The Dangers of Pimento Cheese by iUniverse author Andy Ellis has just been picked up by Blue Ink Press. Here, Andy tells us more about his book and his journey as an author.
At age 49, I suffered a right-hemispheric stroke that landed me in a hospital for over two months. In my memoir, The Dangers of Pimento Cheese: Surviving a Stroke South of the Mason-Dixon Line I discuss the events that left my body semi-paralyzed on the left side, how I coped with hospital life, returned to work and live today with an inconsistent disability, while examining the challenges of the few events that have tripped me up along my ten-year road of recovery. A road I’ve traveled, for the most part, with a sense of humor and access to the best parking spaces at every rest stop.
I have been an advertising copywriter for 30+ years. I also co-wrote the stage play Agency which premiered in Richmond, Virginia, and had subsequent runs Off-Off Broadway in New York and a four-week run in Los Angeles.
It was my fourth-grade teacher who first believed I had the ability to write and encouraged me to do so despite the fact I was a horrible speller. It was also around this same time that I became an avid reader.
My main reason for writing The Dangers of Pimento Cheese was to encourage other stroke survivors and their families and loved ones. I was also greatly encouraged by several medical professionals to share the patient’s point-of-view with medical practitioners. My cause celebre these days is stroke education. Given that today’s stroke patient’s stay in the hospital is less than a week, while in 2006 I was in the hospital for two and a half months. And while I didn’t exactly groove on being in the hospital that long, I was there long enough to learn exactly what had caused my stroke, what lifestyle changes I needed to make and how to prevent a second stroke (25 to 35 percent of American who have a stroke have a second one). So, that is a major theme in my book.
While I have no plans for a sequel to my book, the second edition which is being published by an independent publishing house will include three new additional chapters.
As a marketing professional, I did take steps to promote my book including using evites to book launch events in North Carolina and Virginia. I created and maintained a website, as well as a Facebook presence. I also spoke at a couple of stroke related conferences and wrote an Op-Ed piece for The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
I was very happy with my experience with iUniverse. Calls were promptly returned, promises kept and I felt like I got my money’s worth. It was a friend and local bookseller who turned my on to iUniverse, saying they are the only self-publishing firm they are willing to deal with.
My advice to aspiring authors is just write, write, write. Then edit, edit, edit. And then write, write, write some more. I hired a professional editor to go to work on my manuscript (prior to submitting to iUniverse) and it was worth every penny. iUniverse edited, as well, but most of the heavy-lifting was done before I submitted my manuscript. And BTW, if you’re going into this to get rich, please check your driver’s license. Unless it says your name is Stephen King, don’t go into this venture expecting to make much money.
I wish all aspiring the same fun, exciting and memorable experience I had.