About this project
Update: We've made all of our stretch goals!
That means EVERY backer gets a DIGITAL copy of the book, no matter the size of their pledge. Hooray! OK, read on...
I’m Jenni Prokopy, Founder of ChronicBabe.com, and I’m thrilled to share this new ChronicBabe project with you.
I'm taking you back to school with ChronicBabe 101.
ChronicBabe 101 is a guidebook to help women with chronic illness craft fulfilling, awesome, inspiring lives in spite of illness. It’s for anyone who is struggling to find acceptance, or who feels scared or alone with their condition. It’s for the millions of people out there who—like me—want to contribute to society in a meaningful way, and be more than just a patient. It's for anyone who wants to be a babe... in spite of illness.
(And there are plenty of ChronicDudes out there, too—this book can really help you, too!)
ChronicBabe 101 is also for people who love us ChronicBabes: our caregivers, spouses, friends and other members of our support team. It provides valuable perspective for them on what it’s like to strive while coping with illness. Even if you’re not a sicko, this book could be a great resource for someone you love who lives with illness.
And ChronicBabe 101 is more than just a book: I’ve also created a ton of video resources and audio interviews with subject matter experts, so it’s a real multimedia experience. More on that in a minute.
With ChronicBabe 101, I’m taking you back to school—and I'm your personal cheerleader. It’s a guidebook filled with practical advice, personal stories and lessons learned, exercises, checklists, expert perspectives and much more.
The main chapters of the book focus on 10 key concepts I believe are essential for life as a ChronicBabe:
- Embracing acceptance
- Kicking bad habits to the curb
- Turning around negative thinking
- Establishing healthy boundaries
- Practicing self-acceptance and love
- Building a solid support team
- Strengthening personal relationships
- Exploring school and career options
- Boosting your communication skills
- And organizing your complicated life
In each chapter, I’ve created exercise and tools for you to explore. And I’ve interviewed some exceptional subject matter experts to give you more food for thought.
Bonus Video & Audio Content for ChronicBabe 101
Everyone who buys ChronicBabe 101 gets the complete book, plus access to a password-protected website where you can watch more than one hour of exclusive videos packed with personal stories about lessons I've learned. You’ll also be able to download all the expert interviews; there's a 30-minute interview associated with each book chapter. The website will go live when the book is ready to ship.
When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia almost 20 years ago, I was terrified. I was in my early 20s, and I felt completely alone—medical resources were scarce, and none of my peers could relate. I had a 56K modem and an AOL account; online resources were almost nonexistent.
My life was turned upside down. I went from being a hard-charging, super-athletic chick to feeling so fatigued I couldn’t walk more than a couple blocks. Severe pain kept me from pursuing career opportunities and social activities. And within a couple years, I was diagnosed with a handful of other chronic conditions. I thought my life was over.
It took years—and the help of a team of experts—before I started to accept my illnesses and begin to craft a life I love. As a person who believes in the value of service, I eventually decided to create the kind of online resource I had wished for back when I was first diagnosed.
So 10 years ago, ChronicBabe.com was born. Over the past decade, I’ve served tens of thousands of people with practical resources, deeply personal stories, expert interviews and more. From one little blog grew an enormous website, a bustling community forum, a weekly newsletter, an ongoing video series, and a thriving social media community.
I started writing ChronicBabe 101 a couple years ago. I worked with a talented videographer to create a package of instructional videos to accompany the book, and recorded interviews with 10 subject matter experts on everything from legal issues to sexuality, hiring and firing doctors to building healthy boundaries.
But life as self-employed sick chick—a freelance writer—does not afford me much extra time to work on this project. For the most part, ChronicBabe has been a labor of love.
As part of my work, I teach sick folk how to ask for help… so now I’m walking the talk. I don’t want a handout. But I do want your help. You have the power to help me launch a new ChronicBabe offering that will change the lives of thousands and thousands of people.
