What does being a man actually mean in today’s society?

I am so honoured to have my story and my words featured in a fantastic new book titled ‘Being ManKind.’ The book is all about tackling the question – What does being a man actually mean in today’s society? The book looks to address the unique issues faced by men in the 21st century, to break down stereotypes and to help people live positively.

Sadly I can’t make the big launch event in London this August but this is truly a heavyweight book in more ways than one. It has a forward written by Olympic Gold Medalist and World Heavyweight boxing champion – Anthony Joshua MBE. The company behind it (Super Being Labs) is also a heavyweight in their field, really innovating how to make a social impact in the 21st century.

Ordinary men doing extraordinary things

The book is a collection of stories from ordinary men doing extraordinary things, people who have survived and even thrived even against the biggest of challenges, people who are really making a difference. I have read many of the stories in the book but I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, to read it all in context and to be inspired.

An interesting question the book poses is – How would you define masculinity? I think that this is a very pressing question for today’s world. There are so many people trying to tell you what being a man should actually be like friends, culture and the media. We live in a world now where the phrase “man up” is commonplace. The phrase is normally used to get people to do something but that’s not what being a man is always about. Being a man is about so much more.

Being proud of who you are

Through my involvement with this project it has really made me challenge the way I look at myself and manhood in general. I think it takes a stronger man to show emotion rather than bottle it up, especially when the world tells you that men should be tough and strong. I think being a strong man is about more than physical strength, social standing, money etc. It is about being able not to bow to what society thinks you should be and being proud of who you are, proud of trying your hardest, sometimes being proud of failing, proud of being different and proud of being helpful.

My one hope is that my small part in the book will touch someone when they really need it and inspire them to be the great man that they have the power to be. Please if you can, go and purchase a copy. I know you won’t be disappointed. When you buy a copy you will be also being help someone else, as with each copy purchased another copy will be donated to a school or youth organisation for them to use with the young people they work with.

To buy a copy and to find out more go to:

http://www.beingmankind.org/

 

Advertisements

Keeping the ball rolling

Embed from Getty Images

It is now over a year since the launch of my book “Unbreakable Bond.” I am still as passionate as I was on launch day to get this book in to the hands of many people as possible. This has meant since early 2015 I have been keeping the ball rolling on the promotion of the book.

I have no promotion team or advertising budget, so every bit of attention I have to scrap for and I am willing to scrap. Every week I try to set aside a small manageable amount of time to dedicate to spreading the word about the book. It would have been so easy for me to just blitz the promotion at the start and then do nothing, but I think this slow and steady approach has paid dividends. I am seeing constant sales of the book and regular new avenues of promotion opening up.

Mental Health Foundation

It’s like this week the Mental Health Foundation featured a piece on my book, which was seen by thousands thanks to their social media promotion:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/stories/my-mum-and-i-unbreakable-bond

This has lead to the book getting back inside the Top 10 on Amazon for its category, which is amazing. With my hard work and the support of others this book isn’t fizzling out or going away, which I am immensely proud of.

Features

I also have features coming up later this year in the Dementia Care Journal (a leading Dementia publication) and some local radio stations. Even though each week there isn’t a new article somewhere about my book, there is always something going on behind the scenes.

At the moment I am building some great relationships with important and influential people in the dementia world, which I hope will lead to great fruit in the months and years to come. Publicising something is a game that you have to keep the right mind to each week. Some weeks you get lots of support and activity because of your work and some weeks you don’t but you need to work your hardest each week regardless of what the outcome is, as it is only by doing this that great results come.

I am forever thinking of and finding new ways to promote the book and I hope that for years to come that this book continues to be a relevant and a used tool to help people currently caring for people with dementia.

To buy my book or find out more about it go to www.unbreakablebond.co.uk

Sharing and impacting

Embed from Getty Images

Last Friday there was no blog on this site because I was away showcasing my book “Unbreakable Bond” at a dementia conference in Plymouth. At the conference I got to hear from the CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society Jeremy Hughes and from Angela Rippon OBE, but more importantly I got to talk to people at the coalface of caring and supporting people with dementia.

I listened to some of the speakers, I was sitting there just hoping my book could touch and impact people in the way they were impacting me. Not because I wanted to be on the stage, not because I want to be a big name, but because I know how it feels to be touched and inspired and it would mean the world to me if it was my book that was having that impact on others.

