Samantha Chase is one of the models of self-publishing success. Her romance novels have sold thousands of copies, putting her the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers’ lists. Her success has garnered many fans eagerly waiting for her next book. She puts a lot of time and energy into writing and promoting her work, including her latest endeavor, The Montgomery Brothers box set, which is available now.
As part of her blog tour, I interviewed Samantha as I was amazed by her success. Here she is:
SC: Well, honestly? I was really tired of those depressing rejection letters! I had written a couple of novels and the first one was rejected and I never submitted it again. The second one, I submitted to 16 different publishers, agents, etc. and was rejected by all of them. I knew next to nothing about self-publishing, but that book, “Jordan’s Return”, meant a lot to me and I really wanted to see it in print so I decided to self-publish it. It opened a whole new world for me.
MC: Why do you think your books are a success? Will you call it right time, right place or smart strategy?
SC: “Jordan’s Return” was not successful at all, but that was mainly because I had no idea that you had to actually PROMOTE your book. What a concept, right? LOL! My second book, “The Christmas Cottage” was really like a right place, right time sort of thing. I released a .99 cent Christmas novella, right at Thanksgiving and it just took off. I sold 10,000 books in six weeks! That was an isolated incident for sure but my name was now out there and my strategy has been for 2013 to release a book a month. So far, I’m pretty close to achieving that. It’s exhausting but it has kept my name out there and the most important thing is to put quality stories out and not just focus on putting just anything out there. Each book has been different in how I market and promote but I’m just keeping my name out there, interacting with my fans on Facebook and with great blogs like yours!
MC: Why do you think romance is popular with so many readers?
SC: Romance is a great escape from our everyday lives. There is emotion and happily ever after’s…who doesn’t need a little bit of that? A good romance that is well-told usually has the kind of man that we all dream of (to some extent) but is usually unobtainable falls in love with the girl that no one expected him to. I love that!
MC: Some of your book covers are mighty spicy! Did you come up with them, and if so, how?
SC: I have a great cover artist and we work together on them. Sometimes she finds the pictures and the backgrounds and presents them to me and we tweak them from there and sometimes I find pictures that I want and ask her to use them. She has been a lifesaver for me because she truly listens to my suggestions and has taken what’s in my head and brought it to life, so to speak. Christy with Gilded Heart Designs. She’s amazing!
MC: How does it feel to be a self-published author who achieved the success that many writers dream of?
SC: It still doesn’t feel real! I mean, I’m so excited that it’s happening the way that it is but I think that I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself. The whole book-a-month thing is not something I’d recommend to anyone. I don’t sleep a whole lot and I’ve eaten my fair share of junk food to keep going…but at the end of the day, I’m still pinching myself. In my head I imagined a much more glamorous way of life but I’m still home, working in my jammies and paying my bills. But it’s cool to be doing all of that while working at what I love to do.
MC: Many are aware that it is not easy to self-publish and can be very time consuming. Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about this path, and also for those still on it?
SC: It is definitely time consuming. I have a very understanding family that puts up with my crazy hours and the amount of time I spend in front of the computer. My advice would be to not get discouraged. I was unemployed for two years and did not write one word during that time. It wasn’t until I went back to work that I suddenly took up writing again. Write when you can and keep writing; don’t stop. There is never a “perfect” time to write so don’t wait for it. Take advantage of the time that you have and utilize it to the best of your ability. I live in a tiny house, I don’t have an office, I have two kids and a husband who all need my help, but I make the time to write. It’s hard to find the balance at first but keep trying until you do!
MC: Are you still teaching full time? If so, how do you balance work, writing and running your own author business?
SC: Unfortunately, I stopped teaching. It was time to let it go – not just for me, but there were other locations that were offering writing classes and other options for homeschooler’s so everyone was gravitating in that direction. After teaching, I went back to work at an office and did that until two months ago. I would work 8-5 and then come home, cook dinner, do homework and then sit down in front of the computer until my eyes were crossing! It wasn’t ideal but I kind of like working under a bit of a deadline/time crunch. Once that got exhausting, I decided to come home and write full time.
MC: What are your plans for the future? How long do you think you’ll be writing and publishing books?
SC: I plan on writing and publishing as long as people keep reading my books and asking for more! I love when people write and ask when the next book’s coming out. It’s really cool when they tell you that they love your work…I am very blessed.
MC: Finally, what words of wisdom would you give to anyone who dreams of being a published author, no matter what route they choose?
SC: Stay true to who you are and what you write. Don’t be swayed by what seems popular right now or what a publisher might ask you to try. It shows in your writing when you are putting out a product that you love and that you enjoy. I write contemporary romances even though erotica, vampires and paranormal are way more popular. I’ve always enjoyed reading contemporary romances and so it’s what I enjoy writing. I know I’m not alone because people are buying my books and they seem to be well-received. Don’t let anyone tell you what to write; write what you are passionate about. Create characters that YOU care about because it will shine through!
Thanks for having me!!