I met Karen a few years back when Mike and I worked with Paul and Debbie Hinzman, her daughter and son-in-law. Judging by the relationship we were privileged to see with her kids and grandkids, we were able to quickly deduce what a fabulous mom and grandma she is. She is also the brand new author of Food for the Hungry Soul and I’m so excited she agreed to share a little bit about her book and publishing journey today with us.
About the book . . .
In 2005 Karen began sending special emails through the workweek to her four daughters. All of her girls are busy moms and Karen wanted to send them a daily personal devotional that would encourage them during their day. With each email she also included a delicious and easy recipe, many from their childhood days back home.
It wasn’t long before other women heard about Karen’s daily devotional and asked to be put on her email list (which is currently at 200 recipients). Her home church began featuring her devotions and recipes in their weekly bulletin. It was by the prompting of her growing following that she began the journey to publish Food for the Hungry Soul – a devotional cookbook with an entry for every day of the year formulated from all 66 books of the Bible.
Read on to learn about Karen’s experiences in publishing in this special interview for grateful for a coffee break readers.
Our Interview . . .
What can you share about your writing process?
Because the devotions are short, writing them was fairly easy. It was the studying I had to do before hand, in compiling the facts, that required many hours of commitment. For each devotion, I studied and researched for approximately 4-6 hours. As a busy pastor’s wife, and someone who loves people and wants to help meet their every need, I studied and wrote throughout each day, with and without interruptions. Some days allowed me many hours while others – none.
What was your publication journey like?
It took me 2 years to edit 366 devotions and recipes. A school teacher also edited my manuscript before I sent it off to the publisher. The publisher I used was Creation House [and] they agreed to co-edit. This process can be costly, but for first time authors, it is one of the only ways to go. They also edit and make any corrections they believe need to be made. Charisma Media/Creation House is a reputable and well-known publisher with whom I would definitely publish again and I recommend them to anyone who may be interested.
What was the greatest challenge you faced through this process?
Once I decided that it was the right thing to publish my writings, I had no idea what to do next. I searched the web for hours, days, and months trying to find information for new writers. Though there was a lot of info out there, none was basic enough to steer me in the right direction. I had no idea what to do. This was so frustrating that I almost gave up the idea of printing an actual book. And then my daughter Debbie met a lady at a ministry conference who had written a book and had it published with Creation House. She told Debbie to have me get in touch with her; so I did. That’s when I started the process with Creation House. It took about 6 months to hear they had decided to co-publish my book.
Another great challenge I had was keeping the devotions short enough to fit onto one page, along with a recipe and a prayer. Originally, there was also a 2-line poem that I wrote pertaining to that particular devotion, but when the publisher had a hard time fitting everything onto one page I told them to remove the poem. That was a little sad because some of them, though very short and simple, took some great thought and prayer to develop.
What would you do differently if you chose to write a second book?
The book I wrote is a 366-day devotional that also contains 366 recipes. Because of the index for the recipes and other needed pages, it required the book to contain approximately 400 pages [with wider margins]. The extra size and the additional pages added more to the cost to print the book; thus, I had to pay a lot more out of pocket. If I write another book it will be much shorter, possibly a weekly devotional which [would cut down on pages, page size, and ultimately cost].
What advice would you offer to other aspiring authors who want to pursue publication?
One important thing to consider in deciding whether to self-publish or co-publish is the cost of having your manuscript professionally edited. Creation House includes editing in their costs but most places charge $.02 – $.06 per word. This may sound reasonable, but the book I had published has 166,000 words which would have cost me $6,640 for a medium level check at $.04 a word. Self-publishers may or may not accept material that has been professionally edited. I personally would not want to publish or even purchase a book that has not been edited by a professional. Keep those things in mind as you research.
Karen, congratulations again on your new book and thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us!!
Karen Doughty is the mother of four wonderful daughters, Debbie, Tami, Cindy, and Tracy, and grandmother to eight precious grandchildren. She and her husband, Reverend Fred Doughty, have been in full-time ministry for thirty years. Copies of her book Food for the Hungry Soul may be purchased from Christian Book Distributors or Amazon. She blogs regularly at FoodForTheHungrySoul.