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Interview with Sharon Lucas, Author of Plan It! The Complete Resource Guide for Authors, Book Clubs & Literary Event Planners

Author's Bio: Sharon Lucas is an author, founder/president of the Reading Divas Book Club, and the planner and host of the Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend, an annual two-day literary conference. Since her retirement in 2010, Sharon has worked tirelessly as an advocate for African American authors and book clubs. Sharon and her husband David, the parents of three adult sons and grandparents of five, are both retired and reside with their two cocker spaniels, in Bowie, MD.

What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to share what I had learned about how a well organized book club can be invaluable in spreading the news and about great books and talented authors, and there is no better way to achieve that than by bringing the two groups together in a well-planned and executed literary event.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
No particular author or book has influenced my journey. I have, however, been greatly influenced by well written books and the African American authors and readers who take pride in what they write and read. There is no substitute for a well-written book whose characters look like you.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
Yes it is. I first wrote it over several months in 2013 but when I shared it with a few people in the industry they told me they didn’t believe there was a market for it so I put it away, but continued to brood about it. I felt the information was useful and I believed in what I was trying to do.  Early in 2015 I submitted the manuscript to Victoria Christopher Murray of Brown Girls Books and she immediately responded that Brown Girls was interested. The book was published in October 2015.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically.
I let it flow!  I write a section, read and reread, make adjustments until it feels right.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book.
There is no theme song. I’m a T.V. listener and as long as Criminal Minds, Law & Order, or Blue Books are playing in the background, I am in heaven. My only requirement is uninterrupted time.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
From the day a person decides to play any role in this industry, they should begin to develop followers. Everyone you know and meet should be added to your email list, and become a Facebook and Twitter friend. You should create a webpage to promote you and your work. Start a blog or send out a regular newsletter. Join on-line groups that you can contribute to and learn from. By the time I wrote Plan It! I had already developed a presence as a literary event planner. As soon as I knew, I would be a published author I used those resources to let people know about the upcoming book release.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Network! Network! Network! And that doesn’t always mean spending money. Attend free events at your local library and in the community. Talk with people. Give away bookmarks, post cards, etc. Be prepared with a one-minute introduction that will make people remember you.  When you can afford to, exhibit at local events  - if you can’t afford the fee, buy a ticket and mingle with other attendees. When you sign on to an event, actively promote it by adding it to your calendar and website and “talking it up.”

How about sharing an excerpt from Plan It! The Complete Resource Guide for Authors, Book Clubs & Literary Event Planners
“During a chat with another reader, I asked what type of books her
            club read. She responded that they “used” to read only African
            American authors but now with so many authors self-publishing, they
            decided that level of support was no longer necessary. I was stunned.

            In conversations with other readers, I have learned they have never
            heard or read anything by many of today’s prominent African
            American authors. This is such a sad commentary on the state of our
            literary world. If we cannot count on African American readers to
            support African American authors, whom can we count on?

            I am not suggesting that we should be one-dimensional and not
            read works by authors who do not look like us, but rather that we
            should recognize the depth of need in our community to keep
            our history alive and for our authors to receive the recognition
            they deserve.”

What’s Next for you?
My first short story, The Circle of Life, was recently published as part of an anthology, The Ex Chronicles, and I am currently working on a full-length mystery novel, but so many people continue to have questions about book clubs and literary events, I am also considering an updated edition of Plan It! Of course, I will continue to plan and host the annual Black Authors & Readers Rock Weekend each October and to work with the Wayne Curry Sports and Learning Center in Landover, Maryland to bring quality literary events to the facility.

Buy book: Wherever sold including @

It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

Dee, it’s been a pleasure being here. Thank you for the opportunity to reach your readers.


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