Jocelyn A Dorgan

etched-in-shadow-hill-cemetery-300x200“It took my co-writer and me seven years to write our book. We were full of great ideas and lively scenarios, and edited ourselves from “fun hobby” into “maybe we have something here.” Two years later, we were still tweaking. If we’d allowed our lack of confidence to be our guide, we might be rewriting and wordsmithing the same passages to this day. Facing the next step made me want to bury my head under the covers.

I heard about Debra L Hartmann through a blog by self-publishing guru Joanna Penn. I toiled over my initial email to inquire about editing services, knocked back my second glass of wine, and hit the Send button. I spent what felt like the next four weeks (in truth, it was about two days) pacing and checking my emails, pretending to write and checking my emails, walking my dogs and checking my emails. Then, there it was! Her response, agreeing to look at our work.

Her initial reaction to the first couple of chapters was encouraging. I felt my protective neuroses thawing. She was businesslike, yet warm and caring, as she discussed terms for moving forward. It took no time for me to trust that she was competent—I liked the sample edits she returned and to know that she understood how to navigate the insecurities that plague creative types.

Throughout the entire editing process, I found Debra’s suggestions to be insightful and exactly what the story called for. From general themes and continuity, to scene transitions, I watched our playful little manuscript grow into a polished novel.

Now what? For numerous reasons, I chose to self-publish instead of pursuing the traditional publishing route. But, where did I even begin? Fortunately, Debra’s vast experience helped guide me past each hurdle I was now facing. She set me up with a designer who did everything from formatting (for both eBook and paperback publishing) to cover design. At the same time, she instructed me on how to build my social media presence. Then came launching the eBook, followed by the paperback soon thereafter, all while marketing and advertising and creating awareness. Every step of the way, Debra held my hand, taught me how to become my own little marketing machine, and offered me encouragement when I needed it.

Debra took the “scary” out of the post-writing process. She kept me grounded and focused, allowing me to grow as an independent businessperson while cheering me on as a writer. Today, I have a confidence that I lacked a year ago. I continue to market my first novel as I work on an accompanying novella with plans for future books. Without Debra’s hard work, easy manner, and constant cheerleading, I don’t know that I would ever have accomplished my life’s dream of being a published author.”

– Jocelyn A Dorgan, author of Etched in Shadow Hill Cemetery

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