January 2008 - Nancy Cleary's Interview with Boston's Heather Kempskie of Parent & Kids

In what ways is writing and publishing a book similar to having a baby?
We use this analogy in “A Book is Born” mostly to make moms laugh, but it really does parallel the journey from the passionate conception of a book idea, to planning the next nine months, the responses you get when you share the news with family, and how it feels to bravely put your creation out in the big-bad-world for a lifetime. It helps to have support from others who have been there and will share the honest ups and downs and “wish I had knowns” at each step in both pregnancy and publishing.

How would you describe the moment of a book's birth?
Kathryn Mahoney in Groton, MA, author of “Cracked at Birth” describes this moment, “I couldn’t stop grinning for about a month after delivery!” She went on to explain, “As soon as your book enters the world you forget about the nine months of previous aches, pains, and weight gain that got you to this point! You just want to hold it and smile, and that’s what I did for months.” Caroline Poser, author of “MotherMorphosis” who also resides in Groton adds a practical side, “It actually gave me a tremendous amount of credibility in my corporate role.”

There are lots of moms who have ideas for books - whether it’s a children’s book, a work of fiction, or a non-fiction. What is the most important first step?
After developing your craft as a writer (or finding a professional team to help) the most important first step is an understanding of author platform and a grasp of how to pitch. A "platform" is the powerful combination of what you are passionate about and who you are as a creative individual, multiplied by who cares about your message and how many ways they hear, see, feel and interact with it. A “pitch” is finding something of value that connects you with your market and uses the perfect “hook” to get the attention of media brokers and community gatekeepers capable of sharing this offer with a broad audience. Knowing these two concepts, and more importantly – developing your ability to apply them – will elevate your options and ease your way through the rest of the steps.

So, you just delivered (a book) Congratulations! How would you describe the experience and what is next for you?
This one had a 36-month gestation period so it feels good to get it out! My intention in creating “A Book is Born” was to capture what I learned over the last decade. I’ve spoken to hundreds of women about the publishing process, taught thousands through classes and professional organizations, and personally walked many through step by step, and I put it all in here. Believe it or not, “A Book is Born” contains more information than I can fill a fast-talking-Bostonian hour with! “Born” takes the place of thousands of first conversations between me and my future authors, and I revel in meeting these informed, inspired, and prepared writers who have read it and know exactly what to expect, and are anxious to work with Wyatt-MacKenzie. We have an exciting future with new resources and options for writers at every level.

As the new year arrives, what words of inspiration do you have for moms who have always dreamt of writing a book?
First and foremost – go for it! I hear so many women confide this dream and I encourage them to take the following actions: seek out writing (and reviewing) peers and author mentors; take online classes on writing, publishing, and promotion (there are a tone of free ones); and get your words out there every month, every week, every day if possible. Build an impressive platform and fan-base by sharing your thoughts, and energy, with those who benefit from your experience and perspective. The hottest trend today is media-rich blogs where you provide consistent commentary on your market – which you can create for free, as well as get paid lucratively by major brands to keep their corporate blogs fresh, relevant, and fact-filled. Either way you are syndicating your writing, and leaving a valuable footprint of your efforts.