Traci Sanders skillfully wears numerous hats. She is a wife and a mother. She is a child care provider. She is an accomplished author of numerous books. She is a tireless supporter of authors and readers. Read below to learn more about Traci Sanders.
Your novel, When Darkness Breaks, is a well-written and poignant story of love, grief, hope and renewal. How did you conceive of this story?
Thank you! I actually worked out the entire story from beginning to end in one weekend when I was sick in bed. I couldn’t do anything else, so I spent the duration of that weekend constructing the outline and meat of this story. Within three months, I published it.
Like When Darkness Breaks, your novel Unsevered, also has themes of love, grief, hope and renewal. You write realistic and strong characters that endure heartache yet are resilient. What challenges did you face in writing Unsevered that you didn’t experience with When Darkness Breaks?
Wow, Unsevered was the toughest piece I’ve ever had to write. I cut my teeth on adult fiction with When Darkness Breaks, but I had sporadic emotional breakdowns with Unsevered. I poured my heart and soul (and life) into this book. I wanted it to be even more compelling than my debut novella, and I wanted to ensure not to offend anyone affiliated with the military, so it took a while to research certain aspects about it–such as the exact words and physical stance a military person would adopt when breaking the news of a fellow soldier’s death, to his or her loved ones. As well, when my main character died, in order to write that part authentically (not having gone through that myself, thank God) I had to imagine the pain I would experience if Harley were my husband. The range of emotions I would go through. It really came through to my readers, I’ve been told.
In addition to your novels, you have also written some marvelous books that are geared towards children and child development. Please tell our readers about these books.
My very first book published was a potty training guide. I’d successfully potty trained around thirty children in my career as a child care provider, at that point, and everyone kept saying, “You should write a book about this,” and I adopted the title of The Potty Whisperer from many. So, I sat down–again on a weekend–and outlined my potty training guide. I didn’t fluff it up with extra material because when you’re a parent or caregiver in the throes of the process, all you want are quick answers to get you through the day-to-day struggles. That’s why I called it Welcome to Poop Camp: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth about Potty Training. It truly can feel like boot camp.
Children’s books and poetry were my first loves as a writer, and I actually have several stories written that haven’t gone to print yet, because of the cost and time involved in illustration. I’ve been told by agents and publishers that my stories are “unique and well written, but not marketable,” so I haven’t done much with them, other than the two that are out now. My first one was a picture book that was made into sketches from digital photos of myself with the children in my care. The clip art and background images are either toys in my center, or drawings created by some of my children in care. This book is very special to me.
And my other children’s book, The Chocolate Monsters, is based on my true-life experience with my boys when they were little and painted my house with chocolate syrup while I was working at home one day, before I had the daycare. I never thought I’d be able to talk about that day, much less write the events down to relive them. But I thank them for the special story they gave me. I’ll never forget it.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Learn everything you can about the industry. Knowledge is power. If you don’t understand something, don’t try to wing it and risk receiving poor reviews. Research it. The Internet is an amazing resource. Also, pre-edit your stories. Don’t leave it all up to the editor. And even do a final read-through when your editor is done. No editor is perfect. We’re all human.
You are also the founder of Readers Review Room. Can you tell our readers what made you create Readers Review Room?
I’m so passionate about this endeavor because it allows me to do something that I believe has truly become needed in the Indie industry–connect authors with their target readers and help them obtain true reviews.
It’s not a perfect system. Some reviewers quit or can’t maintain their commitment, but that is life. I move on and I’m constantly searching for more reviewers, and more titles to list. It’s a catch 22 sometimes because I have to maintain the right balance of great titles to interest the reviewers, but also enough reviewers to handle the titles I have listed.
Last year, when Amazon began doing some reconstructing with their review system, I thought to myself, Why does it have to be so hard, so political? I’m sure Amazon detests having to go to the measures they do in order to attempt to offer true reviews. So, I found a way to help out with that.
Our reviews are 100% honest because the authors have no idea which reviewer picks up his or her titles, and therefore, no bribery or outer influence is present. The reviewers (readers) are able to do what they love, read books they choose! The authors don’t pay for reviews, because listing does not guarantee a review, since our readers choose which titles they want to read. They pay to be listed on our site and have access to our reviewers, to get their books in front of people they might not have otherwise ever come in contact with.
It’s a novel concept, and it’s really catching on! (I couldn’t resist.)
Are you able to share with us any current projects that you are working on?
Sure! I just ended my daily segment for 2016 where I offered 365 tips on writing, editing, publishing, and marketing books. I’m compiling all of these tips (along with some bonus information) into a book that I hope to have released by spring of this year.
As well, I started a new video-blog segment where I’m offering (52) weekly tips on how to balance writing/personal time.
You can visit my YouTube channel here. I just posted my first tip today!
My ultimate goal as a contributor to the Indie industry is to ensure the best possible reading material is offered, and this happens by educating authors while they are in the writing process. So, I feel this segment and my upcoming book will be great tools to accomplish this goal.
I’m proud to be an Indie author!