May you please introduce yourself?
I am an Author of three published books to date. Life Will Humble You, Chances and Appearances or Not. In my day job I work as a Head Office Hardware Buyer for a Chain Wholesaler. I am a single parent to three girls. I am a Christian and attend Celebration Church. I come from Chihota and I grew up in Avondale West. I attended Avondale School and then Waddilove Primary, and then the High School up to Alevel. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing with the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM-S.A).
When did you know that there was a creative writer in you? I started experimenting with writing in High School and it was mostly songs. I was a music junkie and an avid reader. My essays and short stories were over the top. English is the only subject I would get an A without effort.
What inspired you to become a published author?
I went through a life changing event in 2018 and as I was venting in my journal, I figured I could write something to actually entertain, inspire and motivate someone out there. I told my sisters, the 4 Cousins after I had finished writing LWHY and they encouraged me to publish. I also told my Pastor then Ivy Shamhu, she also also encouraged me to publish. She told me to embrace my voice and see it as a new season and as steps into my purpose. So I did and the rest is history.
What are some of the pros and cons of being a self published author? The pros are that you have ownership of your manuscript. You also benefit directly from the sales proceeds. The cons are that you have to do the marketing on your own. You also have to handle distribution on your own. All processes that could have been handled by a more experienced publishing house now fall in your lap and you have to navigate the uncharted waters. Obviously you will make mistakes and some are costly. However I have adopted the learning and unlearning attitude, in the fullness of time I will get there.
What are some of the lessons you have learnt along the way? I have learnt its not as easy as it looks. I have learnt to put my introvert personality aside and engage with people as they ultimately buy my books. I have learnt that social media is the current craze so its either you embrace it or lose out. I have learnt there are people who will want to use you along the way so it’s critical to have your guard up. Networking is the Teamwork in the book business, so every opportunity will add up to something great, either in terms of your profile or an actual sale. I am still learning and unlearning everyday.
What is the secret to being consistent? I think for me I have always been structured in my approach to things so this has helped with this regard. In my head it has to be done in a certain way everyday, every week and every month. Your why as in the reason you are doing things also helps. If its strong enough, you have no choice but to be consistent.
What do you think should be done to promote the reading culture in Zimbabwe? In Zimbabwe most people will only read a novel because its a school set book. So the idea has to be sold that you can read for fun, to learn and to explore other possibilities to life whether it’s a place, culture or anything new. Children need to embrace the reading culture from an early age and they impart to their children and so on. Its a pity we are fighting with screen time on gadgets like phones and computers but I believe the figures are still manageable. Books need to be accessible to all in the urban and rural areas.
Any advice to an aspiring author and anyone who wants to take the self-publishing route? They should continue believing in their dream. They must read a lot of books with different genres and have an open mind. They must embrace their uniqueness… versus being the next great name of another Author, they have a name, they must be that. Most importantly they must start and write and write some more until they have something ready for editing with a professional Editor.
Lastly please share three of your favourite books?
Redeeming Love – Francine Rivers
The Santangelos – Jackie Collins
A Family Affair – Sue Nyathi
You can follow Audrey Chirenje on her social media accounts which are: Audrey Chirenje Author- Facebook @anchirenjethe – Twitter audreychirenjeauthor -Instagram