Writer Spotlight: A’Shanti Sanders

Writer Spotlight: A'Shanti Sanders

Since relaunching Witty Title Here, I’ve been blown away not just by the talent of so many young writers (because duh they’re brilliant), but by how they’re building their platforms and marketing themselves and even self-publishing. That’s exactly what 17-year-old A’Shanti Sanders, the first interviewee of the Writer Spotlight series, is doing.

Already, A’Shanti has self-published five books and shows no sign of stopping. She’s hard-working, smart and so sweet, and every writer could learn something from her disciplined and optimistic mindset.

Meet A’Shanti Sanders

Tell us about yourself!

Hello, my name is A’Shanti Sanders, I’m 17 years old, and I write urban street lit books. I have been writing for seven years! I sometimes get the real world and literary world mixed up. I literally write every chance I get, and I mean everywhere. School, the dinner table, in the car—I hear it’s my addiction. I now have five books published on Amazon and Kindle: The Love Homicide series, Trap Queens, and Not Looking for Love.

When and how did you become interested in self-publishing? What made you decide to pursue that route?

I first self-published my books on a great website called Wattpad. I wanted to get my stories out and see how people felt about them. It was really a great place to start.

Describe your writing process. Do you have any routines or habits?

My writing process is simple: Find a seat and get to channeling your feelings, haha. I don’t really have a routine, I can practically write anywhere. With eight siblings you become good at tuning out the world.

What’s the hardest part about writing? The best part?

The hardest part about writing has to be the “writer’s block.” Sometimes you have so many ideas, but you can’t express them how you want. It makes you want to pull your hair out. The best part is getting to be whatever you want when you write. You get to write in the mindset of so many different types of people. It’s amazing.

Tell us about the main characters in your books. Where do you come up with the inspiration for them, and what do you admire about them?

My main characters are always strong and brave individuals who have such a strong voice and great message to teach with their lives. Just like myself. I believe my characters come from the people around me—I come from a very unique background, and it has caused me to meet and imagine very unique people. I admire the strength behind each one of my characters. None of them come from easy lifestyles. They all encounter some very difficult life-or-death situations, but they all handle them in different ways and take them head-on.

Trap Queens by A'Shanti Sanders

What have you learned from self-publishing that might be helpful for others?

I’ve learned that not everyone is going to like your stories, and that it’s a process. You have to take it slow and do a lot of research on the market and what you’re trying to do.

Do you plan to pursue writing as a career? What would you like to be doing in 10 years?

I do plan on a writing career. After two years of self-publishing, I was approached by a great company who signed me, and it has been amazing. In 10 years I see myself as a best-selling author stocked on the shelves of major book stores and doing a lot of great things with my gift of writing. Just like some of my favorite authors.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?

Some of my favorite authors are Talehia McCants, the author of the Paradise and Nightmare series and Joy King, author of the Bitch series. I absolutely adore and look up to those women. Their books are amazing.

Are you working on any projects right now? Can you tell us about them?

Right now I’m working on my Trap Queens series and a few other surprise books for my fans. All I can say is you’re going to go on a roller coaster ride with these dramatic and insane characters. They’ll teach you what life in the ghetto as an American kingpin or queenpin is like.

Any advice for young writers about self-publishing (or writing in general)?

To everyone wanting to self-publish or publish a book period, you can do it! Take your time and research the business. There is a lot to learn. Not everyone is going to like what you write, and you won’t become a best-selling author overnight. Just keep on writing and pushing forward. If you work, I promise you it will be rewarded!


Thanks so much for sharing, A’Shanti! Follow A’Shanti on Twitter and check out her books on Amazon.