I am a Coon Rapids–based independent author with three paranormal thriller novels published and the next one in the works. I started this journey as a starry-eyed new author with big dreams of making it big through traditional publishing. Reality quickly set in, however, and I pivoted to self-publishing—learning so many valuable lessons along the way. I get questions all the time about how I publish my books, how I learned how to do it, where to find information—which tells me there is a need out there for concise and cohesive instruction around options beyond traditional publishing, where authors' dreams are being crushed daily. The publishing world is changing rapidly, and I have the insights and experience to help everyone get their stories into the hands of readers. The Loft’s themes for the coming year are meant to equip writers to exercise the power of the word to challenge the status quo. They can also do that by eschewing the traditional publishers and leveraging alternative means of getting their words out into the world.