Learning from experience

When I was selling my book at the conference many people said they were going to put the book in to their libraries and staff rooms at work. Them saying that meant the world to me, as I want as many people to read the book as possible. I love conferences as I love getting the chance to speak to people who have read my book or brought a copy of my book. I wish I could speak to everyone who has brought my book, to thank them and to hear their story. I love people’s stories, I think we have so much to learn from each other and we need to put more focus on learning from other people’s experiences.

I think everyone has something important to share and I just hope that by me sharing my story it encourages others to share and to feel that they have something important to share, because everyone does. We can all learn from each other and something that really got me last week was the thought that the more I learn, the more I learn than I know so little. You can never know too much or enough, so please join my movement of people who want to learn from others and share with others.

Endorsement

I got to speak to Jeremy Hughes at the conference and he promised me that he was going to get my book out of the Alzheimer’s Society Knowledge Centre and I believe that he will. I hope he is touched by the book and that the Alzheimer’s Society can get behind it, because their support and Jeremy’s endorsement would really help get the book in to the hands of people who could be helped by it.

My book “Unbreakable Bond” is the book I wrote about the experiences of caring for my mum who was diagnosed with early onset dementia at the age of 51. The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and many other great book stockists. To find out more go to:

www.unbreakablebond.co.uk

 

 

Marketing and publicity

Embed from Getty Images

As we are now a month away from Christmas I am starting to try and ramp up the marketing and publicity of my book “unbreakable Bond”, to try and benefit from the extra retail spending that is going on.

I have a very small marketing budget and no marketing team for my book, so it’s just about me working hard and using the money wisely. I want to make sure that I get the most out of the fund that I have and get a great return on investment.

Free publicity

The first thing I am trying to do is get free publicity. This involves me emailing countless media outlets in the hope that one will pick it up and feature a piece on my book. After every piece of media there has been about my book, I have noticed a rise in sales so I feel it is worth investing my time in writing countless emails. I know most will come to nothing but that time investment is worth it for the one that does.

Next thing I am trying to do is to get dementia websites and member organisations to feature and talk about my book. This involves a lot of speculative emailing again, as well as sending copies of my book to these organisations in the hope they feature something on the book. This has worked quite well so far with a handful of dementia websites featuring the book. The brilliant thing about doing this is that it gives the book more credence when a respected dementia organisation talks about it, as it is like an endorsement.

Promotion

I try as much as I can to promote it for free online, posting links to buy the book on websites and posting about it on social media as often as I can. The great thing about this method is you never know who is reading what on social media and with the right people liking, commenting on or sharing something I post, it can help expand my audience greatly and get in front of people I wouldn’t have been able to reach without it.

The next plunge this month is to do paid for advertising on Facebook. I haven’t done this before, so I am bit cautious about how much to invest and how to tailor the advertising but I am excited to see how it goes. I think social media is such an important an accessible market now, that I need to have a good presence to get the book noticed.

My mission through all of this is just to get the book in as many hands as possible. For all those out there plugging away promoting something they have created, I salute you and for anyone with some money in their account I would ask you kindly to follow this link and buy the book.

http://www.unbreakablebond.co.uk/#!grab-a-copy/cqh1

 

 

Shining a Spotlight

Embed from Getty Images

Today leading national newspaper in the UK “The Independent” featured my story of caring for my mum (who had early onset dementia) in their dementia supplement to mark World Alzheimer’s Day. It is always a great honour and privilege when a media organisation with such a big platform features a story about you, especially for someone like me who isn’t a celebrity or in the news much.

Attention

My wife asked me a question last night asking if I liked being in the news for caring for my mum, which I thought was a very interesting question. It’s a tricky one for me because I didn’t care for my mum just so I could get recognition afterwards and I don’t want to be seen as a hero for doing something that I did because I thought it was the right thing to do. I don’t want anyone to think I am showing off or craving the attention that being featured in newspapers like this gains you. There are however many reasons why I like being in the news for caring for my mum and the book that I wrote about our story.

The first reason is I think that people who give up their lives to care for others need to be celebrated more, not only in the press but in our communities as well. Caring for someone is an amazing thing and as worthwhile, if not more worthwhile than a lot of people who get featured in the press on a regular basis for being a ‘celebrity.’ By celebrating carers it will encourage more people to become carers and make carers feel better about themselves, which can only be a positive thing.

Unnoticed

There are so many carers out there who go unnoticed and many who are reluctant to share their stories and it’s because of these people that I feel it is important that I share mine. I am quite media savvy, I am confident and am an ok writer, which makes it very easy for me to share my story. When I share my story with others, always in my mind are those that are going through tough times currently caring for others. My goal with my book that I have written is to help others and hopefully make someone else’s life a bit better, I keep that same goal in mind whenever I am speaking to the press or other organisations about my story.

