Indie Author and Audiobook Narrator, Becky Doughty, & a Christmas E-Book Giveaway!

This interviewee is so close to my heart! Becky Doughty is not only my critique
partner, but my friend, my supporter, my sounding-board…and one of the few
who encouraged me that I COULD go indie and succeed. I thank God upon every
remembrance of her!
Today I wanted to chat with Becky, whose readers haven’t
ceased begging for more books with her Elderberry
Croft
protagonist, Willow Goodhope. Accordingly, Becky just released a
holiday sequel, Elderberry
Days: A Season of Joy
.
Honestly, Becky is quite simply one of the most productive
authors I know and a true Renaissance Woman. Not only does she have nine indie
novels and novellas out, she has also narrated nineteen audiobooks through
Audible (one of those is my God’s
Daughter
). You can find her books here and BraveHeart audiobook samples
here. ~Heather Day Gilbert
Becky Doughty, Author
Becky Doughty is
the author of the best-selling
Elderberry
Croft series and the voice behind BraveHeart Audiobooks. 

Becky is married to her champion of more than 25 years,
Kevin. They have three children, two of whom are grown and starting families of
their own, and they all live within a few miles of each other in Southern
California.
Author Website: BeckyDoughty.com
BraveHeart Audiobooks Website: BraveheartAudiobooks.com
Email:
becky(at)beckydoughty(dot)com
Twitter: @BeckySDoughty
Google Plus: +BeckyDoughty
Pinterest: BeckySDoughty

Interview with Becky
Doughty, 

Indie Author & Audiobook Narrator



HG: Welcome, my
friend! Let’s go back in time…say, two years ago. What did your writing
career look like then? What led you to go indie?
BD: Heather, thank
you so much for inviting me here today! And thank you, Novel Rocket readers,
for having me!
Actually, my indie journey began about 4 years ago, although
I didn’t quite realize that’s what I was doing! Like so many authors I know,
I’ve been writing stories, primarily for fun (and therapy!) since I was old
enough to string sentences together. I’ve often considered “getting serious” about
my writing, but put marriage and family and my day jobs first…so my writing
was just a hobby, just “for me” projects. 
Well, one of the fun projects I took
on was writing a series of Bible study stories for our church’s women’s monthly
brunch. The series was well received, and the women requested I compile them
into a collection so they could have a copy, and gift copies to friends and
family. So I did a little research into the most efficient and cost-effective
means to printing this collection, and discovered it was cheaper for me to
publish it using a “print-on-demand” system than it would be for me to have a
local print shop do them for me…and I wouldn’t have to stock the books
either! 
So I learned how to format, how to create a cover with the help of a
friend who was proficient at PhotoShop, and how to set up my own publishing
house (BraveHearts Press), and distributed the book, Life
Letters: The Fruit of the Spirit
,
to the major online booksellers. It
truly was the simplest way to create the product this group of women asked for.
I had no real intention of doing more indie publishing, nor did I consider this
a major milestone in my career.
However, the positive response I received to my writing
encouraged me to pick up my pen more seriously, so over the next 18 months, I
wrote like a maniac and landed a wonderful agent with my fiction. It was during
this time that I met Heather, too!
As my books were being shopped around, I started paying close attention to what was going on in the
indie publishing world. I decided to proactively pursue BOTH indie publishing
and traditional publishing, and in January of 2013, I began self-publishing a
serial novel, Elderberry Croft, first through my website in monthly
episodes, then in volumes at the major online booksellers. I then compiled Elderberry
Croft: The Complete Collection
and published that in January 2014. Over
the last two years, the response to Elderberry Croft has grown in leaps
and bounds, and because of its success, I opted to indie publish some of my
other fiction. As a result of that decision, my agent and I parted ways
amicably, but I still consider traditional publishing as a viable option for me
and hope to pursue that again in the near future.
HG: Why did you
choose to publish your novel, Elderberry Croft,
as a serial novel on your blog? How
did you go about that? And what was the response to it?
BD: I started writing Elderberry Croft, a serial novel in
monthly episodes, as a way to give readers a taste of my story voice. I posted
it for free on my website the whole year of 2013, then pulled it in 2014 and
published the series as a complete collection. The series is by far my best
seller, and I think much of that is due to the steady production, the fact that
I wasn’t initially looking at this
project as a book to SELL, but as a book on which to build a readership
, (Click to Tweet!) and therefore, I basically gave it away for a full year. Volume 1, the first 3
episodes of the series, is still FREE. This has been a long term investment
project, and I’m beginning to see long term results.
Elderberry Croft: The Complete Collection on Amazon
The response has been very positive and many have asked for
more, so last month I published a holiday sequel novella, Elderberry Days:Season of Joy!
Elderberry Days: Season of Joy on Amazon
***And to say “Thank you” and “Merry Christmas” from me to
you, I’m giving away digital copies of both Elderberry Croft: The Complete
Collection
and Elderberry Days: Season of Joy to ALL WHO COMMENT
HERE from now until December 25th! (Click to Tweet!)
Please be sure to leave your email address and the format you prefer: pdf, mobi for Kindle, or epub.***
HG: Our critique
process is crucial for me and I don’t feel comfortable publishing a book
without your input. You tell me when a story is unworkable and heading the
wrong way, when I misspell words I was sure
I knew how to spell, or when characters aren’t coming across the right way.
What do you think is the key thing to look for in a critique partner? I would
recommend someone whose writing you respect; someone
whose judgment you trust; and someone who brings elements to the table that
balance your writing style.

