well written. I recommend hiring a professional editor and graphic designer as your book has your name on it, so you want represent yourself well. Your book cover can sell your book, so make sure it’s done by a good graphic designer. What you put into your book is what you will get out. The key to selling books is great marketing. Learn how to get yourself out there and market your books to your target audience. Continue having a presence and let yourself be seen. If you believe in yourself and in your book, then others will as well.
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10 comments:

  1. Great interview. I imagine Christian NF must be hard to market. Even to fans of Christian Fiction. Do book signings help?

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  2. There's so much marketing that a writer needs to do these days, self-pubbed or otherwise! Sounds like she has a good community, though, which really helps. Some great advice.

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    1. I agree. It is amazing how much work writers must do. I have the ultimate respect for their hard work.

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  3. I know the marketing game can be a beast. But it seems as this author has a good grasp of it all and has learned to navigate those waters well. Nice interview.

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    1. Thanks! Marketing is really really important these days. I'm glad authors are learning to navigate the terrain.

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  4. Great interview, Alexis. Love the deep questions.

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    1. Thanks. I tried. I've done few interviews so I'm learning.

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  5. Well I had my post all ready for the beginning of "Black Love Week" then I heard about the death of Whitney Houston. I was shocked beyond belief! She was one of my very favorite singers. So I decided to dedicate a post to her. Please come visit, somehow it seems fitting for the beginning of Black Love week.

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    1. Agreed. I loved your post by the way. I was shocked as well. 48!!

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