Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guest Post: Beat the Blues of Self-Publishing by Christina Benjamin

Christina Benjamin joins us today on Shelf Full of Books. She's a self-published author of the book Truth (The Geneva Project Bk1) which was recently reviewed on this blog. Today she's here to provide some insights into self-publishing to all you Indie authors out there. Welcome, Christina.

Beat the Blues of Self-Publishing

Hi everyone!  I’m Christina Benjamin and I’m stopping by to do a guest post for the wonderful Kathryn Svendsen.  She recently reviewed my first YA novel, The Geneva Project – Truth, and I wanted to offer some thoughts on self-publishing that might help some other aspiring writers.

I’m a self-published author myself and I’ll admit, it’s been slow going figuring out how to muddle through the myriad of different ways to publish and promote my own work. I’ve found myself facing an uphill battle trying to stand out in a sea of thousands of other books in my genre (YA).

But, after two years of being a “part time writer,” I’ve finally taken the plunge into writing as my full time career.  It’s been a scary commitment at times, but I’m confidently following my heart and chasing my dreams of being a successful writer. 

On this journey, I’ve found it strange to even say I was a writer at first.  I would often feel that saying you’re a writer, implies you have accomplished great things, won many awards, and so on.  In a sense, I felt you needed to earn the privilege to say you’re a writer and I wasn’t sure I had yet.  Even though I had one very well received novel out, that had earned multiple awards and I’d just released my second novel, I still struggled with self-doubt.  A little voice in the back of my mind would say, “But they’re self-published books.”  Then my inner goddess would usually pipe up and say, “Who cares, everyone has to start somewhere.” 
I felt both of these statements were true, so I didn’t know how to settle this internal battle. I started searching for a solution.  I looked to the internet; reading articles, talking to friends, seeing what other fellow writers said about their early careers and what I found was that I wasn’t alone.  It seemed many writers admitted to struggling with self-doubt and even felt ashamed to call themselves writers at times. 

This made me feel so much better, because I realized I wasn’t alone. 

A friend shared a wonderful article with me called Room to Write, about a writing collective formed in Montana to help writers avoid these exact feelings.  The two writers spearheading the group believe that getting writers together can help pull them out of the sometimes lonely world of writing, which tends to breed self-doubt.  
After reading the article I found myself smiling and an idea blossomed.  I had just moved to a new town, famous for it’s rich history in art and culture and I’d been saying, “I need to meet some fellow writers in this town.”  What better way than to start a writing group that would bring writers and everyone in the literary industry together.  It was obvious to me that I wasn’t the only lonely writer out there, so why not get together with people who share the same passion and make some connections.

So I went to work on my favorite social media site and formed a group, inviting local writers, publishers, illustrators, editors, designers or anyone at all, to join me in making some connections. 

I had a great response.  Right away two voices replied saying, “This is what I’ve been looking for.”  I knew I was on the write track (sorry I had to, I love puns.)

Anyway, after lots of chatting online and emailing back and forth, I got together with a local self-published author and the results were fantastic.  We had so much in common and the best part was, we had a wealth of knowledge to share with each other.  We discussed our goals, upcoming events and new projects and a vision for the group: to connect anyone and everyone in the writing industry.

Just one meeting made me realize self-publishing might not be so lonely after all.
I had been missing out on a world of knowledge and friendship by avoiding writing groups.  I was hooked!

So, if I could make one recommendation to you new writers out there?  If you haven’t done so already, check out a writing group.  If you can’t find one in your area, start one or find one online, or join mine.  You may not be local to my area, but you can participate online.  The important thing is to get involved and stop feeling alone. 

I believe writing groups can be a fun way for people in the same industry to network, support and encourage each other.  They can act as a virtual bulletin board; posting upcoming events, book festivals, contests, conventions, jobs, etc.  They can also be a great resource for those just starting out in the business; a welcoming path that can help navigate the confusing and sometimes-difficult literary world.  I know I’ve learned a great deal publishing my own books and would love to share that knowledge to help others through the process.  With that being said, I know I still have a lot to learn and I am so eager to grow with this writing group I’ve started.

So, beat the blues of self-publishing.  It doesn’t have to be a lonely road.  Keep writing; you are a writer, whether you believe it or not.  We’re all here waiting to see you succeed.  Put your pen to paper, fingers to keys and keep your chin up. 

My Writing Group

Room to Write Article

Christina M. Benjamin

Truth (The Geneva Project Book 1)
By Christina Benjamin
Publisher: Crown Atlantic Publishing
Published: Mar. 27, 2014

Amazon Synopsis:

Runner Up - London Book Festival 
Top Choice - www.litpik.com

Trapped on a flood ravaged island full of orphans, natives and wealthy citizens of the prosperous city Lux, a young girl named Geneva finds herself enslaved at an orphanage with no future and a past she can’t remember. That all changes when she meets someone who promises her that there’s more in store for her than she ever could have imagined.

 Her once dull life rapidly spirals out of control as she starts to acquire new magical powers that may be the key to unlocking an ancient legend along with her true identity. But first she must master these powers, all while trying to keep them secret from her friends and the evil head mistress at the orphanage. Before she knows it, Geneva is in over her head and has inadvertently wrapped her friends into her web of magic and lies and now all of their lives hang in the balance once the head mistress finds out her plan to prove that the legend of Lux may not be a legend at all! Who will Geneva trust and how far will she go to save her friends and find out her true identity? 

Book Links

Click here to see the review.

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