Yesterday I gave you a review and glimpse into Samantha March’s new book, The Green Ticket. Today I have a little more from Samantha. Go grab and drink and a chair as Samantha shares with us her journey into self publication:
Amie: All right, Samantha, let’s get this party started. First of all let me say that I admire your bravery and dedication for your work and to self publish! When did you decide to take the self-pub plunge?
Samantha: I have a very entrepreneurial spirit, and I really loved the idea of being my boss and having full control over my work. I also knew that I wanted to someday create a business out of it – and I now am the owner of the indie publishing company,Marching Ink, as well.
Amie: Is your book available in print as well as in e-formats?
Samantha: Yes, you can buy in print from Marching Ink or Amazon. (Links will be available December 5!)
Amie: How did you find the printer?
Samantha: I printed my hard copies through the company CreateSpace. I found it pretty simple, the formatting wasn’t too bad and the step-by-step process was easy to follow!
Amie: Tell me about the art work. who did the cover? And how much of a hand did you have in determining the final look?
Samantha: Scarlett Rugers designed my cover, and I love it! My first thought when I envisioned the cover was exactly how it ended up. Scarlett was excellent and made quick work of the process.
Amie: And now for the dreaded edits…who did your edits and how many reads did you have before you said, “it’s time.”?
Samantha: I do a lot of self-editing, and it helps that I do freelance editing and have a bit of boost in that area. But you can’t rely on only your eyes to catch errors. My assistant did editing for me and gave me some great tips, and my proofreader and college friend also gave it a few read-throughs. After they both had gone through it, I read it three more times before saying I could publish.
Amie: Tell me about your stumbling blocks, successes, and things you wished you’d done differently.
Samantha: A stumbling block I had in the process of writing was having two characters turn out to be completely different than how I had planned them. The characters were Dani and Allie, and when I had first plotted the story, I basically had their personalities flipped – Dani held the secret and Allie was the good one. As I was writing, they kept taking different twists and turns, and no matter how hard I tried to make Dani evil, it just didn’t work. It took some rewriting, but I am happy with the way they ended up!
A success that I had the second time around was knowing that giving myself goals would help me get the book written faster than my first. Monday-Friday I would write and give a goal such as 1,000 words or 5,000 words or finishing a certain scene. Weekends were bonus days, and I finished this book (even with the re-writing!) much quicker than with Destined to Fail.
I learned a lot from my first book to the second, such as having a marketing plan firmly in place before I get excited and hit publish.
Amie: Now, tell us about your book.
College junior Alex Abrams scores her dream job at the ripe age of twenty – manager to a successful salon and spa. Thrilled to finally have a real adult job, Alex enthusiastically jumps into the world of schedules, conference calls, and getting a massage when interviewing prospective employees. What she doesn’t expect are the very grown-up issues that comes with a demanding boss. Kevin Dohlman quickly becomes Alex’s worse nightmare – covering up his affairs, dealing with his enormous ego, and trying to protect her female staff from him becomes a full-time job in its own right. Alex has also befriended Kevin’s wife and co-owner, Dani, and is trying to keep Kevin’s secrets hidden from her. The situation only worsens when Kevin starts paying Alex off to make sure she keeps her insider knowledge to herself.
While struggling to keep her wits and stay happy with her new grown-up job, Alex is juggling college courses, a new love interest, and keeping up with her close group of girlfriends. When her roommate and best friend Lila gets offered an opportunity to move to Los Angeles and sign with an agent, Alex realizes her life truly is changing, and everyone around her – including herself –– is growing up. Knowing she is faced with some hard decisions ahead, Alex struggles with keeping her job at Blissful. But does she really want to throw away what she dreamed of as a career – or will the secret-keeping for Kevin become too much to handle? The Green Ticket is a story about morals versus money, and how one young woman navigates the shaky line between the two.
~*~*~*~ EXCERPT ~*~*~*~
Bustling salon and spa seeking a full time manager to oversee daily operations. Job duties will include but will not be limited to: hiring and scheduling staff, assisting with appointment management, scheduling training opportunities, dealing with cash flow, marketing and advertising of the business, and ensuring salon and spa is run with class and enthusiasm. No experience in salon and spa business is required, but a business degree is preferred. Serious, enthusiastic, and hard-working individuals please email resume and cover letter firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours will vary, pay is negotiable and based on experience.
