By Sheryl Bass, Author of “Baby Dragon’s Big Sneeze”
If I was to choose one message from my latest book, Baby Dragon’s Big Sneeze, it would to be how fulfilling it can be to follow your dreams.
Although I had years of experience writing articles as a journalist and then ghostwriting articles as a PR professional, I wanted to publish a book of my own. I wrote my first version of Baby Dragon’s Big Sneeze 13 years ago. I always imagined it would be published by a traditional publishing house. When it was rejected by literary agents and publishers, I began to consider self-publishing. Self-publishing is a misnomer as authors are not alone- there are several people who can help every step of the way.
I found my mentor, April Cox of Self-Publishing Made Simple through a video I saw online about self-publishing. It has been a joy to see my story in print. I really appreciate the creative control that self-publishing has afforded me in choosing my own illustrator and telling him exactly what my dragon and other characters should look like, be wearing, etc. If I published the book traditionally, the publishing house would have found an illustrator and they would have directed him or her on how to draw my characters. So, my advice to those who dream of publishing a book would be to consider self-publishing. The royalties are higher (40-50 percent versus 10-12 percent for traditional publishing), the book publishes much faster (within months versus years for traditional publishing) and the creative control is much greater for self-publishing.
The most challenging part of being an author is the time involved in self-promotion. Once a book is published, the work really begins. The publishing industry is crowded with great books and authors—many of them are celebrities with their own built-in publicity whereby they can promote their books on national talk shows. Lay people like me must spend at least a couple of hours per day calling bookstores to do book signings, posting on social media to keep the public engaged and interested, purchasing ads, entering contests, conducting podcast interviews and soliciting Amazon reviews on sites like Pubby.co and NetGalley.
My greatest influence in life would probably be my father who unfortunately passed away while the illustrations were still in development.
He and my mother taught me the pro-social values my book espouses, such as sharing, helping those in need, reserving judgement about others, taking accountability when one makes a mistake and teamwork. In business, my influences would be my parents (for teaching me the values that I integrate into all of my business dealings) and other shrewd media businesswomen before me, such as Oprah Winfrey.
In the next five to ten years, I hope to self-publish additional children’s picture books. Some are already in drafts while others have not yet been put to paper.
When not promoting my book and drafting new ones, I sing with a keyboardist part-time in restaurants and senior living facilities as “Sheryl & Keys.” I also love spending time with my two terriers, Piper and Pixie. You can find Baby Dragon’s Big Sneeze at http://www.be-kindpublishing.com