Giveaway + Guest Post + Review of Stich by Samantha Durante {CBL Book Tour }

Get Stitched For V-Day

Why I Decided to Self-Publish
by  Samantha Durante
Guest Post

There’s a lot that goes into publishing a book.  There’s the writing, of course, but what no one tells you is that the writing is only a tiny portion of what needs to happen to get a book in front of readers.  There’s editing, proofreading, cover art, print formatting, ebook formatting, printing, distribution, marketing, social media… the list goes on.

In traditional publishing, the writer does the writing, and that’s it.  Well, at least, that’s what I thought.  My understanding was that the point of this whole industry that built up around books was so that writers could write, and everyone else – agents, editors, designers, proofreaders, publicists, distributors, retailers, etc. – could do everything else.  And to compensate these other contributors for their work, the writer shared a significant portion of the revenue from the book.

That sounded like a fine tradeoff to me, so I initially set out on that path.  I compiled a list of agents, started drafting my query letter to pitch my book, and was days away from sending those queries, when Amazon posted this on their front page.  It’s a blog post by independent author Jessica Park who, after getting disillusioned with the traditional publishing industry, decided to publish her own book using Amazon’s tools, and has been very successful doing so.

When I read that article, I had already done a lot of research about self-publishing and had carefully weighed my options to figure out what was right for me.  I suspected that in the end I would probably end up going independent, but some small part of me held on to the dream of being “really” published, so I had decided to give that a shot and use the Amazon option as a backup.  But after reading that post, a few things hit me:

1. I really, really wanted to get my book in front of readers as soon as possible.  The idea of waiting for weeks/months for agents and publishers to read (and, more often than not, reject) my book was killing me.  I’m the type of person who likes to get things done, so this waiting around for other people to act basically sounded to me like torture.

2. I knew from my research that successful books make it because the author puts a tremendous amount of effort into marketing the book and building a following.  Not the publishers and publicists and media people (who I initially had thought were responsible for doing this), but the author herself.  I figured if I needed to do all that work either way, why pay someone else to do it?  Plus, by doing it myself, I could price my book much lower (the ebook version anyway – unfortunately print-on-demand doesn’t have the economies of scale that you find in traditional publishing, so the print version won’t be as reasonable as I’d like it to be) and still make the same amount of money per book as I would if I had published it traditionally.

3. I am a control freak.  I like to make everything perfect right down to the tiniest little detail (I literally have almost 100 pages of notes planning my wedding…), and usually the easiest way to do that is to just do it myself.  Some authors are daunted by the idea of formatting and designing and proofreading their own book, but I’m excited by it.  I know my book is going to be me and I love that.

4. At this point in my life, writing novels is a hobby for me.  Would I love to get paid for writing books?  Absolutely – I would do it full-time if I could make a living that way.  But right now, I am running a successful business and plan to continue doing so to earn a living, so my career doesn’t depend on my acceptance into the publishing world.  My goal at this point is just to do it and see how many readers I can reach.  If all goes well, then perhaps full-time fiction will be in the cards for me.  If not, at least I know I can continue doing this for fun on the side.

So, I decided to self-publish.

Of course there are drawbacks – I’m still nervous about not having a professional editor and proofreader review my book, but I am hoping that getting the opinions of 20 avid readers on multiple versions of the manuscript will have sufficed.  And I won’t get the “approval” from the industry that a part of me still desperately wants – though as Jessica Park said her in post, it’s really readers’ approval that I need, not publishers and editors (readers, I hope you love it!).

But I think it will be worth the effort.  I got the first drafts of my cover art today, and I can’t tell you how good it feels to see my name on the cover of a book.  (Can’t wait to share the final version with everyone soon!)  Looking at that cover, what I realized is that it doesn’t matter who publishes a book – what matter is that it exists, and it’s ready for people to read.

Now the challenge is finding those people!

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. Stitch is her first novel. 
Find Samantha :  Facebook     GoodReads    LibraryThing     Shelfari

The Book

Stitch by Samantha Durante
Format : E-book ,  314 pages
Obtained: Free copy in order to give an honest review
Release Date: August 1st 2012
Series: Book #1 In the Stitch Trilogy Series 
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance and Dystopian Sci-Fi,
Stitch (Stitch Trilogy, #1)
Her heart races, her muscles coil, and every impulse in Alessa’s body screams at her to run… but yet she’s powerless to move.
Still struggling to find her footing after the sudden death of her parents, the last thing college freshman Alessa has the strength to deal with is the inexplicable visceral pull drawing her to a handsome ghostly presence.  

In between grappling with exams and sorority soirees – and disturbing recurring dreams of being captive in a futuristic prison hell – Alessa is determined to unravel the mystery of the apparition who leaves her breathless.  But the terrifying secret she uncovers will find her groping desperately through her nightmares for answers.

