Celebrity Entertainment Profile Magazine Interview
Tuesday, June 29, 2004 8:09:00 AM
by Sasia Gregory
|Following is an interview conducted on a local TV Talk show out of Bronx, NY called Celebrity Entertainment Profile Magazine in March of 2004.
CEPM: What made you choose the romance genre?
SASIA: I’m a romantic at heart. I always have been. When I was young a girl, I loved the Cinderella stories of finding prince charming and I’ve always wanted that. But through the years you come to realize that fairy-tales are just that; Fairy-tales. I wrote not so much a romance novel but a romantic-suspense. We all need to escape from reality sometimes. I wanted to write a story that would touch the reader's hearts -- one that would be entertaining and remembered -- where the readers would feel each one of the characters happiness, pain, and fears.
CEPM: Did you make up all of your characters?
SASIA: Yes, the characters in Shades in Love – Incriminating Evidence are all fictional, but I did tailor them after real people, as I created them. I chose Coco, the main character, to be a well-paid Ad-Exec., so that the readers can see that there are African Americans who make a good living in executive professions. And that women don't have to be skinny model types to attract a good man. The world is so stereotyped these days.
CEPM: As you work full time, how long did it take you to write Shades in Love?
SASIA: The story itself went from head to paper in about three weeks at most. As I would write it, I would dictate it into a recorder; put it to sound effects, (screams, gun shots, etc., and even the music for each dramatic scene). Once I did that, I would go to my computer and type it out. Doing it this way kept me excited about the story, kept the creative juices flowing and also gave me an idea of how I would put a screenplay together for the movie version (if it came to that) Yes, I was looking ahead.(laugh)
But it took a few years after that to actually put it into a form to be presented to a publisher, and of course at that time, I didn’t now the first thing about writing much less getting published. I wasn’t a writer. I had never gone to school for writing so this was an entirely new experience for me.
CEPM: Now that you are a published writer, what are some of the steps you are taking to market your book?
SASIA: I have not approached mainstream yet but I’m working on that. Some of the other steps that I'm taking to market my book are:
1. Advertising on the Internet
2. Approaching bookstores to try to arrange book signings.
4. Contacting Book clubs.
5. Trying to arrange Radio and TV Talk Show Interviews.
CEPM: How did you go about getting your book published? Tell us the pros and the cons of self-publishing as you see it?
SASIA: When I decided to publish, being the beginner that I am, I submitted to few literary agents and got rejection letters but good constructive criticism. I took the advice I was given, rewrote, added, and deleted until I knew that the story was ready. But this time, I decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me that my story wasn’t good enough to publish, especially with some of the subject matter out there today. So, I researched self-publishing on the Internet. Vanity publishing was out because they wanted an outrageous amount of money. I’m not exactly financial set just yet. (laugh) I soon realized from the starting blocks that there were many pros, but just as many cons that came with self-publishing.
The pros: An author is able to save time, (turnaround is typically 4-5 months) save money, (upfront money is minimal) receive a quality product (your bound book) and get immediate feedback on your product from readers. A lot of the initial administrative functions are handled for you as well with print on demand, i.e., copyright registration, obtaining the ISBN#, etc.
The cons: An author has no control over price. Your product may not be valued as highly as a commercial book is. Additionally, you really have to hustle; books are not going to sell themselves. Now that you have a finished product, the real work begins.
CEPM: What if you do not have the money to publish a book, what are your options?
SASIA: Not having the money to publish a book cannot be used as an excuse anymore. There are various print on demand services that will publish your manuscript for very little or no up-front costs. Additionally, there are many online sites that will publish your works. If you have aspirations of becoming an author, you’ll find a way to realize your dreams.
CEPM: How do I know whether I should self-publish or not?
SASIA: Honestly, self-publishing is not for everyone. You have to wear a lot of different hats when you become a self-publisher. You become a sales person, bill collector, promoter, public speaker, marketer, event planner, and the list goes on. And somewhere after fulfilling all those roles, you find the time to write.
