"Original, poetic, intriguing, imaginative, and informative" are just some of the words readers around the world are using to describe Laura Michelle Thomas' debut novel and guide for young writers, Polly Wants to Be a Writer: The Junior Authors Guide to Writing and Getting Published.
Self-published through Friesen Press in Victoria, Thomas, a freelance copywriter and ghostwriter, took a break from writing for clients this year to write, polish and, single-handedly, market a novel that would show aspiring writers how the writing process works for professionals.
And she seems to have hit the mark. Since its worldwide release in early October, the novel has received multiple fivestar reviews on sites like Goodreads, Teen Ink, Amazon, Chapters, and Barnes and Noble.
The best part, according to Thomas, is the reviews indicate the book is doing exactly what she hoped it would do for young writers: teach them about writing through story.
When asked why she took the self-publishing route for her debut novel, Thomas said, "Let me start by saying I think self-publishing is a poor option unless you can sell and like the challenge of selling.
Sales is not the forte of most authors. They love the creative but hate marketing. "That's why publishing houses can snap up the rights to their work at a fairly low royalty rate.
Authors are happy to let their publisher babysit the distributors and drive sales. But I'm not your typical author. It's refreshing to be writing copy for my own product for a change."
Slightly higher royalties aside, Thomas went on to say the single most compelling reason for taking the independent route with her first book was the fact she has been serving the young writers market already for years.
Much like powerhouse self-published author David Chilton wrote The Wealthy Barber for his finance clients, Thomas wrote Polly Wants to Be a Writer for a market she knows and has a relationship with through her international Junior Authors contest and conferences, not to mention her writing vlog on You Tube and jaBlog, her company's blog.
"One of the things fueling sales is that now when I get the daily onslaught of writing and publishing questions from young writers, I can direct them to the book," Thomas said. "It saves me writing huge email responses which essentially offer the same advice over and over again."
Thomas is gearing up for a short author tour with stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles, followed by her second Junior Authors conference in London. For more information, visit www.laurathomascommunications. com.