Persistence Pays Off For Brooks Author
By Bruce Parker
(Reprinted from –The Brooks Bulletin, Tuesday, November 20, 2007)
The motto try and try again has paid dividends for a Brooks author.
After submitting her books “Danny Howard: Hero at Large” to 13 agents and 26 different publishers,
Donna MacNaughton has finally hit pay dirt.
This is the third book she has written but the first one that will be published by Rain Publishing. She has
written two adult novels but neither one is to the point where it is ready to be sent to a publisher.
“I kind of stopped both of those when I got the idea for the kids books,” said MacNaughton.
Work on her first children’s book began nine years ago. After starting the book, she signed up for a creative
writing class by correspondence. The tutor offered to edit the book with her as part of the course.
“I had submitted it before the tutor worked with me and then after, but in all, I have been submitting it
actually for seven years.”
MacNaughton belongs to the Writer’s Guild of Alberta. They have a reading service where authors can
submit their manuscripts for advice on whether it is worth pursuing a publishing company.
“I was to the point where I was thinking maybe it was time to get an outside opinion.”
MacNaughton picked up a Writer’s Guild newsletter and noticed a section that had publishers actively
seeking submissions by email.
Since this would not cost anything, she decided to give it one more try. If this didn’t work, she was willing to
submit her book to a reading service.
MacNaughton was told it would take six weeks for Rain Publishing to respond to her but it ended up taking
three months. She submitted her manuscript in January.
Rain Publishing contacted her in March apologizing for the delay but said they were interested in
“I really didn’t care how long it took. They wanted the book. I was just like yes. I think it actually just about
brought me to tears because it had been a very long process.”
The next step was for Rain Publishing to send her contracts. In the contract, the publisher indicated they
would like the option to publish her second book.
MacNaughton sent an email back informing the publisher her second book was already completed. She
sent the manuscript by email and within three days a second contract was sent to her.
“I honestly believe that if persistence means anything, I win the gold medal. That’s what it has been all
about. Writing the book was easy for me.”
MacNaughton said the first draft of her book took two months. She then edited it for 18 months before
sending it out.
It was a long process and the last time she did any editing on it was four years ago.
One of the reasons it took so long is most publishers don’t want you to send their manuscript to more than
one publisher at a time, she explained. They don’t want two publishers being interested in the same book.
MacNaughton said she can understand this and for the most part she respected it.
There were times when she was discouraged, but then something positive would usually happen. This
would boost her confidence and help with her belief that she is doing what she is supposed to do.
“You have to believe in yourself. It is a hard process to go through because you have to be thick skinned.
Rejection is difficult. Obviously I was rejected 39 times by agents and publishers.”
MacNaughton said it might not necessarily be that the book wasn’t good enough. You have to find the right
publisher who publishes that kind of book and wants to publish the book at that time.
With two books completed, she has started on her third book in the series. She does not have a set
number of books planned.
MacNaughton said she is planning other things in the back of her mind while she is writing. She puts her
ideas on paper and they are put aside for a later date.
Now that Rain Publishing has agreed to print both books, she has to establish a marketing plan.
She explained authors have two options. Books can be bought by a publisher who then supports and
finances some of the promotions and marketing.
With a self-published book, the author pays the publishing costs and is responsible for all of the
marketing and promotions.
With Rain Publishing based in Ontario, MacNaughton will be responsible for putting the effort into
ensuring the success of her book.
Part of her marketing plan will be to approach books stores in Medicine Hat and Calgary. She has also
approached local businesses who have indicated they would be interested.
Rain Publishing plans on submitting the book to some of the larger markets like Amazon.
“The main part of my marketing plan I think will involve schools, author presentations and book fairs.”
Her first book will be released in June 2008 with her second book coming out in September of 2008.
|Copyright 2008 Donna MacNaughton. All rights reserved. Site by Donna MacNaughton