Author: Danielle Jaworowski
Book Title: Akkad et Xai
Part 1- Market Research
What was your motivation for writing the book?
My motivation for writing this book was to share what I had discovered about suicide in children, but also, to reach out to families who go through this ordeal, and help them. I have spent over 40 years working with children and they have taught me a great deal about life, and about myself. I have developed new ways to look at suicide in children, and new ways to look at children altogether. I believe that parents and teachers would appreciate this new perspective, a viewpoint I haven’t read about yet in modern books. I am also hoping that my book will be instrumental in accomplishing a life-long dream, to become a public speaker on 2 subjects: children and education.
What would 'success' look like for you with regards to your book?
Success would look like, or feel like, true passion when giving public speeches. Success would be “travelling” to new communities and meeting new people who booked my talks, presentations and workshops. On a grander scale, success would demonstrate a shift in the behaviour of parents, teachers and government toward children, after reading my book and attending my public presentations. Last but not least, success would be measurable as I would be getting more and more calls, booking more book talks, presentations and workshops, expanding from small communities of families to larger school audiences, all over the country. Success would be reaching a broader, larger audience.
Do you have specific goals in mind for your book?
Yes, I want my book to be translated in English as I desire to reach a broader audience. Furthermore, as I am an independent short film maker, I am considering making a movie with the book. I also hope my book will be instrumental in changing my career from a retired teacher to a public inspirational speaker.
What is the purpose of your book? Ex. To entertain readers, to educate readers about something in particular, to teach a lesson to children, etc.
The purpose of my book is to educate parents and teachers about children. The more technologically advanced we become, the less attention we give to our children. All we need to do is pay more attention. There are many ways to accomplish this, but the one interesting way I used in my book, the most prominent way to pay attention, is by unearthing a child’s imagination. That is an enormous breakthrough because that is the realm where children truly exist, the sphere they inhabit most of the time, all the way from kindergarten to high school.
We, adults, have forgotten that fact, or have ignored it, and it is time to get back into the minds of our children and figure out all we can about what goes on in there. This important message needs to be recognized and accepted. Imagination is a huge theme in my book.
What is the target market or demographic for your book? Age, gender, geographic location, etc.
My target market is adult 18 years of age and up (echo boomers), from drop-out to university. Many will be married and many will not. I am looking at parents, teachers, social workers, child psychologists and any other person living and working with children.
As to the geography of my target market, that is the biggest challenge. My book is in French therefore, I need to market my book in Quebec first. I have already someone in Quebec who is my « agent » if you wish (more like my best friend), who is meeting and talking with interested people and organizations right now. She has several small book stores, libraries and coffee shops lined-up, where I will be giving talks about my book. She is inviting journalists at every stop. This friend is also a retired social worker who has an enormous number of connections in the field of social work where the story of my book fits perfectly. She is also approaching those key people. Furthermore, she is very implicated in her favorite political party and is organizing book talks and book signings with this specific audience. Journalists will be invited to these talks as well, and radio stations will be contacted. She is also looking at local cable TV stations for interviews. We are not aiming for large cities at this point, such as Montreal or Quebec City, but to smaller places like my hometown Drummondville, Sherbrooke, Three Rivers, and the likes.
Last but not least, she is involved in First Nations culture and education. It does not get any better than this. But it does not stop there. She and I visited Baffin Island in 2011, and this was the place that did it for me, the right place at the right time, where I got the last kick I needed to finally write the book. Suicide in young people is to the roof up there and half of the population speaks French. I have full intention to market my book there, as I have already produced a film about the Inuit culture and history which was chosen by the Canadian Wild Life Federation in 2011, to be presented at the Global Conference on Climate, at the United Nations. The Inuit in Nunavut already know me so… that’s a plus.
As to the rest of French Canada, I will need to plan a visit in several French Canadian Associations, and the Canadian Parents for French organizations, in the western provinces. So, here are the steps:
Quebec (December and January)
British Columbia (March)
Manitoba and Saskatchewan (April and May, starting in Manitoba and working my way back to Alberta, stopping in Saskatchewan)
Baffin Island (no date yet - depending on the translation of the book)
I will be spending most of my time in Quebec as it is the largest French market. I would love to do Quebec before Christmas but I don’t know how realistic this is. Dates can be pushed up.
Where are your readers? (based on your Target Market/Demographic) Ex: coffee shops, gyms, schools, etc.
