In this post, we review Dr. Angela Lauria’s Book Journeys interview with author Diana Lynn, author of Pieces of Me: Life of a Recovering Dysfunctional.
Although she was a bookkeeper, Diana Lynn, as she described in the interview, found herself being asked for advice by her clients for advice to help them get through their troubles, and while she wrote as a hobby, it took ten years before she finally took the plunge and committed to writing out a book of her own stories that might help others out.
Prior to writing out her book, Diana took classes in writing in her community college, and as she discussed in her interview, while doing so she joined several writers’ groups, which are groups of people who meet regularly to read and respond to each members’ writing. Diana counsels looking for a writers’ group where rules are present when it comes to critiquing other peoples’ work, based from her own, hard-earned, first experience with such a group, when a published author essentially marked her story as a failure. (Ironically enough, Diana had submitted that same story to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and it was accepted as it was.)
Where publishing her book was concerned, Diana self-published through CreateSpace, as she didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it; indeed, by her own reckoning, she spent around fifteen hundred dollars, which included hiring an editor, a cover artist and a formatter. Diana particularly recommends hiring an editor, as hers spotted the mistakes that she didn’t, even after reading her own manuscript over several times.
Diana admits that she doesn’t feel like an “author” yet, saying that that title, for her, is reserved for people who have sold millions of copies and who appear on shows like Oprah and Ellen, but that she’s getting there. Where marketing is concerned, Diana sells her book through her Facebook account as well as through word of mouth and through bookstores in her local area; and where the bookstores were concerned, getting them to sell her book was a matter of her literally going up to the bookstores themselves and offering them her book.
Diana’s advice to would-be writers is essentially to get momentum going, starting with fifteen-minute blocks of writing time. She also recommends taking a writing class and joining a writers’ group, and emphasizes the need to prioritize the writing of the book. As a final piece of advice, Diana gave herself as an example when, as an unwed, eighteen-year-old mother, she made a list of goals she wanted to achieve and, according to her, then spent each day of her life doing one thing to bring one of those goals closer to reality.