Amaka Azie is one of OkadaBooks Bestselling author. She writes romance fiction set in tropical West Africa, and explores the beauty and intricacies of the continent, in her romance novels.
She was born and raised in Nigeria, West Africa. She developed a passion for reading at the age of twelve. Her interest in writing began in secondary school when she joined the press club and her active imagination has captured the interests of many.
She currently resides in England with her family, where she also works part-time as a family doctor. Apart from reading and writing, she enjoys watching crime TV shows, painting, and traveling.
So we caught up with Amaka Azie, and below is the interview.
Pelleura: It’s nice to have this chat with you.
Amaka: Thanks. Nice to chat with you too.
Pelleura: Please can you share details of your background with us?
Amaka: I am one of five children born in Lagos, Nigeria. I consider myself a Wazobia Nigerian because I have lived in the three major regions of Nigeria. While I spent my earlier life in Lagos, I attended secondary school in the East at Onitsha, my University was in Benin city and I lived in Abuja for more than 6 years.
I currently reside in England with my family, where I work as a part-time Family Doctor apart from my writing.
Pelleura: Nice! Benin City is like home to me. So we have something in common apart from writing. *Grin.* So what were your dreams like when you were in school?
Amaka: At first I wanted to be a painter, then an architect, and finally an author. I was also good at Sciences as well as Arts, so my father persuaded me to study medicine.
Pelleura: How do you cope with your job and your writing business?
Amaka: Because I work part-time, I do my writing on days that I’m off, so it works for me. Most of my writing is also done in the evenings when the kids are in bed.
Pelleura: What inspired you to start writing?
Amaka: I have always enjoyed reading and writing. In secondary school, I was made the press club president. That role involved putting together interesting news articles to read at assembly every Monday and this increased my interest in writing.
I began to pen down the short stories that I passed around my classmates. The way U encouraged me a lot. In fact, a teacher seized one of my hand-written novels from my classmate who was caught reading it during class. I was very worried when she called me to the staff room, thinking she would tell me off for the kissing scene in the novel. I can’t forget how relieved I was when she told me she read it and loved it.
My first published work was in 2016 after I met another Nigerian Author and Publisher from Accomplish Press who helped me self-publish my novel.
Pelleura: What genre do you focus on?
Amaka: Romance Genre for now. I love the idea of love and romance. It’s fascinating that no matter the previous experience with heartbreaks, people keep searching for love and acceptance. Most of the conversations in my adult life revolve around relationship drama. It’s no wonder my fascination with the genre.
Pelleura: Romance sells like sachet water, that’s why one will wonder what obstacles you’ve faced as a writer and how were you able to overcome them?
Amaka: Mostly opening myself up to publicity. I was quite private before my first Novel. But I realized that people want to know about an author they love, and hiding would not do me any good.
Pelleura: How has the publishing process been?
Amaka: It’s been a learning experience. And I am still learning. You just helped with creating my blog. That was something I shied away from initially but as I have grown as an author, I realize that sharing your thoughts through a good blog is another way to publicise. It was hard initially for me to come to grips with that but now, I am enjoying the process.
Pelleura: I was glad to have handled the setup and design of your blog. But I still need you to tell me how you rate my web design service?
Amaka: Brilliant. You were patient and worked with me to ensure I liked what we came up with. I felt like I was working with a family member or friend because of how easy it was.
Pelleura: Awesome! I’m glad you enjoyed my service. So presently, what are those achievements you’ve made in your romance writing business and what future goals are you aiming for?
Amaka: I am proud of how far I have come. Being nominated as one of the most influential authors under 40 by the Nigerian Writers Awards for 2017 was amazing. My book Thorns and Roses was an OkadaBooks bestseller for that year too. Melodies of Love was a finalist at the Ufere Awards, 2017. An amazing year it was for me, considering my first Novel was published just a year before.
I aim to continue writing and promoting romance novels in Africa. I hope one day to own a publishing house for African romance novels that will rival and possibly replace romance novels with non-African Characters in our African stores.
Pelleura: How have you used social media to your advantage?
Amaka: I think it’s a great tool. I use it to show snippets of my novels, also to connect with readers and to share various projects I’m working on.
Pelleura: What’s the most important social media activity you engage in daily, to grow your business?
Amaka: I love Instagram and Goodreads. I use Goodreads to connect with other people who love reading like myself, and I have even managed to get beta readers from Goodreads. A lot of people say they only found out about my books through Instagram, so I know it is a good place to market.
Pelleura: Of all the marketing tactics you’ve used, which one worked better for you?
Amaka: Releasing brief teasers of my books on social media sites. People don’t know what you have to offer until you show them a bit of it. It’s like wine tasting. Until you taste it, you don’t know if it’s worth buying.
Pelleura: What has been your secret to selling a lot of copies?
Amaka: I’ll say it’s consistency. My genre is Romance set in Africa. You gather fans by being loyal to the few you have got. Social media is also a good tool which I have used to publicise my books.
Pelleura: What advice do you have for young writers who want to make a living off their writing?
Amaka: Be consistent. Read a lot. Write a lot. Never give up.
Pelleura: What words do you have for your fans?
Amaka: Thanks. I write because you read.
Pelleura: Thanks so much for your time.
Amaka: Thank you, too. Always fun chatting with you.
You can connect with Amaka Azie on:
Blog – //amakaazieauthor.com/