Name: Liane Brouillette
Book Title: Help Your Child to Thrive: Making the Best of a Struggling Public Education System
Genre: Non-Fiction, Parenting, Education
Publisher: Balboa Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published. Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Liane: Actually, I am a university professor. This is not my first book. However, I wanted to write a non-academic book that would be both helpful to parents and accessible to the general public. I also wanted it to be enjoyable to read.
Is this your first book?
Liane: Although this is not my first book, it is my first self-published book. My other books were published by traditional academic publishers.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Liane: After writing two academic books about public schools, I recognized there was a need for a book that would explain these same issues to a broader audience. This book would 1) help parents to understand the problems faced by school-age children and 2) show parents how to support their children in meeting these challenges.
My academic books were full of citations and academic terminology. Written primarily for professionals and graduate students, these books were sold primarily in university bookstores. To reach the general public, I would have to find another route.
The book I had in mind would inspire parents with the confidence to effectively intervene when needed—without having to spend every evening tutoring their child. The focus would be on building resilience, confidence and strong family ties. For parents to want to spend time reading it, the book also needed to be enjoyable.
To accomplish this, I would have to experiment a bit. So, I chose to self-publish the book. This allowed me to take as long as I wished and to change direction as needed.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Liane: I enjoyed working with State University of New York Press and Lawrence Erlbaum Associates on my first two books. However, such publishers quite reasonably wish to have a detailed roadmap of where an author plans to go with a book.
The “pro” of going with an established publisher is the expertise of their staff as well as their established marketing network. The “con” is that this publishing route may not fit well if an author is working on work outside the established genres.
The “pro” of self-publishing is the freedom that it allows the author. The “con” is the lack of organizational support, which puts the burden of marketing on the author.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Liane: What I learned was that the publishing industry is fragmented, with each publisher focusing on specific genres. The industry is also under considerable financial pressure due to new technologies. Therefore publishers are reluctant to risk putting resources into a book that does not fit with their business model.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Liane: Yes, if the author is trying to develop an idea in a manner that allows for maximum freedom. However, an author taking this route should understand that there is no guarantee of a financial return. Self-publishing should be seen as a way of expanding your own intellectual horizons and getting an important message out.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Liane: In a world where day-to-day communication can be superficial, writing allows us to get to a deeper level and to thoughtfully engage with important issues. Because of the hustle and bustle of daily life, this sort of communication can be difficult to undertake face-to-face. But we can write when we find the time and inspiration. We can read when we feel motivated to do so. This communication can be vivid and real.
My advice to aspiring authors: Write in a way that feeds your soul and gives you ah-ha moments that you want to share with others. This is where the joy of writing lies.