The Heather Parady Show

The Writing Process & Self-Publishing (Karl Beckstrand)

content creation creativity May 01, 2023
The Writing Process & Self-Publishing (Karl Beckstrand)

"Stories are what change us."

For the writers in the room, this one's for you! I connected with Karl Beckstrand, a bilingual author and illustrator, who has published (so far) TWENTY-SEVEN books and helps others unlock their writing skills.

In this conversation, we discuss common mistakes made by newbie writers, why you should never stop marketing your work, and what he learned after his publisher passed away on the day his book went to print.


  • Understanding the main idea of your book and the editing process

  • Writing a conclusion that leaves readers satisfied & creating empathy for your characters

  • When you have too many ideas, how do you choose where to start?

  • What is the most significant obstacle that prevents writers from publishing their work?


  • When you edit something out don’t worry- you can always add it to another project or its own.

  • Never stop marketing your work.


College media instructor Karl Beckstrand is the award-winning and best-selling author/illustrator of 27 multicultural titles and more than 60 e-books. His western thriller, To Swallow the Earth, won a 2016 International Book Award, and his multicultural kids’ books have been lauded by Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, The Horn Book, and School Library Journal. He has lived abroad and worked with people from all continents (except Antarctica). His work reflects cultural diversity—not only in protagonists, but in collaborators (his illustrators hail from Latin America, Europe, and Asia).

Beckstrand earned a B.A. in journalism from Brigham Young University, an M.A. in international relations from American Public University, and a certificate from Film A. Academy. He interned for a publisher in Massachusetts and for Congress in D.C. Formerly a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley, Beckstrand’s early work was produced by small publishers (his first publisher died the day they were to print his book!). Since 2004 he has run Premio Publishing & Gozo Books.

He teaches media, scripts, design & marketing, and contrasts traditional and digital book publishing at a state college. He has been a regular contributor in print, television, radio, podcasts, stage, and film. He’s taught ESL to refugees, been an in-flight Spanish-English interpreter for Angel Flight (medical nonprofit), a volunteer chaplain at Stanford University Hospital, and did P.R. for the Children's Miracle Network. He was a founding member of the San Francisco-based LGBTQIA+ group, The Freemen, and a state party delegate.

Beckstrand’s Y.A. fiction, short stories, kids’ e-book mysteries, nonfiction/biographies, Spanish & bilingual books (with ESL pronunciation guide), and wordless books feature characters of color and usually end with a twist. He has sung in a couple of rock bands, can build a pc, water and snow ski, kayak, handle a bow and arrow, volleyball, firearms, and horses (usually not at the same time).

Beckstrand has presented for SUECON (education conference), Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, California's Capital Book Festival, Utah Educational Library Media Association, Called to Learn conference, Salt Lake City Book Festival, PCI Webinars, Utah Humanities Council, Profnet, Murray City Writer’s Workshop, Utah Housing Coalition, LUW, Midvale City Reading Program, Utah Office of Education, Utah Educational Library Media Association, professional groups, and schools. His work has appeared in: Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Border’s, Costco, Deseret Book, Follett, Apple/iBooks, Ingram, Kobo, LDS Film Festival, Papercrafts Magazine, The Children’s Miracle Network, The Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives, Target & Walmart (online), various broadcasts, and

Beckstrand’s recent and distant ancestors immigrated from South Africa, Sweden, Scotland, Switzerland, France, England, and Ireland (there may be some Native Americans in the mix). He has lived in South America (Chile), been a Spanish-English interpreter, and is learning German. He has visited Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, Spain, Canada, Bulgaria, Mexico, France, Peru, and the Czech Republic. Beckstrand teaches media at a state college and is passionate about literacy and using the arts to give people of all backgrounds a vision of their worth and potential.

Abundant Paths: Beyond Either/Or Thinking to Fulfilling Same-Sex Relationships That Last:


Stories are what change us. - Karl Beckstrand @HeatherParady CLICK TO TWEET 


Organizing Your Content (Justin Keller)

May 22, 2023

3 Reasons Why FINISHING Matters (Fidget Friday)

May 19, 2023