Today I have the privilege of interviewing Sharon Kizziah-Holmes. Armed with a big personality, a heart of gold and tons of talent, Sharon isn't afraid to venture into a new business opportunity. Welcome, Sharon! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to my readers.
How long have you been in the business of writing?
I became interested in writing in the early 1990’s. A friend suggested we write a book together, so I took her up on it. It opened a whole new world for me. I absolutely love writing, editing, and teaching the basics of writing to others through workshops. I joined my first local writing group over twenty years ago and I’m proud to say I’m still a member, not only of that group but of many others as well. I wouldn’t have learned anything about writing without these groups and they teach me something new every time I go to a meeting.
What kind of books do you write?
I started out writing romance novels, but I found myself interested in other genres…mystery, paranormal and creative nonfiction. I even ventured out into the children’s book genre with a Christmas story called Camouflage Santa Claus. However, over the years, I’ve come to realize that short stories, in all genres, are my favorite to create.
I’d like to say that writing, critiquing and editing has always been fun for me. I’m notorious for bad spelling so, as an editor, I’d like to quote August Fruge from his book A Skeptic Among Scholars, published by the University of California Press “…the editor’s mind sees the entire manuscript, grasps the thinking behind it, clear or not clear, is trained to judge its intellectual quality and relation to other work, can spot a chapter or a section or even a paragraph that has gone awry, and tell the author where to fix it and sometimes how…” I’m not sure I’m gifted enough to do all of those things, but I’m grateful he didn’t say the editor has to be a spelling bee winner. LOL I’m extremely thankful for spell check, and sometimes that doesn’t catch everything. That’s why I work closely with two other editors. What one of us doesn’t catch, hopefully another one will.
What led you to transitioning to the publishing business?
In the late 1990’s for about three years, I published a short story magazine online and in print. It featured local authors and picked up a number of subscribers, but because of health issues, the coming of grandbabies and the need to spend more time with my family, with a heavy heart I gave up the magazine.
In 2002 I self-published my first romance novel, Ride the Storm, and things began to escalate. I started to help friends with cover design, format for print and e-books, uploading and, bottom line, I’d help them get their books ready for publication. I’ve also worked with many authors, who got their rights back from traditional publishers, and use me to re-release their work.
I knew the self-publishing market, especially the e-book world, was going to blossom but I never thought about trying to make a living helping my peers get their work to the reader. However, that all changed after I realized how authors were being taken advantage of by some small press and some POD (print on demand) publishers.
When an elderly gentleman told me it cost him $4,000.00 to self-publish his book through a press out of Oklahoma, and on top of that he was required to by 100 books, I was appalled. “Jubi didn’t like the sound of that.” =) I decided, what the heck, I can do this! I discussed it with my husband and told him I thought I could offer an affordable, professional indie assist publishing avenue to fellow writers while helping them and me at the same time. He said, “Go for it.”
What kind of genres are you actively seeking?
We are a new, indie assist hybrid press, so we’re looking of all genres. Here’s a list for you.
Action & Adventure
Suspense & Thriller
Children & Young Adult
Crime & Mystery:
Cozy, Hard Boiled, Locked Room, Procedural (Detective/Police)
Contemporary & Historical
Erotic (No Erotica please.) Western
Science Fiction & Fantasy
Contemporary, Futuristic, Historical
Suspense & Thriller
What is a ‘Hybrid Press’?
I can’t speak for all Hybrid Press’, but we work for independent authors who want the brand of a small press publisher while they retain the rights of a self-published author. We are a paid service provider, hence the reason I say we are an indie assist publisher hybrid press. In essence, we are a splice between an author doing all the work themselves to self-publish, and an author possibly being accepted and published by a traditional publisher.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your writing/publishing career?
Wow, hands down the most rewarding experience in my writing career was when I finished and published my creative nonfiction book A Star that Twinkled, but Never Got to Shine. It’s the story of my father’s life in the music business. It took me four years to get all of the research, interviews and pictures together, but it was worth it.
In my publishing career it would have to be when I heard from the author of the first children’s book published under our imprint, Kids Book Press Publishing, Zombie Meatloaf, that she got her proof and loved it. You may think I’m kidding, but I literally got all excited and giddy inside. You, Tierney James, being said author. I’d like to thank you for the opportunity and the confidence you had in us that we would get the job done right. (hugs)
What does the future hold for you?
Old age. Hopefully, a new carrier in indie assist publishing. I look forward to helping old friends and new friends become published authors. I want to build great relationships with our authors so we all have a brighter future.
What advice would you give to new writers actively seeking publishing help?
Please, be careful of scammers. There are a number of new publishing companies popping up that are there just to take advantage of you. If you want to self-publish with a little help, give me a call. I’ll answer any questions you might have, even if it’s about another hybrid publisher. It’s so easy to get stars in our eyes about becoming published, but please, don’t be blinded by the light.
Tierney, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity you’ve given me in this interview. I’ve enjoyed it. Also, thank you for helping promote Paperback-Press. Without our authors, we’re nothing.
Thank you, Sharon, for making my life easier! It was great fun working with you. It is also helpful that you were instrumental in finding my illustrator. If you'd like to contact Sharon, you can do so on Facebook at the following address.