Meet Zane: A pioneer in the book publishing industry and the New York Times bestselling author of Afterburn, The Heat Seekers and Dear G-Spot. Zane is a business leader who stays abreast of what’s going on in her company at all levels. The publication of her early books – The Sex Chronicles, Addicted and Shame on It All took her from a corporate sales job right into the heart of erotica. Not only has Zane made the bestseller list, her television series, Zane’s Sex Chronicles ran on Cinemax for three seasons. Working on the series gave Zane the chance to partner with Suzanne DePasse, a Motown exec who helped groom Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Read on to learn more about Zane, a top selling author, Strebor Books publisher, mother and forward-thinking business woman.
MN: Before you started writing erotica, you worked as a sales representative. What caused you to make the switch from sales to writing erotic novels, and did you think there was a market for sexually explicit books when you started writing?
Zane: Ironically, I never chose to become a writer, even less a writer of erotica. I had heard the term erotica, but I hadn’t read erotica at the time. The thing about me is that I am a very detailed writer when it comes to every aspect of writing so I am equally as detailed when it comes to the sexual content. My books are more about the characters and storyline and, in my mind, have very little to do with sex. However, people labeled me that and the rest is history.
As for thinking there was a market for sexually explicit books, I had no idea. I did know that there was a market for mine because I literally gave away my work for three years for free on the Internet, with no intention of ever becoming a published author. When a rumor got started that I had a book out, I did some test marketing to find out if people would purchase my work. Then and only then did I decide to go for it and take a shot.
MN: You self-published your first three novels before signing with Simon & Schuster in 2001. What was the process of self-publishing those early books like and how does the process differ from publishing a book through a mainstream publisher?
Zane: When you self-publish, you wear all hats and perform all duties. Authors at a mainstream publisher write the book and then basically turn it over to the publisher. Some authors are go-getters and heavily participate in the marketing and promotion of their books. Unfortunately, the majority of authors think they can sit back and wait for the money to flow in. Those are the authors who generally fail.