September’s feature Independent Author is none other than the lovely Emmie Hamilton, author of Chosen to Fall and Fated to Burn (coming soon), the first two books in the Destined Series. We were lucky enough to catch a quick Indie-View (a made-up word that indicates an interview with an independent author) with Emmie and here’s what she had to say!
- How did you make the choice between self publishing and traditional publishing?
In my mind, I always thought I would traditionally publish. I’m the type that needs a lot of guidance and hand holding, so self publishing was really intimidating to me. After I finished Chosen to Fall, I went through the whole querying process and got 56 rejections over the course of eight months. Two areas of feedback kept coming back: don’t do the “chosen one” trope and get rid of Nellie’s POV. I spent some time thinking about that feedback, and then rewrote the entire thing – based on how I wanted it, not what was suggested to me. I couldn’t change the chosen one trope because that was what the entire plot was based on, and I refused to get rid of Nellie’s POV because her character is so important to the series as a whole. Instead, I changed the narrative from first person limited to third person limited, added in a lot more romance, and figured out two other subplots to weave in. I was so proud of the changes I made, but still a little wary of querying again. I know the agents just wanted to receive something that fit the market, but I wanted a story that fit who I was, not what would sell at some point. So, I decided to do it myself and I am so happy I did!
- What was the scariest part for you of publishing your first book?
The entire process was a little nerve wracking because even after a year of research, I still felt like I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing. I think the scariest part is the judgment.. knowing it would be out there for everyone to criticize or love. I was nervous about my friends and family reading my book because it was this secret project I’d been working on and reading is so subjective. I was just so terrified that they would hate it, or that strangers would leave negative reviews and whatnot. It can be really difficult – exciting, yes! – but difficult to put out into the world something that you poured your heart into.
- Do you ever see yourself writing in other genres or would you prefer to stick with fantasy? Why?
Okay, so I love fantasy more than anything. I love world building and magic and just escapism as a whole. I do have an outline to a historical fiction that will actually take years for me to complete the right way, so it has been on the backburner. I also have a contemporary drawn out that is completely character driven. I need to spend some time on that one because the plot is almost secondary to the growth and experience of each of the characters. It isn’t something that is typically seen on the market so I want to make sure I do that one correctly. But for now, YA Fantasy, Adult Dark Fantasy, and Fantasy Romance have all the space in my mind at the moment.
- Who/what has been your biggest inspiration?
Is it cliche if I say my son? It has been so important for me to create a life that I want to live, even if it goes against society’s standards, and for my son to feel like he can do whatever he wants that will make him happy. I dedicate everything to him so on the days where I’m working for hours on end and missing quality time with him, he’ll see that I was creating something for him to be proud of.
But as far as writerly inspiration: Raven Kennedy and Scarlett St. Clair just always put in the hard work and their results now are incredible. I’d love to emulate everything they’ve got going on. On a more personal level, my friend JP McDonald inspires me every day by consistently putting out creative content and working toward his goals, on top of having a day job and parenting and everything else. When I see people manage incredible things, it makes me want to be just like them when I grow up.
- What was the easiest and most fun part of self publishing?
The easiest and most fun thing about self-publishing has probably been looking for amazing artists to help visualize my dreams. I loved looking for cover artists who I thought would get the look and feel of my books just right, and then sifting through dozens upon dozens of amazing artists to do my character art (how many times can I say art in one sentence?!) was so fun.
- What was the hardest/least fun part of self publishing?
Ugh, this will have to be marketing and all the business stuff that goes along with it. Deciding if between a sole proprietorship or LLC, if I would start my own imprint or not, what taxes I have to pay, where I can sell my products to and the special stuff I would need for international sales and shipping. That whole process was and still is so stressful to me and definitely the least fun. But also marketing! I have a degree in marketing and I still feel so strange doing it. I know the value of a great marketing and sales plan and I know how to execute it…but when it comes to selling my own things, I just can’t seem to do it right! It feels strange to sell myself and market myself against the overwhelmingly amazing competition out there.
- How did you come up with the idea for your book’s Merch?
Book merch! Okay so, while stuck inside during quarantine and covid last year, I got super into candle making and thought of all the fun scents that could correlate with my book. I knew that I would want to have candles in the line up. Everyone loves character art, so I thought prints would be fun. I give out my bookmarks for free. I have some ideas in the future for things I want to add to the line up as well, such as mugs and pins but I’m still waiting a bit to see how reception is to the series as a whole.
- Do you think you’ll try traditional publishing in the future?
Yes, I think I still want to try for a traditional publishing contract in the future. I’ve been toying with the idea of putting the feelers out for my dark fantasy, but at this point I am such a control freak about everything that I might not want to haha
- Did you always want to be an author?
Goodness, no. I wanted to be a marine biologist, then a pastry chef. My first time at college I majored in psychology. I still love the subject, but I didn’t think it was the right fit for me. It took many years for me to realize that I can turn my love for reading into a passion for writing. I’d always written stories and whatnot since I was younger but never really thought about it as more than a secret hobby. After getting my marketing degree and realizing how much I hated that field, I decided to go back to school for something I truly cared about. Receiving my creative writing degree was so helpful for me to realize what I wanted and what I could make of my future and gave me the confidence I needed to write stories for a larger audience.
- Tell us all about your books!
Okay! Chosen to Fall and Fated to Burn are books one and two in the Destined Series! It is a YA/NA Fantasy crossover involving elemental magic, elves, shapeshifters, warlocks, different realms, good vs evil, protectors to lovers, friends to lovers, the chosen one, prophecies, and the end of the world. At its core, it is about a teenaged heir to the throne who has to decide how much of herself she is willing to sacrifice to save her people, but it turns out to be so much more than that. The world keeps expanding as you read on, and the person you thought was the antagonist may not be the biggest threat to the survival of not just the queendom, but all the realms. It’s funny, it’s angsty, it’s romantic, and it’s action packed.
I am also working on an Adult Dark Fantasy Romance duology. I haven’t come up with the perfect title for it yet, but you can think of it as The Goonies x The Underworld version of Neverland. It is dark, gritty, steamy, filled with betrayal, lies, and sweet forbidden promises. There is a bit more than a dash of magic and a whole lot of godly vibes. I am so, so, excited for it and would love to get book one out into the world next year.
Thank you Emmie, for being our first EVER Indie Author of the Month! We can’t wait for Fated to Burn and everything else you have in store. To learn more about Emmie and her book, you can visit her website here.