Self Publishing with Natalie Abkarian Cimini
“It was the scariest, yet most rewarding experience,” said Natalie Abkarian Cimini. “I was holding back. Self-publishing is tough because you are your own worst critic. My husband gave me a push – do it already.”
Natalie has had a passion for writing poetry and short stories since she was a child. She always had a creative side and dreamed of writing books for children. Her passion was fueled after her two boys were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She noticed her boys responded more favourably to rhyming books and was adamant to find books with characters with autism. After noticing a gap in the market, she decided to write her own books to spread awareness and to give other children with ASD a character to relate to. The most prominent is Understanding Lenny.
“Self-publishing means you are responsible for everything, most importantly marketing, which is a learning challenge, but the trade-off is that you have full creative control,” said Natalie. “I’ve sold several hundred copies so far, across Canada, Australia, United States, and the U.K.” Sales are difficult to track, explained Natalie, because some third-party sellers on Amazon are selling the book – the expanded distribution sales aren’t known for 60-90 days.
“My next mission is to get the book on shelves,” said Natalie. “I also published a hardcover at Barnes and Noble. My mission is to spread the word on what autism is and isn’t and the importance of kindness and inclusivity”. Natalie and her family moved to the Stouffville area in 2016.
Natalie is donating a portion from each sale to Kerry’s Place, an autism organization that helped her tremendously on World Autism Day on April 2nd. She also created an Instagram account to share updates about the book, along with free printables, resources and sensory activities. Her handle is @natalieabkariancimini.