Thursday, July 7, 2016

An Interview with Blessedselling Author E N Joy

Author E.N. Joy

Tell us something about yourself. (Where are you from, what is your background, how long have you been writing or anything we might find interesting about you.) I'm born, raised and still planted in Columbus, Ohio.  After thirteen years of being a paralegal, I finally divorced my career and married my mistress and my passion; writing.  I self-published my first book back in 1998 and my second a year or so later.  My third self-published book eventually got picked up by a major publisher.  What was so crazy about that was that the first publisher to ever send me a rejection letter was the same publisher who gave me my first book deal.

Is there a general theme present in your work? If so, what is it? The theme in all of my books is the same. I mean, I can honestly sum up every book in my “New Day Divas” series, “Still Divas” series, “Always Divas” series, and my “Forever Divas” series with one word. That word is ‘pain.’ In my books I capture pain and use it to connect my readers with the characters. I not only want to show the characters going through pain—walking it out—but how to get delivered from the pain and then walk in (maintain) that deliverance. So, yes, even though romance is the number one selling genre with books, God has me writing about the polar opposite; pain. That is the one thing all His people have in common; at some point in life we will all experience some type of pain. My books are instruction manuals on how to deal with it.

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What did you learn about yourself while writing One Sunday at a Time? I learned that I’m not crazy; I’m human. There are so many women out there who feel like they have so much going on in their life that they are about to lose control. It was important for me to write this book because I need them to know that to lose control is a good thing…when you plan on letting God take control.

Who does your body of literary work speak to? I hear authors say it all the time: “I write my book for everybody, not just one particular audience.”  That’s all fine and well, but the book business is just that; a business. In dealing with business you have to have a target audience that you start off promoting and marketing to.  Once you have saturated your target audience, then you have the bull’s eye affect, where you begin to expand outward into other areas. There is absolutely no shame in my game; I write my books for my sisters. If anyone outside of my target audience wants to pick up my book that is an awesome blessing. But I want to make sure that my sisters—my target audience—can walk right into the book store and know exactly where to find me. Richard Ridley once said, "Many writers make the mistake of thinking that bigger is better when it comes to defining a book's target audience. They believe that if a potential reader is simply made aware of their book, then surely they'll take a chance and buy it. But by choosing this "big pond" approach, those authors are being overlooked, and they're missing the opportunity to stand out in a smaller pond. You'll have much better success being a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond."

You were the first content development editor for what publication and what did it entail? I was the first content development editor for Triple Crown Publications, which was founded and run by Vickie Stringer. A couple of the more well-known books I did content development on were Gangsta by K'Wan and A Hustler's Wife by Nikki Turner.  What that entailed was working with the authors on developing their stories, be it character development or filling in holes in the story so that everything connected and made sense. A developmental editor assists the author (sometimes through multiple drafts) with elements of structure, concept, content, tone, and overall presentation. A developmental editor may also help with research, competitive market analyses, and chapter outlines. As a development editor the purpose is to make the text clear, readable, engaging, and marketable. We're kind of like a coach, only without the whistle, but the infamous red pen instead. I didn't do the copyediting, grammar, punctuation, spelling, line editing, proof editing or anything like that for Triple Crown. I know back in the day Triple Crown took many hits for what readers saw as error filled books, but allow me to say that Ms. Stringer did have editors in place and she was paying them hefty fees. Unfortunately, Ms. Stringer wasn't getting what she was paying for. As a person running a million dollar company, she trusted these self-proclaimed editors to get the job done. Her job wasn't to go behind each editor and re-edit the book; after all, that's what she was paying them for. Perhaps she could have done her due diligence in researching the editors and getting samples of their work, but she was new to the whole self-publishing and publishing thing, as were most of us at the time. But we live and we learn . . . sometimes the hard way, which can also be the costly way.

You were the acquisitions editor for what Christian imprint? Back in 2006 I became the acquisitions editor for the now dissolved Urban Christian imprint. I proudly held that role for ten years. It was an amazing experience. My own titles were published under the Urban Christian imprint, including my very first Christian fiction book titled Me, Myself and Him.  During my ten years as acquisitions editor for Urban Christian, I got to work with some of the best Christian fiction authors in the business, who are now continuing their careers through either self-publishing or who are currently with other publishers. Some have even stepped out on faith and started their own publishing companies to publish their titles under. As the acquisitions editor for Urban Christian, I was responsible for reading every single submission that was submitted for publication consideration. For those I felt were publishable, I'd then pitch to my superiors and hopefully get permission to extend a publishing contract offer and advance. From there I would then take on the role of working with each author in the capacity as their content development editor. 

What Can Readers expect from you next? November 2016 will be the final installment in my “Divas” books. To date 13 books in the series have been published (She Who Finds a Husband, Been There Prayed That, Love Honor or Stray, Trying to Stay Saved, I Can Do Better All By Myself, And You Call Yourself a Christian, The Perfect Christian, The Sunday Only Christian, I Ain't Me No More, More Than I Can Bear, You Get What You Pray For, When All is Said and Prayed, and One Sunday at a Time). Lady of the House will be the final installment, but it’s definitely not the last readers will hear from the divas. Let’s just say I’m going to have some of the cast members of these soap operas in print make cameos in some of my other forthcoming works. So, readers, stay tuned!

 Author Bio: 

BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the author behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas” and “Forever Divas" series, all which have been coined “Soap Operas in Print.” She is an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY. Her title, If I Ruled the World, earned her a book blurb from Grammy Award Winning Artist, Erykah Badu. An All Night Man, an anthology she penned with New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Jackson, earned the Borders bestselling African American romance award. Her Urban Fiction title, Dollar Bill (Triple Crown Publications), appeared in Newsweek and has been translated to Japanese. Her children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide.

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Virtual BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Party July 10, 2016 event link: