Small Press Month Interview with Do Life Right Inc.

6:18 AM Posted by Lori Calabrese

Do Life Right, Inc. is an independent publishing company located in Sahuarita, AZ, USA. Founded in 2005, Do Life Right, Inc. expanded into publishing in 2009. Do Life Right, Inc. is owned and operated by Lisa Bentley.

Lisa Cottrell-Bentley is no stranger to start-up companies, having worked for and/or owned five. So, when private investment made it possible for her to turn her small internet consulting company, Do Life Right, Inc., into an independent publishing house, she went for it and hasn’t looked back. With two published books under its belt, Wright on Time: Arizona: Book 1 (Volume 1), and Wright on Time: Utah: Book 2 (Volume 2), Do Life Right, Inc. is now accepting submissions for additional children’s books featuring homeschooled children.

Do Life Right, Inc. specializes in fictional books for all ages with themes often not present in modern fiction, e.g. homeschooling, strong family ties, and people without traumatic physical or emotional issues. Their stories, while intense and exciting, are guaranteed to have happy endings.

For small press month, we had the opportunity to ask Lisa Bentley about how she started Do Life Right, Inc., and the challenges and advantages of running a small press. . .

Tell us about your path to publication and how you started Do Life Right, Inc..

I spent over 8 years trying to break into the publishing world, only to be rejected based on content (rather than writing ability) over and over. When I mentioned this to fellow homeschoolers, they were shocked to find that traditional publishing companies considered the 2.2 million homeschooling families of today as much too small of a market to cater to. Using contacts I had, I found an angel investor who agreed with my vision and invested money in me. I already owned a consulting company, so I immediately put the money toward turning it into a publishing company. This was in April 2009. By August 2009, our first book was published. The second one was published in November 2009.

The Wright on Time(Registered Trademark) series of children's chapter books, written by myself, are Do Life Right, Inc.'s flagship books. Since I had not officially worked as a publisher previously, we used these as a testing ground to make sure that I (with help) could learn the necessary skills required to put out a high quality children's book series. With the first two books now a proven success, we are using the proceeds from them to take on more authors, editors, illustrators, and marketing teams. While backwards from how it is usually done, I felt it was important to prove to the world that I could publish books before I took on another author's work. My investors agreed.

I'm about to start a KickStarter campaign so that I can sign on even more authors this year. I'm really excited about this! Children's fiction with homeschooling characters is sorely lacking; I'm excited to be bringing more of it to the world. I've also written a non-fiction book about my publishing journey which will be published this coming summer.

What was the inspiration behind your stories of a 50 state RV homeschooling tour of the USA?
My children! :)

I had been a writer for a number of years (and my kids knew this). One day while we were out swimming, my older daughter started telling me about the books she'd been reading. While she loved to read, she was disappointed in how school-centric the books were, how the parents were always absentee parents or dead, and how the siblings and so-called friends were always calling each other names. So, I asked her what the perfect book would be...

This led to a series of many conversations with both of my daughters (and then later many other homeschooled children). We started with the characters, Aidan and Nadia and their parents and pet turtle, and wondered how they could live an interesting life. We put in some of our own dreams and desires, sprinkled in some science fiction (because who doesn't like a bit of that?), a whole bunch of hands-on research (and internet research), and out came the Wright on Time series.

How can homeschoolers use this series to educate and inspire their students?
In the Wright on Time series, the family explores at least one new educational topic per book. Each book is set in a different state, a different month (as the story progresses), and a different theme. There is an overall story arc, too, since the children age and grow and the family learns about life together.

A Journey Through Learning, a lapbook company, has made companion lapbooks for the first two books in
the Wright on Time series. As more are published, they will continue to make more. These were logical supplements for the books since each has an in-depth learning topic. Be sure to check out their website to learn more about lapbooks.

I've had many families tell me that the Wright's adventures have inspired their own family vacations. I'm even hoping to see a family travel company promote Wright on Time tours.

What are some of the challenges and advantages of running a small press?
IMO, the advantages far outweigh the challenges. :) Once the money for a project is there, we are able to move quickly from the completed manuscript stage to the published book-in-hand stage. Since we work with
private contractors for editing, copyediting, illustration, cover design, etc. the turn around time is quick.

The only two challenges that I've had are (1) getting the word out there about our books, and (2) wanting to grow faster than the money has allowed. I truly believe in word-of-mouth marketing and the money to grow is coming in! I encourage all people to do at least one thing daily in order to get to their goals. Anything is attainable if you keep at it! :)

Is your publishing company accepting submissions and what exactly are you looking for?
Yes, we are! We're currently accepting submissions (via e-mail only). We are looking for children's chapter books and YA (young adult) books that feature realistic (not caricatured) homeschoolers as the primary
characters. Beyond that requirement, we'll entertain any genre including science fiction, mystery, romance, futuristic... I'd be thrilled to find a Hannah West type of children's chapter book series with homeschooled
characters! I'd also really love a coming of age YA novel, or a science fiction mystery with a teen boy and/or teen girl as the main character.

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