We are excited to feature yet another exciting writer on our #WriterSpotlight Series. She is a writer who has been able to monetize her skill. There’s so much to learn from this interview.
Hello, please introduce yourself
My name is Bolu-Adebayo Margaret and I write under the pseudonym Maggie Smart. I’m the second of three children in a family of five. I attended University of Ilorin and bagged a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 2011, then I proceeded to earn a post-graduate diploma in Journalism in 2013.
You have been writing for at least five years and have found ways to monetize your writing talent. How did you do this?
Yes, I have been writing for close to five years now. I published my first novel in 2012, and then went on a long break until late last year when I decided to be intentional with my writing gift. Since I made that decision last year, I have earned from transcribing for clients, from ghostwriting, from creating content for brands, websites, and magazines, and from selling my own works.
What would you say is the biggest challenge a young writer will face?
The biggest challenge a young writer will face is what I call the ‘unknown syndrome’. A young writer, especially those who want to follow the traditional route to publishing their work might face a lot of discouragement getting the publishers to take them seriously. Publishers are businessmen, and they usually don’t want to take risks on unknown writers. Also, as a writer, if you seriously want to sell your books one day and make good money from them, you need to start building your fan base from the very beginning.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
No, I didn’t. I was fortunate to meet someone who recognized the talent in me, pursued me doggedly until I published my first work, and the rest as they say, is history.
How rewarding has writing been for you?
Writing has been rewarding to some extent. I say that because I’ve not in any way gotten to the heights I know I will get to as a writer. The rewards are still coming, but for now, I’m focusing more on releasing good works and building my fan base.
You write romantic stories how were you able to discover that niche?
Yes, I do. I read a lot of romance while I was growing up and I think to some extent that played a huge role in my choice of niche. Besides, I love love and I believe everyone is entitled to love, no matter the circumstances or situation.
What’s the worst thing anyone has said about your article?
I can’t remember anything off hand right now. People are generally very receptive to my works and find them enjoyable.
As an author do you prefer self publishing or traditional publishing and why?
I prefer self-publishing because you get to have complete control over your work and how it turns out. You make the decisions, for better or worse, and you deal with the consequences as they come and learn from them. You can promote your work as you see fit, work very hard on it, and when the monetary rewards come, you don’t share with anyone (laughs).
Has there been any time you wanted to quit writing?
There’s never been anytime I wanted to quit writing. I know writing is my calling, and I know that wherever I get to, whatever work or career I focus on, I know that writing will always be there, and that is my destination and final goal. I feel discouraged from time to time when I don’t get the results I expect, but this just challenges me, it never makes me feel like quitting.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I read, a lot. This year, I challenged myself to read 100 books before the end of the year, and I am on my 62nd. So, every free time I have, I just grab a book and start reading (laughs)
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to get writing! Don’t waste anytime pursuing frivolous activities. Focus on what you want, work at it until you see results. It’s a lot better when you start working on your dreams early. You get to make all your mistakes and learn your lessons early, and you achieve success early too.
What would you say is your ultimate dream as a writer?
For myself, I would want to be recognized as a world renowned writer. I want my brand to stand out, and I’ll like to be able to rub shoulders with the big guns in the society. I also have a dream to see Nigerian writers stand with the ‘professionals’ and be recognized as successful people in their own right.
Do you consider writing as work or pleasure and why?
I consider writing both work and pleasure. I enjoy writing, so it’s pleasurable for me, but to be an outstanding writer, I have to take it as work, and pour everything I have into it to make it a successful career.
Any last words for upcoming writers especially those who want to become freelancers?
I would advise upcoming writers to start early, build their brand, build their fan base and focus on what they want to achieve as a writer.