As an enthusiastic Sunday school teacher, there was only one thing Patti Ogden did not enjoy about the teaching experience; too often, her lessons would end with the children not grasping the concepts that they were intended to teach. With a genuine heartfelt desire to reach children’s soul realm, she unleashed her God-given creativity and began to break down her lessons into simple terms – added excitement and drama – and suddenly she saw the “lights go on!” Soon the kids were asking questions and wanting to know more!
With a background in journalism and a sincere burden to help kids seek their own spiritual growth, she is now the author of Keoni’s BIG Question and two other Christian children’s books due to be released in 2009.
She was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Patti is a devoted wife to her husband Jeff, of 35 years, mother of two and grandmother to five darlings that fill her life with joy. She and her husband Jeff enjoy life on their eleven acre hobby farm in Oregon, Illinois.
You can visit Patti’s website at www.capstone-productions.com.
Welcome to Beyond the Books, Patti! Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?
For the very first time.
What was the name of your very first book regardless of whether it was published or not and, if not published, why?
My first book was called How to Advertise Successfully In Newspapers. No one seemed to have any interest in it and I suppose that market was saturated with such titles and my lack of a famous name or endorsement probably didn’t help me either.
For your first published book, how many rejections did you go through before you either found a mainstream publisher, self-published it, or paid a vanity press to publish it?
For Keoni’s Big Question, I knew right away I would go straight to self-publishing and maintain full control of the how and when.
How did the rejections make you feel and what did you do to overcome the blows?
Since I did not submit my manuscript to main stream publishers, I didn’t have that kind of rejection this time. My rejection came when this book was marketed to the niche it was created, which was a shock. I took it hard at first because I thought sales would really take off quickly. I had to begin to think outside of the box and re-wrote my entire marketing strategy! My determination is if one thing doesn’t work, another will! Keep on trying.
When your first book was published, who published it and why did you choose them?
Capstone Productions published Keoni’s Big Question and Book Clearing House in New York distributes it through Ingram-Spring Arbor.
How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
I had such mixed emotions when the finished book was brought to me by the guy in the brown truck. I was scared to open it. When I did, I was so excited inside, yet apprehensive to show it. That was strange, I thought, but I realized I was just afraid to open myself to what I knew would follow. I knew now that the book was done, I would hear what others really thought of it. The comments, criticism (even though well intended) and the ever so popular “you-should-have –done-this” opinions.
Oh yes, here they came. But I celebrated quietly with my very supportive husband.
What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Press releases. I once had a career in the newspaper business so I knew the power in them.
If you had to do it over again, would you have chosen another route to be published?
No, because even though a big advance check sounds tempting, an author who is paid for his manuscript by a main stream publisher does not have any control on illustration, layout, editing or design or when it will hit the market and that just scares me. After sweating profusely on my story, I wouldn’t be able to take a cut up version of my book and art that didn’t match my vision.
Have you been published since then and how have you grown as an author?
I have two more books coming out this year and I have learned so much. I feel I have a better sense of what the market demands in Christian literature and I have grown to know how to develop my creative writing skills and take it to a higher level.
Looking back since the early days when you were trying to get published, what do you think you could have done differently to speed things up? What kind of mistakes could you have avoided?
Since I chose the self-publishing route, I know now that I should have joined writers groups and authors social networks much sooner. I should have learned from other self-publishers and I could have avoided some of the mistakes and pitfalls that came my way.
What has been the biggest accomplishment you have achieved since becoming published?
To me, it was having my book passing the high standards of acceptance at Quality Books Inc. for library distribution and for being accepted by Barnes and Noble online and store placement. When I got those acceptance letters, I felt I had really achieved something!
If you could have chosen another profession, what would that profession be?
I would love to own a bookstore with a little coffee shop, tucked away in some romantic little town. To be surrounded by books and readers every day would be glorious!
How do you see yourself in ten years?
A wife, mom and Grandma that my family loves to be around. Author is just a side benefit to my life.
Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
Write, write and write some more. Read a bunch and study your market profusely. Join writing groups and most of all find a great mentor and professional editor who is totally honest with you. The worst thing you can do is fall in love with your own writing and never take a step back to analyze and improve it from all angles.