This interview features Lasheri Walls, Senior Publishing Consultant at Dorrance Publishing.
To start, can you tell me a little bit about your background and your journey to becoming the Senior Publishing Consultant at Dorrance Publishing?
Lasheri: I’ve been in sales for over 25 years now. I started out like most sales representatives doing door to door business. I sold credit card machines to education to Boise office supplies. So, I have a very strong background in sales. As far as education goes, I have a bachelor’s degree in mass media communications and a master’s degree in global marketing communications.
How long have you been working at Dorrance Publishing?
Lasheri: Four years.
Can you tell me more about Dorrance Publishing?
Lasheri: Dorrance started out on August 6th of 1920 as Dorrance and Company. Later the name was changed to Dorrance Publishing. They’ve been helping authors for generations (about 100 years), and it’s wonderful to work for a company that has such a strong history. I also love how family-oriented the company is and how much they care about their authors as well as their employees.
What services does Dorrance Publishing offer?
Lasheri: We are the oldest author services company in the United States. And, we’re considered an author services company because we offer more than just publishing. So, for those who desire to write but don’t know how to start, we can help them begin and offer services such as ghostwriting. Or maybe they’ve already started to write their book, but they’re having trouble figuring out what to do next. In that case, we offer writing coach services for the aspiring author to take advantage of.
Would you say that’s the main benefit of choosing Dorrance Publishing over another publishing service or company?
Lasheri: Yes. Our services are custom-based. We specialize in our authors, whereas a lot of our competitors don’t take the time to read the author’s work. At Dorrance, we have a whole team dedicated to reading all of the material that comes in, which is important for two reasons. It’s important because we have a strong legacy and history, so we have to be very careful about what we put out. But also, it’s important for the author because they’ll be able to get some feedback and determine whether or not our services will be a good fit. Additionally, Dorrance Publishing separates itself from many of our competitors through marketing. We always take the time to research individual marketing campaigns for each author.
What are the major differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing?
Lasheri: That’s a great question. I’m going to break it down into three areas—traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing. Self-publishing is where you hire somebody to put your book together. Then, the author is often on their own to market and campaign it. On the other hand, traditional publishers are very strict about what they will publish. They’ll take care of marketing and the book’s promotion, but there are cases where the author may not maintain their rights to their work. Some authors have an issue with that.
Dorrance Publishing is considered a hybrid. We are an entity of self-publishing because the author maintains all rights and ownership to their work, but they pay us to publish their book and handle all marketing aspects. There are many benefits to this. The writer will have a project coordinator to help them throughout the entire process. Whereas with the other two, once an author gives permission to publish, they won’t hear anything back until it’s finished. We don’t do that. We strongly believe in engaging with our authors throughout the entire process because it is their intellectual property.
For people wanting to use Dorrance Publishing, what does the process look like—from getting in contact to submitting work?
Lasheri: I have a person like myself, who is a Senior Publishing Consultant, speak with the author to find out a little bit more about the book itself. Then, the book would be submitted to the consultant, and a team of professional staff writers would take time to read it. That process can take two to ten business days. Afterward, the consultant will contact the author and share a customized proposal based on their needs from previous conversations. Another appointment will then be set up to discuss how the author wants to move forward with publishing.
When would you say a writer knows they’re ready to share their work with the world?
Lasheri: Sometimes, I don’t think authors are ready. That’s why it’s so important for us as the consultant to make that judgment as well. Many writers will bring us their work to look over and tweak, whereas others who are maybe more experienced with publishing want our help to get better results. So, we deal with various authors, but usually, newer authors aren’t too sure of their work, and that’s where we step in to really give them the help they need.
With that, what is the best piece of advice you could give to a new writer?
Lasheri: Never be afraid to try. Don’t assume you can’t publish. We have so many new authors who believe no one is going to like their work. You’ll never know until you try. So, go ahead and publish! Let the general public decide for themselves.
If you would like to learn more about Dorrance Publishing, call 1-800-695-9599 or visit https://www.dorrancepublishing.com/.