This post focuses on the importance of using an editor and enlisting beta readers if you are an independent author.
Let’s start by comparing/contrasting independent and traditional publishing. In traditional publishing, an author receives an advance (if he or she is lucky). This advance is usually a fairly small amount. The author may then receive royalties for books sold after a certain number. The royalties can vary from pennies per book to dollars if you are a bestselling author. In exchange for allowing the traditional publisher to publish your work, you receive editing, formatting, publicity, and marketing services. The quality and effectiveness of these services can vary depending on how much the publishing company believes it can make from your book. In the end, very few published authors make a living wage from traditionally published books.
Independent authors know that their world is a different one. All of the services mentioned…
Today, I’d like to welcome Sophia Tsegaye to the blog. Welcome! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Sophia Tsegaye; I am an Ethiopian American living in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia in the house. What was it like transitioning from Ethiopia to America? Any major adjustments?
I arrived in America as a newlywed, and my husband and I had to adjust to the cultural difference at first, with the help of my sister. And soon our neighbors and co-workers led us through our new lifestyle. One of the adjustments was being away from my parents and extended family members.
The other adjustment was the difference between American and Ethiopian calendar. Ethiopia uses Julian Calendar and is 7 and a half or 8 years behind the American Calendar. Ethiopia has 13 months (12 months of 30 days each, and one month of 5 or 6 days).
Now as a family, we celebrate both cultures. My children have learned to embrace the diversity in the family. In short, we have two New Years, two Christmases, two Easters and the like.
Wow, I didn’t know that about the calendar difference. This is why I yearn so much to travel outside the country!
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first book “She Is My Mommy!” in March 2019 through CreateSpace. Holding my book for the first time was rewarding. Carrying a task to completion was my first goal, and I felt fulfilled. It has kindled the desire and the strength to go forward with my second book. And now I am working on my third one.
Congratulations! Amazing feeling right? Are you married Sophia? Got a boo somewhere?
I am married to a wonderful and supportive husband for the last fifteen years.
Yes. I have three awesome boys, ages 14, 12 and 3.
Beautiful. What do you wish you knew more about?
Growing up, one of my many challenges was speaking up. Both in Middle and High school, I was known for being timid and introvert. It continued well into my graduate class. For example, I would know the answer to a question, or want to voice my opinion, but could not make myself to say something. It was like being present and absent at the same time.
Later on, I realize that the only thing that was holding from communicating was the fear of making mistakes.
Now, I know that making mistakes is all right, you learn from them and move forward.
I can relate for sure. What small things makes you life easier? What makes it difficult?
Living a simple life, being grateful and exercising kindness make my life easier. I try to see the positive in people. I believe that it is wise to listen to your conscious before you speak. We often forget that a calmer tone conveys a message more effectively. I think that we all have the choice to decide whether to make our life easy or difficult. It is a choice we need to make every day. If you always feel you are a victim and everybody is onto you, then you will remain a victim of your own conscious.
If you do not control your temper, you will be treated as the perpetrator even if you are on the right.
If you are not kind, then you will miss the heart-warming reward that you get from it.
I love that Sophia. Wise words. Let’s get back to writing a bit. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult thing as a writer is writer’s block.
The most exciting thing is when you are in that creative zone, and you have no control over your writing.
Why is writing important to you?
When I write, I let myself go to places I have not visited for a long time. I navigate through my thought and dig deep into the desire to correct the wrong, to encourage the weak, to give a voice to the timid, and the like.
I want to show the reader that she or he is not alone in any circumstance. Happiness, fear, triumph, sadness, friendliness, and depression are a part of life. Therefore, what we need to do is find a way to fix the problem. In my books, I encourage children to learn to ask for help.
Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?
I love making pieces of jewelry and cooking.
You’re a children’s author. What do you think of the bullying in our schools?
Unfortunately, bullying is a real and dangerous issue. I try to focus on this issue in my books and demonstrate the effects it can bring.
My boys have experienced bullying, and I have also heard of various incidents in the school. I have seen firsthand how bullying can break the spirit of a fun loving and active child.
As a parent, we should teach our kids empathy at an early age. If we see our child push another child, we should be able to explain that it is wrong.
We have to encourage our kids to communicate with us, or the school personnel if they feel unsafe or overwhelmed. Schools have councilors, and they should use these resources.
And I urge parents to listen to their kids. If a kid voices concern then parents should intervene immediately.
If you could, would you visit the past?
Yes, I would visit the past if I could. Would I give some advice to my young self and try to change the past? I do not think so, because those experiences made me the person I am today.
Precisely. What advice would you give your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to trust her instinct and be comfortable in her own skin. And of course, tell her to take it easy, enjoy life, and laugh more.
Thank you Sophia for spending this time with us! We enjoyed you.
Sophia E Tsegaye, is a stay-at-home mom, with three boys who keep her busy. She’s a children’s book writer, living in Cincinnati, Ohio.
From the Author:
I enjoy listening to what happens in school. Every day, my boys will come home with new stories, but unfortunately, not all are pleasant. I use their stories as a learning experience, and I guess this is how my books were born.
Many little kids are fascinated by school buses and animals. Hence I chose to have a school bus and animals as the characters.
There are different approaches to explain to kids about being unique, being different and being accommodating, so I try to bring these issues through my books.
The first book “She Is My Mommy!” is about transracial adoption, and the second book “Your Jokes Are Not Funny!” is about bullying.
Kids can be simple and yet complex. They ask us complex questions and are satisfied with the simplest explanation.
I believe in teaching kids empathy at a tender age.