Stacy-Deanne began her professional writing career at age nineteen. She quickly gained popularity with the release of her first book “Alicia Keys, Ashanti, Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, Jennifer Lopez and Mýa: Divas of the New Millennium”, featuring the works of other authors.
The 2005 book showcased the ups and downs of some of music’s brightest female stars. The book appeared on bestselling lists for urban books including the Disilgold Soul Best Seller list and the YGA Best Selling List. The book also garnered an award for, “Best Biography Book” for Disilgold Soul Awards.
Following the success of “Divas of the New Millennium”, Stacy was profiled alongside other notable authors in the 2006 book “Literary Divas: The Top 100+ Most Admired African-American Women in Writing”.
In 2007, Stacy released her novel, “Everlasting” published by Simon and Schuster’s imprint, Strebor Books. The book, which focuses on a romance between Latino teens is noted as the Romeo and Juliet for today’s generation and has become a favorite with readers from all walks of life. Stacy won two YGA Literary Awards for “Most Anticipated Author of the Year” and “Most Anticipated Latin Romance Novelist” the same year.
In June 2008, Stacy released her third book, “Melody” also with Simon and Schuster. The book is Stacy’s first thriller and mystery work.
I caught up with this lovely and diverse Award-Winning Crime Fiction, Mystery & Interracial Romance Novelist, model, certified editor and author who generously allocated her time for this brief interview.
CAC: Did you secure the services of an agent? If you did, what in your opinion should an emerging writer look for when seeking an agent in terms of his/her credibility?
SD: I was already published by the time I got an agent. Actually, I feel it’s probably easier to be published more so than getting an agent in some circumstances. However, what you look for in an agent is someone who is experienced, has the contacts to get your work to editors in your genre and who is, of course, reputable. Authors have to research and take time to evaluate an agent in the same way they would a publisher. Agents should not charge fees, so if a writer comes across one who does, that is a big red sign.
CAC: What were your experiences publishing your book via a traditional publisher?
SD: I’m just going to say there’re pros and cons to everything. The biggest thing I learned is that there isn’t one publishing method that fits all writers. I didn’t realize that until I’d gotten with a big house and saw that it didn’t fit with what I looked for.
CAC: Do you feel an author gains value if they choose to publish their books via traditional means more so than if they self-publish?
SD: I can’t speak on self-publishing since I’ve never self-published. I just know that I’d never self-publish because it doesn’t bring forth the goals I seek. But every writer is different. Some self-publish as a stepping stone to a publisher. Others do it because they do not understand how publishing works and rush into it. Others do it because they prefer to self-publish. Not all publication methods fit one writer. The industry however is changing so much that writers just need to know what their goals are. Writers can seek out small presses and even e-publishers; there are a lot of options. I’d still say that seeking a publisher is a best bet to reach a wide audience and distribution either online or off.
CAC: What was your decision based on when you chose to cross over to an Indie publisher?
SD: I have a lot of friends who are published by small houses and I fell in love with all the wonderful things they said. I wasn’t happy with my experiences with a big publisher, so I decided to seek out smaller publishers from that point on. It is important to me to work with someone who pays me close attention, let me have a say in the process from top to bottom, work closely with me and give nourishment. I also want to be with a publisher who doesn’t make me feel like I’m just another author. You don’t get that from big houses; there are too many authors and they get lost in the shuffle. So my decision to switch was based on many factors.
In addition, another reason was that the industry has changed and more books are sold online now than in bookstores. Smaller publication fit my genre well as I not only write crime and mysteries, but I also write Interracial Romance and this is not a genre many big publishers are interested in. If they do take on such works, they do not market it the way a smaller house does. Smaller houses might not always have big bucks, but they do know how to zero in and market a title. Big houses tend to pigeonhole books and it can cause authors to lose out on readers.
Another thing I love about being with a small press is that titles get a chance to grow and have time to find readers. In big houses, if your book isn’t selling thousands after 2-3 months, bookstores yank it off the shelves and it’s considered a loss.
CAC: What are you currently working on?
SD: I am so excited because I’ve got a lot of great things going on but have been concentrating on my interracial romance/detective series. The first installment “Giving up the Ghost” comes out April 2011 from Peace in the Storm Publishing.
CAC: What is your greatest talent and, or accomplishment?
SD: Writing and getting published of course. I have many talents, but I’d have to say that’s the greatest to me.
CAC: As an established author, what dos and don’ts tips would you recommend to novice writers?
SD: I’d say new writers need to make sure they are writing not just for publication, but because they want to as there are no guarantees they will be published. Publication is a gamble so if you write from the heart, you won’t care if you’re published or not. They also need to research and learn about writing a publishable novel and read up on how the industry works. As a “don’t”, I’d say new writers need to leave their egos at the door and be prepared to learn. They need to take writing seriously, be ready to put in hard work and accept criticism. I also tell new writers not to waste time comparing themselves to published authors because this only makes you second-guess your work and leads to jealousy, or the writer trying to emulate someone else’s style. Like teachers say, “Keep your eyes on your own paper.”
CAC: Stacy, it was a pleasure interviewing you, and thank you for sharing your experiences and being candid and generous.
Thanks for the interview, Cherry-Ann! I invite everyone to check out my website to keep up with all I’m doing: http://www.stacy-deanne.net