I am celebrating today because my friend Jacci Thompson-Dodd's new book, Whole: Women Healing Ourselves With Loving Energy: 12 Principles For Rebuilding Life After Breast Cancer, is finally available!
Jacci is a wife, mother and health care professional whose career has focused on implementing programs to serve the African American community. She has been working diligently over the past several months to assemble her new book, which is based on her work with cancer survivors. "Cancer survivors are released from treatment with a lot of medical information, but little instruction on how to nurture themselves holistically — mind, body and spirit," says Jacci. Along with her social marketing firm, We Speak Loudly, this book changes all of that.
While geared toward breast cancer survivors, WHOLE is a wonderful tool for any woman who has been through any type of trauma, including the challenges of life we all face. There are healthful recipes, suggestions for meditation and even some of Jacci's original poetry. There is also a companion WHOLE "Spirit Journal" to help you chart your journey.
And much to my delight, the book includes a chapter on how to make your own body care products, and many of my favorite recipes are included. Jacci says that to Restore (Principle #7) means to "lavish loving energy on yourself," and her book includes many of my favorite recipes to help you do this: Honey Sugar Hand Scrub, Vanilla Rose Brown Sugar Body Scrub, Honey Powder and more. (Additional recipes are at MakeYourCosmetics.com)
Jacci took a few minutes from her busy schedule to share some of her story, and to share some tips for aspiring self-published authors.
dM: Why did you write this book?
I wrote the book to provide concrete self-care tools for breast cancer survivors to regenerate their lives after active treatment is completed. The doctor can cure the disease, but only we can heal ourselves.
dM: What does WHOLE mean?
WHOLE is an acronym for "Women Healing Ourselves with Loving Energy." It is a spirit-mind-body approach to healing consisting of 12 WHOLE Body Living Principles. These Principles examine 12 key aspects of life that have been impacted by breast cancer including body image, relationships, family, sexuality, work, and finances, and provide tools to help women craft their healing journey. WHOLE incorporates Adinkra, the graphically distinct language created by the Akan people of Ghana, to convey ancestral wisdom on all phases of life. This Afrocentric approach brings a fresh, new perspective to the travails of breast cancer treatment that is instructive to all survivors.
dM: What experiences did you draw on in writing this book?
I hold a Master of Arts degree, with a specialty in African American Studies, and a Master of Science in Social Service — the equivalent of a Master of Social Work. I studied in a joint degree program designed to train us to create programs in the African American community. I specialized in health issues, and in the subsequent years have focused on women's health.
dM: Tell me a bit about your decision to self-publish your book.
I had a vision of what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, and how I wanted the book to look. To maintain that level of control, it is necessary to self-publish. There are many companies out there now that will help aspiring self-published authors by providing whatever level of support is required, from editing and design, to printing and fulfillment.
dM: How long did it take you to write the book?
It took me six months to write the book, another two months with the editor in re-writes, another two months in design, and about two months with printing. So the entire process took me a year from concept to completion. However, that is considered very fast. The writing alone can take years.
dM: What's on the horizon for WHOLE and We Speak Loudly?
My work is about improving the health of women and girls. To do so, we must build a community of support and resources that value our health. It starts with the empowering females throughout their lifespan to own their entitlement to good health and health care, and take action daily to secure it. To that end, I have developed an extensive health education curriculum through books and workshops, and am building a community of support through my new website. I am also developing and entire line of jewelry and self-care products, so stay tuned!
Jacci offers these tips for aspiring self-published authors.
- Be aware that some publishing companies will require that you turn over your copyright to them. Don't do this. Your book is your work and you must maintain the rights to it.
- Print On Demand (POD) is a popular and viable option because you won't have to print up a large inventory of books. You can print them one at a time if you desire. It is more expensive per unit, but you avoid a big investment in printing lots of books. Use your favorite search engine to search the Web for POD companies.
- The single best investment you can make is in a good editor. You can become so wedded to your own writing, that you cannot be objective about the clarity. Don't forget, the ultimate audience is your reader — not you — and you must give readers what they want, not what you think they want.
Jacci will be a guest on Indie Business Radio in the near future and I'll be sure announce that. In the meantime, you can purchase the book and the companion journal, plus read more about Jacci and enjoy an excerpt from the book, at her website.