Local author releases first book, others in the works

By Melissa Smith

Some readers who become absorbed with the characters in “Forgive Their Sins” fear for their favorite’s fate. “Well, good guys don’t always finish first,” author A’Sian Starr Dotson says. “You’ll get to connect with them in the next book.”
The novel is the first in a planned series, “A Journey to the Truth,” written by a woman you might see on a typical weekday down at Abbeville Community Federal Credit Union.

After work, though, she is a writer always trying to translate the stories in her head to paper. The novel is her first, and she self-published in paperback and digitally. Finishing the book, though, took a little extra inspiration.

Dotson went to selfpubbookcovers.com to find the cover art for “Forgive Their Sins.” She decided to purchase a cover after finding the photo that reminded her of the main character Madasin. Then, she knew the book had to become a reality. “I thought, ‘I have a cover now, so I have to finish the story,’” Dotson says. “I’ll admit, I did drag my feet a little bit.” She spent $89 for the cover, and her 14-year-old son, Kalil Warren, helped out with a design for the back cover and the spine.

Going to print

Initially, doing a paperback book seemed too expensive, but Dotson discovered she could save a lot of money by doing the formatting herself. After more research, and formatting everything for the e-book, Dotson looked into CreateSpace, which is a division of Amazon. “They help people who want a physical copy of the book. I saw that with a little tweaking, I could put it on paper,” Dotson says.

She believes the Times New Roman typeface looks more professional and flows nicely. “I wanted to make it reader-friendly, especially for people with glasses. Not everyone likes e-books,” Dotson says. But people with e-readers can change the size of the font to accommodate individual tastes.

Finding an audience

In “Forgive Their Sins,” protagonist Madasin Lake has everything a typical teenage girl could want. She’s wealthy, popular and even has a secret lover. But, a paranormal turn of events throws Madasin’s life upside down.

Marketing can be a challenge for self-published authors. Dotson doesn’t have a personal assistant to help with the footwork involved in self-promotion. She has appeared on the “Southern Fried Morning Show with Benji Greeson,” and her e-book was listed as free for a week on Amazon. She also hosted a contest on her Facebook fan page to name a character in an upcoming book.

All the hard work and late nights are worth it when Dotson meets a fan or sees her book in print. “When I’m writing, if I feel it, I know my readers will feel it,” she says. “You don’t have anything to lose. If nobody but you and your friends read it, or even if it’s not published, go for it. You never know where your journey’s going to take you.”