It’s a mystery. With exploding media attention to late life care in all its aspects, sales of my story of late life caring are slowing down. I tell myself that selling books is not as important to me as selling ideas. I’m speaking to all sorts of groups and feel in my small way I am making a difference. But I have to be honest. Sales are a metric that matters too. I ask myself, does my story matter?
It’s a real life story. It’s the story that one in four Canadians who are caregiving can relate to, because they share my experience. My narrative doesn’t pull back from the tough parts. That would not be a true story. Yet it’s focus is squarely on all the ways that caregiving was a sea change in my life, “the hardest job I ever loved”.
I’m assured that The Dwindling is readable as well as informative. It’s even delightful. Sure, it’s poignant sometimes, even passionate. But over it all is the spirit of fearlessness and loyalty. And its bottom line is the crux of so much that is so underestimated in family caregiving. The power of love.
So why do so many buyers give my book a pass? I’ve been thinking about it. My book distributer from Sandhill Book Marketing in Kelowna provoked me with her question, “you’ve done a good job of promoting it. Maybe there are too many stories about caregivers on the market these days – what do you think?”
So this week I set up Janet’s pop up bookstore at our local summer market. I wanted to encounter people encountering my book, ask them if they could relate to my topic and did they have stories too?
One thing was immediately clear. People related! But rather than being like history buffs who buy history books or dog lovers who shell out for dog stories…. they recoiled from actually buying my book. There were different reasons. One woman said she wasn’t a caregiver to her stroke disabled husband, she was a wife. The label caregiver made her feel queasy. Another passer-by simply raised his eyebrows and said, “don’t get me started!”. Several daughters hurried by pushing a parent in a wheelchair. It was a nice evening and there is a care facility nearby. They gave me a daughterhood half-smile of knowing. Tearful visitors to my pop up reminded me of the hard to resolve emotion that many have in caregiving, even long after it’s over. I think I get it. When feelings are ambiguous, why would folks dig up old bones by buying a caregiver memoir, when they can just as easily buy a story about dogs or someone else’s history?
There’s one good reason. No element of culture can change until an avalanche of stories overwhelms the denial. A grey tsunami is bearing down on our demographic with its coming care needs. So we must invent a new normal. Not with a focus on those horror stories that leave us quivering in fear. But instead a focus on what quality late life care actually looks like. That’s the prowess of family caregivers. Yes, all our stories are unique. But we all are uniquely experts. So that’s why the plea of my pop up this week is: Tell Your Story! (and yes… I must be true to my craft…please buy my book!)
send me an email. I’ll mail you my book (firstname.lastname@example.org)
order my book from your local bookstore.
get in the line at the library
buy the book in print or on kindle from…you know…Amazon.
it's about the journey
Caregiving was my first and finest journey. Writing this book about it was the next. It lends support to other caregivers who say, "that happened to me too." I'm on another journey now, advocating for caregiving and an activist to bring on better ways of thriving as we age. It's all brought me purpose and meaning, Come along and get some of that too! I'd love to share your stories. Boldly speaking out about our experiences makes us all part of the change we want to see. So
Join me! Let's talk!