Hope

The hope I have is that many people will read my story and be impacted by it. That they will be moved in to action and that it will help them in some way. As the population of this world continues to grow older I believe more and more will need to be ready to care for someone, so the best thing I can do to make a difference is help prepare as many people as possible.

I’m not a hero, I’m not a celebrity, I’m just an ordinary person like you but I think it is the ordinary everyday folk that make this world tick and are the ones who are doing amazing things without being noticed. The power to change this world isn’t just with the headline makers; it is with you and I.

When a plan comes together

Embed from Getty Images

As regular readers will know, over the last year I have been very busy working on my book project. First it started with me releasing an EBook, then I did a Crowdfunder to raise money to make it available in print, which raised more than my goal and since then I have been working on getting it in to production and available across the globe. The book is titled “Unbreakable Bond” and is about my story of caring for my mum who had early onset dementia.

Hard at work

Since the moment the funds came in I have been hard at work transforming the Ebook in to a print book, which has been no easy task. I could have gone the easy route and used an off the shelf self-publishing company like I have with previous projects but for this one I really wanted to push the boundaries.

For this book I have done everything myself. I purchased the ISBN directly through Nielsen, I set up my own publishing company called TeamSibley Publishing, I enlisted the help of a professional to proofread the book, a professional graphic designer to do the cover and used an accredited template supplier to work on the formatting.

Paperwork

This has only been the start though as whilst doing this I have also had to find a company to print the book (Lightning Source), file all tax exemption forms in various parts of the world, set discount rates for retailers and now I am looking in to distribution channels for the book.

The reason I am pushing on all these levels is in the hope to one day see my book in book shops up and down the country, which wouldn’t have even been a possibility if I had self published in any other way. Retailers are very picky when it comes to stocking self-published titles so to give myself even a shot I had to be very careful and put in this hard work up front.

Stress

When you are new to all this and are trying to do it all whilst raising a family and a full time job, it gets rather tricky. It has involved many phone calls and emails, it has involved a lot of stress and it took longer than what I thought it would but finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully by the end of next week I will have received my proof copy of the book and if that is approved then October should see it released worldwide, which I am very excited about.

It has been a two year journey to where we are today but I am so glad I didn’t give up and that I have something that I am immensely proud to show for it.

Projects

Embed from Getty Images

All of my adult life, I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have a project on the go. I am one of these people that likes to fill my time with things, likes to experiment and likes to achieve more than I already have. A project can be anything from creating a piece of art to re-organising the running of your house.

Pressure

The current big project I have on at the moment is to get my book ready for publishing and to get it published by mid September. After releasing “Unbreakable Bond” in EBook form, I then successfully crowdfunded the costs of making it available in print, both of these were big projects in themselves. Now however, because so many people have so kindly given to get the book to print, the pressure is on to make it happen, as it is something that has to happen.

Getting a book published is not an easy task. There are many moving parts to this project and I have to keep on top of them all if I am to hit the deadline. Before I can even get in to the admin side of getting it to print, I have to get the book proofread and formatted by professionals and I need to work with a graphic designer to get the book cover completed.

Putting the hard work in

I want to one day get my book in to bookstores like Waterstones, this means however that I can’t just go through a one stop online shop, that register an ISBN for you and handle the printing and distribution. For my book to have the possibility of one day getting in to bookstores, I have to register the ISBN myself, get my book printed by a company in the UK and get a contract signed with a distribution company that has routes in to traditional bookstores. I am determined to get my book in to bookstores, so it means that I have to work a lot harder than if I was just happy with it being available online, that I could do in 5 minutes and is something anyone can do these days.

Stressful

Projects can be stressful and can take over your life at times, so you need to be careful with them. Mot projects you will do in your spare time, you won’t be paid for them and most will cost you money, so you need to be careful not to get too carried away. It is important that you don’t let a project interfere with your work, your finances and your family life.

You only get out of a project what you put in to it. For me personally I would rather try really hard at something and get something out of it that I am proud of, rather than just spending some time on something, not really trying hard and not being too impressed by the outcome. The key thing when doing a project is knowing what you want to get out of it. Once you have finished a project its then time to look at if you got what you wanted out of it and look at what project you want to do next.

Not every project I do is successful, but I don’t think I have ever had a project that I didn’t learn something from.