Updated: Always Keepers Press has gone out of business.
Lillie: Thank you for visiting A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye today, Donna. First, let me congratulate you on the launch of Always Keepers Press. I’m excited about the start-up and thrilled that you will be publishing Dream or Destiny in April. March is Small Press Month, so it’s a good time to celebrate a new small press. What led you to start this new venture?
Donna: To be perfectly honest, I have been wanting to do this for years. Sherry Bigler-Donovan and I have wanted to work together for the last twenty years. We’re both ashamed that we’ve known each other longer that that! (laugh) One day I was listening to the radio and the morning talk show host on a Knoxville (TN) radio station said, “You have a dream, now what are you going to do with it?” As a writer and someone who has always wanted my own business, I started thinking. Well, I’m too old. Guess what, not going to get any younger. I can’t do this. I need help. Well, that was true. So, I called Sherry and Katie Lovette of 77 Productions. We worked out a system that we think will work. Now, we’re putting that system into place and praying.
The truth is I started this company with a domain name, a few close friends who were also talented, and a prayer. We’ll just wait and see what happens.
Lillie: How did you come up with the name Always Keepers Press?
Donna: I went through several names and didn’t end up with them for one reason or the other. I’d go to buy the domain and it would be taken. Or, I’d go to register it with the state and it was taken.
I thought all of our books need to be keepers. I don’t want to find them at used book stores. That was how I came up with it.
Lillie: I’ve been a business owner, and I recognize that starting any new business can be a challenge. Please share a little about what is involved in starting an audio publishing company.
Donna: Oh, this one will be fun to answer. My one voice talent had an accident, followed by laryngitis for two weeks. Also, she had a computer accident and that was tough as well, as the finished product (all but one chapter of the book) was lost in a crash.
Of course, there were a hundred other things that happened. I had hoped to start last October and postponed until February because I was just trying to get things together. A whole lot more goes into something this simple than one might think.
Lillie: I know some authors who try to read their own books for audio publishing, but most of us don’t have the right voice or reading skill to do a good job. Who does Always Keepers Press use for voice talent?
Donna: The only talent I have, at this point, is Sherry Bigler-Donovan. She’s been doing voice work for over 30 years. In fact, I met her while she and my husband worked together at a radio station when I was first married.
Lillie: You have an interesting way of describing the kind of books you publish. What books do you have scheduled in the near future?
Donna: I always say that if you can’t read it aloud in church, I’m not interested. A few years ago I sat at my desk and wrote a very sensual scene and then realized that every word was being read by my Lord, Jesus. That was a very big moment for me. I realized I didn’t want to write anything that would be uncomfortable for me to read aloud before Him. So, I started that in my personal writing and also in what I need for AKP. If someone disagrees with me, that’s their perogative. But, this is what I need to be for my own personal beliefs.
Lillie: Are you open for submissions? If so, where can authors find submission guidelines?
Donna: Yes, please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is what I want: Cozy mysteries, sweet romances, inspirational romances, short stories and full length. We especially like to hear from people who are already published but own their audio rights and want to spread out.
Also, I am soon opening up two other branches. One is non-fiction. It will be in print and hopefully later audio or even video. Christian and conservative works. I want to start a speaker base from this part of the venture.
The last is that if anyone has a book that they want on audio, I will be glad to do that and take no rights to it. It will be absolutely self published. We will contract for a certain amount of money and all rights will remain with the author. I do this because a lot of people are wanting to put self-published works in audio but don’t want to lose any rights. This way they pay up front, and everything is theirs. We are quite reasonable compared to other outlets.
The last thing that is part of AKP is also a tabloid style blog called The Romance Rag. I hope that your authors will let me know at email@example.com of any news in their careers. I will blog it for them and link wherever they like. This is just a way to keep in touch and to bring more traffic to AKP as well.
Lillie: Where can readers learn more and buy audiobooks from Always Keepers Press?
Donna: Our Web site is finally up: alwayskeeperspress.com. I should have put that road in the “Problem” category! What a road that’s been to get that up!
Lillie: Is there anything else you’d like to share that I haven’t asked?
Donna: I would like to ask Christians who read your blog to remember us in their prayers. We are just starting and have a long way to go. I have told anyone who does business with me, if they do not see Christ in me, then I don’t need to be in business.
Lillie: That’s a great testimony, Donna. I agree. Thank you for visiting. I’m sure I didn’t ask everything my readers want to know so I hope you’ll check in during the day to answer questions.
Donna: Sure, I’ll answer questions here. Also, everyone, feel free to email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Tennessee gal at heart, Donna spent her childhood in a Jersey shore town, not far from the Big Apple. In love with Donny Osmond since the age of 12, she began to write love stories about him. Lots of them. Then, she discovered romance novels.
After she married, (not Donny, by the way) her husband encouraged her to continue to write and try her hand at actually getting published.
Finishing her first novel with a friend in 1989, she’ll tell you, it had every mistake in it known to the writing community. All of them. She didn’t leave one out, from craft to industry.
She continued to stumble through the journey until she discovered a new chapter of Romance Writers of America®. After finding the Smoky Mountain Romance Writers®, she won several writing honors and became RWA® Pro. All because she found people who all wanted the same goal.
In 2003, her dream came true.
The 2002 Sweet, Spicy, and Spooky Award sponsored by SMRW® had a final round read by Erin Cartwright-Niumata at Avalon Books. Excited to final, Donna waited on word for the winners, like any contest finalist would. Astounded to not only win, but to be requested, she didn’t believe an editor was serious about her work. That’s why she waited until October of the next year to send in the manuscript. (Of course, she also had to finish it.) Four books and one short story later, Donna has put her efforts in a different place. She is now the sole proprietor of Always Keepers Press, a place to find fine audio books.
Donna lives in East Tennessee with her husband of 24 years and teen-aged son. She is an active church member and believes in Jesus Christ as Salvation. Donna is available for speaking engagements regarding both her writing and her faith.