I’m asking for $13,500, which will help me finish the book and accompanying digital materials. Your pledges will ensure that I can put my freelance work on pause and focus 100% on this project—and complete it in a confident, healthy and expedient fashion.
- $2,500 ChronicBabe.com operating costs & Jenni’s salary
- $2,250 Book editor
- $1,000 Marketing & administration
- $5,500 Backer reward fulfillment
- $1,600 Kickstarter & Amazon Payments Fees
- $650 Taxes
I’m really lucky to have some talented friends who are donating their services, including design of my book cover, website development and design, graphic design, illustration, inspiration and tons of moral support.
Kickstarter works like this: You make a pledge, and I promise to fulfill that pledge, which means sending you a PDF, a book, maybe some other goodies—or even speaking at your event. (You can see all the backer rewards below, or to the right.)
To receive any funding, I must meet my goal; if I don’t reach the goal, I get nothing. That’s how Kickstarter works: It’s all or nothing.
I’ve created a variety of backer rewards, to make sure anyone who wants to contribute has an option they can afford. Many of my fellow ChronicBabes live on a fixed income but still want to support my work, so with those of you in mind, I’m offering backer rewards starting at just $1.
- Pledge $1 or more and you’ll receive my heartfelt thanks (and a mention on the book’s website), plus an exclusive PDF download just for my Kickstarter backers on “How to Make Friends with Illness,” which offers practical advice on living more peacefully with illness—advice you can put to work right away.
- The book: Starting at $20, early bird backers can get a copy of the ChronicBabe 101 book (which includes access to bonus audio and video content), plus the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF and a thank you on the book’s website.
- A signed copy of the book: Pledge $35 and I’ll sign your book. Fun! Plus the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF and a thank you on the book’s website.
- Make a friend: For $45, receive 2 copies of the book (one to keep, one to share), the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF for each of you, and a thank you on the book's website.
- Limited edition art cards: I’m thrilled to offer a special treat for folks who back the project at the $60 level: Five illustrators and artists are donating their enormous talent to create a limited edition set of ChronicBabe art cards. These will be beautiful, inspirational, hilarious and heartwarming. Plus you’ll get a signed copy of the book, the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF and a thank you on the book’s website.
- Handmade bookmark: Pledge $100 and you’ll get a signed copy of the book, the art cards, and I’ll use my newfound sewing obsession to create a one-of-a-kind fabric bookmark for you in my signature ChronicBabe colors. Plus: the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF, and a thank you on the book’s website. Wow!
- Book club: Want to study with friends and enjoy some social accountability? For $160 (or $135 if you get in on the Early Bird action) this option gets you six signed copies of the book, plus discussion guides, so you and your friends can study and learn together. Plus: one set of limited edition art cards, the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF to share, and a thank you on the book’s website.
- Private Webinar: At the $300 level, I’m offering a small, private webinar for up to six guests. We’ll enjoy a live conversation and Q&A. You’ll also get six signed copies of the book, discussion guides, one set of limited edition art cards, the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF to share, and a thank you on the book’s website.
- Personal Coaching: For $1,000 backers, I’m creating a one-on-one coaching program covering key topics (acceptance, identity, relationships and self-advocacy), customized for your needs.You’ll also get a signed copy of the book, the limited edition art cards, the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF and a thank you on the book’s website.
- Event: I adore speaking to crowds. At the $3,000 level, I’ll craft a customized keynote to present at your event (travel and lodging extra) anytime between July 2015 and June 2016. I’ll bring up to 50 copies of the book to sign and give to your audience. You’ll also get your own signed copy of the book, one set of the limited edition art cards, the “How to Make Friends with Illness” PDF for your audience, and a thank you on the book’s website.
Don't forget: Anyone who buys the book gets access to bonus audio and video content. I'm super-excited to offer you this bonus material!
Just knowing that hundreds of people are lining up for my book provides incredible accountability, which will help me finalize my draft quickly and create a beautiful end result.
