The Best Laid Plans Often Go Awry…

I had plans to write the great American novel. It would be dramatic. It would be terribly serious. It would have so many complex facets of human nature and morality, that schools would probably add it to their required reading curriculum. That was the book I thought I was going to write. After all, those were the books I usually read.

My serious foray into serious writing did not come easily though. I would have an idea, get a little way into the story, and then it would all fizzle out. I couldn't understand my problem, until the day that the light bulb (in the form of my friend Aly) went off. Aly, in all her wisdom, said the five words that altered everything. "You should write something funny."

The moment I changed the tone and voice of my novel to something more akin to a romantic comedy, the story came easily (and by "easily" I mean I was able to actually finish the novel instead of giving up in a miserable heap of failure that would drive me to do a marathon of Dying Young and Steel Magnolias while eating Ben & Jerry's Everything But The flavored ice cream). For the first time, my writing felt "natural." Even better, my novel turned into something I wanted to read…and it led me to explore a whole world of novels I had never read before. I discovered Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster. I laughed along with Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding. If I hadn't written a "chick lit" novel, I might have never found the genre that I now love so much.

However, finding my voice as a writer was only half the battle. The rest of the journey from a novel-in-theory, to a novel-in-print, has been a completely different beast. Naturally, I assumed that the positive feedback I received from my friends and family, who have to love what I do, would translate into an agent immediately signing me. A year and a whole room wallpapered in rejection letters later, I knew that getting my book to the masses wasn't going to be as easy as I had thought.

I had some very positive feedback from respected agents and some serious interest from smaller publishing companies, and was going to go that route, until I discovered indie publishing. After a lot of research, I decided to take a chance and publish my work myself on Amazon's KDP program. There are benefits to self-publishing that a smaller publishing company couldn't provide…and there are definitely some detriments, the most difficult being promotion.

As a self-published author, marketing my book can sometimes feel like having a second job, but it is a job that I embrace. Writing is the thing I love to do, and anything I do in support of that feels well worth the time.

Giveaway! Please leave a comment to enter to win 1 eBook copy of Emily Shaffer's novel, That Time of the Month. Winner will be chosen at random on Monday, September 17th. Please include your email address or social networking account so we can get in touch if you win. Good luck!