I haven’t had a Book by Bloggers for a while and I am so happy to introduce Antonia Chitty to you. Who has a new book out this month. I worked with Antonia for just over two years and she has written some brilliants books.
I’ve been writing books for around five years now. I started by writing some factsheets for PR clients, and a couple of people in quick succession said that I could turn them into a book. I’d always wanted to write a book, and this seemed like a great way to use some of the spare time I had while I was on maternity leave with my second child. I self published A guide to Promoting Your Business which worked brilliantly: I could use my PR skills to promote it, and it generated plenty of speaking and training engagements too.
I mainly worked with mums running businesses, which was the basis of the idea for my next book. The success of A guide to Promoting Your Business gave me the confidence to pitch to a publisher and I was really excited when I got a book deal to write Family Friendly Working, a book all about helping mums and dads find flexible ways to work or start their own business. Once the book was completed, though, I continued to gather bits of news and research on the same topics, so it made sense to add a blog to the website I’d created for the book. I added little snippets to the site on a regular basis, often daily, and soon it made sense that the blog should be the first page people would see on the site, rather than just an add-on.
I had a difficult pregnancy with my third child, during which I spent a lot of time just sitting. Blogging was the perfect way to fill the time, and so the blog grew. I had worked on Which? magazine so it was easy to take some of the things I’d learnt about how magazines run and apply them to the blog. I decided to run regular profiles of parents with businesses: we all like reading about how other people do it. Now the site covers business opportunities, book reviews, profiles of parents with businesses as well as fun, food and family posts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with a mix of fashion, cooking, competitions and news of events. Interspersed between these regular slots we include business advice and are always open for guest posts on topics related to parenting, work and enterprise.
So far, so good … but I had ambitions to keep on writing. When a friend, Victoria Dawson, said that she’d always wanted to write a book about special needs, it seemed like a great idea to collaborate. Vicki is a special needs teacher who has lots of other skills and qualifications too, and we teamed up to write Special Needs The Essential Guide, the first of seven books I’ve written for Need2Know books. Vicki and I have since written books on topics from sight loss (I used to be an optometrist) to insomnia (Vicki is a sleep practitioner)!
A year or more ago another publisher for whom I’d already written two business books approached me with the idea of a new series of books on topics relating to special needs. The publisher was particularly interested in an in-depth book on food and special needs, and Vicki and I put our heads together and also suggested a book on being assessed for special needs and one on sleep. In all these area we knew parents needed more information, and few publishers were prepared to focus on the special needs area.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the first two books in the series came out. The Journey Through Assessment tackles the difficult issues parents face when they suspect something may be wrong with their child, but are unsure where to turn. It also helps parents who are navigating health and social care as they try to get their child assessed. We’ve tried to ensure that the books are full of clear explanations and practical advice and they are compiled after extensive research and interviews with parents.
We want to create a resource to support parents at a difficult time. The assessment process can be confusing for parents. They often meet a range of professionals which may be stressful and confusing. Considering that your child may have an additional need can be extremely distressing. So many parents have said how helpful it would be to read other parents accounts, and this has inspired the book.
The second book in the series, Food and Your Special Needs Child is a practical guide for parents living with the additional issues involving food often found in children with special needs. In typically developing children, eating problems are relatively common, affecting 20-40% of children. In children with special educational needs and disabilities, eating problems can be even more common; often severe and taking many different forms. Aimed at tackling issues in children aged between two and nineteen, use this book to discover the origins of how we eat, get practical tips from experts, and read what has worked for other parents in similar situations.
A third book, Sleep and Your Special Needs Child, will be published in 2014, and we’re hoping that the series sells well enough that we can write a fourth book about transition to adult services.
The books are available from Amazon and via book shops. To see all Antonia’s books as well as those on special needs, check out her Amazon page.