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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Help for Hypocrondriacs from the author of The Happy Hypocrondriac

Yes, you can be a hypochondriac and still be happy is what I learned from my interview with author, Kat Spitzer. Her blog headline tells what she is all about... The often humorous tales of a woman trying to lead a normal life while constantly worried about chronic illness.

We all have times when we're a bit frenetic or crazy and she tells us how she deals with it. Please read on to learn more about this author and her take on life and writing.

I love the title of your book, The Happy Hypochondriac. What drew you to writing this story? How much of it is autobiographical?
I've always been a hypochondriac. The book starts when I had my first memorable moment as a hypochondriac, during a dance recital at the age of nine! The stories in the book all come from my life.

What I wanted to do with the book is show that with a positive outlook and a sense of humor, it's possible to live a great life. So many of the situations I have encountered have been scary but so many of them have been ridiculous, weird and insane. It's impossible NOT to find humor in them! My husband actually suggested I write the book to "make lemonade out my lemon" of worry.

Once you wrote the book how did you go about looking for a publisher and or agent?
When you write a book and start looking for agents and publishers, you come across statistics such as 99% of writers won't find one! It's easy to get frustrated and you have to have a thick skin for rejection. But it just takes one hit! The key is to look for an agent and/or publisher who connects with the kind of work you write.

How did you become involved with Apprentice House?
Like I did with other agents and publishers, I sent them a query letter. They asked for the manuscript and said they would get back to me by January. January passed and I didn't hear from them. So, I got ready to check them off in my spreadsheet (have to be organized!).

My husband and I were home one evening, sitting on the couch. He was convalescing after a surgery and I was scrolling through messages on my phone. I saw one from Apprentice House that started with "We apologize for not getting back to you..." I almost deleted it, thinking it was a rejection. But hold on! They were recommending my book for publication. I made my husband read it 8 times to make sure I was reading it correctly. Very exciting! (My husband didn't appreciate that I was hitting him excitedly in the side as I read it, right on his bandage)

What has frustrated you the most in the publishing process?
It takes a lot of patience. Once you write the book, you have to spend the same amount of time, practically, editing it. Then it can take quite a while to find a publisher. Once I signed the contract with my publisher, more editing, and it was a year until I held it in my hand. I'm not great with patience all the time. But it was completely worth it.

What have you found the most rewarding – outside of seeing your book in print?
The response to the book has been the most rewarding. People tell me how much they've laughed and cried and also how it has made them feel better about their own worries. Everyone can relate to it on some level. 

What surprised you the most about the publishing process?
I've written for magazines and online sources for a while, but book publishing surprised me because I just didn't realize how much work went into it for both the writer and the publisher. Between, writing, designing, editing, marketing, etc, it's a complex creative process.
With your work, how do you find time to promote your books?
It's pretty time consuming, to be sure. I try to do as much social media promotion as possible any time I can squeeze it in. It's always on my mind, so any time I can find time to work it into the schedule I do it. It's important to me to help readers find my book.

What has been the most productive promotion that you’ve had with marketing your book?
I find it all productive at various levels. I enjoy being in front of people and speaking and have found this to be a wonderful opportunity to engage with readers. Community groups, writer groups, book clubs...these are all great! Social media is a powerful promotion tool and completely necessary. It is how so many people discover things.

How do you make the commitment to write daily?
I have a daily blog (see below) that I've been writing for almost 3 years now. I realize that writing every day makes me a better writer and keeps me sharp. It helps me with my voice and my tone. It's important to do, so I just do it!

Writing seminars are always telling us about building a marketing platform. What have you learned from using social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others
I've learned that it takes a lot of time, but it's essential. You can reach people faster who might not have found you otherwise. That is key. 

What is the best advice you’ve received on writing? Or what is the best advice you could give other aspiring authors from your experience?
Enjoy writing, and be proud of yourself for all the writing you do. Enjoy the successes, but learn from the times when you feel you aren't getting anywhere. You will always get better and closer to success if you keep at it. 

I understand you are already working on your next book: The Happy Hypochondriac: Surviving World Travel. Where are you in the process? Any plans for other books?
Yes, I am currently writing the second book and having a blast doing it. It's coming along well. I don't have a date when it will come out, yet, as the publisher hasn't given me that information. I definitely have plans for more books. I love writing and hope to keep doing it forever! 

If you would like to know more about Kat Spitzer, here's some helpful links to do just that... 
to buy her book click here
To follow her blog.  
Follow her on twitter at: @katspitzer

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