SLP Authors, SLP Aspiring Authors Interviews

As I have retired and written a few children’s books I have been lucky to meet online and sometimes in person some fantastic SLP authors. It has been quite a learning trip for me to publish – to find helpful articles on “how to publish” and on “how to sell and market”. So often there are persons out there who will charge an arm and a leg to give you their “advice”. Well, now is the time that SLPs help each other on this fantastic journey. With that in mind I will be doing interviews with authors from time to time in hopes of making your journey a bit smoother and, hopefully, more successful.

My first interview is with the established author, Valerie Doherty. As I have been following her for about six months, I see that she has valuable information to those who are beginning authors/publishers as well as “wanna-be” authors publishers. 

  1. Valerie, you have written several books. Did you self-publish these? If not, who published them?

         Currently, I have four books on the market which have been published by Blossom Spring which is located in England. I’m in a hybrid situation with Blossom Spring. That means I have contributed to some of the publishing costs. 

         Before publishing with Blossom, I was in several children’s authors’ and illustrators’ groups on social media. I saw samples of many illustrators’ work. Brenda Higgins, the illustrator for all four Blossom books, seemed to be a “good fit” for the text. I hired Brenda to illustrate. Brenda suggested that I submit the text, along with the images, to Blossom Spring. Certainly, there are other publishing paths. One can explore self -publishing or traditional paths also. 

  • When you were writing and publishing these four books, did you have an experienced author/publishing person who could give advice?

         Yes, I have had each manuscript professionally edited, prior to sending to the publishing company. Additionally, I had two to three beta readers review the text. 

  • Now, I see that you have been posting on FB with great suggestions. Some of these talk about character development. Some of these talk about particular genres that encourage the “wanna-be” author or relatively new author to read specific books on the topic. What is your goal at this time on your postings for your followers?

         I have a website and author page on Facebook. Occasionally, we do have book give aways. It’s my hope to engage with readers and authors and promote books.  I talk about a variety of topics on both the website and author page. 

  • Is there a site or group that you follow to help you in your writings? If so, can you give a bit more on this group and how it can help “newbies”.

         I belong to several writing groups. Additionally, I’m a member of: The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Authors Guild, and 12×12. If unfamiliar, 12×12 is a community of picture book authors and illustrators. The challenge is to write 12 manuscripts in 12 months, although it’s certainly not a requirement. They have webinars, critique partners, and a wealth of content within that group. I have found that all the groups have been helpful in a variety of ways.

  • As I have followed you on social media, I see that you are encouraging other SLPs in their writing. Can you please explain what your goals are for this and how we can all work together on our writing/publishing journey?
  • What do you think is the most difficult task in writing/publishing? Do you think it is the writing itself? Do you think it is the physical process of illustrating and formatting the book? Do you think it is the marketing?

         For me, personally, the marketing of books is the most challenging, and it’s an ongoing process. 

  • What was your first book? What was your second book? Do you think the second was easier? Now, as you are studying the process and helping others, what would you do differently?

         Professional interests in early language and literacy development inspired me to write the first book, Husker Game Day, which was self-published through Mascot Books. That book released in 2011. 

         At the time, one of the initiatives of my undergraduate school, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was early childhood. I have interests in early childhood, speech and language, and football, so it seemed to be the perfect combination. Honestly, I knew little about the publishing process and I knew nothing of trademark and licensing agreements. Mascot knew how to navigate that territory. 

         The second book was also sport related. Getting to Omaha and the NCAA Men’s College World Series was published in 2012.  Again, professional interests in language and literacy led me to write these first two books. However, both of them are now off the market due to some changes in licensing and trademark agreements. On occasion, one can find them for sale through third parties. 

         Throughout the years, I’ve learned some things about the whole publishing process, and, of course, it continues to evolve. For me, personally, I continue to take courses to hone writing skills, seek out other professionals to learn about marketing, and participate in supportive writing communities. 

Valerie, I know you are a busy lady, now mentoring so many SLPs who are starting on this journey, so I thank you for taking the time to share with readers. I know they will find encouragement in your words as I have.

Valerie Doherty – SLP Author/Publisher Mentor Interview