How I Did It, by Brittany Geragotelis
Rejection. That was what my writing life was full of for a solid 8 years. So when my big break finally happened, it seemed like it all happened very suddenly. But the reality was that success only came for me after 17 years of hard work, dedication, perseverance and ego deflation.
When I move to NYC in 2001 after graduating from college, I decided to start seriously pursuing my goal of becoming a published author. At the time there was really only one way of doing this: You got an agent, who found you an editor who convinced their publishers to take on your book. Only then were you found worthy of being a published author.
Luckily, I got an agent after only a few months of looking and he began to shop around my books. But after three failed attempts (and a few close-calls), he decided to drop me as a client. At this point, I’d been at it for over seven years and started wondering if it was what I was meant to do. It takes so much time and work to write a novel and if no one was ever going to read it….well, what was the point? So I took a hiatus from writing.
For six months.
But then I got the itch to write again and so I sat down to reevaluate my goals. I asked myself why I was writing. If I was being honest with myself, I write because I love it and I feel compelled to do it—and to hopefully get my books into the hands of readers who will be able to enjoy them.
If this was my ultimate goal, then sitting around and waiting for a publisher to deem my stories worthy of reading wasn’t working. It was around this time that I discovered Wattpad. Wattpad’s an online community writing site, sort of like a YouTube for writers. Anyone can join the site and users can either post or read original content for free.
So, I decided to give it a try, by writing an original story for the website, called Life’s a Witch. On January 1, 2011 I posted my first chapter of the book and followed each week with a new chapter. After six months, I’d finished writing the book, and had garnered 6 million reads of my book. At nearly a year of having it up, I had 19 million reads of LAW and kids were acting out scenes from the book in public and asking where they could buy the book.
At this point, because there appeared to be a demand for it, I decided to self-publish. Around this time, a lovely reporter at Publisher’s Weekly decided to write a story about me and my success on Wattpad, and because of this, the traditional publishing world came calling. Just a few weeks later, we went into an auction between four publishing houses for the rights to the series. In the end, I ended up going with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in a 3-book, 6-figure deal.
My first book in the series, a prequel/spin-off called What the Spell? came out Jan 29, 2013. A new and improved version of Life’s a Witch will debut July 9, 2013, followed by the sequel, The Witch is Back in Jan 2014.
Author Bio: Brittany Geragotelis, a former Olympic-bound gymnast and magazine editor, is a self-professed pop culture junkie turned author. Her paranormal action book, Life’s a Witch, received 19 million reads on the writing site Wattpad, before she sold the series to Simon & Schuster. What the Spell? is her first published book in the series. Brittany currently lives in New York City with her fiancé and two cats, Murray and Cohen. Visit her at www.brittanygeragotelis.com.
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