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Novels, and picture books, and crowdfunding - oh my!

This post has been brewing for a while. I should have written it months ago. Actually, to stick to the goal I set myself, I should have written one every month since April! But, I didn’t. Life got in the way – again – and I found that blogging slipped down my list of priorities.

Normally, I’d have given myself a hard time about this. But part of what I’ve learned thus far on my authoring journey is that goals are important, but so is accepting that you will – at one time or another – have to move the posts.

So, here I am, with a free five minutes, ready to update, and I don’t even know where to start!

First. The novel.

I finished the first draft of my novel at the end of June, only a teensy bit shy of my 30th birthday target. I then studiously locked it in a drawer and ignored it for eight weeks. During that time, I did things like speak to my husband and visit friends who’d forgotten I existed. But I also took the opportunity to brainstorm ideas for the second and third novels in my trilogy, read some books on story structure and editing, catch up on podcasts I’d missed, and even write some notes on a novella-length story that’s been floating about in my half-conscious brain for quite a while.

After all of that, when comfortably settled in a lounge chair by a pool in France, I finally picked up the red pen of doom and started editing. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about the highs and lows of this experience, but the end result was that I had a huge list of tweks, rewrites, and plot holes that needed seeing to.

Since August, I’ve managed to rewrite the first third of the novel – which was the part that needed the most reworking. And I solved most of my plot holes. My goal now is to use NaNoWriMo to rewrite the rest so that I have the second draft complete by Christmas!

Second. The children’s book.

I have mentioned this briefly on the blog, but haven’t gone into huge amounts of detail because – well – I was still working out what the details were! But I can now officially say that I’ve written a children’s book. This happened almost completely by accident. I was looking forlornly at all of the homeless greyhound pictures on my Facebook page and wishing I could do something to help them, when the idea hit me. What about a children’s book that will donate funds to rescue charities?

So, using my own gorgeous girl Molly as inspiration, I penned an unintentionally lyrical story called Bat Dog’s Forever Home. This was back in July and since then I’ve been sourcing printing quotes, figuring out distribution costs, and working with a wonderful illustrator (Jessica Knight) to create some sample pages. I also set up my own little publishing company, called Bewick Press, which brings me to…

Third. The business.

I always knew that I wanted to self-publish my novel and, for a while, I had been toying with the idea of doing so by setting up my own publishing imprint. I’m a publisher by trade; I did an MA in publishing and my day job involves managing editorial processes for a small publishing house in Cambridge, so it seemed to make sense.

Finding myself in possession of a children’s story as well as a novel, and needing to raise funds to publish said children’s story, was the push I needed to take the plunge and get things started.

So, Bewick Press is now a limited company and my goals for it are simple - to publish stories that children and young adults will enjoy. To start with, these will be written by me. But I’m open to expanding and publishing material by other authors if I come across a story that grabs me. I love the idea of working with unpublished authors, particularly young writers who might be overlooked in the traditional publishing space, so that is where I will be focussing my attention in the future. I am fully aware that this is unlikely to become a full-time venture. But i'm lucky enough to enjoy my day job immensely, so I'm happy for Bewick Press to be a spare-time project. Before that, however…

Fourth. Crowdfunding.

Unfortunately, I consistently seem to fail in my quest to win the lottery and, because illustrated children’s books are a pricey venture, I needed to find a way of raising the capital to publish Bat Dog’s Forever Home without bankrupting myself or taking out an enormous loan!

Of course, crowdfunding was the obvious choice.

I would never attempt to crowdfund my novel because it’s a very different kind of venture, but the primary focus of Bat Dog’s Forever Home is to raise money for charity, so I thought it was worth investigating the idea a little further. In my research, I happened upon a children’s book that was written in aid of the Marine Conservation Society and successfully raised £5,500 towards its publication via – and my mind was made up.

So, I am now ready to start publicising the crowdfunding campaign for Bat Dog’s Forever Home. Promo images are ready, samples of the book have been printed, Molly has been polishing up her acting skills and filming the campaign video, and I’m so nervous that it will all fall down and won’t raise a penny that I’m starting to feel a bit sick!

The campaign launched on Friday and has so far raised just over £500. I need to raise £7,700 to produce 2,000 copies, which means I have a very long way to go! But if it works it could raise thousands for animal charities, which would, quite frankly, be amazing.

Fifth. The future.

So, next week, raising awareness of the crowdfunding for Bat Dog starts in earnest. This will continue throughout October.

In November, while the crowdfunding is coming to an end, I’ll be starting NaNoWriMo for the first time and attempting to finish my second draft.

By December, if the crowdfunding is a success and we reached our goal, the artwork for Bat Dog will be finalised and sent to the printers.

In Feb 2017 Bat Dog’s Forever Home will go on sale.

And then I can address my third and final draft of the novel!

After that… there are the second and third novels in the trilogy to write. And I’m starting to develop ideas for some more charitable children’s books that could be published via the crowdfunding model.

So, just a few things in the pipe line to keep me busy!

To keep up to date on all this news, follow me on Twitter @CaraThurlbourn or you could also follow Bewick Press and BatDogLurcher

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