Donna Fawcett is a retired Fanshawe College Creative Writing instructor in Canada and has received two national awards for her novel Vengeance and one national award for her novel Rescued. She writes romance, mystery, suspense, and thriller novels.
Thank you for taking time to share with us, Donna.
You are teaching a continuing class this year at the conference: Self-Publishing as an Option. Why did you choose to self-publish your novels?
The biggest reason for self-publishing for me was the ability to have an unlimited print run. I speak and sing in a variety of venues and can't afford to have my books go out of print. There is a magic number of books (I couldn't tell you that number) that must be sold in a certain amount of time in order for a publisher to justify a second print run. I don't sell crazy amounts of books up front but have a continued and steady sales record.
During the first class, you will be teaching attendees, among other things, how to define God’s purpose in their lives as writers. Give us a glimpse of how we can do that.
Without stealing my own thunder, I will ask attendees to ponder a few things. First, I will suggest they look deep into themselves and figure out exactly what they believe. It's pretty hard to take a message to the world when you aren't sure what that message should be. I then will ask them to consider their natural likes and dislikes. There are a few other points that I will bring out but natural gifting will be high on the radar.
All three of your classes will be packed with information. One subject you will address during the second hour is determining what makes a good book cover. What is one thing about a book cover that attracts your attention? And one thing that causes you to move on to the next one on the shelf?
I look at a cover for quality. If the photo art is amateurish, I move on. I look for a simple cover. If it's too busy, I wonder about the busyness of the manuscript—whether it is too wordy for me.
You will also be touching on the importance of marketing. What are some of the specific areas you will cover?
I will discuss the importance of climbing out of the introvert shell. Many writers are shy and reclusive. In this publishing industry these aren't good ingredients for success.
During the third class you will be touching on a topic often overlooked by instructors: the emotional side of editing. Why do you think it’s important to address this issue?
Writers are geared for their work. It is part of the gifting, but it is also a part of them that is misunderstood by the writer, their family, and friends. If a writer can understand their own uniqueness they can learn to apply their writing traits to the craft and adapt to a society they seldom fit into.
What is the #1 tip you would give authors considering self-publishing?
Get an editor—hands down—and not someone you know. I recommend the Canadian Editors Association or The Word Guild Listserv for good editing.
Donna, you’ve been involved with The Word Guild and with Write Canada for a number of years. What keeps you coming back?
The faith connection has a very strong pull. I can relax around other writers because I understand them more than I understand the rest of society. I also look for the connections because connections move a writing career forward. And I learn a lot of new and necessary things about writing.
Interview by Steph Beth Nickel