In this post, we review Dr. Angela Lauria’s Book Journeys interview with author Sarah Seidelmann, author of Born to Freak: A Salty Primer for Irrepressible Humans.
Sarah Seidelmann originally trained as a physician, but then took a sabbatical from medicine that was originally supposed to last three months but which eventually turned in her not going back, as she decided to follow the path of shamanic healing, which is where spirits are called to help other people heal. it was a path that began when she became interested in animal totems, which is the idea that animals show up in a person’s dreams bearing power and bringing certain gifts to those whom they appear to.
Sarah’s first book, What the Walrus Knows, was a book on animal totems that was written in a light manner, accessible and understandable to a wide range of people who weren’t necessarily interested in animal totems, in contrast to the serious tone of the books that she had read on the subject, and in this she succeeded, as the book resonates with adolescents and adults alike. Born to Freak!, on the other hand, is more of a confessional, and is also written in the same lighthearted and accessible manner as What the Walrus Knows.
Throughout the writing of her first book, Sarah was present to the fear of inadequacy, facing such questions as “Who do you think you are?” and “You have nothing unique to say.” She was so excited after she got finished writing the book that she decided to self-publish, as doing so would enable her to get her book out faster compared to going the traditional route, and on the day that her book was launched, based on some advice she had received, Sarah and some associates did a “call in,” where they answered questions and encouraged people to buy the book on that same day. It was a tactic that worked, as the book became number one in sales in its category for that day.
Sarah is a big proponent of involving people in her books, such as asking permission from people to use their stories in her books. She also mentions that people need to be involved during the creative process as well, as getting the feedback of critical readers ensured that she got her point across clearly.
The fun part of being a published author, for Sarah, is interacting with the people who have read it. Marketing is something that she mentioned was challenging, and she noted that, while she was earning enough from it to support her work, she wasn’t getting enough from it to pay off her mortgage, after which she mentioned that creating Kindle singles was more financially lucrative.
Sarah’s advice to authors is to get writing and write courageously, as the work isn’t easy, and also to get help when doing so.