Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inspiration through Introspection

I have an exciting book review/interview/spotlight to share with you... introducing the launch of my sister's first photo book, Introspection!

Arranged alphabetically by theme, it is full of inspiring images and brief essays, leading a reader to ponder and reflect. This book has recently received an honourable mention in the world-wide Writer’s Digest self-publishing contest, and author Karen Kindrachuk is set to take it on tour starting today.

I am especially proud of this beautiful book, as Karen is my sister. Her original photography and thoughtful words are a reflection of the many years in which she has pursued both her artistic interests and her career in helping others, most particularly seniors, via recreation therapy. To celebrate the launch of Introspection, I’ve asked Karen to speak about what inspired this book, and how she envisions it helping others.

What inspired you to create this book?

My brother-in-law [yes, that would be my dh] found a new self-publishing website and thought I should check it out. When I saw the page dimensions, I thought I’d just start to mess around a bit and put together a sample page to see what a couple of people thought. They liked the first page…nine days later the book was finished – complete. Nine really, really long days in the batcave. Nine 16-20 hour days in the batcave. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

What caused your decision to self-publish? or, what was your publishing process?

I went the self-publishing route for two main reasons:

1) I am not renowned for my patience, and

2) I spent 13 years as a graphic designed in the commercial printing field, so my technical skills were up to the challenge and I knew how to create the product in order for it to look as I wanted it to. The technical expertise proved invaluable when negotiating with and interviewing printers. When I found the right printer for me there were no ‘initial’ mistakes and time-wasting multiple proofs – everyone was on the same page.

I started with a hosted self-publishing option, but had zero control over quality-control. That didn’t work for me, so I started my own publishing company – Sole Purpose Books. It didn’t take as long as I expected to registered with the Canadian ISBN Service System, get an import/export number registered, then design and set up a new website. I just did my first bulk order, and 1000 copies of Introspection will be arriving at my door in mid-November.

This book is beautifully put together & very thoughtful. What do you hope readers will take away from it?

Thank you for your kind words! The goal behind Introspection is to nurture and inspire the human spirit. Because each person is unique, the goal is simply get people to start to speculate, dissect, evaluate, contemplate and just generally explore their thoughts. The way they translate those thoughts into their own lives will be unique, because they – and their situation – is unique.

The photography and the writing is all your work, as was the design & printing — can you tell us a bit about how you put all your skills together in creating this book?

My technical skills took care of the design & printing aspect. It was great to be back in – both feet – in a graphic project I was passionate about. My eye just tells me when it’s right, but with this book I saw the layout in my head before I even started, so that saved some time.
The photos were a bit more challenging as I found it hard to choose just the ‘right’ picture for some of the letter, considering the significant size of my photo collection.Each picture relates to the topic being discussed, one way or another. Sometimes that connection is obvious, sometimes it’s a bit more hidden. People always ask me about the photos, where they were taken? what was I doing? Introspection was a perfect way to start introducing my photos and gauge people’s reactions.

Sometimes the photo influenced the writing, sometimes the other way around. Not only does the writing contains pieces from as long as 20 years ago, but I’ve also switched up the writing design-wise. When discussing the concept of "Understanding" the prose is in the shape of a funnel. When reflecting on the concept of "Escaping", the prose is presented as the outline of a palm tree. It’s fun to do, and by changing up the text style now and again, it forces your brain to process the information differently, meaning your brain also stores the information differently. Did I mention I am fascinated by brain research?

So, to answer your question the long way, I just took three components of myself that are important to me and combined them into one package.

How are you letting people know about your book?

I kind of feel like I’m doing a grassroots political campaign! A lot of ‘getting out there’ and getting to know people. Learning how to ‘talk up’ my book at every opportunity, while not being hard-sell and turning people off. Tag-teaming with Starbucks to do author events at different locations. I’ve gotten involved in social media…I now Facebook, Twitter, soon-to-YouTube, and host a blog dedicated to Introspection.

The original concept of the website being a landing point for Introspection expanded somewhat in the process. I convinced my sister [yes, me again] to add her books to the Sole Purpose name, then I added a cover design service and a listing service — both intended to provide an economical option for other writers wanting to self-publish. And last, but not least, an Accessories section evolved containing other products focusing on wellness such as journals, art cards, motivation prints, and nature photography, all of which use my photos and/or designs.

Karen’s book launch and first reading is going to be held at the Okotoks Starbucks tonight, for all of you in the Calgary area, with another reading at the Okotoks Library on November 1st. For everyone else, pop over to the blog to get more information and take a look!

Congratulations, Karen, and good luck with the launch.


  1. Congrats to your sister! Very awesome. I wish and her book the best!


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