AUTHORS & BOOKS!
S: Today we have the pleasure of speaking to a young woman who wears many hats! She’s an Author, Radio Host, & CEO of her own company, Sistah’s Place & Sistah’s Creative Media. Who is she? She’s Letrise Carter!
Letrise, thanks for joining us today. Please tell our readers a little bit about you
L: I am a southern bell whose parents migrated to the north to Chicago, IL, but ended up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I grew up and got my first taste of writing. I am a graduate from Keller Graduate School with a Master’s Degree in Financial Management and Accounting. I have been writing since middle school and throughout college. My Creative English teacher is the reason I started writing. It was a way to escape into my imagination. I write drama, suspense and romance books. I am not limiting myself to just those genres, but I do desire to write a children’s books and inspirational novels.
S: Since you’re the type of person who juggles many tasks, I am sure you will venture out and explore different genres. So, how did you start your own company Sistah’s Place? And what motivated you to get into the entertainment industry?
L: Sistah’s Place started out as a blog and I wanted to create a platform for Indie artists in television, film, theater, and literary. I saw something missing and the blog was not enough so I created Sistah’s Place with the vision to inspire, entertain, educate, and empower. I knew in my spirit that just writing blogs wasn’t the answer. While working as a freelancer for creative media at Nferno Productions in Chicago, I had the opportunity to work with Director, Christopher Nolen, who was filming an indie movie called, Zodiac Sign. That’s when the idea came to give birth to Sistah’s Creative Media.
S: I’m glad you felt compelled to do more for independent artists. We could use more supporters like you in the literary arena.
How do you manage being an Author, Radio Host, CEO of Sistah’s Place Magazine, and the company’s brand in general, while still working a full-time job? Whew!
L: Prayer and the support system in place with my daughter, Simone, who is also my co-partner. I have always been a multi-tasker working as a Manager in Accounting managing multiple clients and staff. You have to be organized and not afraid to delegate tasks. I also think that growing up the eldest having to help around the house with my younger siblings taught me how to be balanced. Plus, when you are walking in your purpose and doing something that you are truly passionate about you make the time and learn how to balance it all out. I love it! I keep telling myself you have a two-year plan to walk away from Corporate America… this is just financing that dream. Sometimes it does burn me out which I will step away and allow others to help me. The key is having a great support system and team in place so that you don’t become overwhelmed.
S: That is excellent! Balance is certainly the key to managing various tasks. Sometimes when we’re the boss it’s hard for us to know when to delegate tasks to other people, but it’s good that you use discernment and know when to step back to allow others to help you.
Now Letrise, you’re no stranger to the publishing world and you know lots of entertainers including authors. Recently, you published your first book, a novella titled, Deceitful Secrets. What has this journey as a new author been like for you?
L: It’s been an amazing journey and I am learning a lot from fellow authors (feels good to say that). I love the advice and tips on how to get myself out there as a new author to new readers. I think I am still in awe that I am published. To finally have a story out of my head on paper that others are reading feels great.
S: It is a great feeling! Deceitful Secrets is a story that kept me turning the pages. It’s a love triangle that ends with a cliffhanger. How did you come up with this story and what made you decide that it should be a novella versus a full novel?
L: This story came to me in a dream and I woke up and wrote down each scene play-by-play. I was not sure if I wanted to tell a novella or novel. So, I told myself baby steps first. Deceitful Secrets was a novella to help me decide whether the book would be a series. Plus, novellas to me seem easier.
S: That’s a good way of looking at it. Taking baby steps by writing a novella and giving readers a glimpse of who you and your style of writing is a great tool to gage your audience.
Having been in the business for more than a few years now, is it easier for you to promote your book based on the connections you have through entertainment media?
L: Not really, I find a few stumbling blocks. One would think it would be easier for me given the fact that I have promoted many authors over the last four years, but it does give me an opportunity to present Deceitful Secrets to other authors for their support. I am grateful for all the authors who shared my novella with their audience.
S: Will there be a sequel to Deceitful Secrets? If so, will it be a full novel the second time around?
L: Yes, there will be a sequel to Deceitful Secrets, but whether it’s a novella or not depends on the characters when they are speaking to me. Only time will tell.
