My name is Lenita Sheridan Graves. I write under the pen name Lenita Sheridan. My website is http://www.lenitasheridan.com.
How long have you been publishing?
I've been publishing since May of 2013.
Tell me about your latest book.
My latest book is a fantasy and the sequel to the first Guardian of the Gauntlet book. The book is entitled Guardian of the Gauntlet, Book II. The story takes Princess Camari and Prince Isryk across the ocean where they go on a quest for the Gnomes of Nurrocon to retrieve crystals from the Magnite Sea which is guarded by a monster named the Great Vanthor. Camari has a special gauntlet which works because she has belief in a higher power. Through the use of this gauntlet, she and Isryk hope to complete the quest. This book is intended for middle grade students. Each book is based on a parable from the Bible.
Who are your major influences?
My major influences are C.S. Lewis, L. Frank Baum, and George MacDonald.
Do you see writing as a hobby or career?
I see writing as a career, but right now, due to finances, it has to be a part time career.
What made you decide to become a self-published author?
I had finished the first book many years ago in graduate school and had been sending it off to publishing companies to no avail.
Since then it had become easy to publish yourself, so, after a little research on the self-publishing companies, I chose one and went through with it.
Do you feel that your material is different than traditionally published authors?
No, and you can see the similarities between my work and C.S. Lewis'. At least one reader commented on that.
Do you deal with issues that traditional publishers don't normally touch?
No, my work is very clean and has good values as it is for middle grade students.
Who edits your work?
My writing group edits my work.
Who does the covers to your books?
BookBaby does the covers for my books.
What are you willing to spend money on as a writer? What aren't you?
I'm willing to spend money on advertising and promotional items.
I'm not willing to spend money on expensive press releases.
What is your favorite part of being self-published?
My favorite part of being self-published is not having to answer to an editor who may tell me to take out one of my characters.
What is your least favorite?
My least favorite part is all the money you have to put up front.
Do you do your own promotion or hire someone?
I do my own promotion and I love it.
What has been the most productive tool for promoting your work?
I know people say that no one looks at reviews, but I think reviews are the best promotional tool.
Do you have Facebook/Twitter? How effective are they as promotional tools?
I don't know. I just recently started started my author Facebook page. The address is http://www.Facebook.com/GuardianoftheGauntletbooks.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to someone just starting out in self-publishing?
Do a mock-up blurb before you self-publish. Think how someone besides yourself would read that blurb. Would they buy the book, having read that blurb?
What other creative outlets do you have? Music, film, etc.
I have music. I sing in a choir and do solos. I also love listening to music. Music is playing in the background as I'm typing this.
What does your family think of your writing career?
My mother loves it. She has been very encouraging.
How important re reviews to making sales?
I believe reviews are the most important thing to making sales.
How do you deal with bad reviews?
I ignore them, unless they are helpful.
Do you also review other writers?
Yes, and I enjoy it very much.
How do you give a bad review?
I use the book itself, parts of it, to back up my opinion.
What changes would you make in the self-publishing industry?
I'd like to see it become more reasonable in price.
What would you like average readers to know about self-publishing?
We publish books just like any other book publisher.
What's the biggest frustration with being a self-published writer?
I like to say "author." The biggest frustration is not being treated equally to other authors in the publishing business. For example, I was turned away for a library reading because I was self-published. They wouldn't even let me put up a flyer.
Do you write to music?
Yes, I write to instrumental folk music. Celtic is my favorite.
Could any of your books be made into films?
Possibly, but I'm not looking for that. It's not a dream of mine. This is because my books deal with invisibility.
Do you go to writing conventions? Why or why not?
I do sometimes. I have in the past, before I self-published. I did have a bad experience at one. An agent took my work and never returned it.
Do you blog? Why or why not?
No, I don't blog. I have three jobs: writing, caregiving, and substitute teaching. I just don't have time to blog.
Do you have certain ideas or ideals that you try to instill in your work?
Yes, I try to instill Christian values. I'm trying to convey the idea to my female readers that women don't have to have a man in their life for it to turn out well, all they need is faith in God.
Why do you write?
I love to use my imagination.
If you had to stop writing tomorrow, what would you do?
If I did, it would be because I went blind due to macular retinal degeneration. I would turn to music, mainly listening to it.
Does self-publishing carry a stigma?
It can, but there's been quite a revolution of self-published authors, so I don't think it carries quite the stigma it used to. Some places, like the library, are old fashioned.
What would you like your readers to know from your work?
I would like them to know that I have a good relationship with God and a strong faith in Him.
If you could talk shop with any other author, who would it be?
I would like to talk shop with C.S. Lewis.
What have you learned from reading other people's work?
We have some similarities, but we are all unique.
Do you read more ebooks or physical copies?
I'm usually reading one physical copy while reading several ebooks.
Do you think that the traditional publishing format is an endangered species?
I would hope so, a least. That would make it easier for self-publishers.
What would the consequences be of the demise of the traditional bookstore?
They wouldn't be good, because people wouldn't have a central site where they could buy books. I have my books on the shelves of several bookstores on this island. I certainly hope they stay in business. After all, where would we do book signings? I've done book signings at craft fairs, but I know other self-published authors who do their signings at bookstores.