In last week’s episode of Book Journeys, Angela introduced another author, Dr. Shaelyn T. Pham to talk about her book journey with her first published title, The Joy of Me. Dr. Pham is a business and life coach as well as a psychologist, and her book is for those people who consider themselves givers, nurturers, or caretakers – that is, they take care of everybody around them except themselves. It is about finding one’s own worth, happiness, and identity by learning to really love and take care of oneself so they don’t end up just hoping and waiting to be reciprocated. In her book, Dr. Pham calls it “the art of being selfish.”
Even as a young girl, Dr. Pham had wanted to write a book but it was after decades of being in the practice that she became clear on what to write about. She narrates how she kept seeing and hearing a recurring theme in her talks and encounters with other people, which is that many find themselves giving so much but getting nothing in return. This made her realize that there may be a lot of other people struggling with the same issues and so she decided to write the book to get the message out even to those she doesn’t have an opportunity to meet and talk with.
Dr. Pham dabbled with the book for a couple of years but sitting down and actually writing it and getting it published took her only about seven months. She emphasized the importance of self-discipline in her writing process, noting how she made a conscious decision to write every single day after work. When she encountered writer’s block, she would just put aside her writing and do something else, but she would always make a decision to come back to it. With regard to publishing, she went the route of full self-publishing so she could have control of every aspect of publishing. This being her first book, she wanted to learn the ins and outs and the nitty-gritty of the whole process – from editing, to publishing, and marketing, so that she would know what to expect when she came out with her next book.
For Dr. Pham, a major realization in her book journey was the importance of marketing the book. Though it was not exactly something she wanted to do in the beginning, she is learning to embrace the fact that you can put out a wonderful book but if no one knows about it, then it doesn’t help anybody. So she has learned to shamelessly promote her book via radio, print, TV, and talk about it as well to family, friends, and even strangers. And what she finds most rewarding are the messages she gets from people whom she has never met that tell her how wonderful her book is and how it has helped them. For her these are the things that she has found really worthwhile in writing the book.
For aspiring authors struggling to finish their book, Dr. Pham advises them to never give up and to just learn to enjoy the journey. As she puts it, “You start writing because you actually love writing but when you’re too focused on the result, you also get overwhelmed.” Her advice is to treat writing like a hobby and enjoy every single word and sentence that is put out there.
Watch out for Angela’s interview with another exciting author.