shakeera frazerQ & A: Shakeera Frazer

by Narzell Wise
November 2010

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.

Fast LaneWhat 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.
Comments page 1 of 2:
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Ryan :
Posted 955 days ago
I could have sworn that someone asked you this beofre, but I couldn't find it in your tagged section so I'll ask now-- My question is in regards to finding and getting an agent. Generally what does one do to find an agent, get their attention and then figure out whether they're reputable/come from a reputable organization or not. What is the difference between a reputable agent and a disreputable one? (I ask this because I've seen people mention "reputable agents" constantly, but it never comes with an explanation of what that means, really.) What is their purpose, anyway, asides from bringing your books to the publishers? Do they help at all with the content of your books, or is that strictly the job of the editor? Are they supposed to be a sort of... level 1 filter/editor that a writer needs to bypass beofre going near a publisher-- sort of like a beta reader in the fanfic world? [url=]mrfqpnppzv[/url] [link=]dtyfcdpnd[/link]
Alessandra :
Posted 955 days ago
You write gorgeous,<a href=""> ialnnttsy</a> interesting beginnings. In fact, the sentence that begins The Wizard Hunters is one of my favorites, one of the beginnings I hold up as an example to myself. I am a terrible beginner of books, always end up lopping off chapters worth of walking to the story. How do you find the right place to start? Is it instinctive, learned, or do you also have pages of discarded material that didn't make it to the next draft? It just seems like such a tricky thing, getting in the setting, character, events in all at once as you do.
Milagro :
Posted 957 days ago
This is great! I have two questions:1. How do you write in a voice that dctnitisive from your own? What I mean is, when I write fiction, I seem to get stuck either in an overly reflective first person that's far too similar to how I write journals, or in a chatty, wry, vaguely 19th century third person omniscient that's far too similar to the way I narrate my life in my head. Do any have any tips for developing a new style?2. Is it difficult for you put your characters through bad events or write them doing bad things? Especially if you don't intend for them to have a happy ending later?
Dhiyana :
Posted 1343 days ago
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Christelle :
Posted 1344 days ago
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Mukesh :
Posted 1346 days ago
Hi Theresa!I just e mailed you :) But that was berfoe I read your "about you" section. I just want to say I am so happy to hear that after 19 years of hard work, you are able to get your books out into the world! I can sincerely empathize with you; and I've only been on the researching end! My book that is coming out at the end of May, I've had it for 5 YEARS, but never "finished" it because a) I wanted to write multiple genres and I was under the impression my "break out" novel was going to pin me to a certain genre b) I kept researching and found out that a writer only gets about a $5,000-$7,000 book advance that's IF an editor/agent gets you a deal...c) it takes TWO years to get out to the market??? I was sooooo overwhelmed, and discouraged and felt over my head. My passion for writing and becoming "a fiction writer" was slowly depleting. But, I kept writing :) (and researching).I am a writer for my day job, and I love that. But my dream has always been since i was little, like five ,was to be a published fiction writer and write all day, read all day, (and of course normal human being things :) )LOL. But everything seemed so overwhelming-the whole process. Then, I would read about people, like you!, who kept getting rejected,(even though their story is stellar!) then agents dropping out,-I'm like, "Holy Cow! This is TOUGH!!" Not to mention the fact that -"hey, why does ONE person get to say if they want to publish a book or not? What if he or she is having a bad day? What if they just got broken up with? What if their dog died? Maybe they may not be in their right mind when they look over everything?" :)Then the light bulb went off this year when I heard about Amazon e publishing. My passion came back, my drive came back, and now I'm writing like crazy! So, my empathy is GREAT for what you had to go through-but look how incredibly amazing you are doing! I am truly very happy for you! Thanks so much for sharing with everyone your success and encouraging others!
Struggle4MinePulications :
Posted 2661 days ago
I was very impressed with your interveiw Shakeera.... I am also a author and just self-published my book Pimpin Ain't No Illusion in June of this years so I know how hard it is.. I would love to network with you and you can contact me at or on facebook under Mississippi Slim. Keep your head up and keep pushin and i'm preety sure we will cross paths. Much Love, D. Rob
Shakeera Frazer :
Posted 2811 days ago
Thanks everyone for all your comments! It is greatly appreciated. Go get your copy of Fast Lane from Fast Lane is also re-released March 15th 2011 with Twenty First Street Urban editing Publishing company!!
Kenyetta :
Posted 2862 days ago
Great Q&A!!
Cheryl F. :
Posted 2883 days ago
I really want to be a reviewer for this site. I love finding out about new books such as your's. I put your book on my Goodreads list of books to read and "liked" you on Facebook. Look forward to reading your book. Check out my blog at I am planning on starting a new blog concentrating on black authors and getting the word out! That was a great interview!
Posted 2883 days ago
Never heard of this author or book but now I do ... LOL
Author Tyran Wollack :
Posted 2883 days ago
Dope Q and A. UBS ya'll need to holla at ya boy. That book hitting the streets in 2011. Lookout for me soon. Shakeera is very pretty. If you could sell books based on your looks you'd be a millionaire 100 times over! FAST LANE!



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