Of course, everyone is different. You have to sit down and weight the pros and cons of self-publishing. What do you want? Is self-publishing going to meet the needs of what you are trying to accomplish? I feel the key is research and knowing your long-term goals. For me self-publishing has been the answer to my dreams. It has enabled me to get my book out there, get immediate feedback, and in the process, it opened various doors that wouldn’t have been previously available to me.
CEPM: Discuss the importance of the Internet.
SASIA: The Internet is an extraordinary tool that if used effectively, can play a major role in your marketing strategy.
There’s little or no cost and an author can reach a multitude of people with just a click of the mouse. There are so many book clubs and readers reachable via the Internet. In fact, there’s an entire online literary community out there.
CEPM: Tell us about the different opportunities your book has opened up.
SASIA: I’ve been fortunate during the last year to meet many new and interesting avid readers, book club members, store owners, and fellow authors that a year ago I wouldn’t have thought possible. The support and encouragement from these sources has been amazing. I’ve received e-mails that touch my heart in ways I can’t begin to describe.
CEPM: What advice would you give to aspiring new writers?
SASIA: First of all don’t give up. Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and never give up. I was discouraged when I received my first few rejection notices. At times you may be discouraged and get to a point when you start to think why bother; it will never be good enough. Well, we all have stories to tell, but there are only a few who actually sit down and put pen to paper. That makes you unique in itself. But also, always have a back-up plan. Believe in your gift and use it everyday. Surround yourself with people and places that uplift and promote your creativity. And stay away from the negative. In fact, remove the word can’t from your vocabulary unless you intend use it in the sense that you can’t fail. Because the only place where your dreams become impossible to reach is in your own minds.
And last, but certainly not least, write “something” everyday. And remember -- you can’t please everyone. I didn’t know anything about writing professionally. I didn’t go to school for it, I don’t have a college degree in literature or journalism or anything else for that matter, but I didn’t let that stop me. I knew that I had a good story and I wanted others to read it. I wanted the public to decide whether it was good enough, so I took a gamble. But to my surprise, I have had nothing but praise about this book.
CEPM: How long have you been writing? And what inspires you?
SASIA: I’ve been writing since I was a small child. I wrote my first “book” in first grade as a class project. The teacher gave everyone an empty book cover and we were to write a story to go with the cover. It wasn’t until after my mother passed away that I found this book and it all came back to me. I remember loving to write science fiction stories. But what I remember vividly was the way my father used to make up stories for us. (I have a brother and a sister) He told the most incredible stories. So I think that in a way -- he inspired me. I also remember the words of Dr. Maya Angelo who said “In life, people may forget what you said, and people may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.” So I wanted to write a story that would invoke a wave of emotions and touch the reader's hearts; one that would be entertaining, remembered and felt. I think that life should not measured by the number of breaths we take – but by those moments that take our breath away. And if I can do that with my writing, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.
What inspires me? I get a lot of my inspiration from music. And I can’t under estimate my dreams, imagination and most importantly my passions.
CEPM: Do you have any works in progress at this time?
SASIA: Yes, most definitely! I plan to release soon “Shades II – The Secret Within Her,” which is the sequel to “Incriminating Evidence”. It starts off where “Incriminating Evidence” left off. The same characters are back along with some new ones. I’m really excited about “The Secret Within Her” and I feel that the readers are going to embrace and love it as well! It is guaranteed to be more thrilling than the first. I’ve already had some inquiries about it.
CEPM: Well thank you Sasia. (To audience) Sasia has also received an outstanding literary accomplishment of Merit award for a poetry piece entitled “My Friend” from the Creative Arts Science Enterprises. I advise all of our viewers out there to go out and get this book. I have my copy and I've just read in a few pages and it has hooked me already. And Come on out to Barnes and Nobles in North Brunswick where Celebrity Entertainment Profile Magazine will be there live to cover the event. Thank you for joining us this week on Celebrity Entertainment Profile Magazine. (END)
Shades in Love - Incriminating Evidence