It’s no secret that the URBAN AINT DEAD Team is a supporter of anything and everything related to the Urban Fiction genre and community. There are so many different roles that need to be filled to ensure the success of a release of a book and we want to shine light on some of the individuals, brands, and businesses that contribute to the community in significant ways.
This week, we are featuring the CEO and Founder of Juicy Reads Magazine, Darlene. If you are not familiar with JUICYREADS, it is a magazine for book lovers created by a book lover. From author interviews to book reviews, Darlene covers it all while keeping it real and giving her honest opinion in these book streets.
She gave us the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her business and her contribution to the industry. Check out the interview below:
1. First off, we want to let you know that we love Juicy Reads Magazine. It’s very refreshing to see such a vibrant and supportive brand giving authors the opportunity to showcase their work and shine. What inspired you to create Juicy Reads Magazine?
My desire to showcase Authors beyond my Instagram page led me to create Juicy Reads Magazine. Therefore, I decided to start a magazine that features authors, reviews, and other topics related to books. In a way, this is an exclusive for the She Reads Fire Instagram page. My Instagram posts are just a part of what you get to see.
2. Seeing as Juicy Reads Magazine is an offspring of your Bookstagram She Reads Fire, which is your favorite medium? Bookstagram or the magazine?
I love both, but my magazine is my favorite! Due to the fact that I can showcase much more in my magazine issues compared to just what I display on Bookstagram.
3. When you started the Juicy Reads brand, did you imagine that it would be as successful as it is today?
Truthfully, I didn't realize no one was paying attention to me. All I was doing was creating something special and sharing it with my followers. It drew the attention of so many authors and readers every time I shared it. After that, I knew Juicy Reads Magazine was on to something good and I wanted to continue publishing it.
4. Personally, I think that one of the most stand out things about Juicy Reads Magazine is how bright, vibrant, and well put together it is! Do you have a background in graphic design? Did you have any experience with working on magazines before, or was that a process you had to learn?
Thanks a lot! When I designed it, I was aiming for those things. I do not have a background in graphic design. I am mostly self-taught in everything I do. Art has always been a passion for me since I was a child. When I set my mind to it, I can draw or make anything I want. Whenever I create art, I freestyle.
My goal when starting the magazine was to create a magazine for black authors that would stand out from the crowd. I remembered one of my favorite magazines growing up was Vibe. In my head, I was thinking, "I would love to create a magazine that resembles that for my authors, but with my own touch.". I am thankful for my artistic abilities and cherish them deeply. Creating stand-out pictures is one of my favorite aspects of freestyling.
5. What’s your favorite part of creating a new magazine issue?
Getting to work with new authors. My day one supporters are the best, but discovering a new author is always a thrill. It makes me so happy! Oh my gosh especially if I have read a few books from them and it is a JUICYREAD #juicyreads she will stamp her approval on and let me know all about it. It is also the creating that I enjoy the most. The layout of an issue is never planned in advance. Basically, I just sit down and freestyle while listening to music.
6. What do you think makes you stand out from other bloggers and book reviewers in the industry?
My uniqueness. It's not my goal to be like the next person. My goal is not to steal ideas or imitate others. It's just me doing what I love, which is reading and creating art to display on my platform and magazine. With my book reviews and visuals of authors' books, I stand out because of my creativity. As well as my honesty, my readers and authors can count on me to tell the truth. Honestly, I feel like you didn't write this book for it to be okay, and even though it might be cool, you want a real review, and I'll tell you if it's juicy or not.
7. With each new Juicy Reads Magazine release, what is something that you always intend to give your readers?
More books, this might seem like a simple answer, but it’s the truth. You have no idea about the amount of readers that exist but don’t even know you exist. Sharing books is what my readers love because some just don’t have the time to find them and/or are scared to give new authors a try.
8. What is something that you are looking forward to seeing more of in the Urban Fiction community?
It would be great to see more male authors. There are only a few that I have discovered so far. As I am sure there are many more, I am eager to discover them.
9. How has your experience been working with and interviewing so many different authors?
This has been a great experience! Working with so many is like working with a celebrity, like seriously, I've interviewed some heavy hitters like Jade Jones, Christina C. Jones, and Diamond D. Johnson just to name a few. There hasn't been a single negative experience for me. My professionalism and hard work surprise them because I do give my all, and nine times out of ten, the author tells me that this interview was fun, and the questions were great.
10. What’s next for She Reads Fire and Juicy Reads Magazine?
As part of this year's plan, a magazine will be released every month! In addition, I have some HUGE plans in the works. I cannot give too much away, but I will say that what I have planned is one of a kind, and I cannot wait to meet many of the authors I've worked with in person. The readers and supporters as well. Y'all are going to love this, and I promise you that.
Thank you so much for allowing the URBAN AINT DEAD Team to interview you. You are doing dope things and we are grateful for all of your hard work, support, and your amazing contribution to the genre and community. And we wish you much love, success, and prosperity with everything that you do.
Thank you so much!
And there you have it folks! If you are interested in checking out Juicy Reads Magazine and/or getting in contact with Darlene for yourself, you can find her contact information below.
Facebook: Juicy Reads Magazine & JuicyReads Darlene