That's right, it's a three-fer!
We have a THIRD interview today. This one is with the talented Kindle Vella author Cierra Addington.
Cierra Addington has been in the writing career space for over 15 years. Cierra has loved to write since she was 8 years old. She attended the Institute for Children's Writing when she was 13 years old and earned a diploma worth college credits at the end of the program. Cierra published her first novella under her maiden name at just 15 years old, and her first full-length novel at 19 years old. Cierra put her author career on hold when she married and had children.
After creating her business Books By Cierra, she spent 4 years freelance writing and editing, and she earned a certificate in Business Administration. Books By Cierra is an umbrella business for her writer and author services, as well as her publishing imprint.
Reboots – a great idea or a lack of creativity?
I think reboots can be good or not good, depending on several factors. I love reboots that incorporate new technology and use it to the maximum extent possible. I love Tim Burton’s remake of Alice in Wonderland because that movie used a lot of elements, and it was a classic tale but with beautiful artistry. I like new spins on old movies, if you get what I mean!
Favorite hangover recovery recipe?
I don’t drink to the point of drunkenness anymore, but when I did, if I had a hangover, the best cure was coffee first, then a McDonalds double cheeseburger stacked on a McChicken sandwich. Worked like a charm.
Do you write novels, novellas, short stories, episodic fiction, poems, screenplays, or something else?
What is your preferred format?
I write in a lot of these categories, actually. I write novels, novellas, short stories, and episodic fiction right now. My preferred platform at the moment is Kindle Vella, as I can write all 4 of these categories on the platform. I actually have the second edition of my debut novel, The Mistakes We Made, on Vella, and breaking the chapters up into episodes has been fun! I wish Vella was available outside of the US, but I’ve been looking into other platforms like Vella to explore that option. Vella will open up one day.
Are you traditionally or self published? Or both? Do you feel there are advantages to one over the
I sought traditional publishing when I was a teenager. I started with short stories and submitted to several magazines, both print and digital. After enough denial letters, I decided to see what my other options were. I didn’t know enough about agents, nor did I feel confident enough in my writing to pursue an agent. That’s when I discovered self-publishing. I self-published my very first novelette, Search and Find, through Createspace in 2013, 10 years ago, at 17 years old. I was so proud that I did it myself! While the book did not gain traction, it spurred me to write the next book, knowing I had the option to publish it myself. There are advantages to self-publishing, like having total control of your cover, choosing your own editors, and keeping all your rights to your book. However, with traditional publishing, you often have a marketing team that handles bringing in sales, which has more challenges as a self-published author. Plenty of self-pub authors have made 6 figures from their books, though, and there’s a lot of factors involved. Either route has challenges!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was praised by my teacher in 3rd grade for my writing, and she encouraged me to keep writing. She even got a poem I wrote put into the yearbook that year, my first “published” piece. It was very encouraging for little 8-year-old me! I wrote more short stories at home, and ended up writing a very short chapter book. My mom did some editing, and after she printed it out, we read it together. I still have the first printed draft of that story, and one day I’ll do something with it because it really was a great story. I always tell people I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 8 years old—and here I am, now a 10-time published author. It’s pretty cool that I accomplished my dream.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing my first real novel, The Mistakes We Made, when I was 17 years old. It took me 2 years from start to finish to write that book, and it was a labor of love and pain. I published it in 2015, and it was such a relief knowing I’d done it. My parents were so proud of me, and my dad took copies to his work and sold them all. One of his co-workers actually read it and loved it so much, he asked for a sequel. My newbie author heart was brimming! I’ll never forget that experience.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am both a plotter and a pantser. Some of my books, I do outlines for, but not very detailed. Some of my books I do character outlines for and a basic plotline, and I write the rest by the seat of my pants. Some of my books, I just start writing blindly and see where they go. My first Vella baby, The Interdimensional Pirate, started as a conversation my husband and I were having about different dimensions and what would happen if it was possible to travel between them. Then it developed into a plot idea, and I thought, “Wow, I really have something here.” Then I thought about the 2 books that would follow the first book. But my main character didn’t tell me his name until I started writing the first chapter! I did all the planning for the main plot, but pretty much everything I’ve written has been off the cuff, by whatever comes to mind while writing. My characters like to tell me what happens in pieces.
Is there a trope you find yourself going back to in multiple works? Or one you avoid?
Most of my books have dark tropes. Depression and suicide have been featured heavily in my YA and adult works, but that’s because writing has always been a way for me to work through my depression and anxiety. I did a lot of work in 2022 to branch out a bit and try new tropes, so I actually have a clean, sweet romance anthology called Drawn to You starting on Kindle Vella this year. I’m hoping to have it started before Valentine’s Day. I also published 2 educational children’s books in 2022 and plan to publish a fiction children’s book by October of 2023. I think, as a writer, it’s important to not limit my creativity. If I want to write something, I’ll write it, and if it sells, great! If not, that’s okay, too!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I have so much amazing technology at my disposal to make my books exactly the way I want them, and it really comes down to teaching myself how to use that technology. I can do pretty much everything to make my books professional as long as I truly put my mind to it. And I learned it’s okay to get help with things I can’t do!
Do you like to create books for adults?
I enjoy writing for adults now because I am an adult. I suppose it’s a bit easier to write for adults because they speak the same language I do, i.e., longer words, longer sentences, life experiences, feelings, etc. I enjoy writing books for people of all ages, though! The Interdimensional Pirate is an 18+ time travel historical romance, and it’s one of my favorite books I’ve written.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you building a body of work with connections
between each book?
Each book I write is published under my name, which connects all my books together. Even though I write for different age groups, I don’t use pen names. I know everyone has a reason for using or not using a pen name, so my opinion for not using one doesn’t represent anyone else’s opinion. I personally don’t want to put my books under a pen name because I want people to be able to find my books in one place. I write books for everyone, and I like to give readers the opportunity to look at the covers, read the descriptions, and decide if it’s a book they should buy. And there’s also the chance people are buying books for someone else! So for example, a mom might be looking on Amazon to get a book for her kid, see my book, click on my author name, and find more books by me. She might see a book she likes for herself, or for her friend, and she might buy that one, too. It’s a good marketing tactic for me, and helps to connect my books to each other without writing the same thing all the time.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
The best money I’ve spent so far was on my illustrator for the children’s book I plan to publish by October. She’s done some amazing illustrations so far, and I can’t wait to see the rest of the book! I hired her through UpWork, which is the freelancing website I used for my editing services for 5 years. UpWork has some awesome freelancers on there, as long as you take the time to look and speak with them!
What do you have coming next?
I will be publishing my Kindle Vella collection of paranormal short stories, Mama Bites, into eBook and print by late spring of 2023! If anyone wants to read that collection now, it is available on Vella. I'm also launching the first episode of my clean sweet romance anthology by Valentine's Day 2023. If anyone follows my author central page or Facebook page, they'll be notified when my books are available! Here's the link to my Author Central https://www.amazon.com/stores/Cierra-Addington/author/B0B5FF8MS2 and the link to my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/booksbycierra