As I mentioned above, my market can be found in book stores and coffee shops. However, I believe the broader market is in the fields of social work and education. I am already looking at schools as I know many teachers and school principals, and have several colleagues to approach. My book is not for young children so school libraries are off limit. However, it is for teachers and therefore, I want to contact many teachers’ associations, in each province and territory, in order to book presentations at provincial conferences. I also am looking at PD days for individual local schools, and teachers' conventions. Although my book is in French, western Canada offers a multitude of French Immersion and French as Second Language programs throughout the country. These are the organizations I am looking at.
After researching books similar to yours (aka the competition) what are some of the unique aspects that your book has to offer, that others may not? Does your book have any particular niche?
I like to think that yes, I have a niche. It is the same niche Disney has when it comes to children: IMAGINATION! I am not done researching my competition yet, but so far, I am happy to report that it is very difficult to find a book that treats my subject in similar ways. My search goes on.
Writers write fantasy books using their imagination, just as Disney does with films and stories. My book is a work of fiction based on real facts. I am not using my imagination to write a fiction book; I am using the main characters’ imaginations to tell a true story. The twist is that the main character is not really telling her own story; instead, her guardian angel is telling it for her. He is the second most important character in the book. He keeps a journal of his experience on Earth, and the story is told via his journal entries. The angel can be viewed as a parent, a teacher, a friend or a lover. He is in charge of someone who wants to commit suicide… and that someone is very, very young, a wild child, as we often encounter in the schools. What I have done with the story is the following:
I have taken the suicidal experiences of several people I know, or have known throughout my life, albeit adults and/or kids,
and have put these experiences on the back of ONE solitary character. It is overwhelming! That is what I wanted to accomplish,
overwhelm the reader with strong emotions, so strong that in fact, he or she would feel the tremendous despair of the
suicidal character. You see, the despair of suicidal people is so crushing and engulfing that it is impossible for them to continue
living, and very challenging for us to understand or accept. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for them, and there is
nothing we can do to stop them. That is the message. That is what adults must comprehend and eventually, accept. It is this
very thing, the despair of our loved ones, the very thing we do not or will not acknowledge, that we MUST shoulder. That is why
people feel so much guilt after their loved ones commit suicide. Often, we have nothing to do with the act itself. There is nothing
we could have done to prevent it, short of tying up the suicidal person in a basement for an undetermined period of time.
The reasons why children (and adults too), want to die vary greatly, from neglecting/abusive families, in which cases families ARE
responsible, to something as insignificant as wanting to go to heaven because it looks pretty in the pictures. Reasons to commit
suicide are too numerous to mention here.
Although libraries and book stores abound with information on the subject of suicide, the level of despair of suicidal people is rarely mentioned, never mind demystified. It is almost taboo. This is the very thing that needs to be looked at − in all its fragments − in order to be understood and accepted. I realize that this statement « accepting suicide » is quite a controversial statement, to say the least, but nevertheless, it is what it is. I will need thick skin after saying this publicly.
What if parents and teachers could detect suicide in their children or students at a very young age? What then? Could they stop it? Revert it? Where do the fiction end and the greater truth takes over? That’s what my book is about. Here is a list of books I thought might have some similarities:
1. PHENOMENA: THE LOST AND FORGOTTEN CHILDREN. (Susan Tarr, Kindle). It is a true story about many institutionalized children and their own personal experiences. Mine is a fictional story about one child living many people’s real life experiences.
2. VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE, a novel of redemption. (Paulo Coelho, Kindle). This story could be close to mine except that it is a true story about a young woman, not a child. Inspired by events in Coelho's own life, the story questions the meaning of madness, and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. (In my story, my main character is not considered normal either). The author touches on despair, but does not make it the main theme of his story. I do.
3. IMPULSE, (Ellen Hopkins, Amazon). The story of 3 different young people who tried to kill themselves but failed. They meet in a psychiatric hospital where they will help each other through their ordeals, trying to tame their demons. Despair is not the main theme in this story either.
4. Article in the Times: THE IRONY OF DESPAIR, by David Brooks. According to the World Health Organization, global suicide rates have increased by 60 percent over the past 45 years. The increase in this country is nothing like that, but between 1999 and 2010, the suicide rate among Americans between 35 and 64 rose by 28 percent. This article is about mental illness and the age group here is different than mine.
5. CLIFFS OF DESPAIR: A Journey to the Edge, Amazon’s Editor’s favorite Book of the Year.
Since 1965, some five hundred people have ended their lives by jumping or driving or simply walking off the 535-foot cliffs, making Beachy Head (England), one of the most popular suicide spots in the world. Why there? Why so many? This is the story of many people committing suicide for many different reasons. Despair is not the overwhelming theme of the story. People’s stories are.