S: You’re used to being behind the scenes of things and making miracles happen, but how has the public received you now as an author, as well as your family and friends?
L: It’s been great reception from the public as they all love the storyline and that makes me proud. I continue to reach new readers by sharing who I am and how I got started. It’s been exciting that my book was the topic of discussion at a dinner party that my bestie had as the group read the book together. The feedback that I received was positive and how they think book two should kick off in the series. I fell in love with how well it’s been received even though I was nervous about how people would receive my novella. I do get more friends and family coming to me for advice about writing a book or for me to read their script. My family and friends have been supportive by purchasing the book. The question they will ask before they purchase it is, ‘is it naughty?’ and I say no. They want to know about the story before reading it, so I let them read the first two chapters on my website at www.letrisecarter.com under my blogs or have them go to Amazon to read the first chapter before purchase.
S: That’s wonderful that you’ve received so much support. People are often curious and want to know about a book before they read it. I’m glad your website as well as Amazon offer that sample feature for readers to get a taste. How has your experience as a published Author helped you with your magazine, Sistah’s Place?
L: I think audiences find me more creditable as a published author and freelance writer for other magazines which give Sistah’s Place more intrigued readers. We have gotten more traffic and subscribers since I became a published author.
S: That’s great! Congratulations! Speaking of Sistah’s Place, how did you come up with the name?
L: Growing up my nickname was Sistah… and everyone always came over to Sistah’s to talk and ask for advice. That’s how I came up with Sistah’s Place. “Come on over to Sistah’s Place to share your dreams, your passion, your inspiration, and how you started with hopes of having an impact and influence on others.”
S: LOL. I bet you give some very good advice too since they keep coming back, and now you get to share it through your magazine with the world. Tell everyone the difference between Sistah’s Place in comparison with other online/print magazines, and why should readers subscribe?
L: Sistah’s Place is different because we are NOT a gossip online/magazine. We write stories to empower, inform, inspire, motivate, encourage, and educate our audience. We interview artists all over the world who share their dreams and projects with the objective to have an impact/influence on not just the young generation, but the seasoned men and women who dare to dream.
S: Wonderful! What does the future look like for the Sistah’s Place brand in let’s say the next five years or so? Also, where do you see yourself?
L: In the next five years, Sistah’s Place will be a full print/digital magazine with a staff of ten writers, four editors, and more guest writers. I plan to take this brand to a new level every year with Blog Talk Radio showcase interviews branching out to interview not just indie talent but mainstream talent as well.
S: That’s wonderful and I can tell the brand is expanding already. Now, you mentioned that your daughter assists you with the graphics, marketing, and some of the other tasks for Sistah’s Place. How do you balance the business so that your relationship stays healthy?
L: My daughter Simone and I have a beautiful bond and our passion/love for what we do drives us. We balance out our time and keep our regular mother/daughter dates each week. We get our nails/toes done; go shopping, and our favorite movie and dinner twice a month. We have a very special bond and business will always come second to that relationship.
S: That’s wonderful. Keep family first and business second.
L: For sure.
S: Self-publishing is a route that many writers choose nowadays. Even in the music industry, artists have done the same thing. What do you think has sparked this growing trend for independence amongst artists and authors alike?
L: I think what has sparked the growing trend is the freedom and owning all rights to your work without a middle man. Freedom to make the decisions from graphics to release date motivates the independent authors to be in control.
S: What areas of self-publishing would you say can make the playing field between traditionally published books more competitive and/or fair?
L: I would say the distribution network would make it fair if indie authors had automatic access to these outlets without jumping through hoops.
S: Why did you select the route of self-publishing versus traditional publishing? And what will you say are the pros and cons of each?
L: After attending several webinars for aspiring authors on self-publishing- vs. traditional publishing, I choose self-publishing because I didn’t have to worry about the agony of finding an literary agent or submitting my manuscript to multiple publishers waiting for them to decide whether or not I was ready. Or if my novel was a good fit for their publishing house. The pros of self-publishing is that you are in control, you own all copyrights, you eliminate the middle man, you decide how to market your book, and you determine how often you will publish. The cons is that you as an indie author pay all costs for creating your book from editors, graphics, promotions, marketing, press release distribution, distribution networks, marketing, and scheduling interviews.
