An Interview with Tania Elfersy: Co-Author
Sylvia: Hi Tania, it is such a pleasure to interview you. I know how busy you are so thank you for your time. Please give our readers a brief introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Tania: Thank you Sylvia. My name is Tania Elfersy and I am the co-author and publisher of the critically acclaimed book for mothers, entitled Purple Leaves, Red Cherries: A Gift for Mothers with Short Stories, Journal & Toolkit.
The book reveals how becoming a mother impacts women’s lives and provides creative tools to support women during the early years of motherhood.
Purple Leaves, Red Cherries makes an ideal gift for new and expectant moms, as well as mothers with young children.
Prior to working on Purple Leaves, Red Cherries, I was a stay-at-home mom to my three children, having left the world of corporate marketing in 2004 with the birth of my first child.
Sylvia: What inspired you to write your first book?
Tania: While at home with my third child, I came across a picture of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility. As I held my baby, I observed her holding her son Horus.
Seeing Isis inspired me by offering a glimpse into the enormous history of motherhood. Soon after, I started thinking how I could package a picture of Isis and other inspirational items as a gift for new mothers. I was always on the lookout for a great new-mom gift – something more helpful than anti stretch mark cream! I started noting down some ideas and shared them with my dear friend Andrea Katzman. A few months later, Andrea and I started working on the project and our book Purple Leaves, Red Cherries was born.
Sylvia: What is behind the name Purple Leaves, Red Cherries?
Tania: We were looking for a name that would portray a healthy world of journey and discovery, where in the end you get to enjoy the fruits of your exploration. In the book, we describe Purple Leaves as: “The pages that invite you to reflect on the complexities of motherhood inspire you with the words of other mothers and encourage you to create your own stories.”
We describe Red Cherries as: “The moments of enlightenment that surface as you examine how motherhood flows through your life.” We hope that Purple Leaves, Red Cherries can mean different things to different readers as each one moves through their own personal journey of discovery.
Sylvia: Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Tania: There are a few important core messages in the book:
- Motherhood in the 21st century can be a Disruptive Wonder. Once we start talking openly about the disruptions motherhood brings to our lives, as well as the wonders, we can all feel more supported and less alone.
- There is no perfect way to mother. Our challenge in motherhood is not to be a perfect mom but a happy one with happy children.
Sylvia: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Tania: Writing your first book can feel daunting and overwhelming. If you are writing non-fiction, consider teaming up with someone you respect and can work with. Divide up the responsibilities clearly and get down to some creative teamwork.
Sylvia: What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Tania: I started my marketing campaign by allowing fans to pre-order the book on the crowd funding site IndieGoGo. Even though I didn’t reach my funding target, the campaign was worthwhile and a good way to start selling books prior to launch.
In order to gather reviews, I spent several months pitching my book to bloggers in my field and today I have some wonderful editorial reviews on Amazon. This certainly helps convince buyers of the value of my book.
I blog at least once a week and try to link up my posts with other bloggers to drive traffic to my site. This introduces new readers to my site and book every week.
I use Twitter and Facebook and have sold books through both. Here is an example of the power of Facebook. A program director of a community center found our book on Facebook because a friend of hers had LIKED the page. She downloaded two free chapters from the book and then sent me an email. Last month, we held an event at her community center where we were able to sell lots of books. In addition, the art gallery attached to the community center is running an art exhibition for two months with all the illustrations from the book. That is great exposure from a humble LIKE!
Sylvia: Great! I love hearing stories like that. It allows me to share with my clients who sometimes question how necessary social media can be for their businesses. So, why should we buy your book?
Tania: You should buy the book because the four elements in the book (the inspiring short stories, stunning illustrations, guided journal and Mother’s toolkit with creative self-development exercises) together provide tremendous support to new moms and mothers with young children. And you don’t need to take my word for it; here are some reviews:
- Purple Leaves, Red Cherries is a must-read for new mothers, an unparalleled gift that celebrates both the sacred beauty and the complex challenges of motherhood. – SheKnows, Daily Delights
- No matter how many bazillions of women have gone through it, becoming a new mother – while thrilling – can be crazy-making and isolating. But having Purple Leaves, Red Cherries at your side is like being surrounded by women, women who don’t care if your house is a wreck, saying “We understand.” – Lynn Harris, award-winning journalist and mother of two
- Purple Leaves, Red Cherries is a treasure. . . .[it] will become a favorite, to give and to receive. – Debra Gilbert Rosenberg, psychotherapist and author of The New Mom’s Companion and Motherhood without Guilt
- I nodded along …. I teared up …. I giggled …. I felt like she was writing my story …. I commiserated …. I cried …. I related …. I felt like her….You see, I love this book because I can see myself in each of these women and their stories. – Mama Wants This!
Sylvia: I am very impressed, it seems that people really like your book. Good job! Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Tania: I will always write on my laptop, which is normally on my desk. But if I ever need creative inspiration, I will take a shower.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Tania: Marketing my book. It is a full-time project!
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD?
Tania: EMPOWERED! I embraced this word at the beginning of 2012 because this is the way I wanted to feel as a Mompreneur (no more a newbie, bouncing around the learning curve!). I soon discovered that embracing the word EMPOWERED also banishes mommy guilt. Here is a blog post I wrote about it.
Sylvia: As a mother of three young children, how did you manage to bring a book to market within 18 months of starting the project?
Tania: Like many moms, I pack a lot into my day and night. I have learned to use time more efficiently and maximize any spare 10 or 20 minutes that comes my way. I can’t remember what I used to think about while walking to pick up the children from kindergarten, washing the dishes or folding the laundry but these days I edit in my head and create new marketing strategies, all while on the go.
Sylvia: Wow, it’s been great! Thank you for sharing your story with us. How can readers contact you?
Tania: Sylvia, thank you for the opportunity for this interview. Here is my contact information: