Dale Stanten reflects on her dysfunctional upbringing and her determination to overcome it with her book, The Hooker’s Daughter. Learn more about her favorite marketing technique and the most important thing she’s learned about self-publishing.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
In 1950s Jewish Boston, my mother established a home-based business as a prostitute to remedy her husband’s inability to provide for his family. At age six, I was answering the front door for johns. Kids were forbidden to play with me and even the Girl Scouts asked me to leave. What a terrible irony, in a family with so many strange and twisted realities, that my gay sister, “coming out” at age 16, was the only thing my parents focused on as contemptible. My memoir is a story of survival driven by my ability to extract positive qualities from a dysfunctional life. My unconditional love for my mother challenges the reader to examine beyond that which is socially acceptable and identify that which is universal.
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
I started writing this book 12 years ago so my children would understand their mother’s background.
This book began with my efforts in a writing group which met in the back room of a local bakery-café. The group was both fascinated and shocked by my story as it emerged, and eagerly awaited each new installment. I was touched by this unselfish outpouring of interest and found welcomed motivation in their support. It was a difficult decision to expose myself by publishing this memoir. What would people say? Am I being foolish? Why am I doing this? I had periods of doubt and anxiety and many sleepless nights. However, making my private life public finally devalued the impact of the gossip and embarrassment and the baggage I did not pack. No nore secrets!
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
Today, a traditional publishing house requires the author to do the majority of the marketing and publicity. Unless you have a platform and your name is Clinton or Bush, it is difficult to obtain any assistance. Ultimately, I decided to self-publish. This gave me more control of the process.
Marketing can absorb a great deal of time and effort. However, I love marketing! I built my original business from nothing and understand that personal contact and follow through are very important.