Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Publishing Secrets with Dawn Brotherton, Author of 'Trish’s Team'

Name:  Dawn Brotherton
Genre:  Youth Fiction
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Dawn:  I have always loved to read and always wanted to write. My two daughters played fastpitch travel softball for the Williamsburg Starz in Virginia. There are so many lessons to be learned from team sports that this series was begging to be written. I have ten outlined so far.
Is this your first book?
Dawn: It’s my first kids’ book. My husband and I kept score for both our girls and the traditional scorebooks drove me crazy, so I designed my own. It leaves a lot more room to recreate the game on paper, and has a section that teaches new people how to keep score—not just define the symbols. I also have two adult murder mysteries that have a female military officer as the protagonist, the Jackie Austin Mysteries.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Dawn: Indie, it’s the most cost effective with the most control over the product.  Now I’ve set up a small press to help other authors that are just starting out.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Dawn: In 2010 when I wanted to publish my first Jackie Austin book, I did a lot of research and found that a lot of traditional publishers were hard to get to, didn’t necessarily pay all that well (unless you were already famous), and required that you give up a lot of rights. And did I mention that they take AGES to respond to query letters? If at all! I’m not very patient.
So I decided I could set up my own company and do it myself. It was a lot of research, trial and error, but I’m still happy with my decision. Along the way, Blue Dragon Publishing has picked up a number of authors that are just starting out. I work fulltime for the Air Force, so my goal with Blue Dragon was to help people through the errors I already made, not necessarily to make a lot of money.
I’ve learned a great deal and am more than happy to share my experiences if it can help others learn. That’s an Air Force lesson I’m carrying into civilian life.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Dawn: There are so many different publishing opportunities out there; it’s just a matter of finding the right one or doing it yourself. I think a small press makes the most sense because you can take advantage of other peoples’ knowledge without the hassle of agents and query letters. But of course, that depends on the press. Personally, I wish I had more experience in marketing and publicity, because that’s what will make or break you. You can write the greatest book in the world, but if no one knows about it, it’s going to sit on your shelf—alone.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Dawn: It depends on your personality. I like to be in charge and call the shots. Some folks aren’t interested in the business part, so indie wouldn’t work for them.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Dawn: Don’t take anything too personal. If you really want to make a good product, you need to accept honest feedback. Typically, that means you have to hire an editor because your best friends or your sister doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. It’s worth the money! And write for the love of writing. If you do that, you will always be successful (even if you aren’t rich).

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