Greetings from Sarah Sundin on a warm September day in California. I’ve entered a new phase in my life as my husband and I moved our oldest son into the dorms for his freshman year of college. New phases make you consider the future – what if the future involves caring for your parents? Did you know 25 percent of Americans are caring for an aging parent?
Today I have the honor of interviewing Candy Arrington, a speaker and prolific writer of magazine articles. Her most recent book is When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for this Season of Life from Harvest House. What an important topic! Her book covers: understanding your aging parent’s perspective on illness, aging, and giving up control; helping your parent with limited mobility, memory, and resources; effectively organizing forms, prescriptions, care, housing, and finances; and finding personal balance by nurturing their own health, faith, and family. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?
I began writing for publication about ten years ago with encouragement from Linda Gilden.
What are your latest titles?
I have two published books: AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing House, 2003) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House, 2009).
How did you get your first book contract?
My first book contract resulted from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and was totally a God-thing. I sat at a breakfast table with people I didn’t know and pitched my idea to the editor. When I finished, each person at the table recounted a personal suicide story. The editor looked at me and said, “This table is a microcosm of society. There is a need for this book.” A few months later, I had a book contract.
What has helped you promote your books the most?
I believe reader recommendation is one of the greatest sources of promotion, but having a specific web site for the books also helps.
What mistakes or wrong assumptions did you make with the marketing of your first book? Did those mistakes cause you to change? If so, how?
I thought my publisher would be more supportive with marketing efforts, but that was not the case. With this second book, I personally pursued marketing opportunities and have been proactive in dialoguing with those in the marketing department at my current publisher.
Is there something you did that really helped with marketing your books?
For a year, I wrote a column for an online Christian newspaper. The column, “Balancing Act,” focused on balancing life with caring for aging parents. I also spoke to local civic groups and at care facilities.
Did you see God open any doors you never expected in the promotion of your books?
Several years after my first book released, I was contacted by the producer of a television program based in Hollywood and offered an all-expenses-paid opportunity to appear on the program. This appearance gave the book fresh interest at a point when sales were waning.
Now that you have been writing a while, what do you find works best for you in promoting your work and why?
When you are passionate about your topic, it generates attention, and when blogs and social networking sites are involved, it creates waves of interest. Also, I think authors shouldn’t underestimate the importance of local promotion. Like a small pebble thrown in a pond, ripples spread from local buzz.
What are your top tips for aspiring writers with their first book contract?
Make sure you understand the terms of your contract and get help from a professional if you don’t.
Ask your acquisition’s editor questions about issues you don’t understand, but don’t be a high-maintenance author either. Also, meet deadlines.
Great advice, Candy! Thank you for dealing with tough and timely topics. I pray God will continue to bless your ministry.
Thanks for visiting today!
Writing for Him,