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Student novelist seeks break

Jamee+Crosby
Jamee Crosby

To make it in the writing world, senior Jamee Crosby would become the person she never wanted to be.

With two books self-published in late October, Crosby found there are more challenges an author has than just writer’s block.

“Self-publishing is easier than I thought,” said Crosby, a middle childhood education major. “But how will people hear about it and how do I get people to buy it— that’s where I’m at. I need a following and to become social media famous.”

The only problem is, Crosby hates Facebook. But she is willing to make a page just for her books.

“The self publisher has to be very active in social media to find readers,” said Lawrence Coates, professor of creative writing. “You’ve got to be blogging, on Facebook and make sure you’re online a lot to create buzz about your work.”

Crosby’s two books, titled “Where To Turn,” and “Finding Lauren,” available on Amazon, are coming of age stories where the main characters discover who they are.

“Where To Turn” focuses on an aspiring author in New York who finds love and whose work gets accidentally discovered. She later finds things aren’t as peachy as they seem. “Finding Lauren” deals with a college graduate who moves back home unwillingly. In search of herself, the main character, Lauren, works odd jobs from waitress to stripper and has an affair with her shrink.

“I write what I know, I write what I fear and I write what I think will be interesting,” Crosby said of her subject matter.

“Finding Lauren” explores Crosby’s fear of moving back home.

“It’s a serious topic,” she said. “While Lauren’s life is hilarious, it’s about taking things in stride and to keep a sense of humor.”

Now that she is published, Crosby is looking for feedback, which has been positive so far.

“[Where To Turn] has a lot of everything in it,” said Sierra Carr, a junior at Kent State University who bought the book. “It has drama, romance and twists.”

Carr, who has followed Crosby’s writing for a few years as a friend, said her books are relatable to the young adult audience.

“It’s about things people go through everyday like friends, relationship issues and finding yourself in college,” she said.

Since her books have been available online, Crosby sold 19 copies of “Where to Turn” and 20 copies of “Finding Lauren,” which have garnered mostly positive reviews, Crosby said.

“I want negative feedback to help better the books,” she said.

That’s another drawback to self-publishing, Coates said.

With the traditional route, publishers send out advance copies to be reviewed by the press, he said.

So far, the only negative feedback she has gotten is from her favorite author, Jodi Picoult, who advised against self-publishing.

While it was disappointing to hear that from a writing idol, Crosby hopes to get published the traditional way with her next book, which will follow the lives of characters from her first books.

To catch the eye of agents, Coates said having previously published works helps. The best advice is persistence, he said.

Crosby’s persistence, she said, helped her get where she is.

“I’ve learned to write more effectively,” she said. “I write for myself. If I can create something whole and finished, I feel good.”

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