Here is the first in what I hope will be a series of interviews with a few rosacea writers that are mostly unknown to the online rosacea community.
Thanks to Ann-Marie Lindstrom for agreeing to answer some questions from Rosacea News. I’m sure you will find her answers honest and perhaps not quite what you had expected.
1. What was your motivation for writing The Rosacea Handbook, A Self Help Guide ?
A mix of commercial and personal interests. I’d been working for the publisher off and on for a few years. When I heard he was thinking of doing a book on rosacea, I bugged him until he let me write it. A couple of years earlier, a doctor had diagnosed my red face as rosacea. (I’m not sure if he was right, though. All my symptoms disappeared within two years after I wrote the book. Or …maybe …I found the secret cure? Nah …probably a misdiagnosis.)
2. What would you say was the key message you wanted to get across ?
By the time I had finished the research for the book, I think the two points I thought were most important were telling people about how rosacea can affect the eyes and how ineffective the “cures” and “treatments” were. I hoped I could save some people the disappointment of trying expensive salves, creams and the like.
3. What has been the reaction to your book ?
My friends and family love it! Seriously, I don’t know what the reaction has been. I wrote it as a work-for-hire, with no royalties. So I never got sales reports. I believe the publisher was a bit disappointed by the sales, though.
4. How did the reaction match with your expectations ? i.e. what did you hope would happen once your book was released ?
I have to say I had no expectations for the book. I learned what I wanted to know about rosacea and made a few thousand dollars in the process. That was the extent of my relationship with the book.
5. What have you learnt about rosacea since publishing your book ?
Nothing. As I said, my symptoms disappeared after awhile, so my interest in the subject faded away.
6. Do you have plans for further editions ?
No. The original publisher died, and I don’t have an ongoing relationship with the man who bought the company.
7. Would you recommend to others to publish a book ?
That’s a great question. I think there are two conditions that should exist before anyone considers writing a book. Either someone else is going to pay you a bunch of money to write it, or you HAVE to write the book. You have something to say that you feel no one else is saying. You have ideas in you that are chewing on your gut to get out. After the initial excitement of “Hey, I’m going to write a book!” wears off, it is lonely, hard work. It is some of the hardest work you can do, in my opinion. You have to have a plan for the book. You have to do the research. You have to get words on the page. You have to go back and make the words better. You may have to replan the whole book once or twice as you find you didn’t know enough when you made the original plan. Because my publisher did all the marketing, I have no experience with book tours and signings, but I’ve heard from other authors that that part of the process makes writing the book seem easy.
All the above is if you have a publisher. If you’re going to publish your book yourself, you have all the work described plus preparing the manuscript for printing, finding a printer, doing your own marketing and sales. Maybe doing your own distribution from your garage or spare bedroom.
That said, people do write books. People do self-publish. In the process, they learn a lot about themselves as well as their subjects. They may even learn something about their loved ones! With any luck, they learn they are truly loved by people who put up with their grumpiness when things aren’t going well, who put up with their self-absorption when they ignore everything but the book for weeks at a time, and who put up with their child-like giddiness when the writing is going well and they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The money I made on the book is long gone. I don’t even think about rosacea these days. But, I have a book in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. I still get a shiver when I think about that.
Writing a book is like having a baby. When you get to the point that you want to do it so badly it doesn’t matter to you that the timing isn’t right, the money isn’t right, you don’t really know that you can do it successfully … but you want it SO badly …that’s when you do it! When you’re done, you’ve created something that didn’t exist before and is unlike anything else on the planet.
BTW, just as an interesting aside, I have sold a total of 24 copies of this book via the amazon link on my site, but of course this doesn’t have much relationship on the total sales.