Girls In Charge: Dr. Shae A. Anderson
Name: Dr. Shae A. Anderson
Job Title/Position: Publisher/Co-Owner of Urban Edge Publishing a traditional publishing house based in Columbus, GA and Atlanta, GA.
Owner of The Word Boss, LLC a boutique editing firm that offers editing services, professional writing services, and consulting services. We offer literary, academic, and corporate services.
Education: B.A in English from Bennett College in Greesnboro, NC
M.A. in Technical & Professional Writing from Georgia State University – Atlanta, GA
PhD in Rhetoric & Composition from Georgia State University – Atlanta, GA (Areas of specialization: composition theory & pedagogy, classical rhetoric, and African-American rhetoric)
Q: How did you break into your industry or get started?
A: I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. My mother is a retired teacher and reading specialist, so she instilled a love for books very early on. Around 2002, I started doing editing work for an Atlanta based company called Black Pearl Books. The company is no longer around, but I loved the work I was doing. Several years later, in 2008, I decided to take a stab at book publishing and started UrbanEdge. Although, there weren’t nearly as many independent presses on the scene back then, it was really just something I was planning to do as a hobby. I quickly found out that the learning curve was pretty high, but I gradually learned the ropes. I think I put an ad up on craigslist looking for submissions, and my first project was Chasing Eden by Ashanti White. Not long after, I published Soul on Fire by Skyy Banks. In 2014, Skyy joined UrbanEdge as my business partner.
Q: What is your inspiration?
A: My inspiration is my daughter – Alexandria Lily-Frances. I’ve learned that depending on a traditional 9 to 5 to pay the bills and make you happy can often lead to disappointment even when you’re giving it your all. It doesn’t matter and is often not appreciated, unfortunately. With entrepreneurship, you have to work 10 times as hard (or more), but no one can ever lay you off – your success is only determined by how hard you work. I don’t know if she’ll fall in love with publishing, though I hope she will. More importantly, though, I want her to fall in love with the idea of being her own boss, setting her own hours, and knowing that there is no cap on the amount of money she earns. She’s good at quite a few things: singing, acting, playing piano, drawing/painting, and sewing, and she’s pretty smart too, so I’m sure she’ll figure out a way to be self-sufficient and earn her own money.
Q: What has been your biggest achievement thus far?
A: We are still evolving and working to meet a lot of our goals, so it’s hard to pinpoint one specific achievement. However, the fact that the company is still around almost 10 years later with a growing roster of authors really, really means a lot to me. We also have just short of 75 or more submissions from a pretty diverse group of authors in cue to respond to right now. I’m also excited that I’ll be representing UrbanEdge as a featured editor at The 2017 Atlanta Writing Workshop scheduled to be held at Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter on February 25, 2017. It was an honor to be invited, and I’m looking forward to meeting with a lot of great authors and folks from the publishing world.
Q: What advice would you give to someone trying to get his or her foot in the door?
A: I would tell anyone looking to break into the publishing industry that it is definitely doable. It’s not as easy as it might look to some, dealing with authors isn’t always easy, and there are a lot of moving parts, but if it’s something you enjoy and are passionate about – it can definitely be done. However, put a good team in place! Don’t try to do everything – especially if it’s not something you’re good at. Hire professionals for things like cover design and editing when possible. My partner and I work well together because we both have different strengths and we always, no matter what the circumstances, maintain open and honest lines of communication. We try very hard to lead by example for our interns and authors.
Q: What projects are you working on (that you can share)?
A: There is a lot on the horizon for UrbanEdge and for myself and my partner individually. We’re excited about some new products that we’ll be launching on the UE site soon for authors who want to self publish and get their books in front of people, and we’re also working on our branding strategy so that people can see the faces of the brand even more. We tend to do the bulk of our work behind the scenes with our team of interns since our authors are usually the focus. However, expect to see a little bit more of Shae & Skyy this year. We’re extremely excited about an upcoming new release – Raising Giants by C. Grayce Bernard. It’s a workbook style book for single mothers. I’ll be launching my new business The Word Boss in February. It’s a boutique editing firm that will offer editing services, professional writing services, consulting, and workshops. My business partner, Skyy Banks, will be releasing her third novel Ties That Bind this spring; it’s co authored with Charlie Marcol. Skyy’s website is www.skyybanks.com.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Five years from now, I see UrbanEdge still out there as a thriving, traditional publishing house still owned by a dynamic, black female duo. I see us with an active roster of 100+ authors and providing a variety of resources to help both aspiring and established authors. I have some projects already finished and a couple in progress that I hope to have published by then, and I see my new editing firm The Word Boss thriving by then as well.
Connect with Dr. Shae A. Anderson