Donna is the award-winning, internationally published author of six books including her most recent book As You Feel, So You Heal: A Write of Passage. She was recognized as Colorado’s “Spiritual Health Guru” by 5280 Magazine for her innovative empowerment techniques which inspire us to recognize and own our “Wisdom Story,” so we might consciously compose our next chapter.
Tell me about your latest book and what inspired you to write/create it?
As You Feel, So You Heal: A Write of Passage was inspired by the intersection of two of my greatest loves: being present to witness another’s golden moment of break-through, potent with realization and new growth and creating integrative ceremonies that reach into the deepest parts of ourselves. Like a traditional “rite of passage” this “write of passage” ushers the readers through a series of thresholds, helping them see things from different perspectives, so they might reveal more of their unique character. As You Feel, So You Heal encourages us to own all our emotions – to observe them, listen to them, nurture them, and address them in a way that helps them (and us) evolve, up-leveling our life’s path.
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 personal publishing story began in 2005 when I wrote a manuscript meant for my coaching clients, a small group of about a hundred mostly-women and a few men. It took rallying my bravest self to print that first 1,000 books – this was at a time when few were doing it and I had no idea about the process, but just kept putting one foot in front of the other to move forward! I had been inclined to form my own publishing house which oversaw every aspect of production. My hope was that I could sell my first hundred books to pay for my production costs . . . and to my splendid surprise, that first printing of 1,000 books sold out in just five short months, with the next printing of 3,000 selling in the following year.
We re-worked that initial book, Turtle Wisdom: Coming Home to Yourself, and launched at the big book expo (BEA) in New York City in 2007. And that turtle is still making her way around the globe! We’ve been published in ten countries, world-wide in Chinese and Spanish, and I’m presently working on our eighteenth-year anniversary edition to be released in 2023.
Ophelia’s Oracle: Discovering the Happy, Healthy, Self-Aware, and Confident Girl in the Mirror (for 8–14-year-olds) and the Turtle Wisdom Playbook followed in the same manner. It is somewhat different than self-publishing. When I independently publish, I hire the illustrator, graphic designer, and printer, handle marketing and publicity, orders and fulfillment, etc. I enjoy the quality control this affords, but I have to say it is a lot of work! There is that aspect of business when you’re an author; yet, your book is like a precious child, you must give it the care and attention it deserves. Although, like Turtle Wisdom demonstrates, they do have a mind of their own, and in many cases have gone way beyond my expectations. One paradigm-shifting day a cloth-wrapped, magic-marker addressed package arrived from India with my sample books inside. I never dreamed in my wildest imagination that I would have a book in India, Russia, Japan, or China or any of the other places it has gone. So, there’s a balance of putting the work in . . . and then getting out of your own way!
As a much-older student, I went back to graduate school to pursue another master’s degree and was led to research and write the initial project that eventually became the award-winning, internationally published 8 Keys to Wholeness: Tools for Hope-Filled Healing. This is the book I know I was meant to write; the impetus behind it was unstoppable.
A niche publisher collaborated with me to release the Turtle Wisdom Personal Illumination Cards, but eventually I bought the inventory and my rights back to join the others.
My latest book was released at the end of 2019 by a mainstream publisher, Red Feather, a division of Schiffer Publishing. This was my first experience working with a team and to my delight they chose to release it in full-color, hard cover. As You Feel, So You Heal: A Write of Passage is a beautiful, keepsake book with twenty-two original illustrations by inspirational artist Susan Andra Lion. It should be noted that Sue has been my illustrator and graphic designer since 2009 and has contributed to all but my first book. Working with a traditional publisher on this latest book provided “a different set of eyes.” For example, they chose cover art that differed from the one we recommended – and it was perfect for my topic and genre. And the day my book came out, “poof,” it simultaneously appeared in many channels, none of which I, myself, had cultivated. Reviews appeared on Amazon and Good Reads very quickly. Now I want to be clear: the bulk of promotion still falls to me, but it is refreshing to have help! Just this week, I had a book signing sponsored by the publisher at an international book fair and met new bookstore owners and other industry influencers.
What is the most difficult part of the book writing process for you? Does it energize or exhaust you?
Writing takes time. I really love the natural flow of writing, finding my perfect rhythm and allowing the inspiration to spill forth onto the page. But I do have to clear my desk of “have-to’s,” sit down, and make way for the process to have its way with me. Distractions are everywhere (and I don’t even have young children or pets). I must carve out the space and guard it like a German Shepard on high watch. Creating pockets of uncommitted time and shutting off the phone helps. Don’t even get me started on social media – kryptonite for my writer self.
How do you come up with your illustrations/images/graphics?
