3 S.R. Johannes: From Wattpad Sensation to Bewitched Author - Brittany Geragotelis (Special Giveaway)

Monday, January 28, 2013

From Wattpad Sensation to Bewitched Author - Brittany Geragotelis (Special Giveaway)

For those of you who haven't heard of Brittany Geragotelis, (where have you been?:). Here's a quick recap of her awesome journey. She wrote a young adult book (Life is a Witch), uploaded it to Wattpad for free, had more than 18 million reads over 12 months. This got the interest of news media. Once a story was published about her - she was contacted by an agent and then given a book deal by S&S.

She is now releasing What the Spell - a three e-book series packaged together - a prequel to her successful book Life is a Witch. packaged as a book. It comes out tomorrow and you can preorder at Amazon or B&N

Today's awesome giveaway (US only): (enter using Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post)
What the Spell Bound Manuscript (signed) - An early form of the book, before it was edited into its current form, and it has no cover.

A signed finished copy of What the Spell

A What the Spell lip gloss

A teenage witch juggles popularity and romance while keeping her powers a secret in this spellbinding debut.
Almost-sixteen-year-old Brooklyn feels invisible, but she desperately wants to be pretty, to be popular, to be adored by a cute guy. Luckily for her, she’s a witch about to come of age—so she’s only a few spells away from making it all happen. On her milestone birthday, Brooklyn’s conservative parents finally unbind her powers, which include the ability to magically match couples with a love spell. Brooklyn uses her special skills to get a makeover, new friends, and the attention of her crush, Asher. But the popular clique Brooklyn wants to infiltrate puts her in the same precarious position as her Salem ancestors: If she’s found out, she could be vilified—and lose Asher in the process. Can she make the most of her magic, or will she be luckless and loveless? Be careful what you witch for.


Hi Brittany, thanks for stopping by. Wow this year has really taken off with you. Tell us how long you've been writing and why did you decide to start with your book on Wattpad? 

Well, I'd been writing since I was 15 and when I moved to NYC, I began my quest to get published. After a few years, I was lucky enough to get an agent. But after he couldn't sell a few of my books, he dropped me as a client. By this point, I began to wonder if I should even be writing. It's a lot of work for no one to ever read what you've written. So I took a 6-month hiatus from writing. 

But after that, I got the itch to write again and decided I needed to change things up. Instead of writing to get published (more specifically, being published by going through the process of getting an agent who sells your book to a publisher), I decided to change my focus to writing because I loved it and so that people could read (and hopefully enjoy) my stories. Around this time, I was introduced to the writing community site called Wattpad. It was described to me as a YouTube for writers, and I decided to give it a try. So, I started writing an original book that was loosely based on the Salem Witch Trials, called LIFE'S A WITCH.

Life’s a Witch is the story of Hadley Bishop, descendant of a woman executed for being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials. She’s a teen witch in contemporary times and must face down an evil and supernatural presence from the past while dealing with the usual problems of a popular high school teenager.

Can you tell us what you did to grow that readership? Did you have a specific approach you can share with us?

Well, Wattpad has a great platform to begin with. They have 10 million unique visitors a month and a new member registers on their site every 2.5 seconds. People who are on Wattpad are there for one of two reasons. Either they love to write or they love to read. Some of them do both. When I began to upload LIFE'S A WITCH, it was a bit slow taking off at first, but once people began to comment, there were a few things I did to continue to get the word out there. 

One was that I responded to every single comment that was left on my page and on the stories. This is really hard to continue in present day (and four-five stories/books later), but I try my best. I think it makes my fans feel like they know me and that I'm accessible to them. And when a fan has access to you and can see you more as a real person and not just a faceless writer, I think it makes them more prone to become brand ambassadors or super fans who will tell their friends about your books if they like them. So, there was that...but I also have a YouTube channel where I do author videos where I talk about the writing process, I have a blog where I talk about my experiences writing and am active on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

By the time I'd finished uploading LIFE'S A WITCH on Wattpad, I had over 6 million reads of it. And just about a year after I began uploading the book, I had 18 million reads of it!

You must have totally freaked out. What happened after the hits started climbing? Give us the deets!

