Author Interview with Doris Vega Baez
Anani and the Brave Hurricane Adventure (Anani y la valiente aventura del huracán) author shares the inspiration behind her children's book, her book marketing plan, and more in today's interview!
Doris Vega Baez’s children’s book Anani and the Brave Hurricane Adventure (Anani y la valiente aventura del huracán) recently became a No. 1 New Release in Children’s Ancient Civilization Fiction on Amazon, as well as No. 1 New Release in Children's Hispanic and Latino Stories. Plus, she’s also the Author Support Team Lead for Xulon Press. So, I thought there was no one better to kick off our interview series with than an author who has experience on both sides of self-publishing.
Doris spends her days helping writers reach their goals of becoming published authors, and now that she’s a published author herself, I knew she’d have some amazing insights to share.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Anani and the Brave Hurricane Adventure (Anani y la valiente aventura del huracán)?
A. Anani and the Brave Hurricane Adventure' (Anani y la valiente aventura del huracán) was inspired by my rich family heritage, spanning from Spain and Africa to the indigenous Taino people of the Caribbean, a culture my grandfather vividly brought to life through his stories. They valued heritage, storytelling, and children—values I hold dear and wanted to instill through my children's book. By intertwining the Taino culture and language into the story, I aspire to celebrate and preserve this vital part of our history, ensuring that the legacy of the Taino people lives on, not just through our shared DNA, but also through the power of storytelling and the joy of learning. In doing so, I hope to instill a sense of pride, awareness, and connection to heritage in the hearts of the younger generation, all while taking them on a brave and exciting adventure with Anani.
Q. And you include both an English and a Spanish translation of your story in the book, correct? Tell us about the process of writing a book in two different languages. Were there any challenges that arose?
A. Yes, the book is available in both English and Spanish. Although I have a basic understanding of Spanish, I am not fully fluent. So, I utilized tools like Microsoft Translator and Grammarly for the translation process. I aimed to keep the Spanish text simple for young readers. My family, all fluent in Spanish, played a crucial role by reviewing the translation multiple times to ensure it was accurate, uncomplicated, and made sense to the intended audience.
Q. How long did it take for you to finish writing your book?
A. I dedicated a full four months to the process of writing my book.
Q. Describe your writing process. Do you outline, plan, and plot or is your writing more of a free flow of ideas?
A. My writing process begins with a brainstorming session, during which I jot down any and all ideas that come to mind. From this pool of potential, I select the concept that resonates most with me and commit to developing it further. Next, I craft a basic outline to guide the unfolding of the story. With this framework in place, I then proceed to enrich the narrative ensuring a robust and engaging storytelling experience.
Q. Who was your favorite character in your book to write and why?
A. Undoubtedly, my favorite character in the story is Anani, who stands out due to her remarkable determination, altruism, and bravery. These qualities not only define her character but also drive the narrative forward, making her a truly compelling figure in the story.
Q. What was the most challenging part about writing your book?
A. The most demanding aspect of writing the book was ensuring its historical accuracy, particularly in depicting the Taino lifestyle. This required extensive research on their dietary habits, living conditions, and other cultural facets to authentically portray their way of life.
Q. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?
A. I aspire for my readers to leave with a newfound curiosity and enthusiasm about the Taino culture, gaining insight into their way of life and possibly extending their interest to exploring other cultures as well.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your experience with the editing process?
A. I found the diagnostic review to be immensely beneficial; it provided me with clear insights on areas where my manuscript required enhancement. This realization led me to undertake several rounds of revisions to refine my book. For the Spanish version, I engaged my family in the editing process, involving them in multiple reviews to ensure accuracy and clarity in the translation.
Q. What was your inspiration for the cover design?
A. The cover design draws inspiration from a pivotal moment in the story, where Anani becomes aware of an impending hurricane and decides to take action. I aimed to convey the determination in her expression, while also illustrating the hurricane as it looms near the island, setting the stage for the unfolding adventure.
Q. Can you tell us a little about your marketing efforts for your book?
A. My marketing efforts for the book have primarily revolved around leveraging my personal network, with friends and family playing a crucial role in promoting the book through social media shares and re-shares. Additionally, I’ve proactively reached out to schools, coffee shops, and libraries to arrange book readings, aiming to connect directly with my audience.
To increase online engagement and visibility, I’ve hosted giveaways on social media, encouraging participants to repost about the book, and I’ve actively used TikTok to create engaging content and foster a community around the book.
I’m also exploring in-person promotional opportunities, establishing connections with small Caribbean boutiques, and planning a trip to Puerto Rico to introduce my book to local bookshops, museums, and gift shops. During this trip, I intend to create content at culturally significant sites, such as those featuring Taino Petroglyphs, and at restaurants serving Taino-inspired cuisine, further enriching my marketing efforts and bringing the world of the Taino people to life.
Q. Are there any specific marketing tools that have been extra beneficial for you?
A. Social media has proven to be an invaluable marketing tool for my book, enabling me to engage directly with my audience and extend my reach without necessitating a substantial financial investment. It primarily requires an investment of time and energy, but the potential for connection and visibility it offers is immense.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A. I am passionate about immersing myself in culturally enriching environments, such as museums, parks, botanical gardens, concerts, and theatrical plays. These experiences offer me invaluable opportunities to learn and explore. I take great pleasure in sharing these adventures with my daughter, using our visits as teaching moments. Additionally, quality time spent with family is of utmost importance to me, as it fosters strong bonds and creates lasting memories.
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors who may be interested in self-publishing?
A. For aspiring authors considering the self-publishing route, my advice is to maintain a clear focus on your target audience throughout the writing process. Understand that your book is not meant to cater to everyone; specificity is key.
Also, marketing is an essential component of the publishing journey, crucial for ensuring that your book reaches its intended readership. Recognize that marketing is an ongoing effort, requiring determination, creativity, and endurance. You cannot afford to pause your marketing endeavors; it’s a continuous commitment.
Embrace the responsibility that as the author, you are the most powerful advocate for your book. Be prepared to market yourself, step outside your comfort zone, and push your boundaries. It’s a brave endeavor, but it’s vital for the success of your book. Remember, the journey might be challenging, but the rewards of connecting with your audience and sharing your story are immensely fulfilling.
Purchase a Copy of Anani and the Brave Hurricane Adventure (Anani y la valiente aventura del huracán)
Anani and the Brave Hurricane Adventure (Anani y la valiente aventura del huracán) is available at the following retailers:
Connect with Doris Vega Baez
Taino Adventure Books (coming soon!)
Upcoming article: What Is NetGalley and How to Authors Can Use It
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