Author Interview with Deborah Baldwin
Introducing Deborah Baldwin
I love to learn about fellow middle grade writers, their processes, and their successes. Author Deborah Baldwin is one of those writers who pursued her passion to tell stories for kids. Below is my interview with Baldwin who shares her story, tips, and passion for writing.
Book title: Bumbling Bea
Genres: young teen, children's chapter books
How long have you been a published author?
I have been a published author since 2014.
Bumbling Bea book cover
1. What made you decide to become an indie author? What do you like to write about?
I am a self-starter. Indie publishing suits my personality.
I have taught drama to students of all ages for nearly thirty-nine years, primarily in the middle grades and up. In that time, I have also directed nearly 250 plays and musicals with adults and children. I enjoy middle students and their many challenges--social and intellectual. I think theatre arts are essential for one's personal growth whether as a child or an adult. I like to write about middle school students, present day issues using theatre as a spring board.
2. How did you publish your first book?
I researched various publishing companies and selected CreateSpace. It was a good experience, especially for a newbie author.
3. Did you ever try to submit to traditional publishers? If so, what was your experience like?
New authors are more than a dime a dozen or a needle in a haystack. Thousands of people desire to express themselves through the written word.
Honestly, I don't know how an agent or publisher does their job. It must be constantly overwhelming.
I attempted the traditional route and found it tedious, demoralizing and stale.Then I decided that I should approach writing as I do many other experiences in my life. If I want something to occur, I make it happen for myself. Enter indie publishing. I have never looked back or regretted the decision.
Frankly, I wish there was a big publisher who only published new authors. Now, that would be a refreshing perspective. Or agents who specialize in representing new authors. That would be interesting as well.
4. How did you market your first book? Has your process changed with subsequent books?
In the beginning, I used various free sources to market my book. In addition, I knew many teachers and hundreds of students who would endorse my book. Marketing is a learning curve for me.
I have a lot of experience in marketing plays and musicals at the local level. Enticing someone to attend a production I have directed isn't all that different from piquing the curiosity of a potential reader.
Generally, once I get an audience member in the door, they enjoy my productions. The same thing goes for a reader--once they read a snippet, they want to read more of it.
My goal is to learn something new about marketing every day. That sounds so pleasant, doesn't it? Oh gosh. I have Eureka! moments and others where I need to step away from my computer before I throw it through a window out of frustration. I am grateful that there are free resources from which to learn.
5. How do you support other indie authors?
I haven't fully supported other indie authors in the past. This was not out of interest, but a time issue. Until recently, I blogged and did marketing sporadically because I was a very busy drama teacher teaching and directing. In fact, in the span of eight years I directed 44 productions. (Okay, I'm a little bit of an over achiever...)
Plus, we have moved twice in the last eight years from Missouri to Colorado to Kansas. Recently, my husband and I retired from our full time teaching positions to be near our family and first grandchild. I follow certain message boards, like the Goodreads one for indie authors.
6. What responses have you received from telling people that you are a writer?
My immediate family is thrilled that I am writing. You see, it took me twenty-six years to write Bumbling Bea and I bet they were real tired of hearing me lament that, "I am going to write this book about a Japanese girl and Kabuki theatre..." I have learned that some uninformed people expect me to be making millions of dollars as a writer.
That's a nice thought and like most writers, I am sure that would be an amazing experience. I write for myself, kids who love theatre as much as I and those needing help with their theatrical endeavors or teaching. My brothers and sister have always been guarded about my decision to major in theatre when I attended college.
I bet they were also quite impressed that I excelled at both teaching and directing and have won awards. I bet they think my interest in a writing career is much the same thing. Perhaps they are cautiously optimistic for me now.
7. What/who has been your biggest support as an indie author?
My greatest support has come from my immediate family and my former school, Apex Home School Enrichment Program through St. Vrain Valley Schools. With no questioning from them, they all supported this writing thing and continue to support me. Apex was the first school to purchase a great amount of Bumbling Bea books and second to ask me to provide book talks to our students.
8. Quote from a positive review of your work.
"Bumbling Bea by Deborah Baldwin cannot fail to become a favorite with pre-teen readers, and very likely teenagers too, because the mixture of pathos and humor is so realistic."