1.  When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always used writing as a way to calm myself or when I couldn’t figure out what I was thinking or how I felt about something. I remember having journals and journals filled with these “letters” when I was a child. I tried writing a novel as a pre-teen and never continued. However, when I had a medical episode in November 2020, I returned to writing to help me through the anger, helplessness, and fear I had. I used these writings as my first books.

2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?

I began writing children’s books in November 2020. I have currently published two books. The first book, My Hidden Difference Makes Me Special, is for children with invisible disorders to learn what having an invisible disorder means, how to ask for help, and to know they are not alone. The second book, Helping Paws: A Day in the Life of a Service Dog, is told from a dog’s perspective and teaches children about service dog gear, task, and breed differences and why it’s important to leave them alone in public. I am working on continuing both of those books into series. I am also working on a third series for children who are victims or suspected victims of sexual abuse.

3. What made you want to self-publish?

I wanted more say over the illustrations to ensure that what I couldn’t say in the text was depicted in the illustrations.

4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?

For my first book, having Gatekeeper Press help do the formatting, uploading, etc. was exactly what I needed. I was able to see parts of the process, learn more about what I need to do, etc. Gatekeeper Press worked with me on my needs for the project and allowed me to not worry about another part of the publishing process. For me, as I continue, I need options which are not available at Gatekeeper Press and will most likely be working on doing these steps myself. However, having that piece of mind that I wasn’t missing steps was great for the first two books.

5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?

I use several Facebook groups for authors, social media (Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok) and I reached out to multiple organizations about the book series during pre-order.

6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?

It depends on what their goal is and what type of book they are publishing. Marketing is the most difficult part. Try to build a community that is interested in the book and its success. Know your goals and remind yourself of them but know the path may be slow and winding.

7. What social media platforms are you on?

TikTok, Instagram (most active on Instagram), and Facebook

8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?

I wish I would have known how much goes into marketing and how difficult getting your book out there can be. It is time consuming and if you want to make that your main source of income, you need multiple books and to put yourself out there. Also, order more books than you think you need! You never know when you’ll go through them and then you may be waiting for a while for the next set.

9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2021 (and beyond)

As many things have moved toward telecommuting, author visits are easier, but are now online. This takes away some of the in-person-ness that comes with print books versus ebooks.

10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?

I have not won any awards or contests. However, I have been asked by a non-profit organization to write a series of children’s books that are paid for through a grant.

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