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Meet David Collins of David Jay Collins in Lakeview

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Collins.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m an indie artist and author and I write LGBT fiction and horror. My first novel, Gaybash, takes place in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood. As with most authors, publishers passed on my book proposal. But instead of taking no for an answer, I chose to become an indie author and find an audience for my book.

I released Gaybash as an ebook in 2014 and it is now also a paperback and an audiobook. I’m proud that Gaybash is on the shelves of several indie bookstores in and around Chicago. Since releasing and promoting Gaybash, I’ve been writing Summerdale, my horror series set in nearby Andersonville. The first novel of the series comes out in October, with a Kickstarter launching on June 1st.

The positive response to my writing has inspired me to return to creating paper artwork, something I began in high school. My work is entirely handmade, both detailed and sculptural, and I frequently have an art project and a writing project at my desks simultaneously. Creativity is essential to my life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest challenge is making time for both the creative and marketing sides, while also balancing a very full-time job. I’m not working one-on-one with an editor or a marketing team–everything is up to me. It’s taken time to find my voice and style, in writing and in social media.

When dialogue quotes or artwork pics or promotions don’t get much attention on social media, instead of getting frustrated, I remind myself that this is a long process and there are no overnight successes. All artists struggle to get their work seen. All artists deal with rejection. I have to be persistent, just like everyone else who’s made it.

One thing I try to impress on readers is how much power they have in boosting the visibility of indie artists. A positive review on Goodreads or talking to friends about my book or just sharing a post from my Facebook fan page can mean so much. A few kind words are far better than any paid promotion!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with David Jay Collins – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’d describe Gaybash (and my writing) as relatable and inspirational.

Strong narrative, strong characters, strong dialogue. My fictional novel centers on Matt, a reserved gay man who’s jealous of his bold best friend, Greg, who stands up for himself in a pivotal (and very public) confrontation. Matt draws on Greg’s reaction later in the story when he stands up for himself for the first time in his life.

By the end of the novel, Matt is an entirely different person and his world is full of possibilities. So many readers, whether gay or straight, have identified with Matt and other characters that I’ve focused the message of my writing on believing in your own value and overcoming self-doubt. I had to overcome it myself in releasing Gaybash. Matt’s fictional journey and my own are not far apart, at least emotionally.

It’s in that same spirit that I’m writing Summerdale, which is centered on the addiction, isolation, and self-deception of the first four gay characters in the series. I’m proud to tell stories that are relatable and reflect our queer reality, both good and bad. My novels are set in amazing Chicago neighborhoods and I’m very proud to support local merchants, some of which appear in my novels and many of which I highlight in my social media. Shop Small!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m looking forward to a very active 2018. With Summerdale coming out, I’ll focus on many promotions including author readings, summer festivals (I love Chicago in the summer!), an Instagram Challenge in May, and my Kickstarter in June. But as the first novel of the series is released later this year, I’ll keep the momentum going for Summerdale II in October 2019, and Summerdale III the following year.

I’ll serialize parts of Summerdale II next year as individual chapters and prequels leading into the next journey. Writing is itself a journey and these characters are taking me on one helluva ride! At the same time, I have big plans for my artwork, including releasing another collection of downloadable holiday decorations on my website in November and doing product launch next year.

So my creativity is keeping me very busy! And I say this at my author readings during Q&A to encourage others to follow their own dreams: there has never been a better time to be an indie artist.


  • Gaybash ebook for Kindle $4.99
  • Gaybash audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes $19.95

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: davidjaycollins
  • Facebook: davidjaycollins
  • Twitter: davidjaycollins

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Christine Mortimer

    March 27, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    David Collins is not only a talented writer and artist, but he has a beautiful heart and soul. He brings the best out in others by making them feel heard, validated and important. Basically, David makes Chicago a better place to live – heck, he makes the world a better place!

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