“I want my readers to be empowered. I want them to know they do not have to put up with the pain from anyone during the beginning stages of motherhood or beyond. I want them to recognize their own strength and don’t succumb to the mental stressors of this time. I want them to remember to love themselves and don’t settle for less.”
VERSAFI MAGAZINE: How did your journey as an author began?
MYA MERCER: I was lying awake staring at the ceiling one sleepless night about 3 weeks postpartum with my son. I could feel postpartum depression trying to take me under. Writing was my only way out.
VERSAFI: Oh wow! Now that’s a good way to start writing. I heard postpartum depression can be an emotional experience, but I’m glad you was able to get something positive from that experience. So was becoming a writer something you always wanted to pursue?
MYA: Yes, I won scholarships and all the orator contests I went into as a child. I am an avid reader as well. I always thought my book would be about something else. Yet, motherhood really made me put the pen to paper.
VERSAFI: Writing contests are still active and good to participate in. That’s wonderful! Now who motivated you to start writing?
MYA: My accountability buddies I call them. My nana, my therapists, the mothers that would ask me questions privately in messenger because they felt too scared to speak up in the public light are my motivators.
VERSAFI: Sounds awesome! What a great combo of motivators! So what inspired you to write your first book?
MYA: There’s this quote, “You have a million dollars in your head, You just have to get it out.” I was inspired by the idea that maybe with this attitude I could one day see my own name on my bookshelf and I did.
VERSAFI: The title of your book “Luminaire” is quite unique and interesting. How did you come up with that title?
MYA: I watched this Mario Andretti who is a famous race car driver documentary last year and I saw how much he started from nothing and rose to greatness. His talent is a global phenomenon in rap, pop culture, and so many other avenues. Each different segment of his documentary was in Italian. I was so moved by being immersed in another language so wanted my books title to be in a language I loved. I knew I wanted to name my book Light and I love French so I chose- Luminaire, a light fixture.
VERSAFI: Now that is an awesome inspiration for a book title. Sometimes it good to think outside of the box every once in a while! What do you want the readers to take away from your book?
MYA: I want my readers to be empowered. I want them to know they do not have to put up with the pain from anyone during the beginning stages of motherhood or beyond. I want them to recognize their own strength and don’t succumb to the mental stressors of this time. I want them to remember to love themselves and don’t settle for less.
VERSAFI: Well said! Now that you are a published author, how does it feel?
MYA: Like Viola Davis said at the end of ‘The Help‘ “ No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free.”
VERSAFI: I like that a lot! To be free indeed! Since becoming a published author, what challenges have you faced if any?
MYA: Selling the book in a contactless world is hard and I didn’t know how much my price point would be affected if I chose color in my book through Amazon either. I didn’t choose color but next time I may.
VERSAFI: You should try promoting your book to author groups on Facebook as well as on Instagram. If you put it out there, somebody will see and want to purchase. But yeah, color might be the best choice. A lot of readers like looking at color. What genre do you write on?
MYA: Self- help but I plan to write an autobiography and non-fiction.
VERSAFI: What does being an author mean to you?
MYA: It helps me feel like myself. It gives me the air to breath on my own and not feel so suffocated by the world and its labels on women.
VERSAFI: That’s deep! Now where do you see yourself five years from now?
MYA: Having four or five books written, selling in person hopefully, and loving the joy it brings to people.
VERSAFI: I often ask this question to authors so I want to ask you as well. Have you ever thought about being an author full-time?
MYA: Yes, I admit and I am a little scared!
VERSAFI: It can be challenging as well. Writing full-time means focusing a lot more and being in a mental state without distractions and procrastinations. Tell us about your marketing strategies as an author. Do you find it to be challenging at times when promoting your books?
MYA: Of course I do ! When I released the amazon screenshot of my book, there was no movement. I did a photoshoot (at home, by myself) and my book writer coach made me an amazon flyer. Now it’s selling like hot cakes! I mostly use Instagram/ Facebook and word of mouth.
VERSAFI: Yes I learned to be very visual and transparent with your books. Whether it’s creating a flyer with your pictures on it, visual is key as an author! Do you have any current book projects that you are working on?
MYA: Not at the moment, I am making Luminaire and trilogy. I am writing one about my abuse I suffered separately and a nonfiction about a black EMT loosely based on my experiences.
VERSAFI: Sounds great! So how can readers connect with you and support you?
MYA: IG: @myasmanuscripts and email firstname.lastname@example.org I haven’t devoted too much time besides IG and Facebook posts but it’s coming.