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Self-publishing makes magic for Oak Harbor graduate

Brittany Geragotelis, who grew up in Oak Harbor, recently published her first book, “Life’s a Witch,” a modern take on the Salem Witch Trials. - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Brittany Geragotelis, who grew up in Oak Harbor, recently published her first book, “Life’s a Witch,” a modern take on the Salem Witch Trials.
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

A touch of magic isn’t just in Brittany Geragotelis’ books anymore. Since the publication of her first book, “Life’s a Witch,” the Oak Harbor native has been enjoying the magical feeling of success.

“I had gone through so many years of rejections, which is kind of hard when you put your heart and soul in it, even though it comes with the process,” Geragotelis said.

Geragotelis, 32, wrote her first book at age 15 after getting the idea from a dream. “Life’s a Witch” is the seventh book she’s written but the first that she’s shared with the public.

The key to her success came from stepping away from traditional publishing methods and publishing on Wattpad.com, which earned her 15 million reads before she self-published the book through Amazon.com's CreateSpace.

“Think of it as a YouTube for writers,” Geragotelis said of Wattpad. Writers can post what they’re working on and readers can explore and give feedback, all for free.

“For a long time, I thought there was only one way this dream would happen,” Geragotelis said, meaning traditional publishing, which includes finding a literary agent to represent the work in order to sell it to a publisher.

“As soon as I stopped holding myself to one idea, all these opportunities opened up and that’s gotten me to where I am today,” Geragotelis said.

When she first decided to use Wattpad, Geragotelis said she was hesitant to put her work out for free. But as she explored the website, she saw how popular young adult fiction was, especially stories with supernatural themes.

What she didn’t see was a book about the Salem Witch Trials set in modern times. “Life’s a Witch” was born.

Geragotelis kept most of the facts about the trials true --- except for one. Geragotelis decided to write as if the people accused of being witches really were witches.

The book’s main character, Hadley Bishop, is a descendent of Bridget Bishop, a historical figure who was accused of being a witch during the Salem Witch Trials.

Life seems perfect for teenager Hadley as the descendent of the most powerful witch of all time and the most popular girl at Astor High. But when her mother is kidnapped and killed by the same coven that betrayed Bridget during the Salem Witch Trials, Hadley and her coven decide to wage war against a coven so powerful that the magical world will be changed forever.

“It’s a battle of good and evil that’s come through the generations,” Geragotelis said.

While she wrote and published her book on Wattpad, Geragotelis got feedback from readers, a huge help for finding out if she was pulling off what she was trying to do, Geragotelis said. Their favorite parts were the spells and the witty popular culture references.

“She’s really sassy,” Geragotelis said of Hadley.

“With supernatural books like ‘Twilight’ and ‘Harry Potter,’ it allows you to get into a world that doesn’t really exist. I think people find they like the blend of history with modern day fiction,” Geragotelis said.

Geragotelis grew up in Oak Harbor and graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1997. She was a cheerleader at OHHS, which led her to become managing editor of American Cheerleader magazine in New York City. She also writes the blog Brittany the Book Slayer, found at www.thebookslayer.com, and runs a YouTube channel offering advice to aspiring writers and information about her books.

Geragotelis held a book launch party for “Life’s a Witch” Dec. 8 in New York.

“Little girls grow up planning their wedding; I grew up planning my book launch party. It was a dream come true,” Geragotelis said.

She’s working on the sequel to “Life’s a Witch” now and plans to write an entire series.

Recently, Geragotelis was approached by a literary agent and a foreign rights agent, and asked about TV and movie rights and even a comic book.

“There’s a lot of great things coming up and I’m really appreciative that people have been as supportive as they have,” Geragotelis said.

“Life’s a Witch” is available at Amazon.com in book and Kindle format, as well as for Nook at Barnes and Noble. Readers who enjoyed the story on Wattpad will also want to buy the book for a bonus chapter that Geragotelis didn’t publish on Wattpad.

 

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