Not a sicko yourself? Consider pledging to get a copy of ChronicBabe 101 for a friend or family member in need. What a loving thing to do!
If you love this project, please tell your friends—through social media, email, one-on-one conversations, carrier pigeon… or just send them the link to this page.
I would love your help getting to my goal of $13,500. Reaching that goal will help me take the time to focus on making the best possible version of the book, and get it into the hands of thousands of people who need help.
You know what would be cooler? If we can raise an additional $2,000—for a total of $15,500—I will build us a lovely community-based website for ChronicBabe 101. It will be a private site, where readers can log in and discuss what they’re learning, challenges they’re facing and meet other like-minded ChronicBabes. Having a robust private community site for the book would allow me to host more exclusive content there, too, like new videos, expert interviews and fresh tools. Squeeeee!
UPDATE: We've met all of our stretch goals.
We reached our first stretch goal, so the website will be created! And we reached a SECOND stretch goal—to raise an additional $1,500, for a total of $17,000—which will allow me to work with a graphic designer to create a beautiful interior for the book. Yahoo!
And on March 21, we met our third and final stretch goal: To raise an additional $1,000, for a total of $18,000. This last burst of funding will allow me to hire a consultant to turn the print book into a multitude of digital versions. Because we reached this goal, I'm doing something a little wild: I'll give digital versions of the book to EVERY SINGLE BACKER, no matter their pledge. It's my way of saying thank you to this amazing community.
(You can learn more about each stretch goal by visiting my project updates.)
Life with chronic illness sucks, there’s no getting around that. BUT in my experience, there are many, many things we can do as ChronicBabes to improve our lives and enjoy peace, joy and fulfillment every day.
My work comes from a deep place of struggle and loss—but I’m committed to overcoming that, and to creating a beautiful life in spite of illness. I’m also committed to helping as many other people as I can do the same. ChronicBabe is my life’s work—I believe it’s what I was put on this Earth to do.
I get letters and emails every day from women who are struggling. Chronic illness inflicts an enormous cost, not only to us sickos, but also to those we love and who love us. We lose functionality. We feel disconnected. We lose sight of our value. And there are enormous financial costs; as an example, I spend more than $1,000 a month on healthcare expenses. It is not an easy life.
It’s for this reason that I’m so passionate about ChronicBabe. For as many sad letters as I receive, there is an equal number of positive messages from women who are inspired by ChronicBabe—women who learn from my experience and guidance and create amazing lives. Sick folk want to contribute to society, be better parents, spouses, friends, partners, co-workers—they want to give their gifts to the world. They want to feel hopeful and joyful, connected and inspired.
It is a privilege to do this work—to help people lead completely fabulous lives in spite of illness. I love it!
I want to thank YOU for reading this whole pitch—that means the world to me! My beau Joe keeps me feeling strong, motivated and joyful. Natalie surrounds me with love. Cary makes me guffaw. Brandy keeps me accountable. Jackie keeps me authentic and grounded. Gabriel, Finley, Vivi and Gigi make me smile when I feel low, and Meredith and Mike have got my back. Countless friends, family members and colleagues—too many to name here—have helped me keep ChronicBabe going for a decade, and I can’t thank you enough. You know who you are.
And to the thousands of ChronicBabes I’ve met over the years? You are my light. You are the reason I get out of bed each day. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
Let’s be real: I could get sicker.
Throughout almost 20 years of chronic illness, I’ve had ebbs and flows with my health. I work very, very hard to stay as well as possible, but if I do get sicker, I have a team of friends and volunteers I can count on to help ensure rewards are fulfilled. There might be a slight delay, but I’m committed to finishing this project and sharing it with you no matter what.
There could be technical glitches.
I’ve never self-published before; I’m using Amazon CreateSpace, and it seems straightforward, but you never know.
If there are any production issues or other factors that could cause a delay, I’ll keep you posted with updates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Support this project
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