Publishing 101

Becoming a published author is something that many women are eager to accomplish. But many don’t know where to begin or what are some universal pros and cons of trying to transition from a hobby writer into a full-fledged published author. I had the opportunity to speak with author and owner of Hardy Publications, Chanel Hardy.

Chanel is originally from Washington D.C and southern Maryland but relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2015. She is a published author, and her writing genre is generally considered to be Young Adult fiction. “My young adult fiction is geared towards teens and young adults of color. All of my books feature Black girls/women as the main characters. My young adult stories deal with different things, from queer teen romance set in the ’40s. to contemporary high school drama and mythical urban fantasy.” Says Chanel.

When asked what her passion is behind her writing, she states, “I have always been an avid reader. I loved reading books growing up where the girls looked like me. Stories I could relate too, and also stories of fantasy and adventure. As I got older, I noticed that books for Black girls were very underrepresented in mainstream publishing. My goal has always been to write stories I couldn’t find as a kid. There are periods where writing overwhelms me, and the inspiration isn’t always there. I sometimes listen to music or watch films and TV shows that inspire me to get back into it. But I never force it. My stories come when they come.”
In the literary world, it has become widely popular to become a self-published as opposed to going the traditional route of getting published with a literary agency. “I had no idea self-publishing was a thing until a few years ago, when a friend of mine published her first book in 2017. I had always assumed getting a book published was like winning the lottery, which is why writing was something I never stuck to when I was younger. I never thought a big company would take a chance on a girl like me.” Chanel explains. “But once I discovered self-publishing, it opened so many entrepreneurial doors for me that I never imagined I could take on. It allows people like me to live out their dreams of being a published writer without the barriers. My first book ‘My Colorblind Rainbow’ was already partially written from my early 20s, so it only took me a few months to finish it in 2017 before I went on to publish.”
Chanel credits “Createspace” for her first self-publishing platform and says that at first, it was pretty expensive! “Mostly because I was new to it, and didn’t have all of the information I have now on where to find editors and designers on a budget. Createspace has now merged with Amazon publishing, so that is where most of us publish our work…” She also notes that there are other platforms that can be used for self-publishing such as Lulu, Kobo, and Smashwords, and also it doesn’t take very long to self-publish once your book has been written. Generally, no more than a month.

For most novelist, it’s an absolute dream to be able to survive off of the income earned from writing incredible books, but realistically it can take some time reach that sort of caliber of success. With that being said, I asked Chanel how on earth she finds a balance between working a fulltime 9-5 and writing such detailed and compelling books? “I work mornings, and I have a set schedule at my job, so most of my writing is done in the afternoon and on my off days. It usually depends on what I’m working on. My freelancing is done on a deadline, but my books are written whenever I feel like it.”

Chanel has recently ventured over into the category of Erotic short stories and has placed them all into one paperback for those that do not have Kindle. All of these stories are written under the Pen name December Davonport. Because she is doing so well and gaining some great recognition, I asked her what advice she has for women that are considering publishing their first book. “Get your ideas on paper first!!! Take the time to do your research and never rush anything. When the time is right, you will know…”

Readers can follow “Hardy Publications” and “Chanel Hardy” on Facebook, instagram and twitter.

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