Monday, February 19, 2007

Interview with Glenda Watson-Hyatt, author of I'll Do It Myself


If you’re looking for inspiration, you don’t need to look any further than Glenda Watson-Hyatt, author of I’ll Do It Myself, an autobiography of living with cerebral palsy.

Today, I’m hosting an interview with Glenda as part of her ‘40 blogs in 40 days’ virtual book tour…


1. I'll be honest here. I haven't yet read your book, I'll Do It Myself. So can you talk a bit about the book and about living with Cerebral Palsy.

In my autobiography I'll Do It Myself, I intimately share my life to show others cerebral palsy is not a death sentence, but rather a life sentence. Cerebral palsy is damage to the brain and can vary so much in terms of abilities and functions affected, from very mild to extremely severe. Essentially, cerebral palsy is a crap shoot. For me, the lack of oxygen at birth resulted in a lack of muscle control and coordination. My physical movements are jerky and involuntary; one body part or another is in constant motion. My left hand has some function, while my right hand is generally in a tightly clenched fist. I can’t walk without support, and my speech is difficult to understand. Finally, my head control is tenuous, and swallowing takes a conscious effort.

However, this has not stopped me from living a full life. I was integrated into a regular classroom long before mainstream was a buzzword. I went on to earn the Canada Cord, the highest award in Girl Guides. I attended my neighbourhood high school and then went on to university, graduating after seven long years with my Bachelor of Arts and a 3.64 grade point average. I am now married and run my own business.

In I'll Do It Myself, I share how I accomplished all of this, the bumps and bruises along the way, and the lessons learned.

2. Tell us about your writing. Have you always wanted to be a writer?
 
Yes. I have always enjoyed writing. Because of my speech impairment, the written word would is my connection with the outside world and it is my way to contribute to society.

When I write, I keep the readers in mind by writing in a way they can relate to and understand; so they don't need a dictionary at hand. I try to present my readers with a different perspective so that they have an ''Aha, I never thought of it quite like that before" moment.

3. Any tips on getting published?

First, and most importantly, keep writing! And blogging is an excellent way to do that because it gives you a platform for writing and it is amazing who may read your blog. My blogging buddy Andy Wibbels has a motivating story for writers: a publisher stumbled across his blog about blogging for small business, liked what she read and offered him a book deal! Just like that – a writer’s fantasy! Since releasing Blogwild!, he has received mega media attention.

As a freelance writer, find smaller magazines, journals and newsletters (in-print and/or online) to write for, even if its for free, to build up your portfolio. Be sure to include your portfolio on your website or blog – for that publisher who stumbles on to your blog! My virtual portfolio is at http://www.doitmyselfblog.com/about/.

If you have book in mind that you are very passionate about and committed to, consider self-publishing. This route gives your complete control over your project and, even though initially financially risky, there seems to be potential to make more money, at least for the new, unknown writer who works hard. I am glad I self-published because I was able to tell my story, my way, rather than having to please a publisher whose main interest is book sales.

4. How did you come up with the idea of '40 blogs in 40 days' virtual book tour? And how is it going? How many countries have you gotten to?

Last October, I came across a post on the Church of the Customer blog in which Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba asked readers to help plan their upcoming book tour called “40 Talks in 40 Days”. The idea appealed to me, but all that traveling didn't! Then the idea hit me: I could visit forty blogs instead. A book tour without lugging around heavy book boxes and without the jetlag sounded good to me!

The viral marketing phenomenon is starting to kick in as bloggers are reading my interviews on other blogs and are either contacting me to host an appearance or are mentioning my book on their blogs. The momentum is building now and I sense amazing things are about to happen. Hopefully book sales will soon follow. Overall, participation in and support for my virtual book tour have been fantastic.

So far on this tour, I have visited blogs in my home country Canada, Australia, all over the United States, and now New Zealand! With four weeks still to go, who knows where all I will visit. My current schedule shows which dates are still available if any of your readers are interested in having me visit their blogs.

5. What next? Any new projects on the horizon? 

Since my book I’ll Do It Myself began as a dream when I was ten and has taken me thirty years to get to this point, I’m going to do all I can to promote it.  My next promotional strategy is to create a Flash movie using childhood photos to put up on YouTube.  

I’m also planning to develop an e-course “Accessibility in Action”.  Over the years, I have found that people have fears when interacting with those with disabilities because they simply don’t know what to do and they are too embarrassed to ask.  I want to address those fears by providing practical information and a safe place to ask questions

Meanwhile, I will wait for the seed of my next big dream to be planted. 

Liz, thanks so much for hosting today's appearance of my virtual book tour. I would to invite your readers to follow along for the rest of my virtual book tour. Thanks again!

.....

Hope you feel inspired. I know I do. Thanks Glenda. Good luck and happy travels...

By the way, Glenda didn't mention here that she types all her manuscripts using her left thumb...I gave it a try and, believe me, it ain't easy....

The Book, I'll Do It Myself, can be purchased at Glenda's here.

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3 comments:

Harmony said...

Great interview Liz. I love the idea of a book tour that takes place on blogs all over the world.

And to think that as a fellow Canadian I read about her book on a New Zealand blog.

Susan said...

Hey Liz, I'm tagging you next to write a post about why you blog. I looked around and didn't see a similar post already, so I apologize if you've already covered this. Happy writing!

KIWIWRITER said...

Hi Harmony, it's a brilliant idea - taking your book to the masses via a virtual book tour - little to no overheads for a good amount of exposure around the world. It's an idea that will grow...

Thanks Susan, I think (!) - will get onto it tomorrow. Will stop by later and check out why you blog...

Cheers, Liz

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