I cracked my knuckles against my palm, tiny pops of the bad habit music to my ears. A manager at a salon and spa? This job listing was practically screaming my name. I didn’t have any experience with managing a salon – or anywhere for that matter – but I loved getting my hair done. And mani/pedis. And my bushy eyebrows needed a good hot wax job at least once every thirty days.
I bookmarked the job listing, making a note to myself on my daily to-do list sitting next to my laptop. Polish resume,I scrawled, right after 60 minutes Pilates/yoga workout andfinish cleaning bathroom.
Lila burst through the door at that moment, her long blonde hair flying behind her. “We must work out tonight. Please come and motivate me. I’m getting my pictures taken in two weeks and I really need to drop some weight. And tone up. Look firm. Look good. The TV adds ten pounds you know. Did you get your assignment done yet for Bater’s class? I need to work on that ,too.” Even though Lila Medlin had been my best friend for years, the speed at which she does everything could still amaze me. I watched her beautiful virgin hair (she’s a natural blonde the bitch) barely make it past the doorframe before getting slammed.
“You’re in luck. I was going to do some Pilates and yoga tonight anyways. Just do it with me. That will help firm and tighten you. Even though you know I don’t think you need it.”
“When I fit into your size two jeans, I’ll finally start listening.” Lila walked into the kitchen, opening cabinets then the refrigerator. “We have no food! Want to order a pizza or something? Ooh, maybe some wings? I’m craving hot sauce.”
I walked into the kitchen behind her, peering into the depths of our pathetic excuse for a dorm fridge. “We have food. Here’s a bag of lettuce, some carrot sticks back here, and croutons in the cabinet. I snagged some packets of ranch from the lounge yesterday. Voila–– let’s make a salad!”
Lila pulled a face, reacting like I asked her to go on Survivor and eats cockroaches. “Uh, yeah, salad sounds great if I was trying to starve myself, Alex. I’m craving real food, not rabbit food.”
I held my hands up in surrender. “You’re the one talking about toning and firming up. I’m just saying a salad will give you better odds then buffalo wings.”
Lila had a dream to be an entertainment reporter, and was itching for the chance to get out of Dodge- or rather, Iowa. Lila and I had been best friends since we came to Kaufman College in Des Moines three years ago, and had been living together for two. We wanted to move out on our own and get a house, but neither of us had the financials to support that yet. Lila was saving every penny to put towards photography sessions, voice lessons, and even acting classes. Her big goal was to head out to Los Angeles and somehow land an audition for Buzzworthy, the hottest celebrity news show. I supported her goal of being a reporter, even though I had no idea how to help her achieve it.
My goals weren’t as specific as Lila’s. Mainly, I wanted to be able to stand on my own two feet and stop relying on my sister for everything. Alicia was my big sister, married to Craig Bowersworth and living with their five kids in Seattle. Craig’s job as a political campaign manager led them to many places, but Alicia fell in love with Seattle the minute she laid eyes on the rainy landscape, so they settled down there. Alicia was a stay at home mom, but with Craig’s income, they don’t need the extra money. Alicia helped me stay financially afloat by sending me money each month. I held down stray jobs here and there, but still hadn’t quite figured out what I want to do when I grow up. I was studying Business Leadership and Entrepreneurship at college, and was still waiting to see where the wind would blow me.
“Fine, fine, a salad it is. Can you whip one up for me quick? I need to put my face on before Joel comes over.”
“What time is he stopping by?”
“He said around five. He has some study group thing tonight so he wanted to drop by and see me before that.” Joel Lohrbach had been Lila’s boyfriend for just over year, starting when we were sophomores in college. Lila fell hard and fast for Joel, and the attraction still baffled me. Joel was short and geeky, with spiked black hair and big glasses that did not make a fashion statement, and always has his nose in a book. Lila was tall, blonde and gorgeous, with ambitions to live in sunny LA and schmooze with celebrities. Joel was not agreeable to Lila’s future plans. I had no idea what would happen if Lila actually made it in the entertainment biz. I wouldn’t mind seeing them breakup. I thought Joel was a dick to Lila more than a sweetheart. But she loved him.
“Okay, get your makeup on and we’ll eat some salad and change for the gym. And you can help me look at this job I’m thinking about applying for. Tell me if you get good vibes or not.” Lila always says she gets “vibes” about certain things, such as if the elective I want to sign up for will be a brain buster or if the new Chinese restaurant in town has bugs in their food. And she’s usually pretty spot on.
