Myrna Beth Haskell
LIONS and TIGERS and TEENS: Expert advice and support for the conscientious parent just like you
Unlimited Publishing LLC
amazon.com (for paperback and e-book)
www.myrnahaskell.com (for signed copies)
www.unlimitedpublishing.com/haskell (publisher site and for more information)
Currently, Amazon Prime users can borrow the e-book for FREE.
I can also send a signed paperback for a giveaway: Please send address.
Tell me a little about your book and give a short synopsis.
What gave you the idea for this particular book?
I have been writing the column since 2009. Several parents who wrote in suggested that I compile my columns into a guide. I thought it was a great idea. I included several chapters that have never been published before, and there are additional tips and interview clips in the book versions. So the chapters are a bit longer than the original column installments.
Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I started out as a part-time writer when my children were very young. Now I write full-time. My office is at home, and when you work from home, you have to be careful about time management. It’s easy to get distracted. I spend certain days on the column and other days on feature work and social networking/website work.
When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer in elementary school. I was writing fairly lengthy short stories by the fifth grade. I majored in English both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student knowing that, eventually, I would be writing for a living. I worked previously as a technical writer and a teacher.
What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
Since I am a non-fiction writer, I hope to educate. I learn an awful lot from the hundreds of experts I speak to, and I hope that other parents and caregivers who read my work can also garner valuable information.
What types of writing do you prefer, and why?
I love working on my column because I can often include humorous lead-ins for those pieces...making it more creative than typical non-fiction work. I also love to do interviews and incorporate what I’ve learned. I enjoy feature work on topics that concern children’s health and development and reading up on the latest research in this area. I also appreciate work by others in this genre (parenting).
What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
I’ve learned to stay extremely organized. I keep a log of all publications I work with. This log includes payment schedules, rights offered, exclusivity requests, competing publications, dates of e-mail and phone correspondence, and dates work should be submitted. This helps, but I still spend about as much time with correspondence and business tasks as I do writing.
What draws you to non-fiction writing?
Actually, a lot of the writing I did in college and as a graduate student was creative (short stories/character studies). I fell into non-fiction because I was writing a lot about my own experiences with my children. Once I found that niche, I stuck with it because many editors got to know my work and asked me to do specific assignments. I also used to write book reviews and critiques for scholarly journals, but I enjoy the parenting genre. I’ve found that I can write more creatively and use a more colloquial style because my audience wants “down to earth” advice.
What kind of research did you do for this type of book?
Research is extremely important for the type of writing I do. I do general research on each topic before I even approach experts to interview. The direction my topics take is influenced by my experiences, but often changes a bit once I do research and interview experts (psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and educators). This is information my readers need to be armed with when they approach a problem.
What about your book makes it special?
There is never one successful remedy to the universal problems faced by parents of adolescents. Therefore, dozens of experts AND everyday parents were interviewed for my book, showing the reader what works in practice, as well as theory. It is like having a support group in the palm of your hand. Readers will get a variety of opinions offering creative solutions to problems that parents of teens face. Many parenting books are from one perspective or the point of view of just a few people. In my book, there are dozens of perspectives. Every reader can take away “something” that will work for their own family dynamic. It’s also comforting to know that many other parents are dealing with the same struggles and difficulties when it comes to raising teenagers.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my website at: www.myrnahaskell.com.
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What are your views on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
I’ve never self-published. This is my first book and I went with a small, independent publisher. My publisher took care of the cover art, layouts, and all the initial press releases. I’ve heard that some writers like to self-publish because they have full control over their work. For self-publishers I would say that you should really do your homework to ensure you get quality printing and editing services. Self-publishers should also speak with other writers who have already gone through the process.
Do you have an agent and do you feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction?
I don’t have an agent. I may have gone that route if I hadn’t found a publisher. Publishing conglomerates won’t read work from writers directly. I think finding a good agent is just as important as finding a good publisher. An agent who has top-notch connections and does really good PR would definitely be beneficial. Today, even when you go with a traditional publisher, writers still need to do a lot of their own PR. I think the right agent could be extremely helpful in this area, however.
Any tips for new writers hoping to write non-fiction?
Don’t get discouraged and have the courage to allow other writers to critique your work. This actually goes for all writers (fiction OR non-fiction). For authors: Understand that when you’ve finished your book…your work is not done. Prepare to market your book even if you’ve signed with a traditional publisher. This process can be a daunting one if you are not aware that you have to put in just as much – if not more - time marketing as you did writing.