Click Here To Purchase Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit

Author: Muriel L. Crawford
Publisher: Dillon & Parker Publishing LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9819590-0-9

Today, Norm Goldman, Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com, is honoured to have as our guest, Muriel L. Crawford, author of Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit.

Norm:

Good day Muriel and thanks for participating in our interview. Please tell our readers a little bit about your personal and professional background.
 

Muriel: 

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this interview. I am a wife and the mother of three grown daughters. My husband, Barry, is a financial executive who works in San Francisco. We live in Walnut Creek, California, a suburb of San Francisco. We live in a condo in the center of town, so we can walk to most of the places we need to go.

I majored in English literature as an undergraduate. I read at least four hours a day, newspapers, novels, poetry, and books about history, health, or politics. My husband is a fine amateur singer, and we both love music, so we go to the opera or symphony whenever we can. We're fortunate to live in a place that has both. We also like movies—but we vet them carefully, as there are many not worth seeing. We are both devoted to genealogical research. It can be addictive.

I am a lawyer, but no longer in active practice. Now that we have put our children through college, I can afford the luxury of being a full-time writer. I enjoy writing about technical subjects. I have written four insurance law textbooks for people in the life and health insurance industry. I write in clear language so that anyone can understand what I've said. I find it annoying when technical writers expect their readers to know their lingo. Years ago, when I was first learning about computers, I read a beginners' manual that said, "First, boot up the computer." And I didn't know what "boot up" meant. Maybe kick the thing? I think writers should always look at things from the reader's perspective.

Norm:

Why did you feel compelled to write Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit and why do you think this is an important book at this time? 
 
Muriel:

I felt compelled to write the book because I witnessed my father's terrible suffering from emphysema, stroke, and heart disease, all caused by his smoking. When my daughters were small, I started collecting articles about the dangers of smoking, hoping I could convince them not to start. When they were in high school, I realized that all three were anti-smoking, so I was going to throw away the articles that I had collected. But then I thought, "Maybe I should write an article about all the reasons why people shouldn't smoke." That article kept growing until it had grown into this 368-page book, Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit. I wish I could have finished the book sooner. The book would have been important years ago, is important now, and will be important as long as people smoke. Millions of people in this country and around the world continue to smoke. And many young people are starting to smoke.

Norm:

What kind of research was involved in writing Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit and how long did it take you to write the book?

Muriel:

I studied hundreds of articles in medical journals, and hundreds more in magazines and newspapers. I interviewed many smokers and former smokers—and people like me whose family members smoke. I've never smoked myself, but I was literally raised in a cloud of cigarette smoke. I talked to physicians, nurses, dentists, geneticists, firemen—anyone with information about the dangers of smoking. I asked eminent medical people to review the manuscript, and ten of them agreed to do so. I have a great medical advisory panel. Luckily, although I am a lawyer, not a physician, I got a back-door medical education—first from working in a hospital as a nurse's aide when I was young, then from working as a dental assistant while I was in college, and then as in-house legal counsel for a life and health insurance company. For thirteen years, I read their medical files every day as part of my job.

How long did it take me to write the book? More than seven years, if you don't count the years I spent collecting articles on smoking for my daughters' benefit.

Norm:

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Muriel:

I'd put ads in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of the American Dental Association encouraging physicians and dentists to buy copies of the book and give them to their patients who smoke. But those ads would cost thousands of dollars and would quickly eat up my marketing budget.

Norm:

What's the most difficult thing for you about writing your book?

Muriel:

Hearing the sad stories from friends and acquaintances about their family members who got sick or died because they were smokers. Almost everyone I've talked to has a story like that. As soon as people heard that I was writing a book about the dangers of smoking, they would tell me about their experiences. But the gratifying thing was meeting so many people who have overcome nicotine addiction.

Norm:

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Muriel:

I learned so many things! But, primarily, the staggering number of problems that are caused by smoking.

Norm:

Whom do you believe will benefit from your book and why?

Muriel:

First, anyone who smokes and is trying to quit would benefit—seventy percent of smokers say that they want to quit. One smoking cessation program advises smokers trying to quit to list ten reasons why they want to quit and keep the list handy when they're tempted to have "just one cigarette." My book lists 201 reasons to quit! Second, parents could use the information in the book to convince their kids not to start smoking—it worked with my daughters. Third, anyone who wants to convince a family member, roommate, friend, or coworker to quit smoking should give them a copy of the book.

Certainly, if you're a nonsmoker who is living in a family member's cloud of cigarette smoke, you would be delighted if you could convince them to quit. Fourth, an employer who wants employees to be nonsmokers could give out copies as part of their wellness program. Employees who smoke cost employers much more than nonsmokers—in smoking breaks, sick time, and increased health insurance premiums. Fifth, HMOs—health maintenance organizations—that benefit if their members are healthy, rather than sick, should give the book to their members who smoke. And, sixth, teachers of courses about healthy living could learn a lot from the book that they could pass on to their students.

Norm:

How has the feedback been so far?

Muriel:

Well, the book was printed only a month and a half ago and my marketing is in its earliest stages, but the response so far has been positive. I've given the book to people listed in the Dedication—there are 61 of them, all former smokers—and many are reading the book, and say that it's interesting and easy to understand. I didn't expect any of them to read it—they've already quit smoking. I also have given it to the physicians who read the manuscript and their feedback has been positive. One person I sent the book to for a review—a professional reviewer—said he smokes and is eager to read the book because he wants to quit. And one woman quit smoking because she read the manuscript. That alone made writing the book worthwhile for me. But, of course, I hope to convince many others that they must quit—for themselves, for their families and friends, and for society as a whole.

Norm:

Can you tell us how you found representation for your book? Did you pitch it to an agent, or query publishers who would most likely publish this type of book? Any rejections? Did you self-publish?

Muriel:

Pitching it to an agent was my worst mistake. I may have picked the wrong agent, but he just wasted my money, and much worse, my time. I then tried sending it to publishers without an agent, but to no avail. Most won't look at a book that isn't presented by an agent. So my husband and I started our own publishing company, Dillon & Parker Publishing LLC, to publish this book and others that we are writing. And we hired a book shepherd, Alan Gadney, who has been extremely helpful. He is an expert on editing and marketing books and has so many wonderful ideas and contacts. And his wife, Carolyn Porter, designed the interior of the book, which I think is attractive and easy to read. We also were lucky in our choice of a cover designer, Peri Poloni-Gabriel. And I must give credit to Dan Poynter for his helpful books on publishing.

Norm:

Any unique ways you'll be marketing your book that is different from how others authors market their books?

Muriel:

Yes. The book is tailor-made for company wellness programs, smoking cessation programs, smoking education programs, and HMOs. I plan a pitch to all of them. The book itself is unique—no other book on the market contains such a comprehensive review of the problems caused by tobacco.

Norm:

Where can our readers find out more about you and Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit?

Muriel:

Well, Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit has an Afterword about me and the book. The book is for sale at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. I'm confident that it will be in bookstores soon. And libraries.

Norm:

Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered and what is next for Muriel Crawford?

Muriel:

A book such as Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit has to be brought up to date every couple of years and I'll be doing that. Also, I may write an edition that is focused on smokers in countries other than the United States—a world edition. Such an edition would appeal to people looking for books to translate for foreign markets. I have almost finished a book that will be called Unsung Heros of the American Revolution. Then, I have done the research for a book on food, on eating right. And I'm writing my memoirs.

Norm:

Thanks once again and good luck with Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit.

Click Here To Read Norm's Review of Smoking: 201 Reasons To Quit

 
Click Here To Purchase Smoking: 201 Reasons to Quit