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Saturday, February 16, 2013

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Blog Tour: Stitch - Guest Post + Giveaway

Title: Stitch (Stitch Trilogy #1)
Author: Samantha Durante
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.
Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence.  

In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless.  But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

Author Links: Facebook | Goodreads | LibraryThing | Shelfari

Why I Decided to Self-Publish

by Samantha Durante

There’s a lot that goes into publishing a book.  There’s the writing, of course, but what no one tells you is that the writing is only a tiny portion of what needs to happen to get a book in front of readers.  There’s editing, proofreading, cover art, print formatting, ebook formatting, printing, distribution, marketing, social media… the list goes on.

In traditional publishing, the writer does the writing, and that’s it.  Well, at least, that’s what I thought.  My understanding was that the point of this whole industry that built up around books was so that writers could write, and everyone else – agents, editors, designers, proofreaders, publicists, distributors, retailers, etc. – could do everything else.  And to compensate these other contributors for their work, the writer shared a significant portion of the revenue from the book.

That sounded like a fine tradeoff to me, so I initially set out on that path.  I compiled a list of agents, started drafting my query letter to pitch my book, and was days away from sending those queries, when Amazon posted this on their front page.  It’s a blog post by independent author Jessica Park who, after getting disillusioned with the traditional publishing industry, decided to publish her own book using Amazon’s tools, and has been very successful doing so.

When I read that article, I had already done a lot of research about self-publishing and had carefully weighed my options to figure out what was right for me.  I suspected that in the end I would probably end up going independent, but some small part of me held on to the dream of being “really” published, so I had decided to give that a shot and use the Amazon option as a backup.  But after reading that post, a few things hit me:

1. I really, really wanted to get my book in front of readers as soon as possible.  The idea of waiting for weeks/months for agents and publishers to read (and, more often than not, reject) my book was killing me.  I’m the type of person who likes to get things done, so this waiting around for other people to act basically sounded to me like torture.

2. I knew from my research that successful books make it because the author puts a tremendous amount of effort into marketing the book and building a following.  Not the publishers and publicists and media people (who I initially had thought were responsible for doing this), but the author herself.  I figured if I needed to do all that work either way, why pay someone else to do it?  Plus, by doing it myself, I could price my book much lower (the ebook version anyway – unfortunately print-on-demand doesn’t have the economies of scale that you find in traditional publishing, so the print version won’t be as reasonable as I’d like it to be) and still make the same amount of money per book as I would if I had published it traditionally.

3. I am a control freak.  I like to make everything perfect right down to the tiniest little detail (I literally have almost 100 pages of notes planning my wedding…), and usually the easiest way to do that is to just do it myself.  Some authors are daunted by the idea of formatting and designing and proofreading their own book, but I’m excited by it.  I know my book is going to be me and I love that.

4. At this point in my life, writing novels is a hobby for me.  Would I love to get paid for writing books?  Absolutely – I would do it full-time if I could make a living that way.  But right now, I am running a successful business and plan to continue doing so to earn a living, so my career doesn’t depend on my acceptance into the publishing world.  My goal at this point is just to do it and see how many readers I can reach.  If all goes well, then perhaps full-time fiction will be in the cards for me.  If not, at least I know I can continue doing this for fun on the side.
So, I decided to self-publish.
Of course there are drawbacks – I’m still nervous about not having a professional editor and proofreader review my book, but I am hoping that getting the opinions of 20 avid readers on multiple versions of the manuscript will have sufficed.  And I won’t get the “approval” from the industry that a part of me still desperately wants – though as Jessica Park said her in post, it’s really readers’approval that I need, not publishers and editors (readers, I hope you love it!).
But I think it will be worth the effort.  I got the first drafts of my cover art today, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to see my name on the cover of a book.  (Can’t wait to share the final version with everyone soon!)  Looking at that cover, what I realized is that it doesn’t matter who publishes a book – what matter is that it exists, and it’s ready for people to read.

Now the challenge is finding those people!

About Samantha Durante
Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel.

Top 5 Things I Love About Being an (Indie) Author by Samantha Durante:

I recently published my first novel, Stitch, and though I’m still new at this whole “author” thing, it’s really been a dream come true!  To celebrate, here are the top five things I LOVE about being an author (so far!), in no particular order:

1. Total empowerment.
There were a lot of reasons I decided to go the indie route when publishing Stitch, but by far the main one is that I’m a bit of a control freak and I really liked the idea of having final say over every little detail of my book.  I worked with an artist to design the cover, devoted painstaking hours to formatting the e-book versions, and made the final decision about every word, every punctuation mark, and every plot twist.  While this is a little scary (after all, I know there are people out there who can do all of these things far better than me!), it also means that the success of my book lies solely on my shoulders…  And therefore, as long as I’m willing to put in the work (which I am!), I know my book will do well!

2. My book IS me.
Following with #1, since I didn’t have to get sign-off from a publisher, I could write about whatever I wanted, even a genre-bending thriller that combined paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi in one (yes, one!) book.  I pulled in ghost lore, super-geeky spacetime physics, post-apocalyptic scenarios, a biological pandemic, and of course, a kick-ass female protagonist and sexy-but-sensitive male lead.  And yes, the fact that my book does not fit squarely into one genre makes it kind of difficult to market (which is why the traditional publishing industry would be wary of it), but it is full of the things I love.  And since – as an independent author – I have the exclusive right to decide what gets published under my name, the fact that I was excited about my book and believed in it was all that mattered.

3. Quick delivery to readers.
The other big factor that drove me to go indie was the ability to get my book to market QUICKLY.  It can take months – even years – for a first time author (going the traditional route) to find an agent and a publisher and go through the editing and revision and publication process.  Even though part of me wanted the validation of having credible industry professionals sign-off on my work before it went to the public, a bigger part of me just REALLY wanted to share my book with readers NOW (and the thought of waiting that long to get my book out was like a knife to the gut!).  By publishing the book myself, I was able to get it to readers only weeks after it was done, instead of months/years (and now that readers are clamoring for part two of the trilogy, I’m really glad that I’ll be able to get it to them as soon as I can!).

4. Bloggers, bloggers, bloggers.
WOW.  I have never met a more supportive and encouraging community of people than the world of book bloggers.  Since I am doing all my marketing myself (notice a theme here? :-), I’ve been in personal contact with literally hundreds of bloggers since my book and blog tour launched a few months ago, and each and every one of them has absolutely blown me away.  There’s just been an incredible outpouring of assistance and enthusiasm from the blogging community, and I feel SO grateful to have made contact with all of these amazing people.  Thank you SO MUCH to all of the bloggers who have helped me promote Stitch!  You guys are amazing!!

5. Reader commentary!
Last but CERTAINLY not least are the readers themselves!  It has been just INCREDIBLE to share Stitch with so many people and to hear their feedback and see them getting excited about the story the same way I am.  Stitch is definitely a different sort of book, and I have to say, even though I knew loved the story, I didn’t know if most readers would feel the same.  So when 4- and 5-star reviews started popping up all over the internet, you can only imagine how gratifying that felt!  I’ve read every review that’s been posted online and it always makes my day to hear that someone enjoyed the book.  I’m SO indebted to every reader who’s taken the time to read and talk about Stitch!  Nothing is more motivating than passionate fans who are itching for the next installment – I can’t WAIT to get started on the next one for you guys!
Learn more about Samantha on her website.
Enter the giveaway HERE!
Check out the other stops on this tour!

~Happy Reading!

Current Giveaways:


Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.


  1. Just finished this book and absolutely loved it! New follower - follow back? Books & Such