Tag Archives: Author Interview

Christina Katz, The Author Mama

I wanted to share exciting news with you about someone who inspires me. My friend and mentor Christina Katz has just completed and launched her newest project, her e-book Author Mama. And although Author Mama is about Christina’s journey of writing and landing a book deal, her story will inspire you to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. 

Why would you do an e-book after two traditionally published books?

Like most traditionally published authors, who blog, teach and speak, I have a backlog of quality content to draw on and some of it, though not all of it, will lend itself to the e-book format. So I plan to write several e-books over time and Author Mama is the first. I have old sketchbooks full of ideas I’ve had over the years, which will lend themselves well to e-formats. Equal opportunity access to e-publishing technology offers all of us writers a lot more creative leeway than we have traditionally had, which can lead to exciting and fun possibilities.

Besides being in e-book format, how is Author Mama different from Writer Mama and Get Known Before the Book Deal?

Author Mama is the story behind how I landed my book deal for Writer Mama and then wrote the book. I wanted to describe in play-by-play form what writing a non-fiction book is like for the benefit of moms considering the possibility with the lessons I learned along the way. One of my students, who is on the verge of querying agents with a nonfiction book proposal, says that Author Mama “goes there.” In other words, it deals squarely with the rollercoaster ride that most first-time authors experience. The format of my traditionally published books is not as driven by my personal experience, even though it informs them both. In Author Mama, I include all of the books that I recommend first-time authors read before, during, and after the book deal, so they can become as informed and empowered as possible.

Who are the intended readers for Author Mama?

Well, my two traditionally published books don’t target the same exact audience and neither does Author Mama. When I wrote Author Mama, I had my Writer Mama readers in mind, but of those readers, I was specifically focused on anyone seriously considering writing a book someday. Not every writer mama wants to write a book someday. Some are perfectly happy writing and publishing articles. So Author Mama is a slice (a writing book), of a slice (for moms), of a slice (who are considering becoming an author some day), and therefore too small of an audience for a traditional publisher. But many of my students and fans have this question and would like to answer it for themselves. Author Mama is for them.

Did you have any hesitations about self-publishing?

Considering how much content I have sitting around languishing on my hard drives, I am sorry that it’s taken me this long. The person I had the hardest time convincing was myself. I’ve had some hang-ups about e-books that I’ve had to get over in order to move forward. As long as my work continues to serve the best interests of my readers, why wouldn’t I self-publish? I certainly have a lot more to offer than I would just letting it sit around collecting virtual dust. At this point in time, I feel like it would be foolish not to e-publish, even as I continue to write traditional books.

Are publishers anxious about traditional authors self-publishing? Doesn’t this undermine their business?

I think, when it comes to self-publishing the opportunity always exists to take the enlightened view or the fearful view. I have heard people in publishing make comments that authors self-publishing is terrible news, which is absurd. The fearful attitude is, “Oh no, if that author can self-publish, then we lose.” The enlightened view is that when the people you partner with are more successful it’s good for you too because it raises all boats. Besides, when all the folks involved in a partnership are empowered and come together because they want to be there, that’s good for the relationship. It’s important to have good boundaries and communication in business and know the difference between what’s yours, what’s not yours, and what is joint ownership. When you keep these things in mind, and communicate clearly, there is really nothing to fear but fear itself.

How do you keep people from “stealing” your e-book?

I can’t stop people from stealing my e-book. I am completely powerless over that aspect of e-publishing, as most of us are. However, my target audience is not teenage boys and young men, who are supposedly the folks who do most of the pirating, according to the experts who study these trends. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Also I don’t plan on giving my e-books away to avoid the impression that they are “freebies,” whereas with a traditional book I always do a lot of giveaways to get the content out into circulation. E-books are a lot easier to circulate. I can send one to you in seconds. So at this time, I don’t see the point in giving them away and encouraging others to share them without permission. I’d prefer to sell them to a smaller, more exclusive audience, who will see the value and, hopefully, respect my copyright.

What are three major points you hope aspiring writers learn from reading Author Mama?

That landing a traditional book deal and delivering a well-written book is possible but not easy by any means. 

That someone else has survived the rollercoaster of emotions that come part and parcel with a first traditional book deal and you can too.

