With the rise of various digital publishing platforms like, professionals of all facets are finding great value in becoming authors.  No matter what genre of writing that one pursues, there is a great deal of work that goes into releasing a book successfully.  April Sheris of Upland Avenue Productions, has launched the United App to make that process more fluid and effective. She is the only African-American female publisher of scholarly works in the state of Louisiana. Through this experience she was able to create platforms for the youth in terms of creative writing and literacy skills. She spoke with SHEEN exclusively to tell us about the United App and how it will transition into our generation today.

As an experienced Publisher, what challenges do you feel emerging Authors face most?

The most difficult task for an emerging author is producing a professionally edited, retail-ready product. There are a host of self-publishing platforms to choose from. However, not all are created equal.  

As an author, you need a team around that you believe in and a team that believes in you. Take the time to handpick professionals that can get the job done from A-Z of your project. Once your team is in place, everyone can begin to focus on what their strengths are individually. Without a team, it is easy to become overwhelmed and miss the parts that differentiate you from amateur author to professionally published.

How does the United App meet the needs of self-published Authors?

Authors are looking for more creative and financial control of their work but lack some of the resources to do so.  United places the power in the hands of the author by providing access to vetted book publishing professionals, information for the world’s largest industry trade shows, and the proper connections who can maximize their marketing efforts all in one place.  The app is always growing as we source more professionals and events for our users.

Were there any challenges for you in transitioning into the tech space?

Yes. There was a learning curve in how we test, introduce and market our product when entering the tech space. Of course, it all begins with the proper strategy. But learning who to work with and who will lead the aforementioned fields took time and patience. Tech is a vast industry and making sure you successfully navigate the proper channels is instrumental. 

For entrepreneurs that are also interested in creating an app, what advice would you share?

If they are new to the tech space I would recommend them to create a minimum viable product to determine the demand/need for their idea. If that means having a web based application to start, then do so. Spending the money on a mobile app sounds ideal but making sure you are providing a needed asset to the life of your user is key.

What will 2018 bring for your company Upland Avenue Productions? 

In the upcoming year, we are looking to incorporate a social platform for authors to interact on a local level and provide events that will bring more transparency between our users and tech team. Writing can be an isolated experience and self-publishing without a network is even more distancing. Having the social platform for authors at varying levels to meet a ‘writing BFF’ is extremely important to growth. Sometimes you may be the advisor and sometimes you may be the teacher. But either way, it will remain a supportive environment.

Stay connected with Upland Avenue Productions as they create more resources that put aspiring authors and writers in the driver’s seat of their careers.