Our guest author today at Paperback Writer is Tori Kropp. Tori is the author of the parenting and pregnancy book, The Joy of Pregnancy (Harvard Common Press, April ’08), and is on a virtual book tours with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!
She is also the founder of two companies in San Francisco
You can visit her website at www.torikropp.com.
About the Book
Women today are celebrating pregnancy like never before. The new attitude of expectant moms is one of cheerful anticipation, optimism, and pride in their changing bodies. The Joy of Pregnancy reflects this positive spirit by emphasizing what’s normal, fun, and even funny about pregnancy. In a lighthearted and encouraging tone, Tori Kropp helps mothers- and fathers-to-be concentrate on the miracle of pregnancy and birth rather than on possible complications. The month-by-month format provides the essential information that expectant parents crave: how the baby is developing, how the mother’s body is changing, how to prepare for birth and baby, and the pros and cons of various pregnancy-related choices and issues. Tori’s tone is reassuring, nonjudgmental, and often humorous. Questions and answers from her online community Stork Site®, highlighted tips, and facts make the text fun to read as well as informative. With this book by their side, expectant parents will be prepared to take an active role in ensuring a healthy, happy, and truly joyful pregnancy.
Welcome to Paperback Writer.
It is great to be here.
Thanks for having me.
Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
I have been a Perinatal nurse for more than 20 years. Even years before that I had a fascination with birth that has led me on this long and expanding road of pregnancy. Many years ago, I began to recognize that many women who were “prepared” for birth by having read books and taken classes were coming into their births ill prepared for actual labor. They were trusting a variety of “experts” and writers more than they trusted themselves. They were struggling to “think” their way through and to try to control the very primal and uncontrollable experience of childbirth.
Women today are more worried, anxious and serious than I have ever seen. Where is the humor of that expanding belly, the funny stories, and the old wives’ tales? It seems as though the common sense and lightness of this wonderful time has been replaced by dry facts about procedures, tests, and nutrition. These are all important things but certainly not the whole picture.
I have worked with women during labor, through my childbirth education company, PillowTalk® and online via my community website, Stork Site. And I know I have been able to have a positive impact. I have always wanted to reach out to more women through a book and the time finally presented itself.
Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?
It was definitely something that I had thought about for years. I wrote ideas on legal pads for at least 10 years before I even took the idea seriously.
How did you come up with the title?
The publishing team, my editor and I went through probably 50 different titles. We just didn’t find one that popped. I don’t remember who actually came up with The Joy of Pregnancy but once we did, it immediately felt right.
How did you find an agent and publisher?
In 2001, I made the decision that the time had come to put together a draft and through a whole series of connections was given the name of an agent in New York. When I spoke with her she was quite discouraging and with my being a nurse and not a “writer” she told me that my chances of getting a publisher to take me seriously were zero. That was quite a blow as I had written articles and had a very successful blog (although it wasn’t really called that yet J).
She told me that if I had a ghostwriter my chances were slightly better and gave me the name of someone she knew. I followed through with that, reluctantly. This particular writer, coincidentally, was pregnant with her first child. Unfortunately, as happens sometimes, she felt that she could write her own book. Argh… This was getting worse all the time.
The end result was a proposal in which she was the writer and I wrote “parts” in the sidebar. It was really terrible and was nothing that had my voice or something I felt good about. The proposal went out to over 100 publishers and was rejected by all. That seemed to be the end of the road. As I also had a new baby, I went on my way and went back to my work and raising my family.
In 2003, my publisher contacted this same agent. Crazy as it sounds, they found a copy of the original proposal that was sent out a couple of years before. They did not like the tone or format of that proposal, but did like my portions and my voice. They wanted to talk about my own book. After many long discussions we agreed to do it and my agent officially became my agent. She was able to guide me in securing my contract and in advising me through the writing and editing in ways that have been invaluable for me.
The true irony was that as soon as I secured a contract and had a publisher my being a nurse no longer meant that I could not write. I can honestly say that The Joy of Pregnancy is every bit the book that I always envisioned.
Who reads your work in progress?
My husband, Ray did initially. I also had colleagues and friends read through different sections of it.
Who made a difference in the book’s quality?
Truly, my editor Linda Zeidrich, and my copy editor, Patty Boyd. They were able to take my words and help me turn them into higher quality sentences. The editing process is an interesting one. You really have to take your ego out of the process. At first it was hard to hear that there could be a better way to express a thought. In terms of literary prose, I am not a seasoned writer. I, simply have thoughts in my head that I put onto paper. I wholeheartedly understand that now.
How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
I never had an actual complete first draft. I had an outline and general ideas for each chapter. I knew what content needed to be in each one. I basically started at the beginning of a pregnancy and went through each month. I sent my editor each chapter as it was completed. I then went on to the next. She then returned them to me for revisions. When the entire book was complete we went through it again and moved some things around. It then had a third edit and a complete copy edit. It is an amazingly thorough process.
How long did it take from start to publication?
Harvard Common Press first contacted me in 2003 and the book came out this past April 2008. The whole process took about five years. The publication date was delayed by a year due to my family’s personal tragedy and the time I needed away from writing.
While I was writing the book, my life took a heart-wrenching turn. The love of my life, my husband Ray, was shockingly diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the time, our son, Alexander was 3 ½ years old. After a grueling course of chemotherapy, Ray died 14 weeks later. I wasn’t certain I could finish the book, but knowing how happy Ray was for my opportunity to write it helped me continue. Ray was my best friend and best critic, and his strength and spirit will always guide me. The Joy of Pregnancy stands a monument to his enthusiasm for the work I so love.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Follow your dream and your passion and absolutely DO NOT believe you cannot do it. There is not enough passion in the world and without it; I think we won’t find a reason to keep dreaming. Be smart about the work you do. For me, writing a proposal was a better idea than completing the entire book on my own. I would have had a lot to redo! When you are rejected keep going. That tenacity does matter. You never know who will find your proposal a couple of years later and like it.
Thank you, Tori for stopping by Paperback Writer on your virtual book tour. I wish you continued success through the rest of you tour.
Thanks so much and I appreciate the opportunity to share all of this with you and your readers.
~~ Warmly, Tori Kropp
THE JOY OF PREGNANCY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on August 4, 2008 and continue all month. You can visit Tori’s tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in August to find out more about her and her book!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors’ blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they come available. The winners will be announced on this blog on August 31!