Interview: Lisa Cottrell-Bentley

Lisa Cottrell-Bentley is no stranger to start-up companies, having worked
for and/or owned five. So, when a private investor told her that funding
was available for her to turn her small internet consulting company, Do
Life Right, Inc., and her first Wright on Time manuscript into an
independent publishing house in 2009, she went for it and hasn’t looked back.

Lisa is currently coordinating the publishing (and all that that entails)
of several different authors’ books, writing more of her Wright on Time
series of children’s chapter books, writing articles, and actively seeking
additional capital to accelerate the growth of Do Life Right, Inc. With
three published books under its belt, Do Life Right, Inc. is now a proven
entity and is excited about accepting submissions for additional books
featuring realistic homeschoolers of today.

Lisa lives and learns and writes in Sahuarita, AZ on 10 acres with her
husband and busy and brilliant homeschooled daughters. Her desire is to
inspire all people to become empowered to live their own personal
dreams–starting now!

To find out more about Lisa, check out:
Lisa’s KickStarter campaign for homeschool fiction
Lisa’s publishing company
Lisa’s children’s chapter book series
Lisa’s Rich Author page to help you make your publishing dreams come true

Lisa, thanks for joining us. Tell us about your latest project.

I have a variety of projects going on right now. Presently the biggest one
is the crowdfunding campaign going through KickStarter.com in order to
raise capital so that Do Life Right, Inc. can publish more books by many
more authors. I’m really excited about this since my publishing company is
the first (and only) publishing company out there which specializes in
fiction about realistic homeschoolers of today.

I’m also in the middle of publishing the fourth book in my Wright on Time
series of children’s chapter books about an RV-living, homeschooling family
who travels the USA. Each book is set in a different state with a different
fun and educational theme. The fourth book takes the Wright family to the
Sturgis motorcycle rally in South Dakota. In my Wright on Time research, my
daughters and I are about to embark on a three-week Amtrak trip.

I’m also publishing three new authors’ books. We’re at
various stages with each of them, but all are planned to be published in
early 2011. One is a children’s chapter book, another is a middle grade
book, and the third is a YA. All have characters who are realistic
homeschoolers of today, yet they are all also very different from each
other and from the Wright on Time series.

I’ve been interviewed a lot recently about homeschooling (and
unschooling–a specific style of homeschooling that my family does) and
publishing. I’m scheduled to be a presenter at several conferences, as well
as the November speaker at the Santa Cruz chapter of The Society of
Southwestern Authors.

What made you decide to buck tradition and pursue independent publishing?

This was actually a very difficult decision for me, and not one I took
lightly or made quickly. I spent over eight years seriously trying to
become a traditionally published author. While I believe the editors and
agents were correct with the first (women’s fiction) manuscripts I sent
them, their reasons for rejecting my Wright on Time series were the very
reasons I wrote them. I was told that my writing was great, but that there
was no market for books about homeschooled children, children who liked
their parents, or children who got along with their siblings.

Since there are 2.2+ million homeschoolers in the U.S. alone, I knew this
wasn’t true. When I took those numbers to traditional publishers I was told
that they were too small to be considered a “real” market. I disagreed and
started my own publishing house.

What response do you have to those who feel there’s not enough money and exposure in self-publishing for the amount of effort, and that the quality of self-published books is poor?

My experiences disprove this the first part of this question, and I only
see the markets growing. I’m queried every single day by someone who either
wants to interview me, buy my books in bulk (wholesale), or otherwise
network. Today alone I’ve been contacted by nearly a dozen such people.
While I won’t jump on every opportunity, there are enough to keep my
company growing.

As for quality, yes, there are poorly edited and poorly printed
self-published books. Everyone who wants to be considered a professional
author should treat their book on a professional level. Readers might buy a
self-published author’s book once, but if the quality isn’t there, they
won’t buy their second book. Since my sales are growing, it is proving this
theory true.

How do you see the publishing industry changing (if at all) in the next five years?

We’re becoming a more fully digitally integrated society every day. While I
do not believe that printed books will go out of fashion for a very long
time, I do see a tremendous growth in all e-formats and audio books. It’s
quite exciting! As a “green” conscious society, more publishers
(traditional and independent) are embracing print-on-demand (POD) and this
is allowing those technologies to become even better, too. I have plans to
make every book I publish available in many e-formats as well as audio.
This is the way of the future!

Lisa, thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with us!

Next Monday’s post will feature the conclusion of my interview with Lisa.

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