Angela’s guest on last week’s Book Journeys episode was Jackie McDaniels, author of Daughters on Duty: A Caregiver’s Guide to Managing Medical Matters. The book is about Jackie’s journey in caring for her elderly in-laws and then her mother, and the lessons she learned through the trials and tribulations she faced as a caregiver. She wrote the book for those who are just beginning their journey with elder care or have been in it for awhile but are not really prepared for the challenges that come with the role of a family caregiver.
Jackie has considered herself a hobby writer even before she wrote the book, often writing for pleasure like journaling her vacations, writing stories about her friends, or writing poetry. But coming out with a book was quite different as she needed some structure and support to make it happen. She admitted that in the beginning, she was doing it all within her own little bubble, but she realized the difficulty of doing it this way so she went out to find a team that could help make the book happen. Joining The Difference Press’s Your Delicious Book program taught her the importance of planning the book first before starting to write. She said it made all the difference that she had an outline where she could look at her book as a whole and see where the beginning, middle, and end were, then just fill in the facts and stories within that framework. Also, the exercise of finding the ideal reader and writing to an individual person instead of globally was, for her, very helpful to her writing process.
Jackie chose the topic for her book because she saw that this was the one thing that she had plenty of experience in and something that needed to be shared because she knew that there were lots of people who were in her position. But the bigger challenge for her was how to reach the people that she wanted to find her book because she was not big on email campaigns like sending three or four emails a week asking people to buy her book. She has learned that the best way for her was that instead of looking at it as her book, she looked at it as her message. This gave her the opportunity to talk to people who understand what she’s talking about and reach out to them on a local level which she feels will ultimately spread out as more people see what’s in there. She’s amazed at how the book has taken on a life of its own as it has given her opportunities to talk to community folk and in assisted-living places. The book is also now a part of the curriculum for an elder care management course at Washington State University as required reading.
For Jackie, a big part of her book journey was making the investment in herself, both in terms of time and money. She considers it a gift to herself and she encourages other writers that if they have a story in them, then they, too, deserve to give themselves that gift.
Watch out for Angela’s interview with another exciting author.