Q & A: Shakeera Frazer
by Narzell Wise
What do you think the major roadblocks are for authors trying to break into this industry?
I think the major roadblocks for authors trying to break into the industry are finding a publisher and a literary agent to represent them as well as finding helpful, supportive people in the industry that will point you in the right direction. I have found that many authors whether they have self published or not aren't very helpful to new upcoming authors. Many don't offer assistance on how to get started so usually you are "on your own" to figure everything out.
Did you take the traditional publishing route before self publishing? If so, how was that experience? Why did you decide to self publish?
Before self-publishing I took the traditional route, I sent my manuscript to many publishing companies as well as literary agents and although I received some positive feedback, nobody was interested in publishing my novel. The experience was frustrating but it made me stronger, it made me continue to push because I knew I had talent and I had a great book. After a few rejections I decided to self publish.
What is your personal opinion on the current state of street literature?
I have negative and positive views on the current state of street literature. I think that it is great that there are so many new authors that are able to tell their stories but I also think that many people don't take it seriously and just write anything, this is making it bad for other authors.
Tell me about yourself. How long have you been writing? How long did it take to complete Fast Lane?
I am 27 years old. I live in New York City and I have been writing for the past 4 years. I love to write! It took me about 9 months to finish writing Fast Lane.
What is meant by the following text displayed on the front cover of your book Fast Lane: “Every Road Has an End,” and give me a sneak peek into this story.
The story Fast Lane is about four women that go through the everyday "drama" that many people go through, plus a little extra. The story follows these women through New York City as they deal with friendship, sex, lies, murder, sexual transmitted dieases, betrayal, and so much more. It’s a page turner that will have you hooked from the first page.
The text “Every Road Has An End" means nothing lasts forever and eventually everything good or bad comes to an end and we have to be prepared to deal with it.
How do you market your book as a self publisher? How do you reach other markets outside of your local area? What tools do you use to get your book out there?
I think marketing is one of the hardest things for a self publisher. I use social networks such as twitter, facebook, ning, myspace and others to promote Fast Lane. I also join book clubs, approach street vendors and bookstores to sell my novel. I do book signings and attend as many events as possible to get my name out there. I send my novel for reviews to literary outlets. Networking is essential.
I have to say that I actually like your book cover. Who designed it? Where did you pull for the concept and direction for it?
Thanks, I appreciate that. A graphic designer by the name of Baja Ukweli designed the cover. The concept came from the actual story and I wanted it to match the title. Since the book focuses on the lives of four women I liked the idea of the stiletto shoe, it symbolizes women and with it being red it symbolizes sexy. The road demonstrates the Fast lane.
After successfully publishing your first book, what were some of the biggest misconceptions about this industry?
A big misconception is that writing is easy, or that once you publish a book you have a lot of money. I have found those both to be untrue. Writing can be difficult but it becomes easy if you like it. I also realized that writing isn't something you do to automatically become rich and famous you have to just genuinely love doing it.
Do you ever come across writers block? If so, how do you overcome it?
Yes I come across writers block and when I do I try not to push myself too much. I usually try to write when I'm alone and its quiet. If I can't think of anything usually I read something, a book, magazine, a blog or watch a movie, this usually gets me thinking and ready to write.
Give me something that I can share with an aspiring writer to prepare for this sometimes-cruel publishing world.
Never give up and always trust yourself! Always ask questions and plan as much as possible but don't rely on everyone else for all the answers. Although, it is helpful to get advice from others, you learn the best lessons from your own mistakes, some things you just have to go through in order to grow and learn.
Narzell Wise is an avid reader; she graduated from New York University with a degree in Journalism.
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