The featured author of Angela’s Book Journeys episode last week was Dr. Joan Steidinger who recently came out with her first book, Sisterhood in Sports: How Female Athletes Collaborate and Compete. Dr. Steidinger is a clinical and sports psychologist and first came up with the idea for the book about 20 years ago when she observed that women in her practice were often misunderstood. The book is about what drives the female athlete and includes psychological and neuropsychological research that highlight the difference between men and women’s brains. She wrote her first proposal for the book in 1997 but this got rejected by all the publishers she sent it to. She stayed with the idea though, until her husband suggested in 2009 that she join a writers’ group if she was really serious about writing the book. So she did, and found more support for women about her writing than she’s ever had in her entire life. Joining writers’ groups helped build her confidence in terms of her writing having the potential to be actually a traditionally published book.
Dr. Steidinger’s goal has always been to have a traditionally published because she felt it would hold her to a much higher standard of writing. She had a good book coach who helped get her organized better so that she was able to write a really good proposal. But finding an agent who would work with her on her book was not an easy process. She went to pitching events and conferences where they had pitches made to both agents and publishers, and she did this for about three or four years. It took time, diligence, and learning not to personalize rejections, but she believes that being determined and persistent are qualities she has that actually got her book published. Finally, she found an agent who was also persistent and hard-working, and who really liked her project.
Dr. Steidinger said it took her six months to write the book from the time the proposal was accepted. With help from her book coach, she was able to come up with an outline and lay out a writing plan for each week. She cut back on her practice as a clinical and sports psychologist and spent Thursdays, Fridays, and weekends writing her book. She was very focused, going one chapter at a time, and when she turned the manuscript in, it was so well-edited that the publisher did little to no editing.
Dr. Steidinger’s book has won first place in the Beverly Hills Book Awards and it’s a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards in the women’s category. Her advice to aspiring authors is to get really focused, make their book project manageable and not too big, and find out the target audience for their subject. But more than this, her qualities of persistence and determination are things that every aspiring author can emulate.
Watch out for Angela’s interview with another exciting author.