William McDonald on his Publishing Experience | Balboa Press

William McDonald

Author, Flying Together: It's Okay, Really and Forgiving is the Right Thing To Do

"It may seem like it's a lot of work, a lot of effort, but in the long run it's worth it."

William McDonald discusses what he learned about traditional publishing, and how that knowledge led him to self-publish with Balboa Press. He discusses the publishing process for this two books.

Video Transcript

William McDonald, Children's Book Author, on his Balboa Press Publishing Experience

William McDonald: “My name is William MacDonald. Most people call me Bill. I've written two children's books so far, they’re picture books, first one was called Flying Together: It's Okay, Really, and the second one is called Forgiving is the Right Thing To Do.  

In January 2017, Ruth Ann and I were out in LA at a weekend retreat with a couple called Sheila and Marcus Gillette. Sheila channels the group of 12 archangels who call themselves Theo, but one of the women who was helping out in the retreat heard me talking about having problems finding an illustrator.

She said to me, “you know my husband and brother-in-law wrote a children's book. My brother-in-law did the illustrations, so if you want me to give me your information I'll contact them, see if he's interested.

Him and I just clicked perfectly. I would send them the manuscript, and he would send me, probably within a week, about four or five pencil sketches. Once I gave the approval, he would send me the color pictures, and in about six weeks he had completely done 21 color illustrations.

Well, later on that week he contacted me, said he was interested. I sent him a copy of the manuscript; he sent me a couple of pencil sketches, and as they say, the rest is history.

What was really interesting with it was that I originally thought about using pictures of real birds, drawings of real birds. He said that would be better if we used ones that would relate more to children, so that's why, they’re not comical birds, but they're not real birds.

The two books basically deal with three birds who become friends. One’s a robin, one's a blue jay, one's a cardinal, and they face issues and they don't know how to deal with them and they're taught on how to solve these problems that they have.

There are issues facing children in today's society that, oh they're not new issues they've been around for a long time, but they're more public now. I'm talking about issues dealing with diversity, anger, abuse, divorce, death, disabilities—things of that nature—that children don't know how to deal with and the importance of these books are to teach the children and the parents on how to address the issues, had to deal with them, and in a lot of cases solve these issues.

I really hope to, like I said, to get the children and the parents talking about these issues, and I would really like these books in all the schools all the libraries and in every home for the families to use and learn from.

I did a lot of research on publishing. I first found out that a lot of traditional publishers will not accept manuscripts except from literary agents. So I started looking at self-publishing. I did a lot of research and found that Balboa Press, through their various packages that they offer, offer a lot more than other self-publishing companies.

For example, in their packages they will include business cards, bookmarks, postcards that aren't offered by other companies. And in addition, they not only publish the book on their website in their bookstore, they also list it on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and they also include e-books, which a lot of companies, that's extra. With Balboa it's all included with the packages.

The only surprise is the biggest surprise, which is that I kept on being told that it would take about three months to publish the book. Well, in about six and a half weeks, the books were finished, and that happened in both books. That was kind of like a big surprise, and they tell me it was because they were picture books, so it was a lot easier than a novel or something of that nature.

The other thing wasn't a big surprise but it was very pleased with was Balboa was in constant contact with me in reference to the status: where things were through emails, through phone calls, they were very helpful, very friendly, and they were a pleasure to work with.

When I received the first copy, the author's copy, it was surreal. I mean I was a published author. It took almost five years for it to be published, so we're kind of excited. We posted on social media pages and we celebrated that night by going out to dinner.

Anyone’s considering publishing a book for the first time needs to do a lot of research. It may seem like it's a lot of work, a lot of effort, but in the long run it's worth it, because you may find some surprises along the way during the research, you may have to turn around, and start again, or go in a different direction.

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