YA fiction author keeps ‘dream’ alive

best-selling author Cameo Renae tells all


Photo by Faith Owan

Author Cameo Renae answers a question from one of her listeners in the high schoolʻs Literary Survey class, Friday, Nov. 14.

By Faith Owan, news writer

Chasing your dreams is one thing; achieving them is another. International bestselling author Cameo Renae shared her firsthand experience as a best-selling author with Kamehameha Maui middle and high school students yesterday.

“It’s like a dream unfolding in front of my eyes,” she said.

Renae said her favorite part of school was the Creative Writing classes. Although Renae always loved to write, she never thought she would become an author.

About five years ago, she decided to give it a shot. She self-published her first book In My Dreams on Amazon, which is her only book that isn’t part of a series.

For her second book, which was to be the first one in her Hidden Wings series, she tried to get an agent to sell her books to bigger publishing companies.

She submitted to about fifty different ones and was turned down by all of them. However, once she went to an independent publishing company, she got a much different response.

“They picked it up like the next day; she read it in one day and was, like, ‘I want it.’ So it pretty much took off from there,” Renae said.

Cameo Renae has now sold over 100,000 copies of her books. In a little over three years, she has published seven books. In addition to In My Dreams, the Hidden Wings series is comprised of four books, and there are two books in her After Light series.

The books have been popular enough in the young adult fiction genre, that there are many more opportunities on the horizon for Renae.

She just signed an audiobook contract with Audible.com and has already heard from the voice actors who will be bringing her books to life.

There’s also a short film, After Light, based on her book ARV-3, which will premier at the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention on November 21 of this year. View the trailer on YouTube by clicking here.

With all of these exciting projects in progress, you might think that Cameo Renae has been sitting back and basking in the glory.

The reality is that to keep the success going and the dream alive, it takes a whole lot of hard work, dedication, and business smarts.

“It’s hard. It’s not only writing…it’s hard to get your book noticed,” she said.

In order to keep her books selling and the ratings high, she spends many hours promoting herself, mainly online.

“I spend probably a good two to three hours just on social media trying to get my books out there — a day. If I don’t promote them, I notice that the sales drop. So, it’s like you’ve got to constantly be on it. That’s the hardest part for me, is the promotion part. It is very time consuming,” she said.

Just like with any other job, there are deadlines to be met with her publishing company. Renae schedule has her usually publishing a book every three months.

She has to balance her writing and her family, with traveling and promoting. She does tours of book signings and conventions to help get her books out there. In fact, she had a book signing at the Barnes and Noble store in Lāhaina at 2:00 this afternoon.

“I did probably about 12 tours just for In My Dreams, and I think that’s why my name really did get out there. It helped a lot,” she said.

Like with any author, Renae said she also has detractors to deal with.

“You’ve just got to let it roll off your back. There are people that are going to love and hate your work, and you have to realize that from the beginning.”

And, although she’s invited to appear at a lot of events, much of the expense of traveling and promoting comes out of her own pocket.

With the constant hustle to write books; make sure they’re being marketed; put  aside time for family, traveling, conventions; and make deals, it might seem like being an author could get too overwhelming, but for Renae, it’s all worth it to get to do what she loves.

“It’s a lot to learn, and a lot of people get discouraged, but if you just stick in there, and it’s something that you love to do then it’s a wonderful, wonderful career,” she said.