BD: Oh goodness. I
always know I can count on you, Heather. Having a critique partner, someone you
can trust to read your story without trying to make it sound like their voice
is paramount to producing a quality product. And that IS what we’re doing.
We’re not just writing stories. As indie
publishers, we’re producing a product in its entirety
We want the story to
be sound and relevant, the cover to be professional, the editing to be quality,
the presentation as a whole to be stellar. This is not about comparing indie to
traditional, but about creating the best product possible, period. A critique
partner must be of the same mindset. I don’t want someone who will let things
slide because we’re buds. I want someone who will hold me to the highest
standard BECAUSE we’re buds and because she wants the best for me, just as I
want the best for her. That’s why I feel so confident in this partnership,
Heather.
HG: Thank you and
I feel the same way! You have several novels out:
Elderberry Croft; Elderberry Days: Season of Joy; Waters Fall; and Juliette
and the Monday ManDates. I believe next on your publication agenda is Renata and the Fall from Grace (you know
I’m anxiously waiting to read that one!). Can you tell us a little about the
four sisters in
The Gustafson Girls series
and Renata in particular?

BD: Absolutely! The
Gustafson Girls
is a series about 4 sisters whose parents were killed
fifteen years earlier by a drunk driver. Although raised by loving
grandparents, it’s the G-FOURce—the Gustafson Four Sisters Club—that binds them
together when their differences would tear them apart. All grown up now,
Juliette has become the quintessential doormat, Renata, the self-appointed
matriarchal figure. Phoebe is, at least according to Renata, borderline
narcissistic, and Gia is on the verge of a major identity crisis.

Then there’s Angela Clinton, the senior class darling who drove her cherry
black 1970 el Camino into the side of their parents’ car on the night of
Juliette’s high school graduation. Angela’s prison sentence is winding down;
soon she’ll be eligible for parole and moving back to town. Will the G-FOURce
be strong enough to hold them together as they step into the eye of the storm
that’s been brewing for the last fifteen years? Will they finally be able to
let go of the past and embrace the future, no matter what it holds?

Cover Art for the Gustafson Girls Series
Juliette’s story is already available on Amazon (Juliette
and the Monday ManDates
), and will go to other online booksellers the
first of the year. Renata is the second sister, and the only one who is
married. She feels responsible for “keeping the other girls in line,” much to
everyone else’s chagrin. But Renata’s own life is about to spin out of her
tight-fisted control and no amount of careful planning, pride, or will power is
going to save her. Her faith in God, the bonds of her marriage, her role in the
G-FOURce, even her black and white ideas of right and wrong, will all be
tested.
Renata and the Fall from Grace is scheduled for
release in early Spring, around the first of February. Books 3 and 4, Phoebe
and the Rock of Ages
and Gia the Blast from the Past, will  also be released later in 2015.
HG: How did you
decide to go into audiobook narration? How laborious of a process was it to get
everything set up for that?

Becky in her audiobook studio
BD: This was
actually a huge part of my decision to venture fully into indie publishing last
year. I realized that if I was going to be a full time author/publisher, I’d
need to diversify and find other income streams within the industry. 
As much as
I enjoy editing, after a really difficult experience, I realized it was not a
service I could comfortably offer. Although I enjoy
creating my own covers, I knew I didn’t have the patience or know-how or
programs to do them for others. I’m not a consistent blogger, so turning my
blog into a source of income stream wasn’t a good fit, either. 
But I’ve spent
my whole life reading stories out loud – to my siblings, to the kids on the
school bus (usually my own serial novels before I knew they were called that!
I’d write a new chapter each night and read it on the way to school the next
day), then to my children, and hopefully, one day soon, to my grandchildren.
I’m also quite comfortable behind a microphone, being a member of a very
musical family (we have a family band, aptly named “The Rowdy Doughtys), and we
already had much of the equipment I’d need to narrate from my home.
So my husband and I converted a closet in my office into a
sound booth, purchased a few pieces of equipment and software as we could
afford it, and now, almost a year later, I just completed my 19th
audiobook. I’ve had some wonderfully patient authors who have ridden the
learning curve with me, and I’m really beginning to find my groove with the
audiobooks. It’s a fairly simple thing to get into, but it requires a lot of
work to make the business successful, and a willingness to constantly look for
ways to produce better sound, better working relationships, better standards,
better voices, better interpretations.
I’m also learning to be selective about
material I narrate, not just based on content rating (I’ve labeled myself as a
“Clean Reads” narrator, something that is remarkably subjective in this
industry), but also based on the story itself, whether or not it’s something I
enjoy reading personally. My husband works alongside me in this business, and
he can tell when my heart isn’t in a project. He’s a good filter for me.
As the proverbial shoemaker whose children go barefoot, I
have yet to narrate one of my own books, but that’s a project I’m looking
forward to at the beginning of the year, starting with Elderberry Croft
and Elderberry Days.
Thank you, again, Heather, and all the Novel Rocket gang, for
having me here today. I’ve learned so much from what others share on this
website. Don’t forget! I’m gifting e-book copies of Elderberry Croft and
Elderberry Days to all who comment here from now until December 25th! Be sure and leave your email address and the format you prefer: pdf, mobi for Kindle, or epub. Merry Christmas, friends!

HG: Thank you so
much, Becky, and your giveaway just shows your heart of giving to others. Thank
you for all the time and encouragement you’ve given to me! And be sure to comment with your email to receive your e-book copies of Becky’s books!