Rosalyn Cronin is a Certified Management Accountant who loves to give people advice on business and personal money management. She has published her first book, The Healthy Business: Shape Up, Survive & Thrive. A Get-Fit Program for Small Business. While developing her writing skills for the book, Rosalyn started a professional writing career, with her first articles published by the Sun Media. She has gone on to write for Careers Magazine, and other local publications, along with website articles for Boomers Forever. She is currently posting 303 blogs for small business ACTions, which run from February 1st to November 30th 2011. www.rosalyncronin.com

The Healthy Business is a practical, easy-to-read guide for the small business owner. Designed for a business that has been in operation for several years but not attaining the success once hoped for, it reaches a neglected niche in the marketplace. This book covers the essentials, from marketing to financial matters, people skills and logistics. It provides a guide to setting realistic and attainable goals and encourages a little fun along the way.

How did you determined there was a need?

The need determined the book. I was writing a personal money management book and an agent told me to make it into a workshop and get some real-life stories. During the first six-week course, I had several participants ask for a similar course to help them manage their small businesses. I checked for books that would augment the course and found lots for start-ups, lots for management, but nothing for the small-business owner who had been around a while and was still struggling. I created my own workbook and it eventually grew into The Healthy Business.

Did you try getting a publisher or did you decided to go the self-publishing route right away?

I had looked for an agent for my first book on money management. I came close to being signed by a reputable NY agent, but her group finally passed as they didn’t have the requisite contacts for finance. I kept sending out proposals and received similar responses each time—they liked the book and the writing but I didn’t have a strong platform. Given the time it takes to find a publisher and then get it out into the world, I decided early on to go the self-publishing route for this book.

Tell me about your learning curve. How did you know what to do?

My learning curve was huge. I’m an accountant who took up writing because I woke up one day with a chapter outline for the first book in my head. While looking for an agent, I took a workshop on self-publishing through the Writers Community of Durham Region with Rich Helms. He focused on Lulu, which I’d heard about from freelance colleagues [but] when I realized the cost of 300 copies from Lulu was about the same as a thousand on my own, I decided to self-publish. It worked because I had amazing help along the way. My niece did the cover. My good friend (and editor) Annette McLeod edited the book and created the layout, including fancy sidebars, in InDesign and taught me to load the words into the program. I bought InDesign for Dummies and managed to produce a book. My husband is in the printing industry and made sure the quality of paper, cover stock and ink was way above standard. And I read every blessed word out loud, night after night, to my poor husband as I did the final edit. It took several bottles of wine, but reading to someone else the words you’ve rewritten several times is the only way to hear when you stumble.

Bogey sits by the author's side when she writes, providing encouraging purrs (and head butts when she's blocked.)

What’s next?

It’s all about building my platform now. I’ve begun a blog thread called 303 blogs for small business ACTions. It’s a daily action the owner can take that will help shift attitudes and create success. Some ACTions take 15 minutes, others a little longer. But they are small and doable and a bit of fun.

I’m still promoting my book and recently connected with a franchisor who would like to have a webinar and book club chats with the franchisees and my book. I speak whenever I can at conferences and business meetings. I’m on the committee for the Ontario Writers’ Conference and continue to learn my craft.

Final thoughts?

I started with the fantasy a lot of writers have, that all it takes is writing a good book and the rest comes easy. Writing the book is fun but the real work starts with the printing, marketing and long-range plans for the book. Even with an agent and publisher, it’s the author that does the work. But I have fallen in love with writing. I’m even working on a sci-fi novel now that feeds my creative need. The main character popped in my head one day and refuses to leave until I tell her story. Life is richer even if I have less time and money than during my days as a full-time accountant.

Thanks Rosalyn. And remember folks, you can ask the author any question and/or post your own thoughts.  We’d both love to hear from you. Just click on “comments.”

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