I dabbled with writing on and off for almost ten years before I decided to follow the route of self-publishing. I had been made redundant from my job just before having my baby and she was now four months old. I really thought if not now - then when?!
YouTube is a life saver because any question I seemed to have about self-publishing, someone had kindly made a video on that subject – perfect! I researched CreateSpace and Lulu and a few other self-publishing platforms before deciding which to use.
I will not lie, self-publishing is a challenge but this was my process in seven steps;
Literally that was it. It sounds pretty simple but because it was my first attempt at really doing this on my own, there was a lot to learn and I felt very exposed. As my daughter was so young I was very sleep deprived and the fact that I, or no one I was in contact with at the time, knew how to do this I was so anxious about getting it wrong.
Luckily for me during this time two things kept me going;
1.The fear of not trying at all was so much greater than not trying while I was given the chance.
2.That and the comforting feeling of ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’
The worst-case scenarios that I could imagine were
That second scenario scared me, so I did it.
Nine months after publishing my book and getting into the rhythm of finding events to attend and local stockists I was asked to take part in the ‘Can’t put it down’ festival. I had decided that after the reading, it would be nice for the children to colour in pictures from the story. As the theme of my story is around sharing I thought that it would also be nice for the children (and adults!) to have the chance to make a friendship bracelet for someone special. I chose two activities that I enjoy and that I felt comfortable with. I also thought would be able to keep children entertained in small groups and individually.
Just over a week before the event ordering more copies of my book went horribly wrong and the sleepless nights with my daughter reared their ugly head. The overwhelming feeling of doing things wrong came back and after lots of tears I emailed Jo and cancelled my slot in the festival. Jo (who was organising the event) was very understanding and luckily, after the ‘all hope is lost’ feeling I managed to pull a few strings here and there to get enough books to bring to the event – Phew!
So - on a very rainy August afternoon I read my story The Butterfly Princess to a room full of lovely children accompanied by their grownups. The highlight of my day was definitely a little girl who came dressed as a butterfly with enthusiasm that matched her beautifully bright wings. It was such a special moment to look around the room to see everyone engaged. The children loved the colouring activities, got very involved with creating their bracelets and even enjoyed watching their bracelets come together as their parents looped away. The adults loved making the friendship bracelets just as much as the children. The inventive ways of holding and looping thread was such a wonderful sight. Some of the parents even asked for more thread to try again at home. It was really nice to know that the children would continue to share a one to one moment with a grownup learning a new craft.