We're already halfway through Pride-iversary Month and today we have another amazing guest article from sapphic romance author and NYT bestseller Chelsea M. Cameron, who tells us how she came to self-publish LGBTQ+ fiction after a career in traditional publishing.
Don't forget to join our Instagram giveaway later today to be in with a chance of winning an ebook of your choice by Chelsea!
When I tell people that my writing career has been a roller coaster, I sometimes think people assume I’m exaggerating, but believe me, I’m not.
I first started writing and publishing young adult paranormal non-queer romance in 2012 due to the influence of both the young adult book industry at the time (some of you may remember something called Twilight) and indie author sensation, Amanda Hocking. Oh, how little I knew then. I kind of want to go back in time and pat myself on the head for being so adorable.
In the summer of 2012, I had an idea for a contemporary college romance and decided to publish it with a cover I made myself. One thing I did learn back then: timing can be KEY in publishing. New adult, as it came to be called, was booming and I happened to put the book up on Amazon at just the right time. Before I knew it, I’d hit bestseller lists, I had a literary agent, and a publishing deal with a major publisher. As far as I was concerned, my life trajectory was set for the rest of my life. I’d just… keep doing what I’d been doing.
For several years, I pumped out romances, but something was happening at the same time. On a whim, I started watching a new web series on Youtube called Carmilla (I was still on the vampire train), as well as reading sapphic romances. Pretty soon it was ALL I was doing. These books and that series were so compelling, and I could NOT figure out why until I started letting myself have the thoughts that I’d hidden from myself my entire life.
Long story short: I was not straight.
Around the same time, I had a book series I’d been struggling to write cancelled by the publisher and while I was disappointed by the loss of potential royalties, the major feeling I had was relief. I hadn’t wanted to write those books anyway. With a space in my writing schedule, I decided to try something: writing my own sapphic romance. Since I’d started out in young adult, that was where it felt safest for me to experiment. Inspired by the Taylor Swift song, “You Belong with Me”, but where the two girls competing over the boy end up together, I started typing and it was like everything fell into place. As I wrote the book, all I could feel in my bones was that this, right here, this was what I was meant to be writing. The book poured out of me so fast I think I barely slept and drank way too many energy drinks.
I published that book in 2016, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve found a home in the sapphic romance community and I am so grateful that I made it here. I get to write books that I am so freaking excited about every day. Sure, I have bad days and days where the words feel like pulling teeth, but the majority of my days are filled with joy for what I’m creating.
Chelsea M. Cameron is a New York Times/USA Today/Internationally Best Selling author from Maine who now lives and works in Boston. She's a red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, former cheerleader, and world's worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, eating brunch in bed, tweeting, and playing fetch with her cat, Sassenach. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.