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VBD STAR POWER LIST: Amazing Authors Who Own Publishing Companies

Meet Chandra Sparks Splond, Award-winning Author & Owner, West End Publishing, LLC

Chandra Sparks Splond is an editor, speaker and award-winning author and blogger. She is a 2019 recipient of the Learning for Life award presented by the Orlean Beeson School of Education at Samford University. In addition to having published several number one Amazon bestselling books, Splond’s young adult novel Make It Work was named Alabama's Great Read 2017, Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Black Pearls Magazine honored Splond as a Legends and Leaders for her blog.

Splond is the owner of West End Publishing, LLC. Her editing clients have included several New York Times, USA Today and Essence bestselling authors. In addition to working for Kensington Publishing as the consulting editor for Arabesque romance, Splond has also done work for Random House, Moody Publishers, Kimani Press (formerly known as BET Books), and Hyperion. She has also worked for Good Housekeeping, Samford University, Black and Married with Kids, Brides Noir, Weddingpages, Newsday, The Morning Call and Romantic Times. Her award-winning blog, Book of Splond, helps African American women balance faith, family and fiction. Splond graduated from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa with a degree in journalism and has a master’s degree in instructional design and technology from Samford University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She resides in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family.

Chandra Sparks Splond has a passion for Black authors and their stories. There is so much life and color within the pages of their perspective that she is compelled to promote them.

VBD Magazine interviewed this passionate publisher and promoter to get her story.

CHANDRA: Although I’ve always loved books, I started in publishing in 1993 when I moved to New York two weeks after graduating from The University of Alabama. I had the amazing opportunity to become a part of the Minority Editorial Training Program, where I spent the first two years of my career working at newspapers that were owned by Times Mirror—the first year was at Newsday in New York, and the second year was at The Morning Call in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After the second year, I was offered a job as a copy editor at The Morning Call, but it was my heart’s desire to work in book publishing. I figured to do that, I needed experience editing longer pieces, so I thought the perfect next step for my career would be to work in magazines.

I landed a job as a copy editor for Good Housekeeping magazine, and while I was there, I started doing freelance editing for BET Books/Arabesque and Genesis Press, along with several other publishers. My work caught the attention of Karen Thomas who was the editor of Arabesque, and she offered me a job as consulting editor for the line. I was responsible for acquiring and editing about 60 books a year. This was the late 90s/early 2000s when self-publishing was becoming really big, so in addition to working at BET Books/Arabesque, I started doing freelance editing for established and aspiring authors, and for the most part, I’ve been doing it ever since.

VBD: Why did you start Black Fiction Addition and what services do you offer?

CHANDRA: Black Fiction Addiction started because I love black books, and I wanted to celebrate not only the books, but the authors who created them. I interview independent and traditionally published authors and spotlight different books on my Black Fiction Addiction blog and offer daily book recommendations and memes on social media.

VBD: How are you using your platform to aspire change?

CHANDRA: My goal is to celebrate black books, especially independent authors who don’t often get the attention of the press that traditionally published authors do. I want people to know there are a lot of amazing black books and to become addicted to reading.

VBD: What is your advice to aspiring authors?

CHANDRA: My advice to aspiring authors is twofold: Just write and just read. Just write the story that’s in your heart, and don’t get caught up in trends. Just read (and study) other books so that you know what exists. You’d be surprised by the number of aspiring authors I encounter who say they don’t read.

VBD: With multiple voices clamoring for everyone’s attention, how do you stay focused?

CHANDRA: I honestly feel like I don’t. LOL. Seriously, I take things one day at a time—if I’m really overwhelmed, I focus on getting through the next second. Some days are better than others with getting things done.

VBD: Tell us about your latest release.

CHANDRA: My latest release is Speak, which tells the story of fifteen-year-old Kobe Means who has zero desire to follow in the footsteps of his famous father. Thanks to the pandemic, they’ve been stuck at home together for months, and Kobe has had enough. It seems the only way he’ll get any peace is to find a way to speak up for himself. What starts out as a simple idea to get away from his dad and show some independence turns into his life changing in ways he could never imagine, so it winds up becoming the summer Kobe finds his voice.

VBD: What’s next for you?

CHANDRA: I have a few projects on which I’m working that I can hopefully announce soon.

Book Link: Amazon



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