That some writers actually give up along the way and don’t succeed at delivering their first book but this won’t happen to the writers who read Author Mama because forewarned is forearmed.

Is this book only for nonfiction writers or can fiction writers benefit from it too?

Author Mama is specifically about my nonfiction book writing process, which is different from the process for other genres like fiction or memoir. However, a lot of my readers, who write in other genres, have said over the years that they find a lot of takeaways in my nonfiction experience. Also, I fully expect Author Mama to convince a few readers to try writing a nonfiction book, who might have only considered themselves other types of writers or not even writers at all.

Can I order a print copy of Author Mama?

When the book comes out in the final version in May, I will make it available for purchase in print-on-demand format, as well as all the other e-formats. During April, while it’s in beta, Author Mama is available in PDF format, which means you can print it out and put it in a binder yourself, if you prefer a hard copy. I’ve invited the first readers to participate in the process, so I’ve included a feedback form with the e-book but participation is voluntary. However to sweeten the deal, I will provide those who share feedback on the beta version with the final version for free, after it’s updated in PDF form.

How can I order this e-book for someone as a gift?

Sure you can. When you place your order, simply submit their e-mail address in the notes section and I will e-mail the copy to them instead of to you.

 Thanks for your questions about Author Mama. If you’d like to learn more, please visit http://christinakatz.com.

About Christina Katz, The Author Mama

Christina Katz has been teaching writers to cultivate thriving careers for the past decade. Many of her students start by writing short articles and work hard and long until they eventually succeed in landing traditional book deals. Christina is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids, both from Writer’s Digest Books.

In addition to writing books and articles, Christina publishes a weekly e-zine, The Prosperous Writer, hosts The Northwest Author Series, travels to writing conferences and literary events, and coaches a hundred writers a year. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia College Chicago and a BA from Dartmouth College. She lives in an idyllic cottage in Wilsonville, Oregon with her husband, daughter and far too many pets.

Keep up with Christina, if you can, at http://www.christinakatz.com/.


Filed under Christina Katz, Writing

Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me 4November is National Adoption Month.  EMK Press, an adoption publisher, is releasing their newest title, Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? Voices for and by adopted teens, edited Robert L. “Bert” Ballard.

I recently read Pieces of Me and can’t wait to receive my copy. It’s a timely andpuzzle pieces much-needed book for adoptive parents and adopted teens going though the discovery process –  of finding, understanding and embracing who they are. 

Pieces of Me is divided into five sections,created around the idea of putting a puzzle together:  gathering the pieces, stolen pieces, fitting the pieces, sharing the pieces, and where do these pieces go? Artwork and rich graphics draw teens in. 

Contributors range from ages eleven to sixty-three. The voices of birth parents, adoptive parents and adoption professionals are loud and clear. Through poems, stories, songs, quotes, activities, art, and provocative questions Pieces of Me offers hope, healing and help for the adopted teen. I know it will be a terrific resource to help me with my children as they navigate their journeys to finding themselves.

“I tell you this story because
for too many years,
people have told my stories for me.
I am ready to speak for myself.
So where do I begin?”
Juli Jeong Martin,
transnational/transracial adoptee (Pieces of Me, page v)

Here is an excerpt from my interview with Bert Ballard, the editor of Pieces of Me:

Bert2Where did the idea for Pieces of Me come from? Why now?

Pieces of Me began about 3 years ago with Sheena Macrae and Carrie Kitze, both adoptive parents and editors/authors at EMK Press. (Carrie’s also the publisher.) The idea was to put together a book similar to Adoption Toolkit with lots of different contributors and perspectives built on the theme of “What my parents couldn’t tell me.” I was involved in the initial planning phases at that time.

As development for the project evolved, it was realized that there were a lot of topics that needed addressing. It was also realized that no matter how talented Sheena and Carrie are (and they are VERY talented), as adoptive parents, they could only take it so far. This was a very important lesson to come out of the development of this book, the realization that adoptive parents cannot be and cannot do everything, that there are some places they cannot go.