“No problem. Are you thinking about leaving Tastie’s again?” Lila’s voice was muffled as she shouted out from the bathroom.
I put a healthy portion of lettuce in two plastic cereal bowls, quickly diced up the carrots and sprinkled those in, and shook the worn bag of croutons over the top. After smothering the salads with ranch dressing, officially taking them from a healthy snack to a questionable one with the rich, calorie-laden topping, I was satisfied. Finding two clean forks in our utensil drawer was somewhat of a challenge, since neither of us were big on washing dishes, and I took a seat at our two-person table shoved in the back corner of our minuscule kitchen.
“Did you hear me? Are you thinking about leaving Tastie’s?” Lila came back into the kitchen, her face glowing and her blue eyes popping, even though she looked like she had no makeup on. I had yet to master the natural look like she could–– wearing two tons of concealer, highlighter, blush, shadow, liner, and mascara, and looking like she had just woken up. Mine always ends up looking like clown makeup when I try.
I dug into my salad, loading up my fork with lettuce and a crouton. “Yeah, just thinking about it, though. I’m getting tired of all my Friday and Saturday nights getting spent with sleazy guys. But the money is really helping me build up my savings account. I can’t live off Alicia forever.”
“I know, but look how good you’re doing saving money. You won’t be a waitress forever.”
“I wish I knew what I did want to be. How hard is it to figure out a career, especially as a junior in college? Shouldn’t I have this down already so I can stop taking all these electives?”
“Some people need more time. You’ll figure it out. If you don’t by the time I hit the high road out of this state, just come to LA with me. You could probably find a job out there in a heartbeat.”
“A model! An actress! I could get all the exclusive scoops on which designer you’re wearing and who you’re making a sex tape with next, and we could rule the world out there.”
“Lila, I won’t be making sex tapes with anyone in the foreseeable future. And the unforeseeable future, you perv.” I dug out the last crouton from the bottom of the bowl, crunching it between my teeth. “Besides, that lifestyle just isn’t for me. I don’t like being the center of attention. I would rather be behind the scenes.”
Amie: Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?
Samantha: I actually became fascinated a few years back with the money versus morals topic when I watched a young girl marry an older man (we are talking a 50 year age difference) and be fine that people knew she married him for money. Well, fascinated and quite disturbed I should say! That gave me the spark to write THE GREEN TICKET and even though the plot is entirely different, the concept is still there.
Amie: One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.
Samantha: That making the right decisions can be tough, but worth it in the end.
Amie: Who was your favorite character?
Samantha: I really loved Emma in this book, and I actually hope to write another from her POV.
Amie: That would be fantastic! And the most dreaded question of all—are you going to try your hand at self-publishing again?
Samantha: My books will be published through Marching Ink, yes :)
~*~*~*~ A Little More From Samantha March ~*~*~*~
My journey to being published was an interesting one. From the day that I decided I was really going to give this author thing a shot to the day I got published, a lot of changes were made. When I first starting taking my writing seriously, my plan was to write a stand-out book, query some agents, snag the best, and then find a successful publisher to make me a successful author. When I finished the first draft of my debut, Destined to Fail, the recession was hitting the US hard and a lot of things were starting to change in the publishing industry. When I was finally done with all the edits and rewrites for Destined, even more had changed. Self-publishing and eBooks were on their way to becoming the new norm, and traditional publishing was nearing the side of impossible. I didn’t know what to do. Continue my original plan of querying and hoping to find a publisher? Or take matters into my own hands and keep up with the changing times?
I decided I needed to at least give querying agents a shot. I will say that my heart was not into it, and I had pretty much decided I was going to publish on my own. But I wrote a query letter, researched agents, and sent three letters out. Three rejection letters later, I knew that I didn’t want to keep trying. My mind was made up even before I drafted that query letter.
With that decision, I also knew I wanted to take it a step further. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I created my own publishing company, Marching Ink, and my debut novel Destined to Fail was published in October 2010. In August 2012, Marching Ink releasedBreaking the Rules, the debut novel from Canadian author Cat Lavoie. And now in December 2012, my second women’s fiction novel The Green Ticket will be released by Marching Ink. I never thought my publishing journey would include building my own business, but I am extremely happy, grateful, and thrilled for the path I embarked on.
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and her debut novel Destined to Fail. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers.
Many thanks to Samantha for sharing her experience and The Green Ticket with us today! If you have a chance to check it out, be sure to–it’s a fabulous book!