Friday, 31 May 2019
Woah-ah, we're half way there-re....
I've been singing Livin' on a Prayer all day. My singing, as Arthur once succintly described it, is "a bad noise". But - it's true - we are HALF WAY THERE. We hit 50% over the weekend. This is so, so great. And I owe you all an update so here goes.
Apparently no Unbound campaign has ever reached 50% and then not completed funding to produce an actual book, so that's encouraging! Given that Unbound only accept a small number of the pitches they receive (10%, I was told), then only a fairly small number of those get this far, we're doing pretty damn well. Thank you so much, again, for being here, and for retweeting and Facebook-sharing and telling your pals. I honestly can't thank you enough. When my marriage ended unexpectedly back in November, you all swooped in to support me. I'd have had to pack this book thing in if you hadn't. I hope that, when your books finally arrive in the post and you can see your names in the list at the back, you can take credit for making this happen.
The change in my personal circumstances has made this whole process slower and more arduous than I would have liked. I'm applying for all the jobs, throwing myself at freelance mental health work, still researching and writing the history things I'd agreed to do, adjusting to life as a single mum, and writing and funding this book all at once and it is a lot. In my lower moments, I feel like I'm failing at everything. As much as I like to be an 'open book' (ha ha), it's been difficult to be honest about how hard this feels and how tired I am, because I don't want you to think that I can't do this, and I don't want to put people off pledging.
I know I can do this. I have a really good track record when it comes to doing hard things. I wrote up a PhD with a sick toddler, averaging forty minutes of sleep a night over months and months and months. I was challenged recently to list the things about myself that would make five-years-ago me proud, and I realised that I've finished a PhD (and not too shabbily); had two academic articles accepted; established a freelance career earning some actual money; made a small difference in maternal mental health provision; signed a book contract with a publisher I admire; lost six stone in weight; and I am single mothering like a boss. That made me feel loads better. I can do hard things. I can even do lots of hard things at once.
I had a phone call with my commissioning editor at Unbound last week which was also really positive. We agreed that, yes, progress has been slower than anticipated for unavoidable reasons, but this is still very much happening. It would be good to get some corporate interest: besides individuals, the subject matter of this book has primarily attracted charities and the NHS, neither of whom have any money. That was always how it was going to go, but I have asked a couple of people to rack their brains, plus I'm going to send Unbound some of what I've written so far so that they can get a feel for it. If you have any fundraising ideas, by the way, please hit me up. I want to get this book marketed and in the shops!
I'm touched that Unbound are so wholeheartedly behind this project, and rather awed by the faith in me that they have, and that you all seem to have. And I've never felt surer that publishing this way with you all on side from the beginning was the right call.
Onwards and upwards.