Friday, November 20, 2009

The Author’s Business Side

During the past week, after the excitement of my book launch calmed down, the reality of the business side of book marketing took center stage. Because I’m using a print on demand publisher, I am quickly becoming my own marketing manager and public relations specialist, as well as an author.

Thanks to Susan McLennan and Deborah Keegan at Babble On Communications for their assistance and advice. Susan has given me a crash course in media liaison. Connecting with other authors and marketing specialists through Twitter has led to great tips for the future.

My successful launch resulted in selling out my supply of books (a happy problem), so I spent the next day putting in a new book order. The big challenge was deciding how many books I need to meet the orders I already have plus appearances I expect to make in the near future. Since publisher iUniverse has a November special offer with free mailing, I ordered a large supply.

Feedback from many readers has been excellent. Participation in a forum at the Academy for Lifelong Learning on November 18th led to more orders. Friends and family have been spreading the word, and offering to arrange speaking and signing events in several cities. Next on the agenda is participation at the Toronto Small Press Book Fair Dec. 12 at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West, Toronto.

If some of the other opportunities materialize, my next year will be the year of travel for me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Successful Book Launch

What an exciting launch of my book The Unveiling. It exceeded my expectations. The setting in the atrium of the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto was perfect. Thanks to Marilynn Booth and Nory Siberry for hosting the event, and to the members of the Academy for Lifelong Learning who offered so much support.

I was thrilled with the turnout of friends, family and colleagues, especially seeing some people after many years. It was a special treat to share this with my daughter, Lisa Lambert of Drowsy Chaperone fame, who flew in from New York. Missed my son, Philip, but he had work commitments in Virginia.

My reading went smoothly and the audience response was encouraging. Book sales were great...sold out my supply of books and have since ordered more. Many comments about the perfect book cover designed by Ray Ferris. Thanks to friends Adrienne Mclennan, Mary Lou Wilkins and Jane Scott for looking after the sales.

Feedback since the launch has been positive and promising. Some in attendance have made suggestions about other possibilities for readings and presentations. Next will come my participation in the forum at the Academy on Nov 18th and my participation in the Small Press Book Fair at the Gladstone Hotel on December 12th.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Press Release for Launch of The Unveiling


Attention: Book, Health Editors

The Unveiling Shines Light on A Family’s Escape from
the Stigma of Mental Illness

Toronto, On / November 11, 2009 – The Unveiling ($19.95/ iUniverse), an evocative, historically based novel about one family’s journey through the stigma of mental illness, launches today at The University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies Atrium. The event runs from 4pm to 5:30pm with a reading from the book by the author, Leah Rae Lambert, at 4:30pm.

A portrayal of a valiant Jewish woman, The Unveiling chronicles Ettie Burin’s journey, along with her family, during much of the twentieth century. The story unfolds as family members gather in Pittsburgh to share memories during the mourning period following her husband’s death. These memories re-create the dangers they experienced escaping the harsh life in czarist Russia and later the more profound struggles with the secrecy and stigma surrounding mental illness.

“The book is about the darkness that family secrets often bring with them and the light that comes when the truth is revealed. It is about resilience in the face of adversity and ultimately liberation and peace,” says Leah Rae Lambert, who has a Ph.D from the University of Toronto, and whose career has spanned social work, education and criminal justice.

The author has drawn upon interviews with her own relatives along with historical research to weave together the dreams, fears and accomplishments of three generations within a family. She presents a picture of the social interaction and physical difficulties among people in the Eastern European shtetls, among immigrants in Pittsburgh’s hill district, and among the poor in Pittsburgh’s first public housing project. One major theme involves society’s attitudes toward mental illness and the impact this had on families.

Pullitzer Prize-winning Toronto based composer and author Michael Colgrass says this about the book: “I just finished your book and found it enthralling… I didn’t feel as though I was reading a book, I felt as though I was having an experience, one I could never have had without reading specifics of family life as you portray it in pre-revolutionary Russia.”

“I could not put this book down,” says Emil S. Trellis, M.D.,Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association about The Unveiling. “I recommend it enthusiastically to families bearing the burden and stigma of mental illness and to mental health professionals who work with them.”
“Reading The Unveiling evokes a complex set of strong feelings: indignation, guilt, sadness and eventually a sense of joy,” says A. S. Macpherson MD, MSc., FRCPC, Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry, McMaster University.

Despite the challenges confronting Ettie and her family, this is a story of love, determination, hope and resilience. Surprising events and courageous actions during the year following the mourning period enable the family to lift the burden of silence and experience a true unveiling.

The book is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse.



Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Unveiling of The Unveiling

Now that my debut novel, The Unveiling, has been published, I want to share my experiences as an author. Although the book is fiction, real people and events were my inspiration.

During my childhood in Pittsburgh, it was always my hope to write about the stories I heard from family members about how they escaped the oppression of czarist Russia. In-depth interviews with a number of family members and extensive historical research provided important background material.

The story is about the power of family secrets and the liberating quality of unveiling the truth. It follows the dreams, fears and accomplishments of a Jewish woman and her family, portraying not only their struggle to escape the hardships of shtetl life in eastern Europe, but also their escape from the stigma of mental illness.