Donna Dawson on Writing and Publishing Books

Donna Dawson is a writing instructor at a local college in Ontario and the author of five books, including Vengeance, The Adam & Eve Project and Redeemed (with more on the way). She has a certificate in freelance writing and in novel writing. Donna is also one of the authors of Hot Apple Cider.

An interview with author Donna Dawson on writing and publishing books.

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TKM: How did you become a writer?

Donna Dawson: My Grade 12 English teacher told me if I did nothing else, I should write. It took me almost fifteen years to believe her enough to try. When I did, the article was published by Angels on Earth, a Guideposts publication. It just went from there.

TKM: What inspires you to write?

Donna: Seeing the way the world’s events unfold from day to day makes me want to do something about them. I can say things in fiction writing that I might not get away with saying in non-fiction writing.

Some of those things have had an affect of people I don’t even know and for them it has altered the course of their lives. That is a pretty inspiring motivator to keep writing.

TKM: What author do you admire and why?

Donna Dawson: This is a toss up because there are actually three that I admire. I like Robert Ludlum and Clive Cussler for their attention to detail, their ability to write a really good suspense and their talent for not repeating themselves in each book.

I really like C.S. Lewis for his bold use of fantasy to share the Gospel. He caught peoples’ imaginations and taught them truth while doing so.

Trying to work at home while also keeping up with the housework and kids’ activities? Lisa Tanner knows what that’s like!!! A mom of 8, Lisa is also a freelance writer and homeschool mom. In her course, Balancing Diapers and Deadlines, she shares how she manages to do it all. This practical, hands-on course is self-paced (perfect for busy moms!) and full of tips you can use right away in your work-at-home life.

KBW: You published your first books in paperback. What made you decide to publish Fires of Fury as an ebook?

Donna: My first four books were published through Word Alive Press (a self-publishing company). I chose self-publishing because I wanted total control over the sustainability of the book—I sing and speak so I didn’t want a limited press run.

Fires of FuryI chose Awe-struck Books for Fires of Fury because I had been told that to self-publish was to take the easy way out. Awe-struck is a standard publishing company and the books are released in e-book format first. The print option is supposed to be next.

I can honestly say that self-publishing is NOT the easy way out. It is actually far more difficult than standard publishing because I have to make sure it is edited properly, etc. And there is just as much marketing involved on my part to get the word out about the standard published book.

TKM: What would you say are the advantages of ebooks?

Donna: I would say the biggest advantage is the ability for the reader to change the font size. For those who have limited vision, this is a big plus. They can download the book into .pdf files and then enlarge the text.

There’s also the cost bonus. No shipping, no duty on worldwide sales. Ebooks are easy to download and then the reader can begin to read immediately.

TKM: And disadvantages?

Donna Dawson: The biggest disadvantage is that those who want a book, want a book, not a computer file. Too often I’ve heard reader say “but I want to hold it, smell the pages, feel the cover.” I can’t do that with an ebook.

I’m finding ebook targets younger readers though.

TKM: Do you read and purchase ebooks yourself?

Donna: Not often. Between preparing for teaching my creative writing classes, writing and marketing, I spend way too much time in front of an electronic screen. I want the paper.

TKM: Are you working on more novels now? Perhaps any sequels?

Rescued by Donna Dawson (2010-11-18)Donna: I am working on another suspense novel entitled Rescued. With this book I hope to end the war between pro-life and pro-choice, giving both sides reconciliation. I believe it can be done and I have a number of medical professionals who have backed this manuscript. I’m excited about it.

The Adam & Eve Project by Dawson, Donna (2006) PaperbackI’m also working on the sequel to The Adam & Eve Project. And a romance based in the early 1900s.

TKM: What is your best piece of advice for writers considering publishing?

Donna Dawson: Really research the markets. There is so much fraud revolving around the publishing industry and especially the ebook industry. You want a company that will go to bat for you in protecting your rights.

I was thrilled with Awe-struck because they are very pro-active in making sure my copyrights are protected.

TKM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Donna: Writing is hard work. It isn’t a really quick scribble and presto—the book is there. I would like would-be writers to know that they should take their time. Learn to research all aspects of the industry from writing to marketing to discerning between honest and dishonest publishers, editors and marketers.

Beyond that—enjoy the beauty of words.

For excerpts from Donna Dawson’s books, reviews, links to other Canadian authors and more information on writing, drop by her website.

If you enjoyed this interview, check out my interview with poet Violet Nesdoly.

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