Brenda McDaniel

Is becoming an author your dream, too? My book, My Author Journey, is about how I became an author and why I did it. I talk about my publisher and what needs to be done first, such as setting up social media, a website, and blog. Also understanding amazon algorithms, getting reviews, and developing contacts and a marketing plan. I included lists of marketers and publishers that helped me. A lot is involved in writing a book!

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

My latest book is called My Author Journey. I wrote it after being an author and freelance writer for four years. I talked with want-to-be writers and authors for years, who struggled. They had numerous questions about writing, publishing, marketing, or advertising their books. In my book, I share my why’s, for writing my first book, a memoir/biography about my parents and family. It is called My Angel My Hero. I tell all about my learning curve as a new author and discovering what worked best for me. And how quickly techniques and marketing change over time and how writing and publishing a book has changed over the years.

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?

My writing and publishing experience was based on the idea of making a difference in the world, and centered around a Christian family and parents. I wanted to tell the world, there is a good future for you if based on hope, faith and love. I wrote about my family and parents to share the many miracles and blessings throughout our lifetime. I chose traditional publishing as I felt Page was very interested in sharing my story with the world. I wrote My Author Journey over several months when I worked for a website writing articles. Later on, I decided to make my articles into a book to help want-to-be authors or new authors. I used Kindle Publishing on Amazon to self publish it and sold 13 books the first month. My book is on Kindle unlimited and kindle books. There were so many choices: hybrid, traditional, and self-publishing. I’ve have decided I want to invest in self-publishing where I have more control over my book expenses and royalties.

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

I sit at the computer with a clear idea of the beginning and end of the book. My ideas come from life and my experiences. I wrote for about 3 to 4 hours a day, on both books, three days a week. It took about six to eight months to complete each book. I edited my books several times. Page helped me get to a finished book that I was proud of.

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

My characters were based on my family in the first book, My Angel My Hero. I used part of their names to give them privacy. Snowe Mann, (mom), and Henry Earl, (dad), and, of course in My Author Journey, the character was based on me. I have several other books of fiction in the works. I used familiar names I encountered throughout life.

What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

As I continued to try writing fiction books, I found I needed to research more often on the ideas I’m writing about in order to gain more knowledge or learn about different types of books or ideas. Most of my ideas have come from my life or people I know.

How do you come up with your illustrations/images/graphics?

I usually have a pretty good idea of the cover I want before I start. But I’ve learned to look at a particular niche and see what covers are well liked or sell well. Today, there are numerous sites that make illustrations, images and graphics, such, as Canva, and freepik, and for Al illustrations, cover designers, and graphic experts. One important thing I’ve learned is that if you download pictures on public domain sites, be sure to pay for or check the copyrights.

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

I currently have about 7 books I’ve written and am waiting to publish. I’m not sure if I will use Kindle Publishing to self-publish again as they had one or two publishing errors in my manuscript. I may consider a hybrid publisher next time or traditional publishing. The books are a series of children’s books and other fiction books I’ve written.

What do you do for book marketing? Describe your plan, how it is working, and what you want to add or change to that plan, if anything.

I currently have a varied book marketing plan. I found out later on in my author career that algorithms are very important for your book sales. You need to be sure to choose categories, keywords, and genres that are selling well, and to optimize all your websites, too. Use keywords that relate to your content and that are important topics to your audience. That’s the most important change to my marketing plan. But all of this is constantly changing and must be kept up on and current. My marketing plan includes social media pages and ads – Amazon and Facebook ads on various blogs, book sites, and book publishers like on Amazon, Kobo, and Bookbub etc. Get your book in libraries and various foreign and domestic book stores and sites, too.

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

I contact various public figures like niche authors, book Instagram, book reviewers, bloggers etc., from various book sites like Goodreads, Amazon, LinkedIn, and Facebook groups. I also have followers on all these sites. Bad reviews will happen no matter how good you think your book may be. There is always someone who doesn’t appreciate your writing. Don’t take it personally. I do read all reviews. They can help you grow as a writer. I used to let it affect me, but, it’s best to let it go and keep faith in your writing skills.

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

I like all types of books. I like print as it is available to you physically and for years. And having a book to feel and hold in your hands enhances the reading experience. I also enjoy audiobooks to hear someone’s voice, if it’s a good recording, and enhances the emotions etc. of the book. And I like ebooks, as they are always close and available to you, in any circumstances, and you can carry them with you, on your phone, ipad, and computer.

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

My favorite book, of course, is the King James Bible, written by the Lord’s apostles. I read it on a daily basis. But my other favorite book written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is Sherlock Holmes. I’ve always liked his deductive reasoning to solve crimes. The last book I read was Kindle Publishing, (for absolute beginners), by Prosper Vista.

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?

The current trend seems to be using AI or artificial intelligence to write and illustrate books. This is mostly true in self-publishing. But a lot of traditional publisher’s and book websites like Amazon, Kobo, or Bookbub are leaning away from AI books and using public domain images in books because of copyright lawsuits against these authors, publishers, and books.

Now that you have published a book/new book, what would you do differently this time?

I think I might use self-publishing or hybrid publishing to have more control of my books, in writing, publishing and marketing them. And earn higher royalties, as there are too many people dipping in your royalties in audiobooks, ebooks and print books, when using traditional publishing. I would also make very sure my editing is top notch.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

My advice is write about things you know, love, or have researched about fully, especially when starting your author career. And never give up on your dreams. If you need better skills, information, or knowledge, reach out to fellow authors, experts like editors, proofreader’s, and seasoned writers/ authors. Read, learn, and develop yourself as an author so you can be a good author, and not just an author. Don’t let what others say about your work influence you. In the end, you are as good as you want to be! And, all your readers are the proof that your writing is worthwhile. But, if others are really trying to help you grow as a writer, listen to them!!

Brenda’s Bio

I am retired and have a Masters degree in Counseling. I have enjoyed writing poetry and short stories since childhood. I currently have two books out: The first is called My Angel My Hero and it’s about faith, hope, and love, and about my parents and family. The second book is called My Author Journey and it’s about book publishing, marketing ,and advertising. I have seven unpublished works in progress including fiction and children’s books.

More Information

Contact me:

Twitter: brendaemcdaniel
Facebook: Snowe333
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Buy my books on Amazon:

My Angel, My Hero
My Author Journey