My search continues.
Do you have a network of connections for your marketing? This will be the foundation for all of your initial marketing strategies. You need to build readership and 'buzz' through word of mouth, as well as drive your initial book sales. We recommend reaching out to your connections in order to 'get the ball rolling.’ Create a list of your networks, include friends, family, colleagues, any connections that can assist with book promotions.
Yes, my agent-friend in Quebec. There is also my younger brother who used to be a TV host for a weekly show on cable TV in Drummondville, Quebec; he has many connections. I know several people in education, in schools and school boards, in many provinces. Furthermore, I use social media such as: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. My movies are on You Tube and my pictures are on Flickr (I am an amateur photographer). I will get the ball rolling on these networks.
Part 2-Marketing and Promotions
How comfortable are you with Social Media? Are you currently using any Social Media Platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn)? Are you interested in learning more about Social Media to promote your book?
Yes, as I said above. I have already written some information on the social media mentioned above, last year, while I was writing the book. I did this in English. Now I will do it in French.
Do you have a website? Are you interested in an author website? Do you know someone that can help with an author website?
I know how to build websites. I have built many for myself and for others. However, I also know how time consuming they are. I am considering hiring your people to build one for me. As I want to work and put most of my energy on Quebec right now, I don’t want to spend my time and energy on a website, and spread myself too thin. However, if your people do not speak French, the translating job will fall back on me and therefore, will also be time consuming. Let me know if you have bilingual people who can do the job. If not, I will develop and publish my own website.
Are you interested in a Book Launch, Peer to Peer Events or Speaking Engagements? Do you have any possible locations in mind?
As I discussed earlier, my trips to Quebec and elsewhere are exactly about a book launch. That is what we have been calling it, my agent-friend and I. Of course, once the book is translated into English, I will have to plan differently for the English speaking audience. I’ll need a new plan. That is down the road though!
Are you interested in approaching bookstores to sell your book? Do you have any local independent bookstores in your area?
This is what we are looking at in Quebec, and what we are lining-up. I cannot do this in my small community here, in Alberta, because it is an English speaking community. After Quebec, I will plan for the communities in western Canada. I am also considering going to the Territories later, when the book is translated into English, as both languages are spoken there.
Are you interested in approaching media and writing a press release? Do you have any experience with contacting the media? (Radio, TV, Newspapers, Online radio, Blogs, Podcasts)
I have some experience. I used to be a freelance writer and had a weekly chronicle in a French newspaper in Edmonton, Alberta. Radio, TV and Podcasts would be new to me but I feel comfortable trying new things.
Do you have a budget for out-of-trunk sales? (It is important to have extra copies of your book available to sell on the spot).
Yes, I do.
Part 3-Resources and Abilities
Do you have a marketing budget? If so, what would you be willing to spend in pursuit of your goals?
The highest expense I foresee right now will be the trip to Baffin Island. Flying there is over $4,000.00 alone. Quebec is much cheaper. I am lucky I have contacts and friends in many provinces and territories. I can stay with them and they assure me that they will drive me where I need to go once I am there. However, I do have some money put aside for my travels and expenses.
Realistically, how much time do you have available and are you willing to dedicate it to the marketing and promotions of your book?
I am a retired teacher. I substitute when I want to. I choose when I want to work so, it is all up to me. I intend to spend at least 2 months in Quebec in order to accomplish the launching of my book properly and completely. Baffin Island can wait as it will be much cheaper for me to travel the western provinces. If I need to replenish in cash, I can stop my travel for a month, stay in Alberta and go to work. The job pays very well. I can resume my travel after that.
Are there any barriers you foresee to being able to work on marketing and promotions for your book?
Snow storms in winter. I might have to cancel a book talk or presentation because of the bad road conditions. I had some flights canceled on me in the past because of bad weather. This would be, for me, the biggest barrier on marketing and promoting my book in winter. However, spring and summer are no problem at all.
Please add any notes or question that I may have missed.
My question is about the website and finding someone at Friesen’s who speaks French and who is able to build a website for me. I hope that, in coaching on the phone, you can help me and give me some tips about radio, TV and Podcasts interviews. Here is a question for you:
Is it better to wait for the book to be out there for a while, before doing a book launch? Or is it better to do it before the book is released? I have always wondered about that.
Please respond with your answers by email, and I will get back to you with your completed Book Promotion Plan.
I will attach this Word Document in my email to you. I still need to research my competition some more. I am far from being done with that. I will also get on the social media. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I truly appreciate it.
P.S. As I read and continue my research, questions will come up. I will email them to you.