S: I agree. Do you think self-publishing is a fade or something that will be around for a while?
L: Self-publishing is not a fade and will be around for a long time to come.
S: Do you think an ego helps or hinders an author when it comes to book reviews they receive? And how was your experience as a new author?
L: Having an ego will hinder an author. Just take it as a learning experience. Book reviews seem to be the hardest thing to get people to do. If I count the number of sales I made, then that is how many book reviews I should have right? Well, I appreciate all of my book reviews; I had one review where the reader didn’t finish the story because she didn’t like the storyline. Now, I was mad she gave a review without finishing the full novella and then gave her opinion, but I respect that she took the time to do it. I have taken away some good advice from the reviews that are out there and I can tell who my readers are falling in love with and who they hate.
S: Now that you’ve broken the ice and published your first book. What is it that inspires you to write? What motivates you to power-up your computer or pull out that notebook?
L: What inspire me to write are life events as well as authors that I admire and respect. What motivate me is my readers who want to know what’s next for my character Taylor and my imagination motivates me to open my laptop and start writing.
S: Are there any authors whose work inspired you to write? If so, who are they?
L: Yes, there are authors who inspired me to write. They are Toni Larue, Brenda Jackson, Kimberla Roby Lawson, Pamela Young Samuel, Maya Angelou, Rashonda Tate Billingsley, Carl Webber, and so many more that have inspired me to write.
S: What is your writing kryptonite?
L: Reading someone else’s work while I am in creative mode and people talking while I am trying to write.
S: What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about writing?
L: Favorite – Writing the last chapter and deciding how it will end and my least favorite is the edits.
S: Have you considered writing something together with your daughter or collaborating with fellow authors for a book project?
L: Yes, I have considered writing with my daughter since she blogs and writes short stories. We will be working on a non-fiction story in the next year. I am working on a collaboration team to write romance short-stories with Tyora Moody, it a project that I am looking forward to sharing. I most definitely would like to collaborate on a novel with other authors as time permits.
S: Now for that fun part. It’s March Madness! Give us your Final Four favorite authors?
L: My final four favorite authors: Toni Larue, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Pamela Young Samuel, and Tesa Erven.
S: What does Letrise Carter like to do for fun?
L: For fun I like to read, catch a movie, and go shopping.
S: What color describes your personality and why?
L: Yellow, because it’s vibrant and full of life.
S: For aspiring authors or entrepreneurs who want to get into the entertainment business or publish a book, what is a piece of advice you would give to each of them?
L: Be honest with who you are and do it because it’s something that you love and are passionate about. Don’t do it because of the money then your drive and focus will not be genuine.
S: For our readers of this blog, pitch them a little something-something on why they should read your new book, Deceit Secrets, and subscribe to Sistah’s Place Magazine.
L: I have a creative imagination that will take you on a journey that will make you laugh, cry, and even smile. You want to read the love triangle Deceitful Secrets, it will have you on pins and needles. Sistah’s Place Magazine is not gossip magazine, we share real stories about real people and our writers write from their heart and experience. Our mission is to inspire, entertain, inform, empower, impact, and educate the dreamers waiting on the sidelines for their hope and motivation to step out on faith.
S: Tell us one of your favorite quotes that you live by.
L: It’s my own mantra that I created : I was born to be great. Therefore, I choose to walk in the shoes of my ancestors to fulfil my God-given destiny driven by my purpose. I am greatness birthed at its best.
S: I love it! Where can our readers purchase your books and connect with you on social media?
L: Connect with me on social media at the following links below:
Book series website: www.deceitfulsecrets.com
Sistah’s Place: website www.sistahsplace.com
Business website: www.sistahscreativemedia.com
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My novel is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Deceitful-Secrets-1-Letrise-Carter/dp/1540650820/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1520127138&sr=8-1&keywords=deceitful+secrets&dpID=516eL22xv-L&preST=_SY344_BO1,204,203,200_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
S: Thank you for joining us today! Our team here wishes you much-continued success!
L: Thank you for having me, and the same to you and your team!
Selena Haskins chats with Author Letrise Carter of Sistah's Place Magazine for March Madness Authors month.
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