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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chatting with author Brian W. Smith

Brian W. Smith is prolific. He's also gifted. A business man and an all around cool person. With more than 17 novels under his belt and a recent deal with Strebor Books, Zane's imprint, Smith is about to change the game again with a new series centered around the character, Sleepy Carter.

1.  Readers always get something new from you. Tell the readers what 2013 holds?

My primary focus in 2013 will be the creation of the "Sleepy Carter Mystery" series. I will drop a few Contemporary novellas toward the end of the year so my supporters won't forget about me. But for me, 2013 is the year of Sleepy Carter. 

2.   How did you come up with the character Sleepy Carter?

  Those who have read my novels have come to expect surprise endings so I believe I've always been a closet Mystery writer. This past Fall, I could feel myself getting bored with writing. I was also a little frustrated with the industry. I knew that if I was going to continue to write I needed to do something fresh and new to re-spark my interest. I started researching the literary industry and discovered that ninety-five percent of the authors in the Mystery genre were white. That reality combined with my boredom, frustration, and love of sleuths like Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, gave me an idea - I was going to join the likes of Walter Mosley and make a mark in the predominantly white Mystery genre. Two weeks later, the idea for a former New Orleans Detective named "Sleepy Carter" was born. 

3.  Brother, you are prolific. Where do you find the time to write all of these books?

Thanks for the compliment. I am a full-time writer. When I left Corporate America nearly four years ago, I vowed that I would use my time wisely. So, I'm always writing. I may not be the best writer in the world, but I refuse to let any author outwork me.

4.   What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

I would tell aspiring authors to do their research. I enjoy helping young authors, but nothing annoys me more than being asked questions that a simple google search can answer. When you and I started in this business, there was an internet, but there weren't search engines as powerful as google. When an author comes to me asking questions that they can find an answer to in seconds, that tells me they aren't looking for guidance, what they want is a handout. So, if you don't want to get your face cracked by a more seasoned author, do your homework. Once the aspiring author has done his/her due diligence, I advise them to do three things: Pray. Be steadfast in their faith. And prepare to work harder than they've ever worked before. This is a marathon not a sprint. The phrase "overnight success" usually isn't associated with African-American authors.

5.   Nina’s Got a Secret was reissued under Zane’s imprint in September. What was that experience like, since normally publish your own titles?

My experience with Strebor/Simon and Schuster was cool. I only signed a one book deal with the company so I don't have much "experience" to speak of. The deal I signed was great for me because it didn't prohibit me from running my own company, Hollygrove Publishing. I'm appreciative of that. 

6.   How has publishing changed since you released your first book?

Wow, this industry has changed so much since I entered in 2005. Black owned book stores were still the backbone for black authors. E-books weren't around. Borders (which was the most AA friendly major retailer) was alive and kicking. And there weren't as many authors vying for the same customers. Truth be told, authors entering the "game" now have more challenges (as it pertains to creating a brand) then I had when I started. Although the emergence of E-books has made it easier for new authors to get their work out to the public, those authors who don't have the writing skills, work ethic, and/or people skills needed to sell a book, won't make it to book number two.

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1 comment:

Tiffany Talks Books said...

Great interview!

Tiffany Craig
Tiffany Talks Books