1. What inspired you to begin your publishing journey?

I began writing To The Moon And Back (Moon) back in ~1995 on paper, after having come up with the idea for it in1984, while in nursing school. I wrote it on loose leaf, then spent several years typing it into a computer. I tried to get it published in 2000, going the traditional route. I was rejected by 26 agents and decided that was enough rejection in my life. I was busy working as a visiting nurse while my husband and I raised our three children. Then 9/11 happened and it further dampened my resolve. Life proceeded, with moving a family of five to a bigger house, school activities, sports, five surgeries in 10 years after I built a retaining wall half-way around my house, going back on online college to obtain my Bachelor of Science in Nursing – a five-year process, visiting my dad several times a year. I would add to Moon over the years as it was never far from my mind. In September 2022, I decided I must get Moon published to fulfill this long-held dream of mine.

2. What led you to choose the self-publishing route vs. traditional publishing?

I think I answered the question above, to a point, but I have always wanted to be published. I feared more rejection and I could finally afford to pay for the publishing. I know I have a book worth reading, that can mean something to people, and I want people to read it.

3. How did you select Gatekeeper Press as your publishing family?

I did my due diligence in research, spending hours on the computer studying aspects of self-publishing. Long story short, I knew I did not want to pick my own artist, my own editor, my own proofreader, etc. I wanted a company that did it all. I kept seeing Gatekeeper Press mentioned and decided upon them. Another huge selling point is that I wanted to be able to talk to someone. Sometimes talking is easier than emails. Gatekeeper Press is the only company that I found that the author can have a conversation with her author manager.

4. Were there any moments during your publishing journey where your expectations differed from the actual process?

In a way, the entire process was different than I expected, because I was in a new world. But if I had to say one aspect, it would be the length of time. Getting my characters to come to life took longer than I expected. It is difficult to convey my expectations to another person and have her get them to pen and paper.

5. What aspects of the process did you find most enjoyable?

Honestly, talking to Nicole Dudley was a lot of fun. She told me on our first day she would become my new best friend and I believe she did. Nicole was easy to talk to, would go to bat for me on the issues. Seeing the cover of Moon, so eye-catching and better than what I wanted (thank you, Anna!) was thrilling. Anna gave me what Moon needed, not what I originally wanted, and I am extremely grateful. She helped Moon come alive. And seeing my proof copy was absolutely wonderful. By then, it had become a 38-year dream for me. I was so excited, I was giggling and dancing while sitting on my sofa. Then it hit me, and I was in tears, unable to talk. Quite a moment for me.

6. What challenges did you encounter during your publishing journey?

GKP uses Chicago style of grammar which does not put a comma before the word too: “I like you too.” I was taught to use the comma: “I like you, too.” So there were those struggles, along with the artists creating my John and Jessie. Nicole had to go to a second artist and Anna was the key.

7. Would you change anything if you could do it all over again?

I would absolutely proofread my book before I originally submitted it, and then I definitely should have gone over the proof copy line by line when I received it. I wish I had several other people also proofread the proof copy. But we all lead such busy lives. And I was just sooo excited, I wanted Moon published ASAP. I then found more mistakes and had to endure three rounds of grammar fixes over three months.

8. What were the most surprising aspects of self-publishing with Gatekeeper Press?

I felt more than a number with Nicole. She understood how important this book is to me and she took the time to get me the help I needed. We laughed one time over something, and she emphatically said it had to be fixed. She was not willing to settle for less than what I wanted. In a way, I feel bad saying that Nicole being nice came as a surprise. That would imply something negative. Nicole was just plain wonderful to work with. She goes the extra mile for her clients.

9. Would you recommend fellow authors self-publish with Gatekeeper Press?

I have recommended Gatekeeper Press several times. Occasionally, when I tell people I am a published author, that person will say he or she wrote a book also. I tell them to go to Gatekeeper Press.

10. With your dream book a reality, what goals do you aspire to achieve with your story?

I would definitely like sales to increase, but it has nothing to do with money. I did not publish my book to get rich; I published it to fulfill a long-held dream. I would like sales to improve and for more people to fall in love with my story of living with grief and neglect, of two different people each helping the other to overcome loss. This book is near and dear to my heart. Of course, I would like a major publishing house to pick up Moon, and for it to become a best seller. I would go on book signing tours around the United States. A movie company will become interested in buying the rights, Moon will be made into a movie, and I will become world famous! It’s great to have dreams. In truth, I believe my book would make a great movie, and people have told me that. I have written a book which has made people cry and laugh. When I hear that people really enjoyed Moon, I get a thrill from hearing it. I do not take it lightly and it warms my heart.



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