Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Self-Help Book Ends The Summer Great Book Giveaway

Today, for the last author of the Summer Great Book Giveaway, I have Pat Olsen talking about her recently released book, “How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister and Not Lose Yourself.” I recently read that self-help books are harder to get published these days. Read about how Pat did it and if you have questions of your own, just click on "comments" and ask by 5 p.m. CST today. If I randomly draw your question, Pat will answer your question and you'll win a copy of the book!

Tell us about yourself.
I'm mainly a health and business journalist. I've been writing for the NewYork Times for eight years, and I write executive columns for two business trade magazines. I also write for several health publications, and I've written about substance abuse and recovery quite a bit. Not to drop names, but I was a technical writer for years, the same as Amy Tan and Marion Winik. (OK, to drop names.)

Tell us about your new book, “How to Help Your Alcoholic Brother or Sister and Not Lose Yourself.”
Substance abuse, treatment, and recovery has long been one of my interests, since I come from a family of alcoholics. Looking back on my relationship with my brothers few years ago, I realized that I had learned a few things that others like me might benefit from.
While my parents were alive, there were four family members around me who all had drinking problems. I spent a lot of time taking care of my parents as they got older. After they died, and it was just my brothers and me and I was able to focus on just the three of us, everything sort of telescoped. I had been learning more about the disease, and I had gained some distance so I was able to look back with new understanding.

How did you find your co-author? How did you decide who wrote what and who is doing the marketing?
I had interviewed Dr. Levounis for an article I wrote for Hemispheres, United's inflight magazine, on executives and substance abuse. He was so eloquent and had so much wisdom. When an agent suggested I needed an expert coauthor to interest a publisher in this book, I immediately thought of him.
We both knew we had to find a format that made sense for a reader but that would also work with his schedule. We decided that he would comment and lend his expertise at points throughout the book that made the most sense. We're both marketing the book. For example, Dr. L. belongs to numerous professional associations and has done many radio interviews. I'm doing a number of things regarding the associations I belong to, and I think radio and blogs will be great for word of mouth selling, too.

This book must have great personal significance for you. Did you ever encounter emotional issues while writing it? What advice would you offer other writers who may face similar challenges?
It was very difficult at times and I still get emotional when I read the epilogue about my younger brother. He died while we were writing the book and although it's been over a year now, it's like it was yesterday. I wish several things had been different. I tell readers that it's best if you try not to have regrets when it comes to family members who have this difficult disease, but I'm not always good at taking my own advice. I'd advise others to ask writer friends for their opinion and trust their editor. Whenever I was getting into my own story too much, my wonderful editor Renee Sedliar would reign me in.

I don’t think there are many books out there on this subject. How did you convince a publisher that there’s an audience for this book?
I don't think I had to do much convincing once I had the format right. (My first proposal was too memoir-ish.) It stands to reason--if there are almost 22 million Americans who are addicted to or abuse alcohol, many if not most of them have siblings. If a publisher deals with recovery books, then they reocognize our numbers. My story must have convinced mine there was a need for this book.

Your audience is also a pretty narrow one. How are you promoting your book?
I think it will sell mostly through recovery radio programs (I'm signed up for my first one), and through professional organizations and other people in the field of recovery. I hope it's a book therapists will want to give to clients, too. I have some essays in mind to send out as well.

Did you do a lot of research for this book, or did you focus more on your personal experiences?
I did do a lot of research. I briefly told my story and the stories of four other siblings. Dr. L. provided a lot of information, too. I'm so indebted to him.

What do you think is the most important thing for a writer of a self-help guide to remember while writing it?
That you may think something is too basic to include because you know the subject, but you should include it anyway. There will be people who don't know the information you were going to leave out.

Were there any surprises in either the writing or publishing process?
I knew that an editor can improve a manuscript exponentially, but I was amazed from day one at how talented my editor was, and I'm not just saying that. I also didn't know there was both a publicist and a marketing department at the publisher and the two are different.

....And now Pat is awaiting your questions!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanting to do online business? Pick the one that suits you best and work on it. Always remember, making money in online business is not an overnight job. It requires persistence and determination. Good luck in your online business! http://www.infyecommercesolution.com/

4:51 AM CST  
Anonymous College Research Papers said...

Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.

6:15 AM CST  
Anonymous Seo forum said...

Good content your have been posted. Good work done. keep it up..

1:36 AM CST  
Anonymous Funny blog site said...

This blog seems to be really quite interesting as well as informative too. Good post..

1:36 AM CST  
Blogger Camellia Canan said...

First is to thank you for all this informative posts you give us for free; i bet all of us are happy.
Such a great idea of yours! You have been a big help for me. Thanks a lot. more post for interesting topic. Great!

SAP training in Chennai

1:44 AM CDT  
Anonymous Aashi siva said...

Great post!! This can be one particular of the most useful blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Wonderful. I am also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

Linux Training in Chennai Mylapore

7:29 AM CDT  
Anonymous Aashi siva said...

I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt sadden me as much as this one. I’m talking about, I know it was my selection to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. Great work admin..

Online Training in Chennai

12:40 AM CDT  
Blogger Aasha said...

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your valuable information. We strive to provide our candidates with excellent care.As always, we appreciate you confidence and trust in us.

SEO Company in Chennai
SEO Services in Chennai

12:44 AM CDT  
Blogger Shalini said...

Superb. I really enjoyed very much with this article here. Really it is an amazing article I had ever read. I hope it will help a lot for all. Thank you so much for this amazing posts and please keep update like this excellent article.thank you for sharing such a great blog with us. expecting for your.
seo company in india

11:14 PM CST  
Blogger Ajay Raj said...

Nice Post....

Best Linux Training Center in Chennai
Red Hat Linux Training in Chennai
Red Hat Training
Rhce Training in Chennai

1:57 PM CDT  
Blogger jeslin said...

These provided information was really so nice,thanks for giving that post and the more skills to develop after refer that post. Your articles really impressed for me,because of all information so nice.

Housekeeping Services in Mumbai

Home Cleaning Services Mumbai

2:40 AM CDT  
Blogger Sonal priya said...

this is very amazing ya..this book very useful for me thank u so much.
Cloud Computing Training in Chennai

2:23 AM CDT  
Blogger Tina Kenard said...

Excellent post!!! In this competitive market, customer relationship management plays a significant role in determining a business success. That too, cloud based CRM product offer more flexibility to business owners to main strong relationship with the consumers. Cloud Computing Training in Chennai | Cloud Computing Courses

5:33 AM CDT  
Anonymous Stanly said...

wow really superb you had posted one nice information through this. Definitely it will be useful for many people. So please keep update like this.

Best Dentist In Chennai
Full Mouth Implant Treatment
Root Canal Specialist In Chennai
Cosmetic Dental Clinic in Chennai

5:58 AM CDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home