“I’ve written a book but I have no idea how to publish it!” I wailed, very over-dramatically!
This is the second in the short series about my writing and publishing journey.
So, I had a properly edited version of my book but it still had no title and I still didn’t know what it would look like.
The word “coddiwomple” had been suggested to me by my friend in Australia. She had come across it and forwarded it to me, stating “it’s just so You!” I loved it straight away. It resonated because I had been travelling in a purposeful direction towards a vague destination since Mum & Dad had died in 2012 and this word seemed to sum up my experiences perfectly.
And now for the woo-woo bit!
As I mentioned before in my previous post, I regularly attend local business networking meetings for women in business and it was through a local meeting that I met a lady called Marion Morley who does Soul Plan readings.
I’m not even going to begin to explain how this works, but all I can tell you is that the reading and Plan I received from her was spot-on. (If you are intrigued by this please take a look at her website: www.yourlifesoulcoach.co.uk – I can thoroughly recommend her.) She confirmed to me that “coddiwomple” was a perfect fit for me but the title still needed a bit more bite to it.
I’d spoken to my editor, Sharon Lynn at length about this and between us we came up with the title “From Cancer To Coddiwomple – A Story of Love, Hope and Daring to Dream”. I ran that past Marion but something didn’t quite fit and I felt “hope” and “daring to dream” meant the same thing. Between the three of us we stumbled across the word “loss” which also rolled off the tongue more easily than “hope” and I also liked the alliteration (ooh that sounds posh, but it isn’t really!)
Great excitement as I now had my title: “From Cancer To Coddiwomple – A Story of Love, Loss and Daring to Dream”. Perfect!
Choosing a design for the cover was the next step. I knew I wanted Mum & Dad on the cover and I knew I wanted them to be in the sky, looking down and I knew that I wanted part of the colour-scheme to be blue, but that was it! Sharon and her business partner/design guru Lorenzo suggested I used a picture of Uluru from my trip to complement the picture I’d got of Mum & Dad. What Lorenzo produced simply took my breath away…
Sharon had also suggested some ways of earning some money with the book even before it was published so that I could start to cover my costs. This would mean I could support the hospice earlier than I had first thought. One of those ideas was that I contact businesses and therapists who worked with the book’s subject matter; i.e. cancer and grief in order that, for a small fee, they placed their business name and details in the back in a Help Section. This was for the reader who might want to reach out for help and support but didn’t know where to turn. My networking friends didn’t disappoint and I soon had a long list of Supporters willing to help my cause.
By this stage I had a title and a cover and Lorenzo worked his magic on the content. After a short period of time they forwarded a PDF file to me and Sharon gave me strict instructions not to open the email without her on the other end of the phone while I did it! All I could say was “Oh my God!” as I was very choked up by what they had produced; I loved it.
Next I had to decide how to publish it and there were a few options including:
- The traditional route of writing to the Big Publishers (which could take an age)
- To pay an independent publisher to provide me with an ISBN number and register it.
- To do it myself
- To use Print-On-Demand online.
I didn’t like the idea of having a “middle man” because I felt that would eat into my profits that were intended for the hospice so I chose to do it myself. In order to do that I needed to set myself up as a Publisher and therefore Coddiwomple Publishing was born.
With Sharon’s guidance I purchased my ISBN (the long serial number on the back of a book) and registered the title with the mandatory organisations as required by Law.
The next stage was printing and there was no contest with this one as I have a dear friend who runs his own printing company, Knockout Print and he is always my preferred option. Thankfully he said Yes to the project.
Ian produced six preview copies to start with (without an ISBN) for marketing purposes. I don’t know how to put into words the emotions that ran through my veins when I saw the book for the first time. I think exhilaration, excitement, pride and gratitude all bubbled up at once along with a few goosebumps as I thought of what Mum & Dad might’ve said.
Because I had opted to sell it directly I needed a shop front, i.e. a website. I was put in contact with the very talented Karen Davies of Pink Lemon Branding and Design who helped me wade through treacle and knit fog to create my website and my brand: The Coddiwomple Lady. This name came about because that was how people at networking meetings remembered me: “Oh yes…you’re the coddiwomple lady!” The name stuck. Karen also designed my beautiful logo of a feather (feathers crop up a lot in my life) in my favourite colours.
I also set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account and an Instagram page but I quickly realised I needed some expert help with the PR aspect and I was put in touch with Christina Bowden of Bowden PR. We got on like a house on fire and she put together a fabulous campaign, which included radio interviews and newspaper articles. I reached a larger audience thanks to her.
I launched the paperback version in April 2019 and marked the occasion with a launch party in my friend’s interior design shop Ooh How Lovely, in Hawkhurst. Within a few months I had sold my first 100 copies. That was quite a milestone for an independent individual publisher like me!
Over time it has become apparent to me that books need more than one readership platform due to technology and the way we live in these modern times. An eBook seemed the next obvious step and I was delighted to release this version on Amazon KDP in May 2020; thanks to the techno wizardry of Miles Allen who converted the files for me. The next plan is for an audio version, probably next year.
So that’s it, I am now a published Author! I never thought I would say that!
This was my experience but it shows that it can be done if you put your mind to it. Therefore, I would urge you if you have a book idea to follow your heart and your dream and make it happen. Shine your light and spread your words.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experiences and maybe it has inspired you to write your own story or get that book published that has been sitting on your PC for ages! I am very happy to have a conversation with you if you have any questions about what to do next.
“From Cancer To Coddiwomple” has given me so much. Through this book Mum & Dad are still a part of my everyday life, I’ve made donations to the hospice and I’ve helped readers who are struggling with their own grief journeys to find that there is indeed Life After Loss.
My own journey continues and I’m taking a new path, linked to the book. I will update you on that very soon!
In the meantime, thank you for reading this. Stay well and keep safe. Here is some recommended reading that I found helped me:
“If Bees Can Fly” by Sharon Lynn “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron “Book Marketing Made Simple” by Karen Williams
Sending much love xxx