My road to becoming an indie author was a long and winding one. Ultimately, my husband’s stage-four battle with cancer shook me to the point where I no longer wanted to wait for the literary powers that be to tell me what, when, and how I should write. Life was short, and I was ready to make my mark.
I have a passion for romantic comedies, aka chick lit. Women all over the world crave volumes of witty, entertaining chick drama. I couldn’t get Random House to snap up my clever prose, but I knew it was darn good. Now, how to go about proving it to the rest of the world?
After a headfirst and harrowing dive into the internet, searching for ways to credibly tout my indie novel, I came away with a few ideas. The first was to get a Kirkus review before releasing my first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight. I entered my credit card number, uploaded the book, and waited.
The first week, I was full of optimism that my name would join the ranks of the greats. By week two, I faltered. Authors are both the most confident and the most insecure people on the planet. It’s part of our charm. By week four, I was certain every word I’d written was crap; I’d better give up my dream pronto. By week six, my “recommended” review came in. Here’s a snippet: “this fun, quick read examines the envies and dissatisfactions in women’s lives, reassuring readers that no one’s life is truly perfect….An amusing, ultimately heartwarming romp through the ridiculousness of tabloid gossip and hometown comforts.”
Hallelujah, they got me! The reviewer immediately understood my tone was satirical and bandied about words like “hysterical catfight.” This review gave me soundbite after soundbite to publicize my novel.
It’s been three years since She Sins at Midnightwas published. I’ve since written two more romantic comedies and two middle-grade novels. Not only did my books receive great Kirkus reviews, but they’ve also won multiple awards and have hit the top of their categories on Amazon. Am I a household name yet? I guess it depends whose house you’re in. But my second book, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, has piqued the interested of a mega movie studio and a top Hollywood production company, so I’m willing to bet it’s only a matter of time.
Will I continue to get Kirkus reviews for my books? You betcha! Kirkus has given me the kind of credibility that’s a must for an indie author. It’s always hard to know where to spend your advertising dollars, but I’m convinced this review is the way to go.
Whitney Dineen’s first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight, won a silver medal in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite awards. Her second, The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, is a finalist in the 2016 RONE Awards, won a silver medal at the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Awards and won Honorable Mention at the London Book Festival. Her third chick lit book, Mimi Plus Two, was a finalist in the 2016 Reader's Favorite Awards and a runner-up at the London Book Festival. In addition to her love of chick lit, Whitney has also written a series of adventure books for middle readers. The first two books in her series, Wilhelmina and the Willamette Wig Factory and Who the Heck is Harvey Stingle? are both available now. Book three, Beware of the Basement, is due to be released in the spring of 2016.