Ahhhh! Man, after I had 1,000 reads of the first chapter, I was beyond psyched! I remember thinking it was just such an amazing feeling, after SO many years of rejection, hearing that people were enjoying the story! And then the number just kept getting bigger! I million, then 6 million and just before a year after I began uploading, I had 18 million reads of the book! People were acting out scenes from the story in public, fans were calling themselves "Twitches" (a term in the book for teenage witch). And then some of my fans started asking where they could buy it, even though they could read it on Wattpad for free. But book lovers want that tangible book in their hand, on their bookshelf, so they can share with friends....so, I decided to self-publish.

An incredible journalist at Publisher's Weekly heard about my story and decided to do an article on me, and that got the publishing industry buzzing. Then, a few weeks after I self-pubbed, he did a follow-up on me. By this time, I'd gotten a literary agent, a foreign rights agent and a movie/TV rights agent. And then something was written about me in The Huffington Post and suddenly the whole publishing world was interested in the book. We ended up going into auction with four different publishers and ultimately, I chose to go with Simon & Schuster!!!

After all the success, what made you decide to sign your book with a publisher instead of staying in self publishing? 

Although I got my start by self-publishing it wasn't my sole intention. I self-published because there was a demand for my book and it wasn't happening traditionally. When I was approached about going with a traditional publisher, I weighed my options. The bottom line is that signing with Simon & Schuster offered me benefits I couldn't have gotten through self-publishing. 

One, I got an advance, which allows me to now write full-time. This was one of my biggest dreams since I was a little kid. Now I get to wake up every day and do what I love, while sitting at home and being my own boss. It's pretty amazing, and I couldn't do it without the generous advances from my books. Two, by going with S&S, I have help with so many aspects of the publishing game. From publicists to marketing, to editors....everyone is a pro at their jobs and I have access to them. Of course, I'm not their only author, so I still have to do stuff myself, but I would have had to do it all if I was self-publishing. And three....being with a traditional publisher gets me into bookstores and libraries. This, I couldn't have done on my own. But the reason I went with S&S specifically was because they're forward-thinkers. They've tried some outside-the-box ideas in the past and understand that the literary world is changing and they want to be a part of that. I'm SO happy with my decision!

What's next for you in your career? Do you plan to continue self publishing or stick to the traditional route. Maybe both?  

I won't count out anything for the future. We live in such an amazing time right now, where there are so many opportunities available to us as authors. You can go traditional, you can do self-publishing. You just have to decide which one's right for which project. There are a ton of really successful self-published authors--in fact, a large amount of the books that are on the top books lists are self-published. Gone are the days where self-published authors are automatically branded as wannabe writers who aren't good enough to be published traditionally.

Right now I'm looking forward to my traditional publishing journey with S&S! WHAT THE SPELL?, the prequel/spin-off to LIFE'S A WITCH, will be the first book in the LAW series and comes out everywhere January 29th! Then, a new and improved LIFE'S A WITCH will come out in May 2013, followed by the sequel, THE WITCH IS BACK in Jan 2014! Hopefully those books will do so well that we'll be able to do more. I also have a few other books I've already written that I'd like to try and publish. But, if those books aren't traditionally published, I'd be fine with self-publishing them. I think in the future, it won't be a matter of whether more of my books will be published, it will be how.

Okay, here are a few things to help us get to know you better. Just say "This" or "That"

Witch or Fairy (Duh! Didn't you hear? This is the year of the Witch?)

Book or ebook (Book....I love the feel of it in my hands. I love the smell. I love the pages. I love everything about it. BUT I did just get a iPad mini for Christmas, so I might have to give an e-book a try!)

Sports or art (Television and movies...does that fall under art? I'm a huge TV buff and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE movies! If only I could act, I might've become an actress! Now, I'm just hoping that LIFE'S A WITCH is made into a movie or show, too!!!)

Thanks for stopping by Brittany!

If you are interested in the giveaway, enter the random drawing below. Or feel free to ask Brittany a question in the comments!

Catch up on her books on the web:


Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow! What an amazing journey to publication. Thanks for sharing this, Shelli and Brittany. And Brittany, good luck with the next part of your journey.

Jemi Fraser said...

What a story! It must have been so exciting to see those numbers explode like that! Congratulations on the deal and good luck - the stories sound great!