Today, I have the great pleasure of having Author/Editor Barbara Joe Williams on my blog. Please welcome Barbara.
Can you tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
My name is Barbara Joe Williams. I’m an “unconventional romance author” and I write self-help books. I also write young adult titles under the name of B. J. Williams. I’ve been in the publishing business since 2004. Amani Publishing is my company were I offer editing, proofreading, and publishing services to other aspiring authors. I’ve published over 50 authors under my company and co-founded the Tallahassee Authors Network (TAN) in 2008.
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading, watching reality television, shopping, or traveling to new cities with family and/or friends, or editing a new project for my clients.
Do you have a day job as well?
No, I left my day job as a guidance counselor after my first book was published in 2004.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing my first book, Forgive Us This Day, in November 2003 and published it in November 2004.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I’ve been reading romance novels since I was a teen. So when I decided to write a book, I knew I wanted it to be a romance novel. However, I didn’t fit the traditional romance mold. That’s why I call myself an “unconventional romance author.”
Where do you get your ideas?
I get most of my ideas from observing people during ordinary things. And, of course, I get lots of ideas from my family and friends and the situations I observe them dealing with.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Yes, I have experienced writer’s block. But it very seldom happens with me. Once I decide to write a story, I can usually see it through with any interruptions.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I mainly use an outline for writing nonfiction. If I come up with a fictional story line, I usually just start writing off the top of my head and maybe write down notes later.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Yes, Terry McMillian. I think she was the first female, African American author I read a book from. She paved the way and gave me the encouragement I needed to become an author.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Well, after my first book was published, I tried to go through the traditional publishing route. However, over thirty publishers rejected my manuscript. So a friend suggested that I self-publish. I did the research and decided to do just that.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I can’t think of one thing that I would change. I’m happy that I decided to invest in myself to make my publishing dream come true. And now, I’ve been able to help many new authors do the same.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I’ve used a variety of marketing strategies over the years. Some have worked well and some haven’t. But since I joined social media, the majority of my marketing is done on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And I still do a lot of local events at the bookstores and schools. I also have a website for marketing at: www.barbarajoe.webs.com
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No, since I publish my own books, I can publish whatever I want. It’s just a matter of completing the story, making sure it’s edited, and getting it to the printer in a timely manner.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Right now, I’m working on expanding the story I released in December titled A Cougar for Christmas. Widowed at 58 years old, Christina Johnson could never see herself as a cougar until she met a handsome young club promoter named Miles Middleton. With a little luck, she might become his Cougar for Christmas again. I’m hoping to release the title, A Cougar for Christmas: Expanded Story, in February or March.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
All of my books are a combination of real life experiences and my imagination. I take those situations and ask the question: what if? What if this had happened? What if that had happened?
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite part of writing any romance novel is writing multiple romantic scenes. They give me the fuel I need to keep the story going and make my imagination go wild.
How did you come up with the title?
It was easy. I knew I wanted to write a Christmas story, and I wanted it to be about a cougar.
What project are you working on now?
The only project I’m working on right now is expanding the cougar story.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I’m hoping to release three books this year: A Cougar for Christmas: expanded story; The Last Night to Remember, and Toby (a Sci-Fi short story).
Barbara Joe (Amani Publishing, LLC)
Amazon page: http://goo.gl/hCOkBb