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Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Taking the First Steps to Publishing: Author Interview with Doug Beisley

When did you decide to start writing your first picture book? 

I often write poetry just for fun. I enjoy writing for my elementary music classes. When I wrote this poem, that was my intent. The thought of making it into a book had really never entered my mind. After, I debuted it with my students and their reaction was so good, I posted it on a music teacher’s Facebook page. By the next morning, I had many people encouraging me to publish it as a book. That was the launch of this book.

How long did it take for you to complete it? How many rewrites did you do? 
From start to finish, the process took me about seven months. As far as rewrites, I did refine the original writing by changing some awkward words. 

Are you active in any writing critique groups?
I am not active in any writing critique groups but would love to join one now that I am walking this new journey.

Since you are a teacher, did you run your stories by your students as sounding boards? 
Yes, and they loved it! We actually used classroom instruments to make the sounds of the jungle. It was loud and super fun! I put a copy of the book in the school library and there is a long waiting list for it! They love that I have made this story into a book.

How did you go about finding an illustrator?
I used a young man that was recommended by a family member. I knew him as a high school student but did not know he did this kind of work. When I pitched the idea, he enthusiastically took on the project. I am thrilled with his work!

What was the hardest part of putting together this book?
It was the lack of knowledge! I didn’t know anything about publishing and I was so excited to do this that I jumped a little too fast. I chose to use a publisher that charged me a lot of money. In the end, I love the result but I could have achieved this result much cheaper had I known what I was doing. Now, I have learned so much from the Facebook groups that I belong to and would so things much differently.

How much input did you have in the design and layout of the book?
My illustrator did a lot of it but then there was a design team at the publisher that handled the design and final layout of the book.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had from readers?
People keep telling me how much fun it is and how their kids love it. One two-year-old has the book memorized. It is his favorite book and he wants it to be read to him over and over.

Marketing is the biggest key to getting sales. What is the best marketing source you've used that has produces more sales rather than just clicks?
Honestly, this is the hard part! So far, my personal Facebook friends have been amazing at getting the word out. Many people bought the book as a Christmas gift.

What do you know now about publishing you wished you had known sooner?

Just about everything! The main thing was that I didn’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get my book published.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Dare to dream! Your story is your world to create. Let your imagination run wild!

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?

Having a child love your book is the greatest gift to receive. I love every picture and video of kids reading and loving my book.

What is the next book coming out? Can you give me some details?
I've written another children’s picture book called The First Day of School. In it, the student finds himself in a long line waiting to see who his teacher will be. The person in front of him begins to tell stories of being in Miss Ivin’s class last year. As he stands in line, hearing the stories, his imagination runs away with him. He imagines many adventures in Miss Ivins class. Of course, he finds his name on her list and she gives him a wink through the window of the school. It is super fun!

That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Doug's books, you can check them out on his Amazon page at:

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