Because what Alessa hasn’t figured out yet is that she’s not really a student, the object of her obsession is no ghost, and her sneaking suspicions that something sinister is lurking behind the walls of her university’s idyllic campus are only just scratching the surface…

The opening installment in a twist-laden trilogy, Stitch spans the genres of paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi to explore the challenges of a society in transition, where morality, vision, and pragmatism collide leaving the average citizen to suffer the results.

I wanted to be apart of this tour because I love dystopians. Honestly, one of my favorite preferred genres. I haven’t read ghost love stories before because they don’t appeal to me - not my cup of tea. However, I figured since the blurb guarantees that it’s not what it seems, the best way to find out about ghost loves stories is if it’s actually wrapped up in my favorite genre.

As far as Stitch is concerned, I was wrong. The first majority deals with the whole straightforward ghost love story, which I wasn’t really moved by. I got to know Alessa, her best friend, Janie, and the perfectly bubbly movie star beautiful sorority head sister, Lizzie. And the ghost of course, but again, can’t say much there otherwise I would ruin everything. I did like the characters, I just found it all very standard fare and bland. The whole first half is under this fog with minor irritations that bloomed to full on frustration as it took soooo long to get to the twist I was waiting on.

The twist certainly was mind boggling and completely out of left field that finally moved the book into the science fiction dystopian genre.  I did continue reading to figure out how this was all going to work. After 40 or 50 pages of flashbacks, I still can’t give a good picture of how this world works. It is rather typical dystopian set up and doesn’t include details needed to flesh it out at all. I kept asking basic questions about how it was all set up and wasn’t satisfied with the world building.

Then there’s this whole action sequence with pauses for dramatic effect (How were you no caught taking so long to get away?) and questionable logic (like what tool can put a hole in a pipe?).  There’s mini-reveals that didn’t land for me because it all felt really formulaic at this point. The whole ending devastation for Alessa? I’m snorting and saying, well, duh.

There’s other issues like just how stupid some people came off because they kept saying “We don’t know” or “We know [this] but talk about several incidents that contradict [this] and be oblivious about it all”. The worst of it being they didn’t follow through on somethings that just seemed so common sense and basic. It felt like giant gaps I couldn’t move around or make sense of. The whole world is painted in broad, general strokes  as is so I can’t even begin to try to parse this all out myself. It’s not even all big-important-keep-it-as-a-surprise in the next book, it’s stuff like how big is said place? One building or lots of buildings? What’s the division like? How many people are we talking about here?

As far as what I was looking for the second half-ish is definitely a step in the right direction nonetheless. The back story was really the best parts of the book and after the fog of first half lifted I really starting liking the characters more because they made more sense and were far more interesting and compelling to me. I love how it’s not including the typical love triangle as well but considering the holes in place I’m worried it’s not going to stay this way. (dun, dun dunnnnn love triangle! predication. No, seriously I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t happen.)

In the end, I’m wondering if the very reason I picked up the book may have been the downfall for me. The clash between the  first part in an unloved genre vs. the high standards of one of my favorite genre second part was just too much. Does this mean I hated Stitch and don’t recommend it? No, I just recommend it more specifically and say it wasn’t personally up to par.

While I had my issues, I’m actually open and interested on how the next book turns out. The end is  what I wanted in the first place and with where the storyline is going I think it’s quite possible to like the next book more. I mean without the problems of the beginning just not being my preference and I think I’ll get the facts I want just by the nature of where the character are going, so Stitch #2 isn’t necessarily ruled out.

First books in trilogy are usually susceptible to issues like not having it’s own storyline (not an issue here), having to open the door to a new world (started the foundation, but not really framed well), and leaving readers wanting to continue (true here).

As far as a rating = 2 out of 5 bats.
Conflicted, Lots of pros and cons, Meh

I know I’m in the minority of reviews here, but I can’t pump up or hide the almost fatal flaws I found in Stitch. For those who like ghost love stories, science fiction dystopias and won’t pick at the little things, I’d say definitely give it a shot. You’re more likely to love it, then hate it. There’s certainly promise and hope but I didn’t find it executed to my liking.

And lastly, this is actually a short review for me. I have pages of notes, with quotes and details about what bugged me/holes/etc. but that would all be too spoiler-ish. Once I get spoiler tags working here  to hide those details from people who won’t want to read it, I may post it in the future. Or if you really want to know, contact me.

(Note: All my reviews are honest opinions. Obviously, subjective and I was not compensated for this review. I simply received a free e-copy of Stitch in order to review it as part of this tour.)

Enter the giveaway HERE!
Follow the rest of the tour!

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