Since its humble beginnings back in March 2010, this blog has been blessed with loyal readers and fans. Today’s featured debut author, Doreen McGettigan, is one of them. Always with an insightful comment, a cheerful hello or helpful advice, Doreen was kind enough to write a guest post for me back in February 2011. And today I am proud to call her my friend.
Name of book: BRISTOL bOYZ STOMP
Book genre: memoir/nonfiction
Date published: November 2011
Publisher: Tate Publishing
What is your day job? I work with senior citizens.
What is your book about? My reaction to the random road rage murder of my brother.
Why did you want to write this book? I really did not want to write it, but felt compelled to tell the story.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? With nonfiction, I would say getting the facts right. In general, I would say the hardest part is putting your self in the chair and writing.
Since this is a memoir, so much of the material comes from your own life. But did you conduct any research in order to write this book (visit certain locales, etc.)? I spent time in a storage unit going through court records and revisited all of the locations in the book.
What motivates you to write? Extreme anger, extreme happiness, extreme sadness and, of course, deadlines.
Did you experience writer’s block? It was never a problem for me until I suffered a brain injury a few years ago. I had to work through concentration and organization issues. Now, if I find myself stuck, I stop and read, take a walk or play scrabble blast (I am addicted to this game).
How long did it take you to write this book? Once I got serious, 11 months.
Tell me about the publishing process. Tate is an independent publisher. The whole process was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had no idea editing would take months. I naively thought I had done a great job and that they would suggest minimal changes. I am still laughing. I have a book I am proud of because I was open to their suggestions. The entire production process took so much more time than I thought it would. The waiting was difficult.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That you make a lot of money. It truly is a labor of love.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? The feedback I received from my beta readers. The waiting, of course, was always torture.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? Oh, my. When you said you thought having a real baby was hard, you were so right. Promotion is hard work. While my book was in production, I created a marketing/PR plan. A lot of the original plan changed. I was very lucky because Tate has a marketing department. They also provided me with a publicist, and my husband owns a marketing company. It took a bit for all of us to click, but when we did things started to happen for me. The hardest part was getting my foot in the door at places like Barnes & Noble. Just getting in is not enough. You have to get people to show up. That is hard to do. The important thing is to do well the first time, and they will invite you to the next store and so on. I feel like I have been very blessed and want to share what worked for me and what didn’t, so I am working on a blog post on this subject. I will be posting it at the end of September.
How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? Life has gotten extremely busy. I had the opportunity to travel with the book and that has been so exciting.
Do you find yourself obsessively checking sales stats? I did at first.
Do you plan on writing another book? I am wrapping up my second book, which is the story of my 17-year-old stepson’s suicide, wrapping up the story of the homeless woman who lived with us for three years, a civics textbook and workbook and a children’s picture book. I will admit, it is a bit overwhelming, but I love every bit of the process. I really, really would like to write fiction one day.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I absolutely agree.