Dr. Aaronson is a pediatric otolaryngologist who has dedicated her career to children and their physical and emotional well-being.
In her book portfolio, which you can find here, she tells us it is “not uncommon for my patients to look different from other children. Even children who don’t look different can feel different. And feeling different can sometimes mean feeling lonely.”
(Take a look at all of our BOOKS/BLOGS here).
She dedicated a few moments out of her day for a spotlight feature.
You published a children’s book. What was the inspiration for it? Was there a specific person who really gave you a needed push?
I was inspired to write the book as a pediatric otolaryngology fellow. A lot of the patients I was taking care of looked different from their peers because of assistive devices like trachs or cochlear implants or because of craniofacial abnormalities or syndromes.
I would notice that this sometimes made them feel excluded and lonely.
While kids often have a hard time talking about their feelings, they often can express them by attributing to their stuffed animals.
I wanted to tell a story about differences and acceptances through animals so that children could relate to the feelings expressed in a safe and comfortable way.
Did you self-publish or traditionally publish? What was the process like? Do you have any tips for anyone contemplating doing the same?
I initially planned to publish traditionally, but I wasn’t successful at finding an agent or publisher. I still felt like it was a story that needed to be told, so I decided to self publish.
The first hurdle was finding an illustrator to help me create my vision, since I don’t draw.
There was then a learning curve for how to create the document for upload, but with a bit of online research it wasn’t insurmountable.
My advice would be to avoid using any proprietary software like those from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. While these can be easy to use, they produce documents that are harder to translate across self-publishing platforms.
I initially planned to publish traditionally, but I wasn't successful at finding an agent or publisher. I still felt like it was a story that needed to be told, so I decided to self publish. Click To Tweet
We recently had an anonymous post in our Doctor Side Venture Facebook group, from a physician author of a children’s book. They stated that they were not pediatricians, but that their book gave advice to parents, nonetheless, and because of that, the author felt like somewhat of an “imposter”. Do you think physicians can publish books in disciplines other than their own? Are there certain points to be cognizant of, when they do?
I think physicians can definitely talk about other disciplines.
A doctor might not be a pediatrician but might be a parent or spend a lot of time with nieces or nephews.
A physician might have a skillset outside of medicine that they want to share.
I think it can be challenging to give advice about a subject one is not knowledgeable about, but I think as long as arguments are supported or opinions are described as such, this can be done honestly.
How have you marketed your book?
I have shared the book on my various social media platforms and in groups that I participate in on these networks.
I am hoping to schedule library story times in the future.
I am considering things like Amazon or Instagram ads but have not pursued that yet.
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Do you use social media? If so, which is your favorite platform to use and why?
I like LinkedIn a lot for more professional posts.
I have a public profile (as Dr. Nicole Nose) and a private profile on Instagram.
I enjoy the personal profile as a way to share with my friends and keep them updated on my life. My public profile is a work in progress.
I’ve been on Facebook, since it was thefacebook.com. It’s probably my least favorite platform, but the groups are the most fully developed and I have so many connections for all the places I’ve been over the years, so I never leave.
In your book, why did you use a porcupine as the protagonist, rather than a different animal?
Porcupines aren’t immediately evident as cuddly, loveable creatures because of their spines.
But I thought kids (especially kids who themselves look different) would understand that even a porcupine wants friendship, acceptance, and understanding.
Do you have other books you could recommend to our audience in the niche you’ve written in?
I’m honestly not as up trending publications, but a couple of classics would be Dusty D. Dawg Has Feelings Too! by Nancy McConnell and Helga’s Dowry: A Troll Love Story by Tomie DePaola.
Do you feel like writing a book has helped you to be a better doctor? Be more fulfilled?
I don’t know that this has made me a better doctor, but it has been fulfilling to put this story out into the world.
I’ve received a lot of messages from moms and dads telling me about their children who feel different for all sorts of issues (eczema, vitiligo, alopecia), and how they are grateful for a story that tells them they are okay and that real friends will appreciate them as they are.
A lot of the parents also seem to relate to the book and its message themselves even is grown-ups with no obvious physical differences and healthy children.
Are there any pitfalls to writing a book? What should aspiring doctor-authors look out for, when pursuing this?
There weren’t really any pitfalls for me.
Marketing is definitely a big piece of this if you want to get a lot of notoriety or sales.
I probably could have had a better plan for this going into it, but I wasn’t looking to make a lot of money off this.
I will say there are a lot of opportunities to spend money on hybrid publishers or people offering editing and marketing services.
I would vet these carefully before investing. There’s a lot that I could learn how to do without having to spend a lot of money outsourcing.
As a physician author, what would you like to see more of in a community space like our new Doctor Side Ventures?
I’m somewhat new to these kinds of spaces. I think having more interaction between members actively helping and advising each other is important.
It’s one thing to read about what someone is doing, but it is even better to be able to talk to them about specifics or get feedback about a project.
Where do you see the future of medicine, as it stands? Are you happy practicing in it?
I am happy practicing medicine. Days are long and busy, but I do feel like I’m making an important contribution through my work.
I have pain points like documentation burden, compensation concerns, and administrative overload, but I think all jobs have pain points.
I do have concerns about the trajectory of medicine in the future, but I remain hopeful that physicians can advocate to see a positive change.