Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am BLESSED selling Author E. N. Joy, the author behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas” and “Forever Divas” series, all which have been coined “Soap Operas in Print.” I’m an Essence Magazine Bestselling Author who wrote secular books under the names Joylynn M. Jossel and JOY. I also wrote a children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy. It received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association.
Who does your body of literary work speak to?
I hear authors say it all the time: “I write my book for everybody, not just one particular audience.” That’s all fine and well, but the book business is just that; a business. In dealing with business you have to have a target audience that you start off promoting and marketing to. Once you have saturated your target audience, then you have the bull’s eye affect, where you begin to expand outward into other areas. There is absolutely no shame in my game; I write my books for my sisters. If anyone outside of my target audience wants to pick up my book that is an awesome blessing. But I want to make sure that my sisters—my target audience—can walk right into the book store and know exactly where to find me.
Richard Ridley once said, “Many writers make the mistake of thinking that bigger is better when it comes to defining a book’s target audience. They believe that if a potential reader is simply made aware of their book, then surely they’ll take a chance and buy it. But by choosing this “big pond” approach, those authors are being overlooked, and they’re missing the opportunity to stand out in a smaller pond. You’ll have much better success being a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.” Yeah…what he said.
How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
Any author who disagrees with me will have a short-lived career. Our husband, wife, mother, brother, sister, or mentor might have encouraged us along the way of our literary journey, but none of us would be where we are today without the motivation the readers provide by their continued support of our work. Readers are the boss of me! Readers are my literary heartbeat. When they send me their testimonies and words of encouragement, it keeps my creative blood flowing to the brain. My readers inspire me to challenge myself. Whenever I felt as though a certain book might not have reached anyone, or that my reach as an author altogether just never seemed to stretch far enough, one of my readers would confirm the opposite with an email or Facebook message. I don’t write for myself and I’m absolutely not one of those authors who you will hear say, “If I could just sell one book and reach one person, then I’m happy; I’ve done my job.” No ma’am and no sir. I do not put all that I put into my work—sacrifice all that I do—just to sell one book or reach one person. Did Jesus set out to reach just one person? Did Jesus go through all that He did and die on that cross just to save one person? I think you get my point… I live breathe, eat and sleep (well, not much sleep) this literary thing. It’s real. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something I do on the side. It’s my life. I take it serious. It’s my craft, my career, my first love, and now it’s my ministry.
How did you become a writer?
I have been writing since the days of elementary school journals and rainy day writings. I started out just writing poems, and then graduated to short stories. My first self-published book, Please Tell Me If the Grass Is Greener, was a mixture of poetry and short stories. Well, actually it’s poetic short stories; short stories told in a rhythmic flow. Kind of like a Dr. Seuss book for Grown-ups-LOL. I love La La Land. Growing up, my escape from reality was the La La Land I invented with pen and paper. So, I guess that is truly what drove me to pick up the pen for the first time and begin to take a genuine interest in writing. It was an escape. Some people use drugs, some people use alcohol, some people use sex to escape while other people might use guns. I used a pen and the wonderful English vocabulary. I’d always been a reader, as that was another escape of mine. Ramona the Pest, Nancy Drew and those Little House on the Prairie books were my favorites. But then one day I got my hands on one of my auntie’s grown up books, which was Black Girl Lost by Donald Goines. It was the first book I’d ever read with main characters that looked like me. With characters that walked, talked, and thought like me. I just remember sneaking the book out at night time and reading it while lying in bed. I was so deeply enthralled that I felt like I became that black girl who was lost. I remember closing that book upon the final chapter and saying to myself, “One day I’m going to write a book that does that to people.” I think I’ve accomplished that.
Now How I got my first book deal is a different story. I started off in the literary industry self-publishing my first book, Please Tell Me If the Grass Is Greener. I also self-published my second book as well, which is a book of poetry titled World on My Shoulders. Eventually I grew out of my fear of thinking I was too short-winded to write a full-length novel and I wrote and self-published my first novel, The Root of All Evil, under the name Joylynn M. Jossel. I wrote that manuscript with the intentions of eventually selling it to a major publishing house. So, while it was in manuscript form I sent it off (un-agented) to a major publisher for publication consideration. But in the meantime, I eventually sent the manuscript off to the printer as well. I received a rejection letter from the publisher before the books even came off the press. But that didn’t stop me. I simply sold copies from my trunk in hopes of creating a buzz. Well, the buzz was created. I got an agent and the agent submitted the manuscript to a major publishing house that did end up giving me a three book deal. Ironically, the same publishing house who sent me my very first rejection letter was the same major publisher who ended up giving me my very first book deal. After having sold 12,500 copies of the self-published edition in one year, The Root of All Evil was re-released under my first publishing contract. But while it was going through the editing process, I wrote a street lit book titled Dollar Bill for Triple Crown Publications under the name JOY. It turned out to be an Essence Magazine bestseller, appeared in Newsweek, and was translated to Japanese.
What is your latest novel and what is it about?
My latest release is titled One Sunday at a Time. In this soap opera in print, the main character, Deborah, asks herself, “What does crazy look like?” Let Deborah tell it, it’s the reflection that looks back at her in the mirror. She has a career she loves, two beautiful children and a handsome and successful husband. Her life seems to be the blueprint almost every woman she knows would kill to live. But working full-time, being a full-time mother, full-time wife and a full-time Sunday only Christian seems to be taking its toll on her. With all the scheming and shenanigans Deborah orchestrated to get this lifestyle, she might have to come up with a whole set of new ones to maintain it.
Lynox is Deborah’s husband who she thanks God for putting back into her life after a game of cat and mouse that defies the laws of romance. He feels that all Deborah needs is to let her hair down, maybe make some new friends and live a little. When Deborah agrees and then suspects Lynox of having an affair with the woman that he suggested she form a friendship with, will he live to regret his own advice?
About the Author
Joylynn M. Ross now writing as BLESSEDselling Author E.N. Joy (Everybody Needs Joy)
BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy is the author behind the “New Day Divas,” “Still Divas,” “Always Divas” and “Forever Divas” series, all which have been coined “Soap Operas in Print.”
After thirteen years of being a paralegal in the insurance industry, E. N. Joy divorced her career and married her mistress and her passion; writing. In 2000, she formed her own publishing company where she published her books until landing a book deal with St. Martin’s Press. This award winning author has been sharing her literary expertise on conference panels in her home town of Columbus, Ohio as well as cities across the country. She also conducts publishing/writing workshops for aspiring writers.
Her children’s book titled The Secret Olivia Told Me, written under the name N. Joy, received a Coretta Scott King Honor from the American Library Association. The book was also acquired by Scholastic Books and has sold almost 100,000 copies. Elementary and middle school children have fallen in love with reading and creative writing as a result of the readings and workshops E. N. Joy instructs in schools nationwide.
In addition, she is the artistic developer for a young girl group named DJHK Gurls. She pens original songs, drama skits and monologues for the group that deal with messages that affect today’s youth, such as bullying.
After being the first content development editor for Triple Crown Publications and ten years as the acquisitions editor for Carl Weber’s Urban Christian imprint, E. N. Joy now does freelance editing, ghostwriting, write-behinds and literary consulting. Her clients have included New York Times Bestselling authors, entertainers, aspiring authors, as well as first-time authors. Some notable literary consulting clients include actor Christian Keyes, singer Olivia Longott and Reality Television star Shereé M. Whitfield.
You can visit BLESSEDselling Author E. N. Joy at her website.