Today’s post is all about my friend Dale Hayes. I asked her to share with you her self-publishing adventure. I’ve been reading many of you, and this question comes up often, should I, shouldn’t I? Well, here is someone who has first hand experience, and could help you in your decision, and if you felt so inclined to encourage an author than why not check out her children’s book.
If you have kids, it’s a must in any library, and if you don’t … than what better gift than the gift of reading. Here is the link
You will find all the different outlets, and so much more on KC’s website.
So without further ado, please welcome the fabulous Dale Hayes.
This was a journey that, like all journeys, started with one foot in front of the other.
When I was a young mother I dreamed of writing children’s books, books that would inspire imagination, spark dialogue and create teachable moments for young children. The time had come to take the plunge. Little did I know that it would be a grueling journey. Once the seed was planted, the work began. I sat at my desk and looked at the screen and just didn’t know where or how to start. The ideas were there, I just couldn’t find my ‘voice’. So I just began writing, anything and everything. The pages were jammed pack with words. A writer I know looked at the pages and pages of disconnected goop and helped me organize my thoughts and ideas. He asked questions like: What do I want to say? Who am I writing for, what demographic? How did I want the book to sound, first person, third? How much of the story did I want/need to tell? I didn’t want to talk down to the children so how do I speak to them and keep them interested long enough to hear me? It all seemed overwhelming and discouraging. Thanks to a fabulous support group that encouraged me to forge on, I began to work on finding the answers to all the questions. I researched my demographic and read writer’s blogs. I studied articles on how to write children’s books and I read all genres of books for inspiration. After months of research, I started the writing process again with a clearer vision of what I wanted. I began to hear my ‘voice’. I knew how I wanted to sound and for the first time, in the whole experience, I felt I was in the right place and could move forward. I relied on my circle of family and friends to be brutally honest with me and we spent several weeks editing the final manuscript.
Now I had to find a publisher. I did research on finding a publisher that would be willing to gamble on a first time author. I soon discovered that it wasn’t going to be easy, in fact, almost impossible. A publisher will not consider an unknown author unless they are represented by a literary agent and I found that literary agents are extremely selective and will generally accept a manuscript for consideration only if it is recommended by a successful published author. I didn’t have that. I was told that it could and would probably take years, if ever, to find a conventional publisher. I’d worked too long and hard to give up. A friend of mine, who had been self-published, recommended their publisher to me. I diligently researched the publishing house. I did my homework, I checked testimonials, looked at their costs, and searched for any legal issues that may have been associated with the publishing house. Once I was satisfied, I took the leap. I had the manuscript written and now, since I was going the self-published route, I had to find my own illustrator. Yikes! I discovered that using the social media was tremendously helpful. I posted, I networked and I advertised. After looking at sample illustrations and interviewing several candidates, I found someone that was as excited in sharing my dream as I was. We talked at length; she met KC, watched him play and took heaps of pictures. It took weeks and weeks of back and forth communication to finally come up with an illustration of KC that I found captured his look and personality. Once the manuscript and illustrations were done, I submitted them to the self-publisher. The process took several months. The publisher was patient, encouraging and professional. Although their professionals guided me, the onus was on me for the final page layout and editing. The publisher took care of copywriting, trademarking, distribution and they made the book available to the top book retailers on line. The publisher was helpful in providing me with information on how to create a ‘buzz’ for my book but it was my responsibility to market it. It was more work than I imagined. Several months later, with more information than I ever thought I could use, I am overjoyed with the outcome.
Would I write another book? Hell ya. Would I go the self-published route again? Maybe. I did what I set out to do, I have a beautiful book that I am proud of and I have created a wonderful legacy for my children and grandchildren. We’ll see what tomorrow brings….
Written by By Dale Hayes
Published by Friesen Press
Dale Hayes, writer, teacher, actor, director, producer
I hope this helped you in your decision, whether it be self-published or otherwise. If you are interested in purchasing her children’s book, please click on the link below
Next blogpost, I promise is an excerpt of “A Shiner’s War”