New Book in “The Junglies” series

Hi Everyone!

I have completed the manuscript for a sixth book in “The Junglies” series and am developing the idea for a seventh book. It will be a while before they are ready as they still need to be illustrated and formatted, but “The Junglies” are alive and well and continue to have more adventures.

If you are not aware yet, I have launched a crowdfunding campaign to print the first five books of the series which are already completed. Please go to http://igg.me/at/thejunglies to view the crowdfunding campaign. Please spread the word and help to make the campaign a success!

Is There a Book in You?

Hi again and welcome back!

In this article I want to ask, “Is there a Story in You waiting to be told?” I have found in my process of contacting people with regard to finding venues to promote my books that there are many people who have a desire to write a book or have already started to write a book but have not moved it forward for whatever reason.

Personally, I believe that there are more people than we can imagine who have books of some sort in mind which they want to write and publish some day.

They keep putting it off though or quite simply, procrastinate about it because of a variety of fears such as:

– I do not have the time. My job and family occupy too much of my time.

– I do not know how to write a book and get it published

– Someone has already written about what I want to write about so it’s pointless me writing about what I wanted to write about

– Who would be interested to read what I write? There are already so many famous authors out there.

– I do not have the money to publish a book.

There are many more reasons for procrastinating about writing the book in you but I am here to help. I did  not know everything about publishing books when I started but I am making it my business to learn as I progress in the publishing journey. I have been fortunate to have the wonderful support of a literary consultant, Sharon Ong, in Singapore, I have learned more and faster about self publishing than I would have if I had been going it alone and I am most grateful for her support.

Writing a book is maybe the easiest part of the whole process of writing a book and becoming a published author. Unless you have a deal with a publishing company you will need to write your book, source for an editor or edit it yourself, find illustrators if your book needs illustrations, market and promote it, publish it as an e-book and in printed format if you want.

Each of these steps can be difficult in their own especially if you have to figure them out for yourself. They can also be truly costly if you do not have the right guidance. I spent thousands of dollars on publishing my first book and had nothing to show for it except a very large credit card bill that needed to be paid.

Since I have started working with a literary consultant I have made more progress in less time at a much lower cost than I did spending thousands with a company to do the publishing and marketing.

From my experience I now know how daunting the task of publishing a book can be and have no doubt that there are others who face the same challenges and do not know where to start.

I started my career as an author writing “The Junglies”. I never imagined that I would write children’s books and I do not intend to only write children’s books.

Nevertheless, having started with children’s books I have learned a lot, some of which I can apply to other books I plan to write.

I was lucky enough to find a literary consultant who has agreed to work with me. Not everyone may be lucky enough to find a literary consultant or to afford one if there is a cost attached.

When I talk about a literary consultant I am not referring to companies on the internet offering the whole range of publishing services including marketing. Before going down the road of paying for services, I personally recommend:

– Joining groups on LinkedIn. Some good groups which I am on are “Author U”, “Books and Writers” and “Book Marketing”. I have found a number of interesting articles here and following the posts are quite educational as well. You can join any conversation if you have a question and the members will be more than happy to help you out with answers. If you do not have a LinkedIn account I recommend that you sign up and join the groups.

– Visit publishing sites such as Kindle, Lulu, Smashwords, Kobo and others and download their publishing guides. They all tend to have different requirements but don’t be put off by this. A good starting point is Smashwords. If you publish your book on their site they upload it to a host of other sites which saves you a lot of time and effort. Obviously you will need a Smashwords account but it is free so go ahead and sign up.

– Once you have reviewed the publishing sites requirements make sure that you have your book, or will have your book, in the correct format to upload to the site. If you do not, find out how to convert it. You may have to find someone who will do it for you for a small fee and then you may have to “clean it up” again in the new format.

– The alternative is that you can send your manuscript to publishing companies and see if they will accept it. This normally requires considerable research regarding the submission format but it is not impossible. Do not expect that you will be lucky enough to have a publishing house accept your manuscript immediately. You may need to submit it to many publishing houses before and if it gets accepted.

– Once you have uploaded your book to the publishing site the second phase of your work really begins which is the marketing. I will speak about marketing more in my next post.

I hope that you will find this post informative. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me and I will help as far as possible although I am still a “newbie” in publishing terms.

Have a great day and weekend!

Crowdfunding Campaign

Welcome again and good day.

I have launched a crowdfunding campaign last week for “The Junglies” series of books.

With the wonderful support of family members and friends I managed to get “The Junglies” to a point where the books are nearly ready to be published.

However, in order to publish a substantial quantity of books at a reasonable price I need to do a large print run using offset printing as opposed to digital printing. The only way to get good pricing for offset printing is by printing large volumes. For this I do not have sufficient funds.

My crowdfunding campaign is thus intended to raise funds for a large print run and to enhance the website and social media advertising.

I have been promoting the books to schools in SIngapore and Indonesia. Aside from the schools where I have already presented in Jakarta, there has been much interest from schools in Bali and Singapore for early in the New Year.

I would appreciate it if you would visit my campaign page at http://igg.me/at/thejunglies. If you cannot contribute please share the campaign wth as many people as you can within your network. That will be help enough to spread the word and create awareness and I will be most grateful for your kind assistance.

