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Meet S.L. Hannah

Today we’d like to introduce you to S.L. Hannah.

S.L., can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always been a writer. I started journaling in elementary school about my experiences with friends, teachers, family, and my observations about life. These journal entries became focused on romantic relationships starting in high school; who I wanted to date, what had gone wrong, my feelings, and my expectations. High school is also about the time when I started reading romance novels, women’s fiction, chick lit…those were the genres I gravitated towards.

I moved to L.A. in my mid-twenties. It was about the time when the T.V. show, Sex and the City was taking off. My roommates and I at the time would always watch HBO on Sunday nights, and Sex and the City was part of the line-up. It was a ground-breaking show in many ways. Women candidly talking about sex and relationships on television was not something you saw a lot of in the late 1990s or early 2000’s. I was inspired. I bought a few Candace Bushnell books, and I decided that I wanted to pen my own book about sex and relationships. It was, after all, what I had written about in my journals for years. It was also a conversation that I considered very important amongst women. The ability to make a woman feel that she is not alone in her intimate thoughts about intimate topics is empowering.

I wrote the first draft manuscript of what would become my Sex, Life, and Hannah book series in 2004. I found an editor and decided to embark on publishing the book series myself versus pitching it to agents and publishers. There was something about going through the publishing process that excited me. Of course, there were a lot of hurdles along the way. Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. It’s also not for people who aren’t willing to take it seriously. You have to hire professionals, you have to set deadlines, and you have to treat your book like more than just a creative process. You have to treat your book project like a business, which not everyone is interested in doing.

Since starting my journey to being an author, I have published seven books, four of which are part of my Sex, Life, and Hannah book series. This year, I am re-branding and re-releasing that book series. I’ve learned so much about the creative side of writing as well as the business side. I’ve published my own books, I’ve published other author’s books, and I’ve coached aspiring authors about the publishing process. The journey has not been easy, but it has been rewarding.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Most new authors think that there is a million dollars waiting at the end of the rainbow when you publish a book. I was certainly one of those new authors. That idea is certainly motivating and exciting in the beginning, but the truth is that very few authors reach a point in their writing career where they can even pay their bills off their book royalties.

The challenge is, overcoming that disappointment so that it doesn’t discourage you from writing more books. Creative people that have something to share with the world must share it regardless of the financial outcome and regardless of the struggles along the way.

If you go the route of finding an agent and publisher, the challenge will be finding that right fit. You will be sending out many pitches and getting many rejections. You will potentially even go down a path with someone that you eventually realize is not the right path for you. If you go the route of self-publishing, you will need to find and pay for help in the form of editors, designers, and marketing professionals. You will have to make a realistic budget and realize the limitations of that budget.

Write, and be ready to make an investment of your time, of your energy, and of your money. Write because you love the journey, and treat the journey like you would any other business start-up.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am currently writing under my pen name, S.L. Hannah. My book series, Sex, Life, and Hannah is about one woman’s insistent quest over the course of a year to find “The One.” I also have two romantic thrillers, The Need and Hard Trigger.

All my books are centered around the female point of view and I write in first person, present tense because I want my readers to feel like they are in the mind of my hero. I want my readers to know all my hero’s most intimate thoughts and I want my readers to feel like they are on the same journey as my hero.

I also still do some coaching for aspiring authors. If you want to know about the self-publishing process, you can always reach out to me.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I have been with my editor, Jennifer Thomas, since 2005. My books would not be what they are without her professional editing hat. She has pushed me and helped me become a better writer. Every writer needs a really good editor.

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