Connecting with fantastic, driven artists is one of my favorite things about being a writer in the digital age. Today I’m thrilled to share my blog-stage with one of its superstars—Steena Holmes. She’s as sweet as chocolate and has some awesome insight to share about the work and decisions that have contributed to her award-winning indie-author career.
Take it away, Steena!
I have a confession to make. The moment I met August and discovered her website and blog, I fell in love! Didn’t you? I mean here is this beautiful woman who has such an open heart and she loves chocolate! Hello! Match made in writing heaven! August – you are an absolute darling and thank you for having me on your blog today! (Mutual, darlin’! Thanks for being here. )
It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year now since I made a decision that changed my life. It was an eye-opening experience for me, something that I never expected, not in a million years. You know that heart pounding, stomach churning, teeth clenching, hand shaking type of feeling you get when your life does a complete 180 without you even realizing it?
That’s what happened to me when I decided to enter the world of self-publishing. For years I had been seeking the right agent, the perfect agent to fall in love with my story. I perfected the query, trampled through writing a synopsis. Joined critique groups and did everything I could to garner the interest of someone who would help me fulfill my dream. Little did I realize that I was looking in the wrong direction. I should have been looking to myself to fulfill that dream, not someone else.
Going indie a year ago took a lot of courage. For me, it was akin to deciding to do a chocolate fast – except with indie publishing, I actually went through with the decision! LOL
Why do I like indie-publishing? Because it means taking control of my dream and being the one responsible for seeing it come true. It means taking what I’ve learned and using that to empower others. It means being able to prove to myself, my family and my friends that yes, I can write and yes, I’m good at it. It means seeing a monthly pay cheque that rivals what I make with my full-time job and actually being able to quit my full-time job so that I can write more! (I made a cake the day I gave my notice … Go figure).
There are so many roads now for those seeking publication. With the rise of self publishing there has been a ‘doom and gloom’ attitude when it comes to traditional publishing. I hope that attitude goes away one day. What I love about this journey we’re all on is that there is no ‘one way’ that will work. We can still go after that traditional publishing dream, we can still work with the awesome e-publishers out there and even self publish while we are at it. There are so many choices and it’s now up to us to decide which choice works best for us individually.
A few months ago I made the decision to take a novel that had garnered quite a few agents’ attention and pulled it so that I could self-publish it. Talk about a hard decision, but one I’m so glad I made. This is a story that is from my heart. Finding Emma – the story of a mother who will do anything to find her kidnapped daughter. I’ve partnered with an agency – The Missing Children’s Society of Canada – and will be donating proceeds from every book sold to this charity. I want to help them reunite families that have been torn apart. I’m excited that I can do so. Finding Emma made the bestsellers list within two weeks of being released and stayed #1 in it’s category for over a month. It has even won the 2012 National Indie Excellence Award for Fiction.
My little success story isn’t the only one out there. If I can do it, anyone can. All you need is the determination, the dedication and the ability to write a story that will reach the hearts of your readers. This is true whether you go the traditional publishing route, the e-publishing road or venture off into the wild unknown path of self-publishing.
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your stories. Where are you on your journey? What path are you taking? Is there a way I can help you see your dreams become reality? Shoot – I’ll even share my chocolate with you.