VERSAFI MAGAZINE: How did your journey as an author began?
EBONY NICOLE SMITH: Great question. It began on the tail end of a “situationship” I found myself in 10-years ago. I wanted more than he was willing or able to give for us to enter a relationship. I don’t recall the exact moment, but the idea for the opening of my book, Eve’s Confessions Songs of a Lustful Soul, dropped into a part of me I didn’t know existed. That part was creative writing. The more time I spent working on my book, the less time I had to convince him I was worth of a relationship; he faded to black and within 6-months my first book was written.
VERSAFI: Now that’s a great way to write a book and to get a great idea on it! That’s something I would definitely read because it’s a book based on your “situation-ship”. Great concept! So, was becoming a writer something, you always wanted to pursue?
EBONY NICOLE: No, I didn’t want to pursue writing as a career. It literally just happened. What kept me writing was wanting to see what trouble my characters would get into and how I could connect the beginning to the ending.
VERSAFI: Don’t you like when things just happen and God is whispering in your ear that you have an assignment to fulfill? That is wonderful! Everyone has that one person or thing that has motivated them. For you, who or what motivated you?
EBONY NICOLE: My motivation now to write comes from my desire to share with others the truth of life: you are not alone in anything you’ve ever faced. It comes from feeling, as I became a woman, that no one would ever understand my life, my journey or what I had to live through. But when I began to tell my story, I found out that I was not alone and that others needed to have the same release/breakthrough that I had received.
VERSAFI: Yes! I believe others need to hear your story. That is why God gave you that assignment to write your truth so you can be a blessing to others. What inspired you to write your first book?
EBONY NICOLE: After the “situation-ship” ended, my book became my source of entertainment that he once was. I found myself snared in the lives of my main character Eve Dawson and her husband Shamar. See, I knew how the book would end, as I had written it right after I had done the first 2 chapters. I needed to see what paths they would take individually and collectively to reach the ending that had my heart feeling all sorts of emotions. As I crafted their stories, I began to know them and allowed them to lead and carry the story to the last paragraph, last period.
VERSAFI: That is real deep! I like the fact that you know exactly how you want your story to go. Since being published, how does it feel to be a published author?
EBONY NICOLE: It feels amazing to be a published author. I often tell people that, “There are thousands of New York Times Bestselling manuscripts buried 6-ft underground because someone chose NOT to publish their work. Don’t be that person.” Every time I receive a new shipment of books, I become excited as if it were the very first time. I smile big and wide like a little kid on Christmas morning. That moment never becomes old; at least not for me.
VERSAFI: That I can truly relate to! No matter what year you have written your book, when you order a big shipment of books, it feels so great to be holding your print book once again! And you’re right! The feeling never gets old! So, since becoming a published author, what challenges have you faced if any?
EBONY NICOLE: If I could pinpoint one challenge, it would be marketing. I suck at it. I know there are ways to get in front of your target reader that are effective and actually work. However, I can’t get any of it to work for me. My stories are, what I call, Urban Christian Fiction. I create stories of urbanites that just happen to be saved. That would have to be my biggest struggle. Yet, I still write and release my stories.
VERSAFI: After talking with other others as well, their challenge is marketing as well. It’s tough at times to target to the right audience. But as long as you keep promoting in author groups, your author pages and just keeping your books in front, it will be fine. What genre are your books?
EBONY NICOLE: Urban Christian Fiction.
VERSAFI: What message do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?
EBONY NICOLE: The message I would want my readers to take away is that we will have the same issues as those that aren’t saved. The only difference is we have someone that can help us survive and become more than a conquer.
VERSAFI: That’s a very great message for the readers! So now what does being an author mean to you?
EBONY NICOLE: This is a great question, too. Being an author means you had the nerve to put your thoughts to paper, transform pieces of paper into a book and then share it with others. Being an author means you’ve reached a place in your life where you know your thoughts matter, your creativity is dope, life lessons and more are worth being shared, read and spoken about across this globe.
VERSAFI: Exactly! That’s how I feel with poetry when I put all my thoughts and feelings on paper and published it for the world to see. Those thoughts were swarming in my head and I need to release those thoughts. It means a lot to be able to share with others your creativity, ideas and story. So, where do you see yourself five years from now?
EBONY NICOLE: Another great question. I see Ebony Nicole Smith Consulting LLC, which is my business, publishing no less than 20 authors a year. In addition to that I see myself teaching others in a room no less than 40, how to write and publish their manuscripts. Also, the ultimate sight for me to see is handing my mother a monthly stipend of $3k. That would be my greatest accomplishment.
VERSAFI: I like that a lot! Especially the part about giving your mother a monthly stipend of $3k. That’s a blessing to do that! Have you ever thought about being an author full-time?
EBONY NICOLE: Yes, but for now, I am a full-time writing coach and publisher. The difference between the two is that my income is made though my business; my book returns are very minimal at this time.
VERSAFI: Gotcha! Tell us about your marketing strategies as an author. Do you find it to be challenging at times when promoting your books?
EBONY NICOLE: Yes, I do find it hard, at times, to promote my book. My strategies are sharing the process as I write my book, getting input from followers as to what I should do with a character’s situation, book cover design and more. And I’ll share my thoughts about my topic and ask for thoughts of my followers.
VERSAFI: I agree about promoting your book can be hard. I wish there were other easier ways to promote and market. Do you have any current book projects that you are working on?
EBONY NICOLE: Currently I am working on two books. The first, which is set to release in September, is titled A Praying Wife in Waiting. It is an anthology providing hope, strategies and guidance to women who believe and are praying to be wives. The stories, written by the 19 co-authors, are not to tell women HOW to get a man but HOW to prepare herself, heal and become whole before entering into marriage. Even if she isn’t looking to be married, healing from ones past is well-deserved and the anthology can and will help praying women on their journey to obtaining it. The second book, which will be released in November, Heart Attacks Happen: But You Can Survive Them, is my personal story of relationships I’ve had with men starting with my father. I discuss being abandoned by father at 7, raped at 8 and again at 12. The impact from those traumas propelled me into such destructive arenas that it was the ultimate relationship with Christ that truly saved me.
VERSAFI: Wow! That is some powerful stuff! I definitely have to get the book that you are releasing in November. I just love the non-fiction genre a lot because it allows people to connect with you on a personal level. So with all the powerful stories you have written over the years, how many books have you published in total?
EBONY NICOLE: I have published a combination of novels, devotionals and journals that total 10; not including the 2 to come. But if I add my clients, then it’s well over 30 published books!
VERSAFI: That’s wonderful! Congrats on all your accomplishments and business endeavors! How can readers connect with you and support you?
EBONY NICOLE: Readers can find me on FB at @ebonynicolesmith; IG @ebonynicolesmithconsulting; website ebonynicolesmith.com; email firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter @coachebonysmith