When Brittany Geragotelis was writing her YA novel Life's a Witch, she posted it chapter by chapter on Wattpad, an online community for sharing writing and getting feedback from readers. Gradually, she gained 13 million fans. But despite that and an active blog, YouTube presence, and proving her chops as editor of American Cheerleader magazine, Geragotelis still couldn't attract a publisher. So she self-published through Amazon, and parlayed her online popularity into an article in Publishers Weekly. Fast-forward six weeks, and Geragotelis now has an agent, is fielding offers from foreign publishers and film companies, and has a big publisher looking at her work, which includes six unpublished novels. All this sparked a follow-up article in Publishers Weekly, which could only help raise her profile even more.
What's the moral of this story? If you want it bad enough, you can make it happen. Of course, it starts with the book, but 13 million fans is a pretty good indication that the story's working. And then you refuse to take "no" for an answer. While being published by a big house is still a worthy dream of many authors (including Geragotelis), the publishers no longer hold all the power. If you want to open that door for yourself, you can do it.