Today’s featured debut author is Gabrielle Lichterman, a nationally known women’s health journalist and founder of Hormonology, the Hormone Horoscope. Her nonfiction book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods, and Potential, is the first and only horoscope based solely on women’s hormones. Since her book was published nearly six years ago, I was particularly curious to hear about Gabrielle’s experiences, since so much has changed in publishing — and marketing — since then. In fact, Gabrielle, who offers a free daily hormone horoscope at myhormonesmademedoit.com, had so much to share that I’ve invited her to write this week’s guest post on Thursday in addition to sharing her thoughts today.
Name of book: 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential
Book genre: Nonfiction/Health
Date Published: May 2005
Publisher: Polka Dot Press (Adams Media)
What is your day job? Women’s health journalist for print magazines
What is your book about? It’s the first and only daily horoscope based solely on a woman’s hormones.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? The time frame the publishers give you to write it. Very short! Trying to juggle a full-time job with the three-month window I had to write an entire book was nearly impossible.
What motivates you to write? I have a message to get out about how women’s hormones (and men’s!) affect virtually everything they do—mood, energy, brain skills, romance, libido, career, etc.—and am excited to share it!
Did you experience writer’s block? If nothing is flowing, I just write anything. As long as I can get something on the page, I can move myself out of a writer’s block pretty quickly.
How long did it take you to write this book? I started the research in 1999. But I didn’t get started on the actual book until three months before the due date in 2004. I hadn’t anticipated such a short deadline because all the “how to write a book” books said that publishers give you six months to a year. Those books clearly needed to be updated.
How long did it take you to find a publisher? Between landing an agent and finding a publisher was pretty fast—just a matter of a month or two. And it was only that long because several publishers were competing for my book.
Do you think it’s vital for first-timers to have an agent in order to snag a publishing deal? I do, because they have relationships with editors at publishing houses, they make you look legitimate and vetted, and they know the details of contracts that can ensnare new writers and lead them to lose rights or money or both.
What is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That everyone who’s working on your book will absolutely, positively LOVE your book. The truth: Usually no one beside the copy editor will even read it. And she has to because it’s her job.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? I loved just the idea of writing a book. I mean, not everyone actually completes a book. So, it’s a big accomplishment no matter what happens to it in the end.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? My book was published way back in 2005—before Facebook and Twitter. Heck, I don’t even think MySpace was around yet. So, it was a lot of postcards and flyers being mailed to women’s groups and bookstores, emails to journalists requesting interviews, contacting companies to partner with to get more publicity. And it worked really well, actually: My book has been featured in countless magazines and newspapers, I’ve been interviewed on radio around the globe, and I’ve done lots of TV, including a TV media tour as a result of partnering with Instead Softcup and Procter & Gamble’s “Have a Happy Period” Always campaign.
Now for my favorite last question: Oprah has famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I agree with the idea that one must always be prepared to take advantage of an opportunity. For instance, before my book was even in print, I attended a book publicity boot camp, read every guerilla book publicity book ever written, went to media training seminars and was just preparing myself to be ready for all those interviews I did wind up getting. And when Procter & Gamble approached me to partner with them on their marketing campaign, which would also help publicize my book, I was already prepared so I was ready to accept their offer immediately.