Adoptive parents are no doubt very important in the life and development of the adopted child, but there are some things and some places that the parents can’t go, like into the world and experiences of the adoptee. There are some things outside of the parents’ control – and that is a good thing! A parent’s role is to love, support, encourage, and care; it is not to fix, heal, or put the pieces together. Ultimately, that is left up to the adoptee.

Given this important realization, I, as an adopted person (and a willing person) was asked to take over the editorial duties, and the decision has proven to be fun, challenging, and a growing experience.

As for why now, well, it was just a project I really felt I wanted to be a part of, and I’m glad I did. I had finished graduate school when I started the project and the timing felt right.

Pieces of Me: Who Do I Want to Be? focuses on the teen reader,  but every adoptive parent needs to have a copy. The book will make you smile and laugh. It will make you ache and cry; it will also give you perspective, make you think. Pieces of Me can be ordered here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Adopted Teens, Adoption Issues, The International Mom, Writing

Connecting Through Books – Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs by Cindy Hudson

Are you looking for another way to connect with your daughter? (I am.) Mother-daughter relationships evolve as girls grow older. My girls are nearing the teen years, that time in their life when they will begin to pull away seeking theirbookbybook_rev identity and independence. My role is to continue to provide guidance without turning them off. To keep the communication channels open.

What about a mother-daughter book club? A mother-daughter book club helps to fill that need.

I recently finished reading the wonderful Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs by Cindy Hudson. As girls grow older, mother-daughter book clubs provide wonderful environments to discuss current, complex, germane, and sensitive issues within the context of discussing the book. Cindy feels that the benefits of a mother-daughter book club include the following:

  • Enhancing your daughter’s reading skills
  • Staying connected with your daughter as she grows
  • Nurturing your daughter’s self-confidence
  • Helping your daughter learn life skills
  • Spending social time with other moms/girls
  • Building a community of caring friends  
Cindy Hudson with her daughters Catherine and Madeleine. Photo by Jill Greenseth.

Cindy Hudson with her daughters Catherine and Madeleine. Photo by Jill Greenseth.

Cindy’s practical and well-written Book by Book, based on her firsthand experience as the founder of two long-running successful mother-daughter book clubs, is great how-to guide for establishing and then keeping mother-daughter book club going. For years, Cindy along with her two daughters, Catherine and Madeleine, has participated in book clubs that have encouraged maturity and poise in her daughters as well as bonded them tightly through being able to discuss a wide range of topics in a safe environment. Hudson has taken her years of experience as a mother, writer, book club organizer, and participant and written a fantastic how-to for mother interested in creating book clubs for their daughters and themselves.

From my interview with Cindy:

How do mother-daughter book clubs benefit girls, mothers, and their relationship with one another?

I could talk all day about this, because moms and daughters both benefit in so many ways. But here are a few of the most important benefits:

  • When you’re in a mother-daughter book club together you carve out time just for the two of you with no siblings or spouse/other parent to focus on. You’re saying to your daughter that she’s important enough for you to set aside time for her alone.
  •  Books give you an entrée to talk about important issues in life. It’s an excellent way to let your daughter know your values and beliefs without seeming to preach specifically to her. And it lets you bring up topics that may otherwise be difficult or embarrassing to talk about, like having sex with a boyfriend, drinking alcohol at parties, date rape…the list of topics goes on and on. Of course, you won’t start out with heavy issues like these when she’s nine. Instead you’ll grow into them as she grows older.
  • Sharing your opinions in a mother-daughter book club discussion can also help both of you hone your speaking skills. It’s a safe place to practice forming your opinion, learning how to articulate it well, and defending what you believe when others disagree. You can also learn how to be swayed when others present a convincing argument of their own thoughts. Those are life skills that most of us can practice no matter our age.

Where do I find reliable information for choosing age-appropriate books?

You can start with the children’s librarian at your local public library, or talk to the librarian at your daughter’s school. She will likely have lots of good titles to suggest for you. You can also approach your favorite bookseller. Often you’ll find employee book reviews and recommendations there. I list 100 books divided into four age groups in Book by Book. I also note age recommendations for the books I review on my blog.

Visit Cindy online at http://www.motherdaughterbookclub.com/.

You can order your copy of  Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs here or at your local bookseller.


Filed under Parenting, The International Mom, Writing