Child psychologist and LifeTree author Dr. Vanessa Lapointe has been changing the conversation around parenting for many years, but it wasn’t until she became an author that she started reaching new audiences on an unprecedented level. Vanessa published her book, Discipline Without Damage, in January 2016 through LifeTree Media’s Best Book Program, and it has since hit multiple bestseller lists and continues to garner media attention. We spoke to Vanessa to get the skinny on how being a successful author has changed her life, and how it can change yours.
LifeTree: Why would you recommend writing a book to others?
Vanessa: Writing a book allowed me to take my thinking about key and complex topics to a whole new level that I was not actually anticipating. Going into the writing process I felt I had all of my ideas very sorted out. But as I got really deeply into the act of putting those ideas into writing I realized there were details and concepts that required some grappling with. Out of that crystallized a new, more succinct, and more thorough understanding of topics that I had long since thought I had totally understood. Who knew?! So I would recommend writing a book to just push the limits of your understanding on what you think you already know.
LifeTree: What are some positive lessons learned from the publishing process?
Vanessa: The biggest lessons for me really were about being diligent in relying on experts to do their expert jobs all along the way rather than hacking my own way through it. Also, I learned that it was important to be studied about the process but also that there are going to be several junctures where you just have to go with your gut and take a leap of faith.
LifeTree: What are some highlights or successes you’ve had throughout the process?
Vanessa: We had to establish a social media presence ASAP! So I hired a very seasoned and knowledgeable virtual assistant to work with me a few hours a week and got busy writing and posting. Our first blog post to really take off was about surviving your child’s afterschool meltdown and that was a big boost. The success of that post opened the doors to a parent blogging spot with the Huffington Post, and from there we have had several other big wins in posting, including our discipline cheat sheet and a recent post on boredom in kids. Finally, I have had great media coverage with television appearances, radio interviews including open call-in programs, and a lot of print coverage too, including articles in Time, The Globe and Mail, and Good Housekeeping.
Having authored a published (and successful!) book has opened several doors for me in my career.
LifeTree: How do you anticipate your book helping your career in the future?
Vanessa: There is no question that having authored a published (and successful!) book has opened several doors for me in my career as a psychologist and parenting educator. The first, on a more local level, is that it has really heightened the visibility of my clinic and the team I work with. We have seen a significant jump in our referrals since the release of my book. The second, bigger picture impact, is that it has really opened a lot of doors in terms of opportunities to speak at different events across North America and even into Australia with larger, more diverse audiences. My core purpose in writing my book was to change the conversation about children and what they truly need in order to grow up in the best possible way. And so these successes are huge to me – I view them as key vehicles by which I might accomplish that most sacred purpose.
LifeTree: Any inspiring messages for others looking to write a book?
Vanessa: Stop thinking about it and just do it. Be thorough and planned but also get moving! Don’t accept defeat with ease. I constantly look for alternate paths and different strategies, believing there almost always is a way through. And so far, it’s working out pretty well!
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