Caroline George was just a girl when she began fantasizing about what life would be like inside a “Chronicles of Narnia” book.
George hashed out her imaginings into what eventually became Caroline the Courageous.
As she began posting her stories to a teen writing website, she found out many others were also very interested in the adventures of Caroline the Courageous. A hungry following of 60,000 weekly readers kept coming back for more.
This is where George’s career path as a professional author began.
“That gave me a lot of confidence to keep writing,” George said. “I mean, I look at the plot lines now, and they were very intricate for middle school writing.”
As she grew older, George’s dreams to become an author inevitably solidified. She decided she would write a book and prayed for God’s provision over it.
However, George’s inspiration for her first novel came during an unexpected moment one summer at her lakeside Georgia home.
As she jumped off the dock into the lake, a burst of images and ideas flashed through her mind. By that night, George had mapped out what she believed to be her first novel, she said.
While the novel wasn’t her best work, George said it helped move her toward creating what would eventually become the “Prime Way” series.
“The first time I wrote my book, it was awful,” George admits. “But it gave me the backstory, and I fell in love with the characters, so I wrote what I thought would be the second book, and the second book is what became the start of the ‘Prime Way’ series.”
George’s goal was to have this novel published by the time she turned 16. However, though her skills were promising, her age alone was enough for agents to refute her hard work.
George even remembers the help of her literature teacher at the time, who believed in her enough to send her manuscripts out to a few agents she knew personally.
They all said the same thing: George was too young to be a published author.
It was around that time that her teacher suggested self-publishing and e-books.
“It was only five years ago but e-books were still a new trend on the market,” George explained. “I downloaded a few, pretty much, ‘Ebooks for Dummies’ on my dad’s iPad, and began educating myself, and after that it was pretty much trial and error.”
George even hired a professional photographer and models for the front of her book cover. She couldn’t stop her drive to perfect every aspect of her first novel.
“I loved writing, and my goal as a kid was to have one person read or like my book, or one person’s mind be changed just a little bit,” she explained.
Finally, her first novel, “The Prime Way Program: Be the Victor,” was published to overwhelmingly positive responses — and just 25 days before she turned 16.
Such positive responses to self-publishing has led George to many opportunities, such as teaching writers’ workshops, speaking at school gatherings, participating in Q&A sessions and library signings, and being featured in Big City Thoughts magazine and film company Faith Flix.
The effects of initially starting out a self-published author also brought many other benefits to George as a writer and person, like making her more approachable and inspirational to future generations of young writers.
“I’ve seen a lot of young people start writing or pursue publishing by just hearing me speak about my experiences in self-publishing,” she said.
George also currently writes for Pursue Magazine and leads Local Publishing, a creative division of the My Local ministry.
After self-publishing her first two novels, George went to New York City in hopes to find an agent to represent her upcoming, stand-alone novel, “The Vestige.”
George still received her share of rejection letters after shopping “The Vestige,” however, she only looks back on them with smiles.
“I was really proud I got a rejection letter from HarperCollins because that meant they had read my work,” George said.
However, George recently signed to Evernight Teen Publishing, a small boutique publishing company based in Canada.
With boutique publishing, “you get all the departments of a publishing company, you get people helping you with marketing, but you have more artistic freedom and higher percentage of royalties,” George said.
Looking back on her journey of self-publishing, George said she would do it all over again.
“What I really appreciated about my decision to self-publish was that I had to become a business woman, I had to go from being the writer, the artist, to be the business person who is selling a product,” she said.
In June, “The Vestige” will be released to the public.
George’s books are available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Learn more about Caroline Georgehere.
This article was written by Angelena Gutierrez. Photo courtesy of Caroline George.
Editor’s note: This story was corrected for factual errors Friday, April 28.