Have a great day and thanks for your support!

What our Children teach us…..

Our two daughters, Keona and Keara have taught me so much. Keona is going on 6 and Keara is 14 months. I have been blessed enough to spend more time with them than most people can and do with their children by virtue of the fact that I have worked from home for the last few years.

Witnessing their development and along with it, seeing Keona’s passion develop for everything artistic and creative, we are sure she will follow a career in that direction which we will fully encourage her to do. Keara it seems has broken the mould of the creativity in the family and will lean more towards the technical side. Or maybe she will just express the creativity which runs in the family in a different way by becoming an architect or engineer of sorts. It is a bit early to tell. In this article I discuss some aspects of living the importance of which has become crystal clear to me through our children.

Passion

Wanting only the best for our children we are keenly attuned to encouraging them to do what it is they are passionate about. Bearing that in mind, my wife, Karina, and I, rather than trying to drive our children to focus on what it is we think they should do to be successful in life, have taken a look at ourselves and our careers and lives to date. In so doing we have become aware of the importance of doing what it is that we really want to do.

You might say, well you should know what you really want to do and you should have an interest in your children and their development and future. The truth is, that many people are not attuned to what it is they really want to do in life and are living lives of quiet desperation as a result. And just as many are not attuned to what it is that their children are passionate about and encouraging them to follow their passion.

Having made a career transition at the age of 40+ I know the fears that have accompanied the process of my career change. I know I am not the only one with the fears I have faced. For those of us who have not followed our passions at as early an age as possible, our fear is compounded by our sense of responsibility. By the time we realise what it is that we would like to do, we have families which we are responsible for in respect of education, a mortgage to pay, debts and  a lifestyle to maintain.

At this point, I believe, our sense of unhappiness with our career and lack of fulfillment in life increases exponentially as we have realised what it is that we want to do and feel stuck in not being able to pursue it because of our commitments to our family members. When we reach this point, we can become quite self absorbed and disconnect from what it is that we need to give our loved ones which is least of all money and physical belongings but simply love and attention.

We start to feel that life has become a struggle for survival, we realise that we do not enjoy our jobs and we know why. We start to become less effective and begin to fear that co-workers and our bosses may realise that we no longer truly want our jobs. We simply slave away at them for survival purposes. Then we start to fear losing our jobs and subsequently the lifestyle it gives us. We may change our jobs because of our unhappiness but ultimately we will be unhappy again and again and change jobs again and again until we really start to do what it is we want to do.

The answer is for us to act on changing to the right career path as soon as we become aware of what it is that we want to do. I do not mean simply resigning and trying to start anew in a new career path but suggest making a plan of how to get there and implementing it gradually until it has been completed.

Values

I have always heard the term values used throughout my career. While i had an understanding of values and what they are, being a parent has truly brought a greater depth of meaning and understanding to me in respect of values.

We all have values which we try to live according to, but when we have to start passing those values on to our children, we become more aware of values, impact and importance.

In teaching our children the values we hold we inspect them and reconsider them and learn about values all over again. Sure our children will eventually discard some of the values we teach them and adopt others but until they do, we have to do our best to teach them about the importance of values.

I for one, in living my life of quiet desperation before making my career transition, had my own system of values. Yet being in survival mode in a career that I did not want to be in, I found myself ignoring my values again and again in the interests of pleasing others for the sake of keeping my job and being able to support my family. And in the end, it all came apart before I made my career transition.

When reviewing my life and career choices after it all came apart, I gradually pieced together where it had all gone wrong. As a result of not pursuing my passion I took a detour of 20+ years before returning to my passion. In the process, I made habit of sacrificing my values which I needed to learn all over again.

Having done so, my values and applying them is so much stronger.

Planning

When we have children, our lives take on a whole new dimension and we recognise our responsibilities not just in caring for our children day by day and minute to minute.

We need to think and plan ahead for their future. We need to have a roadmap. We need to save for their future education, provide medical insurance and support them in every way necessary. In reality though, we should not only plan for our children when they arrive, but we should have a plan set up long before they arrive for our lives with them and giving them what it is they need to achieve what it is they ultimately want to achieve.

We are responsible for them so a plan only for them without a plan for ourselves is meaningless. If we have no plan for ourselves then what we plan for our children is subject to the forces of the universe and where it takes us in our own lives. And that might just be nowhere….

Goals

With our planning we need to have goals so we can measure where we are with our plans. Are we achieving what it is we want to achieve in the time we said we would like to achieve it or not? Without a goal as a snapshot along the timeline of our plans, we will never follow through to achieve anything.

Setting goals with regard to our children in our planning is just as important.

These aspects of living, surprisingly enough, are all common aspects of any business and business planning. This having been said, they are not purely confined to business and our careers but to our personal lives and the life of our families. Yet so many of us seem to place more importance on these aspects in our careers than in our personal lives when children teach us the importance of these aspects in our personal lives directly or indirectly!

Conclusion

So if you don’t have a plan already, have not yet defined your values and their importance and have a passion which you want to pursue, start to draw it up today and have fun doing it.

Make a dream board with your whole family. Put your passions together into a family plan with goals by when you plan to achive it. Revisit it with your family very day or as often as possible and watch everyone’s dreams come true!