MiashaWriting Diva Miasha

by Elaine Watkins
January 2008


Miasha’s path to success has been scripted since she was a child. Just a few years removed from Temple University, this 25-year-old Philadelphia native, has already proven her worth in the Urban Fiction industry. Born to drug-addicted parents, Miasha had two choices; wallow in her luck of the draw or manifest her destiny. Miasha chose the latter, using her imagination and determination to plot her way to the top.

Miasha stepped into the publishing game with clout, that others work years to build, when the rights for her first two books, Secret Society and Diary of a Mistress, were at the center of a bidding war between Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, and Avon Books. In the end Touchstone, lucked out and gained the rights with a six-figure, two-book offer; both novels were published in 2005, four months apart from one another. With the release of her books came instant recognition. In 2006, Miasha was named as “one to watch” by Publisher’s Weekly and nominated for “Break Out Author of the Year” for the African American Literary Awards.

Known as one of the hardest working authors in the industry, Miasha set out on a 15-city book tour shortly after the release of her first two works. Once her tour ended, she quickly landed a role in both a Hip-Hop soap opera series and an Indie Film, spreading her wings as an actor. Not straying away from the writing industry for too long, Miasha released her third novel, Mommy’s Angel, in the summer of 2007, and rumor has it that she has already inked a second two-book, six-figure Sister for Saledeal with Touchstone. Her fourth novel, Sista for Sale, will hit stores in March 2008.

What do you think is the key ingredient to becoming successful in the publishing industry?
Marketing and promotion. Writing a book whether good or not is the easy part. Selling the book is where authors run into all types of challenges. You have to know who your market is and how to appeal to it.

There was a bidding war for your first two books Secret Society and Diary of a Mistress, how did this come about?
Well, I had an offer to buy my book Secret Society outright and a five-book deal to include the publishing of Diary of a Mistress with Teri Woods Publishing, which created interest amongst major publishers. My agent sent my stuff out to those major publishers and received positive feedback from three of them. And anytime there is more than one publisher interested in signing you, your work automatically go up for auction.
 
Can you tell us what your writing regimen is like?
I basically write whenever I'm inspired to do so. Sometimes that's when I'm asleep and I'll jump out of my bed and go down to my office and start typing. Other times, it's when I'm listening to certain music, particularly Jay-Z. For the most part, though, when I'm faced with a deadline I'll put myself on a 5–10 page-a-day schedule.
 
What is the future of Street Lit? Where do you see the genre 10–30 years from now?
I see Street Lit evolving and getting bigger and bigger—similar to the way Hip-Hop has evolved. People thought Rap music was just a fad for years and now it's the number one music recognized and respected around the world.
 
Do you suffer from writer's block? How do you overcome it?
Sometimes I do. But I just pray for inspiration and take time off. In that time, I usually get ideas. Also, it helps to write an outline of your book to help guide you and spark your creativity. Going to the movies helps too. It's all about doing things that ignite creativity.
 
Any advice/tips for someone trying to get into the industry?
Don't just try, do. Research the steps it takes, read up on your favorite author and see how they got their start. Follow proven paths and always have a plan B. Put your all into breaking into this business and overall, write a book you can be proud of and that you believe will sell well.
 
What is your response to those bashing the genre?
If you can't beat it join it.
 
Can you tell us your take on the publishing beefs going on? Are they justified?
I don't know of any publishing beefs going on. I try not to get involved in all that. But if you're speaking of traditional/contemporary authors’ take on Street or Urban Lit then I'd say no it's not justified. People have many different stories to tell and what makes any one story more literary than the next? The bottom line is a Street Lit author will write about the streets because they either are from the streets and know the streets or they know that street stories sell well and they are approaching this as a business. On the other hand, contemporary authors will write about more mainstream subjects because that's what they know. Now, if money is a concern and your story isn't selling well, then write a story that will sell. It's as simple as that.


Elaine Watkins is the Editor-in-Chief of The Urban Book Source.


Comments page 1 of 1:
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Sugababe :
Posted 3227 days ago
Miasha every since I have read your first novel I have been a fan! I have read every book that you have wrote. And I can not wait to read your next novel Never Enough! I know that you will be successful in this book too as you have been in all of your novels... Keep up the good work and I will keep reading.
Chaquanda :
Posted 3308 days ago
I would just love to say i love Miasha's book "Mommy's Angel". It was so interesting to read. Even though i've only read one of her books so far, i can truly say now that i am a fan of her work.
Dawn Michelle :
Posted 3365 days ago
As her publicist I can say that Miasha works very hard and her team is full of creative wonderful people. She is generous to her community and a great person to know in the industry. Watch how far she goes because of her genuine spirit..she is already a SUPERSTAR!!!!
Join us in Atlantic City on March 1st to celebrate the release of Sistah for Sale, her 4th novel.
Therone Shellman :
Posted 3379 days ago
I have to agree with Miasha's point about marketing. Any publicist will tell you that publicity and marketing sells books. Good stories don't sell themselves alone. Contemporary fiction authors works have died down sales wise somewhat not b/c street or urban fiction is in more demand it's more so b/c urban lit authors have been more aggressive with going about getting sales. My authors are not urban lit writers but I'm teaching them what I know and my path I took on getting sales. And this is coming from someone who used to sell people death so yeah I would say marketing is what fuels sales.
Nova :
Posted 3381 days ago
I agree with the advice comment from Miasha, authors/writers so do extensive research in the industry before sending a manuscript out to one of these shady publishers or even publish a book.
i aint playing :
Posted 3382 days ago
I was trying to say nothing but industry insider set it up for me... Miasha's books might as well be blank pages because the writing isn't all the good. So, yes she does understand marketing but it's apparent she was paying too much attention in English class.
Industry Insider :
Posted 3382 days ago
Miasha is coming up in the genre fast. One of the few that understand marketing is very important after writing a book. You can sell a book with blank pages if you market it the right way.
Pro Writer :
Posted 3386 days ago
Miasha knows marketing and promotion, which is why she is on an island by herself!
Social Insider :
Posted 3387 days ago
You know this is a very nice feature on a woman who is truly doing her thing in the industry...but it is a shame that the comments are so empty. People just love themselves some controversy. Yet they are quick to complain when they feel there is negativity. Why don't they comment here? Is it because they love to kick others when they are down and never give, those who deserve it, their props?
Nia :
Posted 3388 days ago
Now this is a great feature. I'm glad UBS featured Miasha. She is a postive role model. She went about her business on the straight and narrow path and is a person I think many young girls can look up to.
Dannielle D. :
Posted 3388 days ago
I really enjoyed this article/ interview! I am writing a book and I am finding out that it's not as easy as I thought. Somedays I loose focus because I get scared of the thought of getting "caught up". After reading what Miasha had to say, gave me hope once again! Thanks girl and keep doin you!
 



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