I always enjoy talking to authors about their writing and publishing experiences. Ann Dickie is a local author – we attended Toastmasters together – who co-authored the book, The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within with two other writers. The Magic Circle is an instructional book targeted to children; its goal is to help children explore their inner selves and the world around them by doing various Shamanic ceremonies.
Tell me a little more about The Magic Circle.
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
We three authors, Jennifer Engracio, Katherine Inksetter and myself have a dream of children who, with their innate curiosity, have freedom to explore their world. Children who have a sense of self worth, who feel connected to their community and the natural world. Children who are aware of the spiritual nature of everything, including themselves. Each of us practices ceremony regularly. That practice has helped us achieve those goals we hope children will achieve. Our Shamanic instructors had written a book of ceremony for adults. A book for children would need to be designed and written in a way that would appeal to children. We created a story about a little boy having adventures on a Magic Medicine Wheel and on a Vision Quest. These stories weave throughout the ceremonies in the book.
Is there any central message you hope your readers take away from reading this? Or was this a guide to Shamanic Ceremonies for Children?
The Magic Circle has a message and also instructions for 23 different ceremonies. The main message is that there are many magic moments in life. Ceremonies range in purpose to help children learn about themselves and how they relate to the world around them, about their physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and creative selves. A ceremony may include questions for the child to ask him/herself, physical activities and creative play. They have all been tested by a child or an adult. Adults and children reported gaining worthwhile personal knowledge. Some ceremonies are about honouring the Earth, how we are connected to all things in creation, understanding our specific kind of intelligence, what our emotions are and how we deal with them. Each ceremony is a quest of self discovery.
What, in terms of marketing and promotion, do you find the most challenging?
The most challenging part of marketing and promotion is being motivated to do it! We have a website and a Facebook page, but they need to be regularly updated in a way that people will want to check up on them. I actually joined Toastmasters to learn how to speak in public and put my thoughts together spontaneously because I knew we would need to promote the book ourselves. So far, I have been on a local TV show, giving a speech about The Magic Circle. Jennifer has a radio show on Shamanism, and spoke about the book on one of her broadcasts. I will be at the annual Sunshine Coast Writers’ Festival this summer.
What method of promotion do you find the most fun?
I actually enjoy public speaking. Giving a prepared speech about The Magic Circle has been the most fun so far. Answering interview questions is also an enjoyable experience as is spreading the information to friends and acquaintances.
Do you have any advice to other writers who aspire to publish the self-publishing route?
Do lots and lots of research. We looked into self publishing and self printing. I would suggest looking at web sites by other self published authors to learn from their experiences. Read the fine print before signing any contracts! We wanted some colour in a book for children, and soon discovered printing coloured pages is much more expensive than black and white. Some self publishing companies charge more for each page of the entire book if you want even one coloured page. Find out the details before committing yourself. If you plan to sell in other countries, learn all their laws first. To sell through Amazon, go to Amazon.com to sell in the U.S.A. and Amazon.ca to sell in Canada. Amazon.com cannot send books to Canada. We decided on self printing and formed our own publishing company. If you decide to self print, check the printing company’s finished product to be sure it meets your standards.
Where can people find your book?
The Magic Circle: Shamanic Ceremonies for the Child and the Child Within can be purchased through our website: www.ceremoniesforchildren.com.