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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

CAREER FOCUS

Passion for parenting ignites career

By Sharon Aschaiek
Special to the Toronto Sun


Sixteen years ago, Ann Douglas' passion for parenting ignited her career as an author. Twenty-seven books later, the Peterborough resident has cemented her reputation as one of Canada's leading authors on pregnancy and parenting issues. Her titles include the well known The Mother of All Pregnancy Books, and her works have been published in Canada, the U.S., China, Russia and Greece.
ANN DOUGLAS
Parenting author


Along her career path, Douglas (www.having-a-baby.com) served as president of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), and today coaches aspiring authors through her business, Author Incubator.

She shares her insights on the rewards and challenges of being an author.

Q: What experience and education have contributed to your success?

A: I have a degree in history from U of T. I remember thinking, Why make us read 20 books for one course? What will they be good for? I read tons of books now and go through files of research material every time I write a book, so I have top-notch research skills because of that degree.

Q: How did you get your start?

A: I started writing for smaller community newspapers, wrote front-of-book 200 word blurbs, and eventually, for national magazines. In 1995, I took the plunge to write books. Through a mentorship program at the Periodical Writers Association of Canada, I learned the ropes of book-writing. From there, I worked on my first book proposal and shopped it around for over a year.

Eventually I had my first children's book and first adult non-fiction book come out simultaneously.

Q: How did parenting become the focus of your work?

A: I have four children ages six to 16, and I loved being pregnant, but with a little hint from my husband, I found another way to channel my enthusiasm for pregnancy. You can't imagine how much work is involved in writing and promoting a book, and if you're not passionate, you will run out of steam long before the hard work is done.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book?

A: Typically three to four months, and I will work like a dog and immerse myself in it.

Q: What are the biggest challenges of being a writer?

A: I think having to be good at a number of different things. You need a business mind, and you have to be a good self-promoter. You also have to be an incredible juggler and manage time, or you'll find yourself saying "Yikes! My book is due in a month and my life is doomed!" I love the promotions, the writing and every other part of the book-writing process, but I could give away administrative stuff!

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: I think that if writing a book is important to you, don't let anyone talk you out of it.

There's far more reason not to write one than to write one, but if it's what you want to do, you have to chase your dream.



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