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Author Spotlight – Jean Ciborowski Fahey, PhD

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Publisher Services

We asked our clients to share their self-publishing journey and provide suggestions for new authors.

Author: Jean Ciborowski Fahey, PhD
Book: Make Time for Reading: a Story Guide for Parents of Babies and Young Children



Please tell us a little about yourself and what prompted you to write a book:

For 15 years I worked at a Harvard teaching hospital on multidisciplinary teams that evaluated reading difficulties in children. At the end of every staff meeting, our Chief of Pediatrics read us a children’s story. We filed out to resume our work with children,  often inspired and surprisingly soothed. As my career stretched into consulting work I became intrigued with the idea of using stories to teach parents of young children. I wanted parents to know the profound impact they have on their child’s developing reading brain. I was interested in all parents but especially those learning to read or learning English. I knew how to write parent information, time lines and tips. But what moved parents to new action, I observed,  was story. So I set out to write a picture book, a once upon a time story … for parents … about how one family and 1 community raised a little girl to be ready to read. The book is called “Make Time for Reading: a Story Guide for Parents of Babies and Young Children.”

Please tell us a little about your book:

“Make Time for Reading” is a picture book written to help parents and people who work with parents prepare babies and young children for reading and school success.  The book takes only minutes to read yet it is packed with useful information to attract parents of all educational and cultural backgrounds. The book uses art and story to translate the science of how the young brain ‘gets wired’  to learn to read. Its central message is the profound difference parents can make on the earliest development of their child’s reading brain.   The book is two books in one;   1) a story that chronicles the life of a little girl’s journey to literacy; and 2) literacy practices, games and activities that parents and teachers can begin to do immediately with  babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  It is beautifully illustrated by Peter J. Thornton, designed by Elizabeth DiPalma of Design+ and printed at Universal Wilde in Westwood, Mass. It is printed in both hard and shot cover.

How long did it take you to finish your book?

The book was developed over 10 years. Each time I presented at a national, state or local educational conference, literacy event, workshop or seminar I showed the manuscript of the story on a power point slide show… each page on its own slide. Volunteers in the room took turns reading the 6-minute story aloud. After each and every presentation, I used the audience feedback to improve upon the book.  I was thrilled with the reaction to the book and the requests for copies. No matter how wonderful the book evaluations,  21 publishers rejected the manuscript.   A children’s book for grown-ups? This called for self-publsihing.

Do you offer your book as an ebook? No

What has been the most challenging aspect of self-publishing and what suggestions would you give to a new author?

The most challenging aspect of self-publishing was the money! When I was sure I was committed to the book, I raised almost $10K on, a crowd funding web site.  The money allowed me to pay my illustrator, designer, printer and attorney (who drew up contracts for my illustrator). The fund raising campaign also gave me a base of support.  In return for a financial contribution,  each investor received a copy of the book. The unsolicited book reviews poured in – each review distinct, original and web site ready! New authors, in my opinion, must prepare a financial and publishing strategy with a great team of trusted friends and colleagues. On this team is one person who will have your permission to push and push until you accomplish what you set out to do!  Without my team my book would never have happened. They continue to help spread the word of my book, my web site, hold me accountable for what I said I would do and push me, of course,  to write the next book.