Today we have Author Chicki Brown on the blog. Please welcome Chicki here. Thanks for being here today.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I hail from New Jersey, the oldest child in a family of four siblings. My mother was an avid reader, so reading became a major part of my life at an early age. Most of my adult life I worked in administrative support for major corporations. A little while after I began writing in 2000, I got laid off from my job and decided to retire myself and pursue a full-time literary career. My family and I have lived in suburban Atlanta, Georgia since 1994.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Read, watch movies, dining out.
Do you have a day job as well?
Not since 2000! 😊
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing Lyrics, my first book, while I was still working. It took me about five months to finish it. Thankfully, I never published that book, but it taught me that I had what it took to complete a full-length novel.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write what I love to read, which is romance and women’s fiction. I love relationship stories whether the relationship is between a male and a female or between family members.
Where do you get your ideas?
Honestly, I have no idea. Normally, I have to sit down and write out the “what ifs” until I come up with something that makes sense.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
Over the course of writing 19 novels, there have been times when I don’t want to write, but I’ve learned during the years that it’s always because of something else. Either I’m overtired, distracted, haven’t gotten to know my characters well enough to imagine what they might do next, or I need to do more research. If I fix what’s wrong, the blockage disappears.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Both. I start out with a general outline, but I must allow the characters to tell me where they want to go as I write.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
When I was young, my favorite author was Carolyn Keene. I read every single Nancy Drew mystery ever published.
As a young adult, I read in phases. There was my revolutionary stage when I read books like Soul on Ice, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Black Boy, Manchild in the Promised Land. Then I went through my drama stage and devoured Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz and Danielle Steele novels. Gradually, I began to make my reading more diverse and read The Left Behind Series, Christian growth non-fiction, John Grisham, James Patterson, Eric Jerome Dickey. I never read a real romance until Lucky’s Lady by Tami Hoag, and let’s just say I was hooked. It’s been romance and women’s fiction ever since!
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
As I mentioned, I started writing in 2000, but I didn’t publish my first book until 2010 because I was going the traditional route. I spent years slowly destroying my soul by submitting to editors and agents and receiving more than 100 rejections. Finally, I signed with two well-known agents. Neither of them was able to sell anything for me, so I terminated my agreement with the last one and spent the next year or so learning about Amazon Kindle and how to publish independently.
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?
No. I believe it went the way it was supposed to go. The rejection I faced forced me to learn about the publishing industry. There’s so much more to publishing than just getting your book on Amazon. It was time well spent, and it put me ahead of the game when I finally released that first book.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Over the last nine years, I’ve experimented with just about everything except doing podcasts and live videos. Successful book marketing and promotion is a combination of what works for you. Mainly I’ve concentrated on:
- a) promoting on my social networks,
- b) purchasing paid ads on Amazon, Facebook and with book promoters,
- c) doing a blog tour whenever I have a new release,
- d) doing Facebook release parties,
- e) participating in online book expos,
- f) doing author takeovers in online reading groups,
- g) doing in-person events at my local library,
- h) handing out printed postcards with pictures of all my book covers on one side and the purchases/contact information on the other side,
- i) contributing swag to be distributed at book conferences,
- j) visiting local book clubs
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
As a matter of fact, my upcoming Fall release, We Are Family, is one that I wrote back in 2008 and hesitated to publish, since it is loosely based on my family.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
My real-life experiences always find their way into my books. They might be small things like childhood remembrances of vacations or more my favorite restaurants, but they’re never big things like family secrets and such.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
In Have You Seen Her? it’s toss-up between the scene where Dani and Taylor meet for the first time and the scene where she confronts her ex-husband who’s been stalking her.
How did you come up with the title?
All my books have old-school R&B song titles. That’s my music, and songs back in the day had great titles.
What project are you working on now?
I’m busy editing We Are Family for a September release. Since I originally wrote the book in 2008, my writing has improved greatly. Certain references also need to be updated. It’s a slow, tedious process and will probably take as long as it would for me to write a new book. LOL!
How can your readers find you?
Amazon Central Author Page: http://amzn.to/l2kjXQ