Overcoming Fears with Kai Strand Author of Worth the Effort: Ella’s Story

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on May 9, 2014 in Books, Guest, Kai Strand, Writing, Young Adult |

I’m very pleased to welcome back Kai Strand, who is celebrating the release of her YA contemporary novella Worth the Effort: Ella’s Story (see my 5-star Goodreads review here). She is discussing a topic near and dear to every writer: overcoming fears! Kai is also offering up a nice giveaway, so make sure to enter at the end of the post. 

21879525Overcoming Your Fears 

By Kai Strand

In my newly released novella, Worth the Effort: Ella’s Story, Ella has to face a fear she wasn’t even aware of prior to meeting Ayden.

Ella is a senior in high school. She has a part-time job as a barista at a café downtown. She prefers to work the opening shift – you know, to get work over with for the day. For the two years she has worked at Read Between the Beans, she’s never once felt vulnerable until the morning she bops up to the backdoor of the restaurant and finds someone sleeping in the shadows next to the dumpster.

But realizing how vulnerable she is, all alone at four in the morning, isn’t even what scares her the most. It’s the fact that the homeless person sleeping in her alley is a seventeen-year-old boy. Ella hadn’t realized there were homeless kids, nor did she realize how terrified she was of them.

Just like Ella has to face her fear in her story, I had to face mine to make it available for your reading pleasure.

I was always terrified of self-publishing. Over the past few years the role of indie author has exploded until it seems like everyone is doing it. But still I resisted. Because I was scared to death. Afraid I’d look like a hack. Terrified I’d make a mistake. Worried I wouldn’t sell any copies and waste all that time, effort, and money.

But the more I watched the industry evolve (not that it is finished evolving, by any means) the more I realized that I wanted my career to stretch across all publishing opportunities and that meant self-publishing. So not only did I write the story, but I studied how to self publish, asked questions of more experienced authors, learned a formatting software (well, still learning it, actually), and forced myself to keep moving forward.

There were a couple times during the process that I almost quit. I almost decided to submit the novella to a small press for consideration. If it was accepted, they could do the hard work. Even now that the book is out there, my stomach still squirms. But I remind myself that I love public speaking even though I get all squirmy-bellied before each gig, and maybe self-publishing will be like that too.

So writing and publishing Ella’s Story was an exercise in both Ella and I facing our fears. Have you faced a fear? Did you succeed? Did you have to try again? Or do you have a fear you want to face?

About Worth the Effort: Ella’s Story:

Ella Jones is a coward. There is a teen boy living in the alley behind her work and she is terrified of him.

Desperate to leave behind the stereotypical and judgmental world she was raised in, Ella forces herself to make a true connection with seventeen-year-old Ayden Worth. As their friendship grows Ayden’s quiet, gentle ways teach her true courage.

But there’s more to Ayden’s story than Ella knows. When their worlds collide in the most unexpected place, Ella feels betrayed. Will she find the courage to learn who Ayden really is, or will she determine he’s not worth the effort?


About the Author:

When her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for the younger ones, Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.

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  • Thanks for sharing your braveness with all of us, Kai. Self-pubbing is something I’ve considered, but like you, I’ve been hesitant to do it. Maybe one of these days…

  • Kai Strand says:

    Thank you, Katie, for hosting me and letting me share my story with your readers. I’m so glad you liked Ella’s Story and I truly appreciate your time and your review!

    Susan Kaye Quinn covers ‘fear’ in her book INDIE AUTHOR SURVIVAL GUIDE. She covers a lot of other useful things too! Anyone self-publishing or even small press publishing should check it out.

  • Your book sounds really good. Congrats on the self-pub.

  • Kai Strand says:

    Thanks, Suzanne!

  • Great post! I’ll admit that I’m completely terrified of self pubbing–I just don’t have the time or energy for it. But it a great route for those who can make it work 🙂

  • Kai Strand says:

    That is exactly how I felt about it, Meradeth. Funny how that opinion altered over the past few years. I love my small presses, but I work so hard for those books, too. I figured a little extra work up front and I get to keep all the profits after. Just a different revenue stream. I don’t believe one is better than the other and I hope to continue to do both. I’ll have four titles published in 2014. Two self and two small. Pretty dang cool if you ask me 🙂

  • Welcome to the land of hybrid authors, Kai. I swear this is a great time to be a hybrid. 🙂

  • I’m totally in awe of hybrid authors–where do you guys find the time and energy? Haha. Congrats on the new project!

  • Kai Strand says:

    It’s an exciting career-based decision. I love that the book won’t expire in three years if the sales are weak. I love that I can add back matter about the book’s subject or promoting my other work (published by ‘rival’ publishers). I love that from the reader’s side of the book, they don’t care how it got to them.

    Thanks for reading, ladies!

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