When a plan comes together

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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.

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Projects

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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.

Goal Achieved

In the space of 3 weeks I managed to successfully Crowdfund £600, to enable me to get my eBook “Unbreakable Bond” made available in to a physical print copy, available from booksellers across the globe. When I started, I never thought that I would get up to £600 but in the end I went beyond £600 and raised £650.

There were days when I didn’t think I was going to make it, when nothing was coming in, days when I thought I had exhausted every avenue I could think of to promote the campaign but I should never have got down about it, as you never know when amazing acts of generosity are going to come your way.

I had always wanted to do a Crowdfunder campaign but this was my first and the feeling that I have, now I have successfully achieved it is something I can’t put in to words. Not everyone succeeds with their first Crowdfunder and there are many campaigns across the globe that fail, so to be one of the ones that succeeded is incredible.

Everything has to start somewhere

What this whole process has shown me is that slow starts don’t always mean it isn’t possible; they are just a reminder of how hard you have to work. Everything has to start from somewhere and the support of just one person can change everything. Don’t expect miracles overnight but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hope for some down the line.

I finished penning my book in 2013 and it has been a long road since that day. I spent a year trying to get the book published the conventional way through a publisher and after many near misses, I decided that it was best to just get my book out there, so I released it as an Ebook on Amazon. I am so glad I did because since that day it has taken off. I could have just given up and the book could have been kept to the confines of my computer hard drive, but doing it myself has shown that there is a place for this story and a want for it, out there in the world.

Reaching as many people as possible

Newspapers have done articles about it, care and dementia organisations have endorsed it but most importantly, it has touched lives, which I have seen by the reviews that have been coming in. The support for the Crowdfunder has further proven to me that there are people who want this book to reach as many people as possible.

My word of advice is, if you are a writer or want to be a writer – just get your work out there. In this modern age there is more than one way to get your work to market and if your writing is good enough, your story interesting enough and you are willing to put the hard work in to promote it, then you can have success.

My first adventure in to Crowdfunding

I have been a big fan of Crowdfunding for some time. I have contributed to some Crowdfunding Campaigns and have helped promote some, but never have I done one myself before and I have to say I am quite excited to have this week started my first.

The mission – to raise £600, so I can release my book ‘Unbreakable Bond’ (which is currently available in eBook form), in print. For those that don’t the story about my book, it was something I wrote as a promise to my mum before she passed away in 2013 at the age of 54, after battling early onset dementia. The book is full of my stories and experiences caring for my mum, over the years before she died.

Doing everything myself

As I am self publishing it means that I have to do everything myself from getting the ISBN to making sure the artwork for the cover, spine and back are all in the right format. I have also budgeted money for marketing and buying stock of the book.

The reason for getting it published in print form, isn’t for vanity, the reason behind it is a want to get the book in as many hands as possible. Having it available in print with an ISBN number will mean that anyone can walk in to any bookshop in the world and a order a copy. Although eBooks are becoming increasingly popular, there is still a huge market for paperback, so it is important that the book is available in that form.

Awareness

On top of just making it available in paperback, I think the marketing budget is key as I just don’t want to make it available, I want people to know that it is out there. This is why I have gone down the Crowdfunding route. I could have just released it on my own in print without an ISBN for free, somewhere that no one will find it but that to me seemed pointless.

Going down the Crowdfunding route will give those that donate to the campaign a sense of ownership of the book and the campaign in itself will act as a marketing drive, for when the book finally does become available in print. I think my book is an interesting Crowdfunding proposition as it ticks so many boxes. The book isn’t just a book it’s a cause; it is something I have created to make a positive impact in the world. Writing is art and a book is art, so it is a creative project and I am trying to do something new and get a project off the ground, which are all things that to me Crowdfunding is about.

Ownership

I have been involved in charities for many years and have done many fundraising activities and events. It just feels great now to be able to do a fundraising campaign for my own project as I feel so much ownership of it.

I hope this blog has inspired you in some way and I would really appreciate it if you had the time or money to donate to the cause or help me promote it by sharing the link:

http://www.gofundme.com/unbreakablebond

Finding Information

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Regular readers of my blog will know that I released a book titled “Unbreakable Bond” last week, the story of caring for my mum with Early Onset Dementia. Now that it is out there and available for people to get a copy I have to make it is as findable as I possibly can. If you write something and nobody knows about it, nobody will read it.