Honestly, I leave that part up to Sue Lion. I may share an idea or a vision for the overall project, but for the most part her inspirational drawings emerge from a deep place of connection with all of life, especially the natural world, and I so resonate with those gorgeous illustrations. Of course, I’ll review what she comes up with and together we see what fits and what does not. For example, Sue’s original drawing for the cover of 8 Keys to Wholeness is still one of my favorites – but I wanted to appeal to a larger audience and this drawing seemed quite niche. So, we talked about possibilities, and she created another, simpler illustration for our final cover art.
How many unpublished or unfinished books have you written and set aside? What are your plans for them?
Oh, my. There are so many. I’m working on five simultaneously right now, and there are many more at their very beginning, concept stage. As you asked this question, do you hear them screaming for attention in the background? I do.
How do you go about obtaining book reviews? Do you read them? How do you deal with the good and the bad ones?
Book reviews can be challenging, even my biggest fans are not fond of writing them. Ask. Ask. And ask again. I do read them and have only received one “bad” one in all these years – still it felt like a unwelcomed punch in the gut. Then I had a conversation with international speaker and best-selling author, Fawn Germer (a friend of a friend), famous for her books and interviews of powerful, well-known women. Oprah held up Mustang Sallies: Success Secrets of Women Who Refuse to Run with the Herd on-the-air! Fawn helped me to understand that the wider your circle of influence, the greater you risk not being someone’s cup of tea … and to let it roll off your back. Obviously, they don’t define or limit you. Still, it can sting when someone personally attacks you with their words.
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’ve been trained to create a clear, specific marketing plan for each book with spreadsheets to monitor my progress – and I do not do any of that any longer! I’ve found that the very best, most aligned marketing endeavors come about organically in a natural flow, typically centered around good relationships. I notice who I’m drawn to and just as importantly, those who don’t feel in sync with my approach. It doesn’t make sense to go on a podcast or be a guest blogger for an audience that is not my audience. My best interviewers have become friends and going on their shows is like “catching up” with our creative news. Delightful! I’d rather have a few good outlets than hundreds of not-so-good ones. That having been said, I am interested in beefing up my podcast and radio appearances this year … as I go into another strong writing cycle to get a few projects completed.
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?
This is a tough one: there are so many unknowns right now. As the price of paper for printing has doubled, I think we’ll see more potential authors scared away as costs rise. Presently, I have a couple of projects I’m submitting to my traditional publisher and one I am working on myself. My enduring approach is to keep an eye on my goal and intention . . . and keep moving forward. I trust it will work out.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Give yourself permission to write. Does that sound silly? I find that most often clients who come to me for help with their writing are so unsure of whether, or not, they should write. Or they come up with a million reasons why they are unqualified or uninspired. They basically psych themselves up in the wrong direction!
I’ve been told I have a “gift” at helping others open their inner channel for guidance, inspiration, and creativity. It always begins here: give yourself permission to write. To write in your own voice, with your own message, and your own direction – no matter what. To let go of trying to fit into someone else’s box of what you, the writer, might look like and to just “do you.” I can’t believe how many of us carry around our fourth or fifth grade teacher critiquing our writing prowess – and it is not encouraging! Navigate around those old voices and cultivate the time and the space to allow the inspiration to flow to you through you. Trust yourself. Trust yourself. Trust your Self.
Who is your favorite author, book? The last book you read?
I love books and can find something positive to say about most authors. The one thing I’m doing right now is going through my library of a couple hundred books with hopes of downsizing. I’ve allowed myself to skim or not finish a book (unthinkable in younger years), to pass them on to those who could use them, to donate, etc. It’s a process that tugs at my heart – so much fun to collect them and so difficult to give them up.
One of my all-time favorites is Dan Millman’s The Journey of Socrates and the last book I read (twice) was Brandie Carlile’s Broken Horses. Presently, I’m listening to Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver, read by the author in that dear English accent.
More about the author and how to find her books.
Donna DeNomme has spent a lifetime helping people claim their true voice. With an eclectic background in psychology, alternative, and indigenous practices, Donna is a conscious energy teacher, shamanic healer, ceremonial leader, and Master Success Coach. She was recognized as Colorado’s “Spiritual Health Guru” by 5280 Magazine for her innovative empowerment techniques which inspire us to recognize and own our “Wisdom Story,” so we might consciously compose our next chapter.
Donna is the award-winning, internationally published author of six books including the Turtle Wisdom series, 8 Keys to Wholeness, Ophelia’s Oracle, and As You Feel, So You Heal: A Write of Passage; two meditation CD’s, Spinning the Light and Sacred Journey; and several online programs including A Write of Passage and 8 Essential Keys: Tools for Hope-Filled Healing and Expansive Evolutionary Growth.
Please ask your local bookstore to order her books from New Leaf or Ingram Distribution or you can order them directly from the author’s website.
Amazon also carries all of her titles.