The main lesson from The Overcomers’ Anthology is that regardless what you’ve experienced in life, you too can be an overcomer.
As part of my interview series on the five things you need to know to become a great author, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. De’Andrea Matthews. She is the founder and CEO of Claire Aldin Publications, an award-winning hybrid publishing company that is a Better Business Bureau accredited and a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). As a publisher, Dr. Matthews has published the books of 15 African-American authors in an attempt to diversify the publishing industry, one author at a time.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share a story about what brought you to this particular career path?
My desire to be in the publishing industry was birthed from my passion to have more authors from underrepresented backgrounds leave a written legacy. I was the child sitting under my grandparents absorbing their oral histories and so much was lost because it wasn’t written down. It is important to tell our story, from our lens and perspective.
Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
The most interesting part of my career as an independent publisher and author has been having a front-row seat for incredible stories of perseverance and resiliency. My author clients have overcome being incarcerated, all types of addictions, and homelessness to name a few. Helping them tell their stories to encourage others has been a joy.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming an author? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?
The biggest challenge in becoming an author has been figuring out the steps to take in order to produce a professional, industry-standard book. There are many steps involved so it was quite the learning curve!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake for me was not knowing which genre was most appropriate for my first book. It was a fiction book about a married couple but definitely was not romance. Learning how to categorize your book is important so you can reach your readers but also so you don’t look like a fool!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
The most interesting project I’m working on now is with Emeline King, the first African American female transportation designer for Ford Motor Company. I’m excited about her tell-all memoir.
Can you share the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
The most interesting story from my own book is the notion that keeping a man fed and giving him head will sustain a marriage. You’ll have to read The Overcomers’ Anthology: Volume One to read that excerpt in context. (Hope that quote is not too explicit.)
What is the main empowering lesson you want your readers to take away after finishing your book?
The main lesson from The Overcomers’ Anthology is that regardless what you’ve experienced in life, you, too can be an overcomer.
Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need to Know to Become a Great Author”? Please share a story or example for each.
My top five things to know in order to become a great author are:
- Don’t rush the process — Write the book and get it professionally edited. Don’t be in such a rush that you put out a substandard product. (I was so excited about being a first-time author that I didn’t get my book professionally edited — never again!)
- Research your genre and book categories — know what will distinguish your book from others in the same category and note this in your book description.
- Write a killer book description — know the preferred length for the short and long book descriptions; learn how to let the reader know what’s in it for them, and to have an emotional or psychological connection that makes them want to know more.
- No boring bio — your author bio should not read like an obituary! It’s okay to have a different bio for each book, particularly if it deals with a different subject matter. What makes you an expert on this topic? Share that. Readers don’t need to know how many kids or pets you have unless you are writing a book on parenting or pets.
- Write. Publish. Sell. — These are three distinct processes with their own strategies to becoming a great author. Treat them each with respect and remain teachable.
What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study) Can you share a story or example?
Discipline is definitely the best habit of becoming a great writer. Keep doing it over and over — you’ll get better but you also gain muscle memory, which helps on those days when you really don’t feel like it.
Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?
Readers make great leaders. The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the more you can apply. Read the genre you write and keep learning. This is an inspiration in itself. There are also some great influencers sharing literary gems. Follow them.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Use the technology available to get your thoughts down. If you talk, use audio technology. If you write, use digital notebooks in addition to paper ones. Don’t be afraid of technology; embrace what speaks to you and master one new thing to keep getting better.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow my personal pages @drdcmatthews or my business account at @clairealdin
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspiring!