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Local author Niki Benton Smith will hold a self-publishing workshop this evening at the Harper Memorial Library in Junction City.

Smith has self-published three novels of her own, “Nightingale,” “The Last Dance” and “Secret.” She realized she wanted to become a writer when she was only a child and has worked hard to make that dream a reality since.

“Actually, I’ve wanted to be a writer since probably grade school. That was always my thing,” she said. “I always loved mysteries and what I hated about books was being halfway through a book and being able to figure out the ending before I even got there, so I wanted to write the kind of books that I would want to read.”

When she first wrote “Nightingale,” Smith tried to get the book published through traditional means. Typically, one would find a literary agent that would help them submit their book to publishing agents. Having a literary agent helps because it shows publishers that someone has already decided your work was good.

Smith did not have an agent when she began sending “Nightingale” to various publishers and publishing houses. After five years of rejection, she decided to go her own way.

“I figured it was now or never really. I could sit around for years waiting for a traditional publisher to give me a chance to publish, or I could give it a shot on my own and see how it went, and luckily, it went well,” she said.

First, she hired a freelance editor to edit her work. She decided to go through Amazon’s self-publishing system, which ended up being an easy process, she said.

Now, Smith has published three books through Amazon, with both print and e-copies available for purchase there. This evening, she will talk in-depth about Amazon’s publishing process, as well as mistakes made on her own journey and other tips that might make it easier for other writers.

“I had to figure it out all on my own; I didn’t have anybody that could tell me anything. And that was the most difficult part of it. After that, it was just a breeze. But I just figured, I’m sure there were more people out there that were in the same lane of progress,” she said. “Don’t give up. If that’s what you want and you have a story to tell, get it out there any way you can.”

This will be the first time Smith has offered a self-publishing workshop. She said she’s met many writers in the region that were curious about the process, which is why she decided to hold the workshop.

“People kept asking me these questions — ‘how did you do this?’ or ‘I have this friend that’s really been trying to get her book published and nobody will take a look at her work so she’s thinking about self-publishing, how did you do it?’” Smith said. “So many people asked me at the book signing I did here in Junction (City) last time; the librarian and I were talking and she asked ‘have you thought about telling people how you did it?’”

Smith’s self-publishing workshop will be held this evening at 6 p.m. at the Harper Memorial Library, located at 300 N. Myrtle Street. To learn more, contact the library at 870-924-5556. The workshop is free to the public.

All of Smith’s books are available for sale on Amazon. The three books she has published thus far are part of a mystery trilogy centered around the experiences of one woman whose psychic abilities help her to save her own life and solve grisly crimes.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or cbutler@eldoradonews.com.

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