Exclusive Interview with Sharon Carter Jenkins
Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Carter Jenkins.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
My literary adventure started in elementary school. Books were my escape into an alternative universe. I was an introvert and preferred socializing with the imaginary characters in books versus my peers. I had such a grand experience with books that it shaped my present appreciation for the people who crafted them. Authors are my superheroes! I am the woman I am today because of the literary journeys I took as a child on the pages of books crafted by geniuses that I thought I could never reach out and touch. When I started adulting, my reading slowed down somewhat. My caretakers told me I needed a good government job with a good retirement. I ended up in the Army for a few years, worked for the government as a civil servant, but true vocational happiness seemed to have escaped me. I tried my hand at teaching, nonprofit management, and volunteering, but nothing seemed to fit. It wasn’t until the door shut on these opportunities that I found the courage to turn my passion for reading into writing. I glorified authors to where I idolized them because of their amazing courage to share their imaginations with the masses. I just couldn’t see myself as a literary superhero until I was forced to. Over the years, I had experimented with various writing professions, poet, playwright, but being an author was too close to the divine for me. It took a divine move of God to change my mind.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
The greatest challenge I’ve had to overcome is to answer the call to write. It was a major departure from what the public views as a lucrative, steady, satisfying career. When I go to conferences and hear renowned opinion makers say, “Writing books doesn’t make money”, I wince. I want to shout out, Tell that to James Patterson and J. K. Rowling. It takes a lot of courage for authors to put their talent on display for everyone to see. This business is full of personal challenges (writer’s block, marketing, access, identifying literary resources, etc.) that need strong determination to overcome the rejections.
There is a large racial disparity in the industry. I’m confident that an African American author can make the same amount of money as their most popular, affluent counterparts. We have to put in extra effort to overcome the cultural divide in the writing industry. But that’s a struggle we’re familiar with. It has been a priority for me to be present on both sides of the divide in order to help tear down the obstacles that people of color face when they are striving for success. It has been a challenge, but I’m not done yet. I have been comforted by my mentors, Bestselling Authors Michelle Stimpson and Sharon Norris Elliott. Both women are living examples of professionalism, dedication to their craft, and to this industry. They are also exceptional writers!
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I have a compassionate heart for those who want to write a book. My own journey has inspired me to design a service that supports authors who are ready to write their books. Primarily, our company has been dedicated to aiding self-publishing authors. We have shifted from a hands-on approach to a more consultative style, which includes a teaching element. Over the course of our 15 years in the business, we have discovered that authors are essentially entrepreneurs. Most business owners won’t build a company without calculating the cost to launch and sustain it. They research their competition, find out their financial obligations and resources, devise a business plan, comprehend industry best practices, and assemble an ideal customer or client profile.
A lot of new authors idealize the title of being an author but don’t understand the hard work that comes with having a writing career, writing a book, and building their writing business. Our company provides the resources to help writers make the right choice when deciding if it is time to write or if it is just a fantasy. Once they decide that writing a book is what they want to do, we offer project management support for the book project. We provide authors with the help they need to make the right decisions for their writing businesses. Our target customer is someone who is weighing whether now is the right time to write. We also help our clients become the best authorpreneurs possible!
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
The way to be successful is to remain focused on your mission, be driven by your purpose, and stay resilient. Nehemiah, a man who is mentioned in the Good Book, was stirred by compassion because of the broken condition of the wall encircling his homeland and its people. Despite being thousands of miles away, he still sought a power greater than himself for a resolution. God gave Nehemiah the answer he needed, as well as the resources to restore the walls of his homeland. He went back to the place of his ancestors’ beginnings and, aided by his countrymen, reconstructed the wall in only 52 days. It was only possible because of the necessary resources, personnel, trust, and belief that it would happen. Despite the numerous oppositions he faced, he remained committed to his mission, was willing to fight if necessary, and kept going. When all is said and done, your business will benefit when you help those around you, consider the cost of doing so, and turn to a higher power for any task that is too large for you, because that is where the motivation to do something originated from.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
When I consider success, I remember the classic Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare. To the audience, the hare had the best chance of winning the race, since it could run circles around the tortoise and still be victorious. Even though you may have the skills to do something, that doesn’t always mean you will be successful. We can be so sure of our capabilities that we ignore the need for planning, hard work, and consistency for success. Success does not necessarily go to the swiftest, but rather to those who persist on the course until the challenge is completed, whether it is for personal, professional, or amusement.
What’s next for you?
I will continue my mission to celebrate authors as superheroes. Somewhere we forgot about the power of the pen, and its ability to change a nation and influence a world’s trajectory. Aesop’s Fables, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, the Gutenberg Bible, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie have all been incredibly influential in informing and empowering the people.
I strive to motivate writers to write about what makes them happy, what hurts them, what terrifies them, or what touches them.
I also have a vision of starting a business incubator devoted to helping young people who are passionate about writing and creative pursuits. It’s on my five-year plan.
On a personal note, I am exploring the realm of fiction writing. My customary writing style has been in nonfiction, self-help, or inspirational books. Watching The Woman King gave me the courage to write a romantic thriller about an African princess named Zara who has a strained relationship with her father. There’s also a little of Wakanda Forever, and Yellowstone in the book. I am a firm believer in redemption and correcting erroneous societal norms that enslave and define women, particularly African American women. Princess Zara of the Dala Dynasty is a picture of a young woman discovering herself in a modern world of contradictions and winning.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Readers can find me on most social media platforms as sharoncjenkins (LinkedIn and Facebook). On Twitter: sharon_jenkins. On TikTok: @theauthorpreneurcoach. Or visit www.superauthorgranny.com or www.mcwritingservices.com. I love making connections, meeting new people, and fostering profitable collaborations.