1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Surprisingly enough I never actually planned to publish a book. I have always enjoyed writing stories even as a young child, but I made the decision to write and publish a book about my life story from the continuous encouragement of others over the years.
2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?
I started the very rough draft of my book ten years ago. I have had two children since then and temporarily put my book on hold for a number of years.
3. What made you want to self-publish?
After some research and a huge nudge from a friend and fellow author, Ceitci Demirkova, I decided to self-publish with Gatekeeper Press. I had another company that was interested in publishing my story, but I was going to have to give up some of my rights and a large portion of my profits. With Gatekeeper Press I could retain 100% of the rights and profits of my story. It was important for me not to have to modify the content of my book to fit into what a traditional company may have wanted my story to sound like. To top it off, with Gatekeeper Press I got to remain in control of every aspect of the publication of my book.
4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?
I would strongly recommend Gatekeeper Press for multiple reasons. Everyone I worked with was kind, patient, informative, and overall excited to help me publish my story. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and they meant it. I had to have my cover re-done multiple times to accomplish the look I was going for and not once did they get upset at my requests.
5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?
Since I just recently published, I have used my social media platforms to announce and sell my books and it has been going really well. I am looking into creating a website as well to help organize orders and be a little more professional than just social media posts.
6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?
The best advice I was once given was just to let your mind flow and get everything you want to say on paper first, not to worry about sequence or order so much or even grammar. Once you get the story down on paper you can always re-organize it and then dive into the grammar for the final touches.
7. What social media platforms are you on?
I am on Facebook: Dawnaya Key, Instagram: srakey3, and Youtube: Señora Dawnaya Key
8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?
It will sound super cheesy, but I honestly wish that I had found Gatekeeper Press sooner! They were the guidance that I needed to bring my manuscript to fruition and get it published to share with the world.
9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2021 (and beyond)
I imagine choosing from the many other self-publishing companies would be a challenge. I just suggest people do their research before diving in with a company that may not have their best interests in mind.
10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?
I have not won any awards as of yet, but I was featured on the front page of my local paper and also on our local news station about my book, Tomate. I will take that as a win for now.