An Interview with Kathryn Vercillo: Author
Sylvia: Welcome Kathryn. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Kathryn: Hi, Sylvia. I am a San Francisco based professional blogger who has just self-published a new book called “Crochet Saved My Life.” The book is about the mental and physical health benefits of crafting/ hobbies (especially crochet). In this book I share a mini-memoir of my own experience struggling through, and eventually thriving despite, a fifteen-year battle with depression. I also tell the personal stories of almost two dozen other strong women who crafted to heal their way to a better life while coping with OCD, schizophrenia, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions.
I have a strong interest and previous work experience in social work/ mental health. This is an area of study that fascinates me. I used this book as an opportunity to delve deeper into the research that exists about what self-expression, creativity and repetitive activities like crochet can be healing for many mental illnesses. I also care a lot about making connections with others and this book allowed me the opportunity to do that – and hopefully to keep doing it as people read the book and reach out to me with their own stories.
Sylvia: I am just intrigued that the art of ‘crocheting’ has been used to the body, mind and spirit. That is awesome! What inspired you to write your first book?
Kathryn: I actually wrote a few books before this that were published through Schiffer but I had been asked to write them and they were a “job” as opposed to a true creation from the heart, so I consider Crochet Saved My Life to be my first book in many ways. I chose to write this in part because I felt like I had a really strong personal story to share.
There was more to it than that, though. I started my crochet blog in early 2011 and I would sometimes post stories about the therapeutic value of crafting. Those stories always received a terrific response with women opening up to me with the intimate details of their own stories. I knew that I had the opportunity to help these women share those stories in a way that would allow others to relate, and perhaps grow. So my own experience inspired me to write the book but it was the stories of these other women that inspired me to keep going and finish it!
Sylvia: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Kathryn: There are several!
- No matter what problems you have in life, you have to continue striving to have the best quality of life possible. Only you can do this for yourself.
- There is value in the sharing of personal stories. We each have a unique experience to share with others.
- Activities that encourage relaxation, self-expression and creativity are activities that will aid you in healing from almost anything.
- Crochet is not a lost craft; it’s alive and well and practice by both men and women as a hobby as well as a therapeutic tool.
Sylvia: Very empowering messages! Do you have any advice for other writers?
Kathryn: Writing is a really solitary activity but there has to be a balance. It is definitely important to take time to yourself to hear your inner voice and get it down on the page. However, you also need to have many experiences out and about with other people to be able to relate to them and keep on going productively in your work. Plus, when it comes time to market your book, you’re going to need each and every one of those people you know to help you spread the word! So strive for a balance!
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Kathryn: I started a blog in the niche of crochet before I even began to write the book and have continued to build it up with a focus on creating and encouraging connections within the crochet community. I knew that this would be the base for early support for the book and I did my part to become a strong, supportive voice in this community. I built up my social media and an email newsletter around this blog, always striving to use the blog to give something of value to the community, not to just market myself. And then when the book was released, these people really came through for me and helped me out by buying the book, writing blog posts about it, sharing it on the social sites, etc.
Outside of my niche, I’ve worked to just constantly reach out to people that I think might be interested to let them know the book exists and that I’m happy to be interviewed, do guest posts or provide more information for anyone who is interested. I always try to keep it personal (finding out a blogger’s name and their interests before emailing them about it, for example) and I always try to offer something in return (even if it’s just good advice in an interview) so they’re getting something for their effort in promoting me. For me personally, the most sales have come from reviews on blogs, followed by interviews of me and then guest posts by me. Giveaways don’t seem to translate to sales in my experience so far.
Sylvia: Great techniques! Why should we buy your book?
Kathryn: It is filled with stories from inspiring, strong women who are really relatable, which makes it enjoyable to read. It encourages creativity, which is something all of us could use a little bit more of! It provides tips and ideas for healing that might be used by people who enjoy any type of craft. And buying this book supports an indie author!
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are some of the things others have said:
- CrochetKitten said: “This book is a must-read for any crocheter who has ever felt alone or like no one else understands. If you only have time to read one book this year, make it this one.”
- Thornberry said, “I encourage you to have a look at Kathryn’s website and further information about this book, and possibly even order a copy! It’s a great way to support someone who is doing her utmost to explore and promote a popular handcraft in a way that hasn’t been investigated before, and it’s an interesting read as well.”
- Moogly said, “This (is) an invaluable resource for occupational therapists, mental health professionals, and teachers – even those who do not crochet themselves.”
- Sara said, I saw myself in each story and I applaud the women for being brave enough to share in such a public way.”
Sylvia: Wow, nothing like the power of testimonials. Thanks for sharing them with our readers. Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Kathryn: I prefer writing in my own home. I initially thought I’d love the freedom of the writer’s life in the sense that I’d be able to write anywhere. That’s certainly true to an extent but the truth is that I tend to work best when I’m alone in my own space. I get too distracted trying to work on vacation, in relatives’ homes or in coffee shops.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Kathryn: I’m continuing to keep up my crochet blog daily; I share information about all aspects of crochet including art, design, fashion and books. I am working on a new book for crotchetier designed to inspire their creative sides. And I’m hoping to do a follow-up book of sorts for Crochet Saved My Life within the next year.
Sylvia: I commend you on your efforts. I know how much TLC it takes to keep a blog relevant. How did crochet help you through depression?
Kathryn: I experienced many benefits from the craft including:
- The repetition of it releases serotonin, which is a natural anti-depressant.
- The craft is calming so it reduces the anxiety associated with depression. My anxiety was terrible so this was really helpful for me.
- Creating beautiful things by hand and developing new skill helps build self-esteem, something frequently lost in depression.
- Crafting for others helps you feel productive even if depression makes it hard to get out of bed some days. I hate feeling unproductive so it was wonderful for me to feel like I was doing something again!
Many of the benefits of the craft can be found through other crafts, too, including writing!
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Kathryn: It’s a phrase not a word: Be You!
Sylvia: Ha, love that… plain and simple, Be You! Thank you for sharing your time and great history behind your book! Please share your social media and book contact information.
Kathryn: Thanks for doing this interview with me!
- Main Website: www.kathrynvercillo.com.
- Crochet Blog: www.crochetconcupiscence.com
- Website: www.crochetsavedmylife.com :
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kvercillo
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Crochet-Saved-My-Life/433348950050676?ref=hl
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CrochetConcupiscence
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/CrochetBlogger
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/KathrynVercillo
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kathrynvercillo/
- StumbleUpon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/KathrynV1811
- G+ : http://www.gplus.to/CrochetConcupiscence
- Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Vercillo/e/B001JPC6IO