The publishing journey of Brittany Geragotelis, the formerly unrepresented, self-published author who landed a three-book, six-figure deal with Simon & Schuster after a PW story about her self-published YA novel Life's a Witch, continues as S&S prepares to release a prequel to the book called What the Spell.
S&S is using a serialized e-book launch of the prequel to transition Geragotelis's fans—who discovered her on Wattpad where content is mostly free—into the for-pay conventional publishing world. What the Spell, a prequel to the events in Life's a Witch, focuses on the backstories of Asher, mysterious hot guy-witch, and Brooklyn Sparks, who discovers she's a witch and has her eye on Asher. The prequel will be released beginning October 9 (part 2 comes out October 23 and the final installment on November 6) as a series of three e-books selling for 99 cents each to begin to prepare her fans for higher hardcover price points down the road.
What the Spell will be released as hardcover on January 29, 2013 by S&S Books for Young Readers. A revised edition of Life's a Witch will be published in hardcover in May 2013; to be followed by a hardcover sequel to Life's a Witch called The Witch Is Back, coming in January 2014.
Geragotelis is a former managing editor of American Cheerleader, who worked and dreamed for years of being a published YA author. She eventually attracted more than 19 million readers on Wattpad, an online writing community, where she initially published Life's a Witch, the story of Hadley Bishop, a hip teenage witch descended from the Salem witches who is growing up and fighting ancient threats in the contemporary world. After a series of PW stories about her efforts to find an agent, her growing popularity on Wattpad and after eventually self-publishing Life's a Witch through Amazon/CreateSpace, Geragotelis not only got an agent, but a major book deal in a turn of events worthy of the plot from a popular novel.
These days, she told PW in a recent interview, she is living her dream, spending the last seven months working with her editor, BFYR senior editor Alexandra Cooper, to revise Life's a Witch, writing the prequel, and working closely with S&S to prepare the marketing and promotional campaign for both books—including producing and filming a new book trailer for What the Spell. "I just try to stay in the moment and take care of my end—the writing," she said, "doing my homework and working on social media."
An experienced and effective user of social media when she self-published—from her blog Brittany the Book Slayer to her own YouTube Channel, Twitter account and Pinterest and Facebook pages as well as self-produced video book trailers—Geragotelis said she's planning a variety of promotional and marketing events around What the Spell to be carried out by her own social media team in collaboration with S&S. In addition, Geragotelis continues to offer her fans—and she has millions of them on Wattpad—new works for free through the online community. She is currently writing The Abby Diaries, a new series based on Life's a Witch and told from the perspective of the younger sister of the mysterious Asher, which is being serialized on Wattpad. She also said that S&S plans to work with Wattpad to release a free excerpt from the prequel on the online community.
The author is working with her boyfriend, Matthew Gielen, a social media professional and filmmaker, for a What the Spell book trailer and she said she's been scouting locations and casting actors with plans to shoot an entire scene from the prequel. "We've already found the location for the shoot," she said. "We'll be shooting a high-quality book trailer—like a movie trailer. We'll have special effects as well a few surprises for the fans." She's also working on a promotional YouTube campaign in which she will collaborate with YouTube makeup personality Judy Gutierrez, and her JudyTime YouTube channel, to film a series of makeovers connected to characters in What the Spell. Geragotelis will get four "magical makeovers" on JudyTime, turning herself into four of her characters—including several "bonus" celebrity looks—and plans to cross-promote the transformations on her own YouTube Channel and on JudyTime.
In the meantime Geragotelis has been a frequent speaker at self-publishing conferences like UPublishU at BEA last June, telling her story and offering support to other aspiring writers. She'll be reading at Authors Unbound in New York City on October 9 and on October 22 she plans to speak at the Self-Publishing Book Expo in New York City.
"That's how I got started," she explained, pointing out the importance of self-publishing conferences and conventions to her own career. "I was just like my readers. The better self-published authors do, the more opportunities there are for everyone. The fact that I'm finally getting my books published is about more than just, ‘give me your money'," she said. "I explain that this is my chance to help other self-publishers."