Doreen Berger

The Captain’s Daughters is Doreen D. Berger’s first novel in a series about the adventures of the Marsh sisters, Diane and Robin. Doreen, known to her family and friends as Diane, has based the series on her relationship with her lifelong friend, Robin, and their spirited childhood escapades.

Tell me about your latest book and what inspired you to write/create it?

The Captain’s Daughters was inspired by my childhood escapades with my best friend Robin. We always seemed to find ourselves in hot water for a silly prank we pulled! We were both astronomy and science-fiction fans and dreamed about living on a starship. The book combines our not-so-good behavior with our dream of outer-space travel.

Share your personal publishing story. Did you choose self or traditional? How did you go from book manuscript draft to finished book available for purchase?

I tried the traditional route…tried to get an agent and sent manuscripts to publishers who accepted unsolicited manuscripts, but didn’t get any bites. Instead, I got a pile of rejection letters, which can get depressing! Plus, traditional publishing is a long process and I decided I didn’t want to keep trying, so I delved into the self-publishing realm. Once I decided to self-publish, I looked around for an all-in-one publisher like Lulu or BookBaby but I found I didn’t want to give up control of the manuscript, which meant I had to do all the work myself. To tell the truth, it is a very daunting process and at times overwhelming! I got ISBN numbers, an LCCN, a copywrite, and even set up my own publishing company (PolarisPrint) to give the book a professional feel. I hired a professional editor and worked with her for a few months doing the required rewrites. Then I worked with a company that did the cover and inside formatting. I set the book up on KDP as an eBook and paperback, and also set it up on IngramSpark so it can be ordered by bookstores and libraries. I am now starting to do the marketing and I am shocked at how time consuming it is.

Describe your writing routine. How many hours a day/days a week do you write?

When writing the Captain’s Daughters I tried to write every day for a few hours. It’s funny how that works…sometimes I can only write a couple of pages and sometimes I sit down at 9:00 a.m. and the next thing I know it’s dinner time! I have written the second book in the series but it needs some TLC before I can send it to the editor, but because of all the marketing I am trying to do, I don’t have as much time to get to it.

How do you name your characters (if fiction or names changed for nonfiction)?

The Captain’s Daughters is based on my lifelong friendship with my childhood friend, Robin, and so the names in the book are Diane (my nickname) and Robin! As for the other names, since it is a science-fiction book, I can make up funny sounding names. And sometimes, I have opened a phone book (yes, I have one of those lying around) and just randomly picked a name!

How many unpublished or unfinished books have you written and set aside? What are your plans for them?

I have the second book in the series already written and waiting for the editor, and I have the first chapter of the third book written. The third book really needs time because I am not sure of the plot yet, but I haven’t had the time to give it the attention it needs.

How do you go about obtaining book reviews? Do you read them? How do you deal with the good and the bad ones?

Oh, book reviews…the bane of my existence! I have spent a lot of time contacting bloggers in my genre (middle-grade) with hopes of them agreeing to read and review the book, but they have so many books to read it is hard for them to commit, and when they do agree, they can’t get to it for months. Very frustrating! Yes, I read the reviews. I am thin-skinned so the not-so-good ones really bother me! The first review I got wasn’t the best and it almost defeated me, but I quickly got a couple of really good reviews and that boosted my spirits.

Do you prefer reading print, audio or ebooks? Why?

I love the feel of a real book, but I usually read eBooks because they are so convenient, especially when on vacation. I’m not good with audio books…my mind starts to wander and I suddenly realize I haven’t heard the last few pages.

Who is your favorite author, book? The last book you read?

I have so many favorite books, but I guess my all-time favorite is Gone With the Wind. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre and I am currently reading Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian. I love a good mystery and thriller and I wait eagerly every July for Daniel Silva to release his new book! I enjoy the Jack Reacher books by Lee Childs, and all of James Patterson books, especially the Alex Cross series. As a teenager, I loved Daphne du Maurier’s books. I could go on and on!

There are many trends in self publishing that have come and gone. What do you think is going to change next in the self or traditional publishing landscape?

I would certainly like to see all-in-one (self) publishers do a better job, especially in the area of marketing. But most of all, I’d like to see self-published books taken more seriously as there are so many good ones out there. It is so hard to get a self-published book into a brick and mortar store and I hope that will change in the future. From what I have seen and read, traditional publishers tend to be myopic in the books they choose and they give most of their money to their big money-makers. A lot of the marketing still has to be done by the author.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Keep writing…write the best book you can…have it professionally edited.

Doreen’s Bio

Doreen lives on Long Island with her family and pets.