In 2010, magazine editor Brittany Geragotelis had six novels under her belt but not one of them had been published. After parting ways with her agent, Brittany was taking a break from writing when she was asked to share her creative writing online.
Rather than post one of her already completed works, Geragotelis opted to write a brand new story that appealed to what her target audience was currently reading: paranormal dramas with young women protagonists. Over the course of six months, Brittany posted one chapter a week starting in January 2011, eventually building an audience of millions of readers.
Even though the work was available for free, readers kept asking to purchase a copy -- for friends who prefer the polished feel of eBook versions or paper editions, but also for themselves. Despite this built-in demand, publishers were not interested in taking the title and Brittany herself had concerns about how long the traditional publishing process would take and the attention span of the audience she had built.
Instead, Brittany decided to publish the work herself using Amazon's CreateSpace and release Life's a Witch as a paperback and eBook, enlisting her fans to write reviews on GoodReads and Amazon and help spread the word about her novel.
In December, industry magazine Publisher's Weekly picked up the story of Brittany's successful debut on writing community Wattpad, causing her to receive hundreds of calls from graphic novelists, foreign rights agents and indie presses across the U.S. and Europe.
Now represented by literary agent Kevan Lyon, Geragotelis had had offers from major publishers as well as movie and television producers interested in the novel's screen rights. In the mean time, Brittany is working on several new projects and writing a sequel to Life's a Witch, which will be shopped to publishers who can capitalize on her continuously growing fan base.
To keep readers engaged while developing these upcoming projects, Brittany is uploading a previously unpublished novel and keeping in touch with readers through social media and her blog.
As self-publishing continues to gain market share, authors are confronting the same problems of 'discoverability,' marketing and audience that traditional publishers face, but without their expertise. To generate word-of-mouth marketing and sales, authors are exploring non-traditional avenues to drum up interest in their titles. Brittany's successful use of a writing community and social media is leading the way for authors who are willing to experiment with new ways to connect with book buyers.
Every Friday, HuffPost's Culture Shift newsletter helps you figure out which books you should read, art you should check out, movies you should watch and music should listen to. Learn more