I wrote the book with the aim of it being a support and comfort to those facing similar issues and I wholeheartedly believe that there are many people in this world who are facing those same issues. If this book doesn’t reach these people then it has failed in it’s objective. My words alone won’t help anyone; it takes people reading them for them to become helpful.

The good thing is that in this day and age of the Internet and social media you no longer need a huge marketing budget to get the word out, you don’t even need any money at all. To get the word out you just need hard work and a slice of luck. You need to find where you audience is and go to them, instead of waiting for them to come to you. You can piggyback off the popularity of websites and social media feeds and use their popularity to get the word out by posting on forums and contacting sites with big audiences.

Join the Conversation

In an online world it is so easy to start a conversation or jump in to a conversation and this is a great way to promote something. It is the old-fashioned word of mouth technique in a 21st century setting. Instead of having to talk to people face to face and one by one about something now you can have a conversation with multiple people at once that has a worldwide audience.

When promoting something the only thing that you have to make sure is constant is your hard work. You can put in the same amount of time each day promoting something, but some days you will get much better response than others. Sometimes you can post links online to a product you are trying to sell and nobody clicks through or makes a purchase then some days lots of people click through and make purchases.

Get People Talking

The best way to help people find your work is for other people to start talking about it. If people have an audience and an audience, which listens to them, you can tap in to it. When someone who is not connected with a project directly talks about it that carries much more weight than you talking about it yourself.

I think people are information hungry but that doesn’t mean we can take them for granted. If you don’t make your information easy to find people may not put in the hard work to find it, especially if you aren’t a recognised name.

If like me you have written a book on a subject that there is already a flood of information on already on the Internet, you have to work that much harder. If your project is niche or linked to a niche subject then it will be easier for people to find, but that is still no excuse for not working hard to promote it.

Getting Attention

I think it is important not to get too hung up on the number of purchases or downloads you have had for your book if you aren’t an established author. When you write something and you are promoting it you should only focus on getting attention for your book. If you set targets you will only be disappointed, it is so hard to tell sometimes which book is going to take off and it is not always the best book that does take off.

So in conclusion if you want people to find information you have written, make sure you go to your audience with that information and get their support. Don’t wait for them to find you. If you can get people passionate about your information, people will find it more easily.

To help you find my book more easily here is a link to it J

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Unbreakable-Bond-Adam-Sibley-ebook/dp/B00UM6ATBW

Writing is Therapy

One of the main reasons for starting this blog was because I enjoy writing down the thoughts that go around my head and sharing them with the world in order to provoke conversation and to make people think.

Before I started this blog I completed writing a book based on my experiences whilst caring for my mum who had early onset dementia. The book like this blog gave me chance to write down my emotions and experiences during this period, to give advice and to ask questions about how we can change the world for those affected by mental health issues.

Now that the book is finished I am trying to get the book published. I know this could be a long arduous process with many knock backs on the way but I truly believe this is a book that needs to be shared with as many people as possible. Throughout this process I constantly remind myself of the pack of cards analogy, that if I keep turning over cards eventually I will come to an ace and that ace for me will be a book publisher who is willing to help me get my books out to the masses.

Personally I believe that it is therapeutic to write down your thoughts and your experiences. You don’t have to share the writing with the world but I think writing things down on paper or typing it in to a computer screen can help you explore your thoughts and the way you think. I think the more you write and the more you type the more things you will work out.

When looking back on things or just thinking about things it is easy to sometimes forget why you were sad, happy, angry or mad in the first place. You spend so much time thinking that you can’t remember what started you on that trail of thought. So just for remembering purposes I think writing things down can be handy.

I would much prefer people did this than splurge it all over facebook and the like. We have all got friends on facebook who we think “over share” or are always negative. If they instead of writing statuses instantly on facebook, started writing just for their eyes only or just confided in a one on one way with a close friend I think they would get more benefit from it but that’s just my two pence worth.

I think writing is important but the way you share it or not share it is the key to what you get out of it.