Samantha March, the nom de plume of the woman behind, has published her first novel. I’ve gotten to know Samantha, at least virtually, through the Chick Lit Plus challenge, Facebook, and Twitter.  Samantha was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me. I think you’ll enjoy hearing what she has to say:

TBF: What’s been the best part of the writing and self-publishing journey so far?

SM: The best part for me so far is simply knowing I did it. I took a goal I gave myself and worked hard to accomplish it. It was hard work and I learned a lot from it––about the publishing world, writing, and myself. There were so many times where I considered the idea of giving up. My editor continually wanting me to change pieces. Not understanding formatting. My endless cover woes. The hours put in to the marketing side. But when I saw my book for sale for the first time on Amazon, I understood why I never gave up. That moment was worth all the troubles and frustration I had put myself through to get to that moment.

TBF: What do you wish you had known that you didn’t know when you started out on this publishing journey?

SM: Great question! Let me think here… thing I wish I would have known about is formatting. The formatting for eBooks and print books are completely different. I remember logging on to Smashwords all excited to get the book uploaded….and then reading all the formatting guidelines. My work was nowhere near what they were asking for. I wasted a lot of time trying to fix it myself, then more time trying to find and hire someone to do it for me. And then to realize everything had to change again when I uploaded my material for print books––ah!

TBF: What was your inspiration for the story?

SM: The inspiration for Destined to Fail came from a majority of people. Me, my family, friends, and even mere acquaintances that I’ve met in my life. The hardships I’ve overcome and watched others overcome has been inspiring to me. Life can seem simply unfair to many people who are forced to struggle through adversity. But I have watched so many of these people not give up, to pick themselves up and make a better life than what they maybe thought they were destined for. My hope behind the book is that someone else will read it and see the strength in the characters and take action in their own life.

TBF: How has the virtual community you’ve created- chicklitplus, the challenge, the blog tours, twitter, FB, etc- impacted your writing and self-publishing?

SM: Oh, my––a million times over. I say it all the time––I would have never have gotten this far without ChickLitPlus. Hands down, the best purchase I have made! The community of book bloggers, readers, authors, etc. have kept me sane during the entire writing and publishing process. I can’t tell you how many times I took to Twitter or Facebook saying I was stuck on a scene or a character or I’m having trouble with this or that, and the responses are what gets me through. I found beta readers, my formatter, cover designer, and so many supporters through CLP, and I am so grateful for them all. It also gave me a built in fan base for when I did publish. CLP had been active for two years when I published Destined, and I already had a wait list of people wanting a copy. Can you believe that? Thanks to my CLP Blog Tours, I also had a slew of book bloggers who knew me and was comfortable taking on my book and hosting me on their site. My marketing plan was somewhat easier than other authors that are completely new on the scene. This was another big reason why I was so comfortable self-publishing!

TBF: What advice would you give to someone considering self-publishing?

SM: Do your homework. Have a solid plan before you hit publish. Connect with beta readers or a critique partner––Ladies Who Critique is a fantastic tool––hire an editor, take all the professional steps. I can’t tell you how many self-published authors I have chatted with that tell me they didn’t hire any editor. Say what? I am a freelance editor, and I still hired not one but two editors along the way. Have a marketing plan as well. Get a website! Twitter! Facebook! Readers will want to connect with you, but more than that––no one is going to know you or your books if you don’t tell them about it!

TBF: You obviously love chick lit- what draws you to it?  What do you think about the criticisms that chick lit and women’s fiction are inferior to literary fiction?

SM: I do love chick lit! I find it to be an inspiring yet fun genre. One that I can laugh throughout the books, but learn something at the end. I’ve never really understood the criticism. Or why the US can’t adapt to the genre as well as the Brit’s. British chick lit is a huge market! Confessions of the Shopaholic anyone? And the way we are embracing female comediennes––Tina Fey, Betty White, Chelsea Handler––why can’t we accept funny and strong women writers? Time for a change!

TBF: Are you already working on your next book?

SM:  I am! I am just over 50,000 words in with the first draft. The story is a money versus moral story––but not a typical girl has to choose between a rich guy and a poor guy. Think the workplace, some sketchy employers, and the temptation of fast cash. I can’t wait to share it!

I’d like to thank Samantha for taking the time to answer my questions. Her new book is called Destined to Fail. You can get a copy through Amazon. And you can keep up with what Samantha is doing here. Happy Reading!