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Interview with "The Immigrants' Daughter" Author, Mary Terzian

Today, we’re talking to Mary Terzian, author of “The Immigrants’ Daughter.” Here’s what she has to say:

Tell us about your self-published book and where it is available.

My book, “The Immigrants’ Daughter,” a memoir about growing up in Egypt in the 1940’s, was published in 2005 by It is a story of triumph over destiny, breaking the chains of tradition by embracing freedom. It can be ordered from bookstores (distributed through Ingram), from, Barnes&, and other online retailers, in E-format from, and from digital shelves like Kindle, Ipad and Nook.

“The Immigrants’ Daughter” won the Best Books 2006 Award and placed as a finalist in the Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards, in nonfiction, under the “multicultural” subdivision. It has garnered fifteen five-star reviews on At the 18th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition for self-published books it was given 4.5 points out of a possible 5.

Per the judge’s comments, “'The Immigrants’ Daughter' is a totally enjoyable read from start to finish . . . laced with the perfect mix of drama and humor, with some occasional sarcasm thrown in for good measure. She (Terzian) is also a master at sensory detail . . . so that readers are engaged in the surroundings without ever being overwhelmed. Women of all nationalities will be amazed at her strength and character as she takes them through her struggles to overcome Middle Eastern ideas regarding ‘a woman’s place’ in society in the 1940’s . . . The snappy chapter titles brought a smile to my face.”

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I tried a few agents and publishers. I must confess. I did not pursue this route long because I felt young editors will not fully appreciate the ambiance of the times and the struggles it took for women, especially in the Middle East, to overcome their secondary role. Also the book’s multicultural content and my foreign name might raise some concerns about it being a home-made recipe. I wrote it, of course, from the wider international perspective. Also self-publishing was the faster route to see the book in print. .

What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book and why?

I was a closet poet in my teens, releasing my pent-up emotions via the pen. Eventually writing became a sideline because it gave me pleasure my regular jobs did not offer. I had quite a number of articles published in local and ethnic papers, first in Armenian and later in English.

Some of them are available online, at, or just by “googling” my name. Success and acceptance at Toastmasters’ and Writers’ Clubs boosted my self confidence to venture on my own. Beside the major decision of choosing a publisher, I had to cross over my regularly low profile to promote my book, to meet my audience, embrace my fans sometimes, attend discussions, and to keep up with an ever-changing technology. Marketing a book is a time-consuming occupation.

My two critique groups, and the two clubs I belonged to, California Writers’ Club and Writers’ Club of Whittier, were the testing grounds for my writing. I could not have succeeded without my fellow writers' encouragement, constructive criticism and kudos.

What has been the best part about self-publishing your book and why?

My book proved to be a catharsis for me. It sort of cleansed my soul. It was an accomplishment I had opted for and it was carried out satisfactorily. It helped me shift my priorities from fame and fortune to the pleasure of self-actualization. I hope I influenced a lot of women, men too, to make the proper choices in the pursuit of their goals in life. I derived the greatest satisfaction from fans who have profusely thanked me for the impact my book has had on them. Bringing hope and joy to others has been a mission I did not anticipate but welcomed with open arms. When my fans ask for more articles I am “tickled pink.”

What advice do you have for other writers who are self-publishing their book?

1. Have the book professionally edited.

2. Choose a cover that is compatible with the story within.

3. Have an attention catching title that will strike a chord with the readers.

4. Research web for information on comparative costs and services of self publishing companies. I found The Fine Print by Mike Levine very useful.

5. Be as careful in the choice of a publisher as in the selection of a lifetime partner.

6. Study the offers. All that glitters is not gold.

7. Review your contract carefully. Read between the lines. Are shipment costs spelled out. Is an ISBN included in the charges? Is the author’s royalty based on the list price (at which the books is sold) or at the net price (after all relative expenses have been deducted.)? Check on author discounts, free books etc.

8. Have a marketing plan. The onus of promoting the book is primarily the author’s responsibility.

9. If the idea of self promotion is alien to you, hire a publicist, use advertising or the social media, burn a house down (not really), learn to accept praise gracefully.

You need to develop your platform as soon as you start writing your book.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Write from the heart. If you are sincere the rewards will catch up with you. My most favorite motto is “the future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams.” Eventually your enthusiasm and determination will meet with success.

Thanks so much Mary, and good luck with book sales! For help with self-publishing your book, please write to me below or visit!