Paperback Writer welcomes our author for today, Donna Lee Schillinger, author of the nonfiction Christian Living book, On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free (Quilldriver, April 2009). Donna comes to us from Pump Up Your Book Promotion on her first virtual book tour.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Freedom! Finally, life on my own!”
Excited about making your mark on the world, living life on your own terms and eating ice cream for dinner if you want? Being on your own is so great, but when the decisions get a little more difficult than “Do I wash a black-and-white striped shirt with whites or colors?”, this little book will be invaluable.
On My Own Now shows you how to apply biblical wisdom of the ages to choosing everything from friends to underwear; exercising and exorcising (ooh, creepy); juggling commitments and balancing bills; taking mom and dad for all they’re worth (er, uh, we mean like taking their advice and stuff); and waiting, dating and maybe someday mating.
On My Own Now is about strengthening young women’s faith and preventing the screw-ups that can brand us for life. Donna Lee Schillinger draws on her eclectic past as a rebellious youth, Peace Corps volunteer, social worker, single mother, court mediator and executive director of a home for single young mothers.
She uses gender-reversed Proverbs with real-life applications to wave the red flag of caution for young women, warning against the pitfalls of a post-modern, sexually casual, consumer-is-king society that is indelibly scarring youth with cynicism, sexually transmitted diseases and bad credit.
This compact collection of quirky vignettes is great for daily devotions, affirmations, confessions, benedictions and many other religious “tions,” all with the goal of keeping you on the yellow brick road. After all, you’re not in Kansas anymore – you’re on your own now (unless you live in Kansas, then you would still be in Kansas
Hi Donna Schillinger,
Welcome to Paperback Writer.
Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
I was 40 (just a few years ago) and I was reading Proverbs. When I was a teenager, I used to read Proverbs religiously (no pun intended). I latched on to some key verses, but to be honest, I didn’t really believe that most of the Proverbs applied to me and my life.
In retrospect, when I realized how much my errant youth could have benefited from some straight talk from the Proverbs, the first thing that occurred to me was that I needed to find a way to convey the importance of the Proverbs for a regret-free life to my own daughter, who at the time was 10. The idea grew from a sort of Proverbs scrapbook from mother to daughter in to On My Own Now, the book and the organization.
Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time? It was a light bulb moment for the original idea, but then it became a book idea over a period of months.
How did you come up with the title?
Very anticlimactic answer: I don’t remember!
How did you find an agent and publisher?
I didn’t even look for one. I already had a small publishing company (I have two other titles by another author), so it just made sense to me to publish the book myself. Authors have to do so much promotion, especially when they’re first-time unknown authors, that in my case, what a publisher could really do for me, the editing, proofing, typesetting, distribution, just didn’t seem like much compared to what I would have to do for myself in terms of marketing to make the title a success. I also like the idea of control over the project and keeping the profits.
Who reads your work in progress?
Whoever volunteers. I’m not terribly secretive about my work, but I don’t go out seeking reviewers either. If someone volunteers to read the book, I love to have their perspective.
Who made a difference in the book’s quality?
My sister gave me some great feedback from the perspective of Christian women who might read the book and feel like, “It’s too late for me – I’ve already screwed up too much.” And Donna Partow, a Christian author, told me candidly that my cover looked home-grown. Yet, I kept hearing the same thing from all the young people I showed it to – I like it! I didn’t give up on the cover concept, but it caused the designer and me to take a hard look at how we could improve it. I came to terms with the front not appealing to 40 somethings and instead, we reworked the back cover so that it would appeal to Mom or Grandma who picks up the book as a possible gift for her special young woman.
How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
I worked on the manuscript five mornings a week, for an hour or two at a time for a period of about 18 months.
How long did it take from start to publication?
It took about another 18 months to reach the publication date – April Fool’s Day, 2009. Doing it through my own company, one would think I could have sped up that preparation time, but reality looked a little something like this: bread and butter job has a looming deadline, baby has a dirty diaper and wants attention, husband has homework to do for his master’s degree, daughter has a soccer game today, etc.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t wait on your publisher to make the splash. If you have a contract, start now to promote your book by setting up a Web site or blogging – even if your publisher says they are going to do that for you. Use social networking. Lastly, get over the pain of having to self-promote. You didn’t write this book to have it die in obscurity. Whether or not it does, it’s up to you, not the publisher.
Thank you, Donna, for stopping by Paperback Writer on your virtual book tour. I wish you continued success through the rest of your tour.
ON MY OWN NOW VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ’09 officially begin on April 1 and end on April 30. You can visit Donna’s blog stops at http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in March to find out more about this great book and talented author!