Path to Publication: Talking to Samantha M. Bailey

 

I am really excited to feature the first author in my series, Path to Publication. This is where authors share their writing journey with us. Today I am spotlighting Samantha M. Bailey, author of Woman on the Edge. 

 

Check this out:

Samantha’s debut psychological thriller, WOMAN ON THE EDGE, is a #1 Toronto Star   and Globe and Mail  bestseller, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly , and was a PW Best Books Pick of the Week.  It was the December Fiction Book of the Month at Indigo Books  and the Shopper’s Drug Mart  January Book Lover’s Pick. It made the Pop Sugar list of “25 New Books to Add to Your Reading List This Spring”  and She Reads’s “Fifteen Necessary Thrillers to Read in 2020.”  WOMAN ON THE EDGE is published in North America with Simon and Schuster Canada , and the UK with Headline . It will also be translated in seven countries world-wide, including with Garzanti in Italy, Roca Editorial  in Spain, Heyne in Germany, General Press in Hungary, Euromedia  in the Czech Republic, Ikar in Slovakia, and Znak in Poland.

 

 

Many times, the path to becoming a published author is filled with rejections. It can take several years to break into the business! Yes, sometimes there are overnight success stories, but I have found that lots of authors struggle for a long time before finding an agent or getting a book deal.

In Samantha’s case, she spent years writing before Woman on the Edge became an enormous success.

 

photo credit: Dahlia Katz Photography

 

I’ll let her tell you about her path to becoming a published author:

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I learned to read. I was that kid whose head was always stuck in a book, and at ten, I submitted a story to a publisher. It was rejected, and it was my first lesson in perseverance. Fast forward twenty years when, giddy and full of naïve confidence, I received an offer of representation from an agent for the novel I had finished writing. I imagined myself in a Manhattan bookstore in Manolo Blahnik stilettos, a Cosmo in one hand, a la Carrie from Sex and the City, flourishing a pen to sign my newly published books. Well, that didn’t happen.

That book, an edgy and irreverent rom com, wasn’t the right story at the right time, so I wrote another one. Alas, it also wasn’t meant to be. My agent and I amicably parted ways, and I took some time to figure out my next steps. I knew in my soul I wasn’t going to give up. I wanted a career as an author.

In 2012, I decided to self-publish the second of my rom coms, and while I didn’t get to see it in a bookstore, it was an incredible experience. I met the most wonderful readers and bloggers (bookstagrammers didn’t exist back then), many of whom are my friends to this day. I found authors who have become some of my closest friends and confidantes. Seven of us spend a week together every January at a beach house in California. We call ourselves the Beach Babes, and our writing retreats and friendship are one of the reasons I kept going. They support, champion, and believe in me, helping me believe in myself. Three of us co-founded an author/reader event called BookBuzz to promote ourselves and other authors, with parties in New York City and Toronto.

Still, though, my dream eluded me. I wrote another book and another, trying unsuccessfully to find a new agent. I read everything I could get my hands on, because other authors are and always will be my greatest inspirations and influences. Then one winter day six years ago, I was standing on a Toronto subway platform waiting for the train when I saw an exhausted mother holding her infant. She was standing so close to the edge. I remembered my own frazzled days as a new mother with my two children. And I thought: What if? I tore through my purse for something to write on and scribbled what was to become the premise for Woman on the Edge on an empty gum pack.

I signed with the fiercest, most dedicated agent, who loved the premise and my voice. Someone who believed in me and my potential. Together, we spent the next three and a half years revising my first thriller until it was ready for submission. I was terrified and hopeful, and as the offers began coming in, I fell to my knees and sobbed.

She sold it to my brilliant editor at Simon and Schuster Canada for publication in North America, my amazing editor at Headline in the UK, and for translation in seven European countries. When I took my children to the bookstore and pointed to my debut on the shelf is a day I will never forget. I got to show them that anything is possible if you don’t give up.

Today, Woman on the Edge is a #1 national bestseller, and that will likely always feel surreal and shocking to me. I am incredibly grateful for the support and love from readers, authors, bloggers, bookstagrammers, librarians, and booksellers. Along with my remarkable agents and publishing teams, everyone has changed my life. 

Writing was and is a compulsion for me. It’s my therapy and joy. Like parenting, writing is exquisite torture, full of excitement and exhilaration; fear and self-doubt. Success, I think, in this very difficult business, is about persistence, patience, practice, and embracing the book community. It’s about believing in yourself and never stopping because dreams can and do come true.

 

You can find Samantha here:

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If you are a published author who has a story to tell about your own journey, please get in touch here: distressedbluejeans@gmail.com