On Transitioning to Book Publishing
How exactly did you transition into book publishing?
The first novel was a continuation of something I had been writing for VIBE —a non-fiction piece about women who were married to rap artists. My agent was the one who recommended that I fictionalize it. Platinum actually came by way of a true story. I just kind of took it and ran with it.
Knowing that you always wanted to be a writer, after you took the Columbia course what were your expectations for yourself as a writer?
I didn’t have one. I just knew I wanted to write for a living. I didn’t want to write specifically for books or magazines, I just knew I wanted to write stuff. I wrote for my mom’s newsletter that she created when I was nine years old. From that point on, I fell in love with seeing my name in print. I knew that’s what I wanted to do for living. I wanted to see my name like that.
How did your goals change once you started in book publishing and co-authored Keep the Faith?
I never really planned it. Faith approached me about doing the book. When she reached out to me I was excited, but it wasn’t something that I thought was in the plan for me at all.
How does the planning, execution and writing process differ from writing articles? Is it hard trying to organize what events happen and what to save for future books?
I just write it. I don’t think about sequels or trilogies, I just go ahead with it. I try not to give any thought to that at all. That kind of thinking can get you in trouble, I just go for it? I was under a lot of stress completing Diamond Life for some reason. I felt a little more pressure to do well. The editors I was working with on Platinum left the company so I was worried about that. Everything turned out fine, but it took me a lot longer to finish it.
Did it ever feel weird or awkward in the beginning writing in-depth about characters? For example their sex lives and racy situations — something that you wouldn’t normally write about in a magazine.
It didn’t. Looking back it probably should have (laughs). When it was time to do readings some places it kind of felt weird to read that stuff out loud to people, but overall it didn’t.
What’s your advice to someone who wants to dominate in publishing?
Find out what your passion is and stick with it. It really can’t hurt to blog. I blogged every day almost seven days a week for two years and burned myself out. I would suggest two or three days a week, because blogging helped me to stay on schedule.
Do you ever see yourself stepping into different writing fields like screen writing or anything similar?
Off the top of my head I’ll say no, but as soon as I say that I’ll find myself in a class next year. I’m comfortable where I am writing fiction and non-fiction, but who knows. Anything is possible.