In The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom, Stacey Simms shares stories and lessons from a life of parenting a happy and healthy child with type 1 diabetes. Her “not perfect, but safe and happy” philosophy on parenting requires flexibility, planning, and a great sense of humor. She reminds readers that parenting a child with T1D is a journey full of challenges, but they are not alone!
Stacey Simms is an award-winning broadcaster and speaker. She produces and hosts Diabetes Connections, a weekly podcast, and contributes a daily health segment on WBT radio’s Charlotte’s Morning News. Her son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December of 2006, one month before he turned two. Stacey began writing about diabetes one month later and is now a community blogger and speaker for Animas Corporation (part of Johnson & Johnson). She is active within the Charlotte Chapter of JDRF and donates all profits from her award-winning cookbook, I Can’t Cook, But I Know Someone Who Can, to JDRF.
We asked Stacey a few questions about her publishing journey and goals for her latest book.
Stacey on working with SPARK Publications
SPARK Publications was the perfect match for what I needed. They helped me organize my writing process and kept me on time. They got to know me and my preferences, as well as my audience, and designed the book to match exactly what was needed. They offered suggestions but didn’t push to change my overall vision. Editing and formatting was all taken care of. The cover and book design are fabulous. We worked hand in hand to create the book I’d dreamed of writing. I’m thrilled with our partnership, and I plan to do it all again as soon as I can! When can we start the next book?!
Is there a particular moment that SPARKed your interest in writing a book?
I had thought about writing a book based on my blog posts for a long time. I even started it, but it just wasn’t coming together. Frankly, it was boring. Then someone insulted me on social media. They didn’t agree with my “not perfect, but safe and happy” parenting style. That exchange was ugly, but it was the spark I needed to realize the book’s focus and the message that I knew needed to be heard.
Now that your book is published, are there any goals or experiences you’re looking forward to?
I love in-person connection; as a parent of a child with a chronic condition, I need to spend time with my community in order to really learn and grow, and for my mental health. I look forward to attending type 1 diabetes conferences all over the country to speak about the book, help other parents, and to learn from them as well. I’ve spoken at conferences for a few years, but as soon as the book was announced, my opportunities took off. I have speaking engagements through July of 2020 already!
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
I published a book with SPARK Publications previously, so I knew the basics. However, a lot has changed since then, and I’m grateful for their expertise. Both times, though, I was surprised how much work happens AFTER the book is written, and that’s where SPARK’s help really shines. I love writing, but I’m not so fond of the editing, design, and actual publishing part.
How did SPARK Publications help in championing and publishing your book?
I need deadlines and help with organization. SPARK Publications was there to help keep me focused and on time. They were also excited about the subject and encouraged me that other parents in the diabetes community needed to read what I was writing. They executed my ideas but weren’t afraid to push back when it was necessary. We went around and around on the cover, for example. Ultimately, their experience and expertise helped me create the book of my dreams and one that’s getting great reviews before it’s even available for purchase! Of course, they also set up the actual publishing process for me as well—we’re putting out a paperback and
What advice do you have for other authorpreneurs and aspiring writers?
Start writing and start organizing on your own, but if you decide to publish independently, reach out to SPARK Publications to stay on track and meet your goals. Writing can be lonely work; for me it was essential to have deadlines and someone with whom to check in. Keep writing even on days when you know it’s not coming out the way you want. You need to get those thoughts out—so just write! And remember, your voice matters. Someone needs to hear what you have to say.
Tell us about your future plans—what’s next for you?
The reaction to this book has been terrific—other parents are sharing their own stories about raising children with type 1 diabetes. I’m considering writing another book using those shared experiences. I also have a weekly podcast, and in summer 2020 I plan to publish an e-book using show transcriptions. Of course, SPARK Publications is already helping me with that!
What does success mean to you?
This book is about changing some of the thinking about raising a child with type 1. If I can help a parent through their fear and worry, if I can reach a family struggling to figure out how to thrive with type 1 or give them some peace of mind, that’s it. That’s success. Of course, I’d love to sell a lot of books and travel all over the country to speak, but truly, this is about helping people move from fear to thriving. Diabetes isn’t easy, and I want to help.
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