Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 9, 2013.

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I quit my job to write the book I’d always dreamed of. Now I’m self-publishing it in my quest not to live life by the book. Are you in?

Update as at 26/03/13

We've reached the target and with 14 days to spare - WOOHOO!  A huge thank you to all you beautiful, wonderful backing people for helping to make my dreams a reality. Here's a little token of my appreciation:

I've also added some stretch goals below and am hopeful that we can raise that pledge figure even higher and fulfil a few more ambitions related to this project:

With just an extra £1,000, the marketing budget for the book gets a huge boost and I can try out some wackier/more innovative promotional ideas; ideas that I’d be happy to share with other budding/established authors and ideas that you backers can get involved in (if you wish). This one is all about continuing to do things differently and there are tons of unconventional marketing tactics that can be explored with a bigger budget. It also means the swanky launch party can be even more awesome :-) 

Hitting 170% of my target would make another huge ambition possible: the creation of an audiobook version of Finding Arun. I believe that everyone should be able to experience the power that fiction has to transport you into another world, regardless of physical disabilities or limitations, so making the book available in this alternative format would make it accessible to a greater number of readers. (Some people also simply prefer audiobooks; that’s ok too!)

There are still quite a few signed limited edition versions of the book remaining (ONLY available through Kickstarter), so if you haven't backed yet and are thinking about it then now is the time! See below for more details about the project and rewards...

What’s this all about then?

I need your help to self-publish ‘Finding Arun’, my debut novel.

What kind of help are we talking about here?

Cold hard cash, obviously.

I see. What’s the book about?

Here’s the blurb in progress:

If you live your whole life being who everybody else wants you to be, how do you know who you really are?

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Rutherford is already reeling from the loss of his mother when the unexpected revelation of a dark secret from her past changes his world forever. With everything he has ever known and believed in suddenly challenged, should he simply accept his life for what it has become, or will pursuing the truth finally help him to find what he has always felt was missing? As the tangled web of lies unfolds, a startling chain of events are set in motion that will see Aaron make the journey of a lifetime to discover not only who he really is, but ultimately who he wants to be.

(Note that the character name is deliberately spelt differently from the way it’s spelt in the book’s title; it’s not a mistake and all is revealed in the book itself!)

Is it any good?

Obviously I’m going to say that it is, but why don’t you read the first (unedited) chapter here for free and make up your own mind? I’m always grateful for feedback, so don’t be shy. Let me know what you think here on Kickstarter, or through my website.

Fair enough. So what does self-publishing involve exactly?

Good question. I plan to self-publish through two online platforms: Smashwords (for non-Kindle e-book versions) and Amazon’s CreateSpace (for Kindle and paperback versions). The book will then be available globally across the full range of e-book reading devices (Kindle, iBook, Nook, Kobo, etc.) and as a paperback via Amazon and a few other online retailers. The funding is needed to pay for:

  • professional editing
  • professional proofreading
  • proof copies (to check layout in paperback versions)
  • direct marketing costs (e.g. printing advertising collateral, Google AdWords spend, press release distribution services, promotional copies for reviewers)
  • professional cover design
  • an ISBN (International Standard Book Number; required by all books)
  • CreateSpace fee for expanded distribution (to make book available through online retailers other than Amazon)

I will be laying out (typesetting) the book myself using the templates provided by Smashwords and CreateSpace. As my professional background is in advertising and marketing, I will be handling all aspects of the book’s promotion myself (possibly calling in a few favours from old industry buddies!). This should save a substantial amount of money on what it would otherwise cost to successfully market a debut author’s novel.

Please note that funding on Kickstarter is all or nothing; I can surpass my goal (which would be totally awesome!), but if I don’t reach it I won’t receive a penny so every pledge counts!

What do I get in return for helping you?

What don’t you get! Aside from good karma, my eternal gratitude and your very own copy of the book, there’s a whole host of ‘not by the book’ rewards on offer for your troubles. Check out the panel to the right for full details. 

All backers will have their name listed on my website and receive a digital ‘not by the book’ badge so that the world knows that a) you are a totally awesome backer and b) you believe in the philosophy of living the life that you want to live and not the one that society expects you to. Backers contributing £10 or more will also be included in the acknowledgements section of the book itself (paperback and e-versions). 

I am currently completing my own edits in preparation for the professional edit. The book will be published in September 2013 and all rewards will be delivered together at this time. Between now and September there will be weekly updates on my progress (posted both here and on my blog so don’t forget to subscribe!) and the opportunity to get involved in key decisions such as choosing a cover design. 

How do you have time for all of this?

I haven’t returned to the corporate world and I don’t intend to. The video above describes the true story of what really happened to me in the last seven months. I realised that I’d spent my life doing things ‘by the book’ - going to school and then to university, getting a good job and then an even better one - and though corporate life gave me many things to be proud of, it just wasn’t challenging or fulfilling anymore. I didn’t know it at the time, but going to Asia and completing the first draft of Finding Arun was only the beginning. I’ve enjoyed not living by the book so much that it’s become a philosophy for life and a sentiment that I know many others desperate to escape unfulfilling corporate jobs will share.

Please be reassured that I’m not just dossing around and your money won’t be used to fund my life (it’s against Kickstarter’s rules anyway). I really am living back at home with my mum and dad to save money and occasionally offer ad hoc marketing consultancy so that I will be able to make a financial contribution of my own towards the total cost of this project. Being an author is my true vocation; it is a full time job between the editing and preparation of the manuscript and marketing efforts, but one which I enjoy and I am 100% dedicated to the successful publication of this book. Oh, and when I'm done the fun won't stop there. I'll be writing and publishing many more books, starting with the prequel to Finding Arun which is already all planned out. Exciting, yes?

Why don’t you just get an agent and approach a publisher?

I’ve done my homework and I believe that self-publishing is very much in the spirit of my ongoing quest not to live life by the book. The draws of a publishing deal are the advance payment, having the production bill met by someone else and the hand-holding that a publisher provides throughout the process, but times have changed. Technological advances mean that it has never been easier to self-publish a work of fiction and get it read by someone other than your mother. Hell, self-published authors are even making the bestseller lists these days and being snapped up retrospectively by the big publishing houses. 

Regardless of the route being taken, successful publishing will always be defined by a commitment to making the book as good as it can be, and to doing everything possible to promote it once it’s ready. I’m incredibly driven and self-motivated, obsessed with the attainment of perfection in my work and fortunately boast a background in marketing and advertising, so I figure I am as equipped as anyone will ever be to self-publish a book. This Kickstarter campaign is simply a ‘not by the book’ way for a self-published author to collect advance payments to guarantee the funding necessary for professional book production.

Don’t get me wrong, if a big publisher came knocking at my door I wouldn’t turn them away (I’m not stupid after all), but this is about creating my own luck, defining my own terms and not following convention for convention’s sake. By the time I’m finished, I hope to produce a professional looking self-published book that can stand proudly on the shelf next to a traditionally published book, without anyone being able to tell the difference.

I'm in! Is there anything else I can do for you? 

Oh yes, how kind of you to ask. Please share the link to this page with, oh I don’t know, just about everyone you’ve ever met in your life? Thanking you kindly ☺

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

#1 THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I'VE DONE SOMETHING LIKE THIS

It would be great if I could wave a library full of past publishing triumphs at you, but I can’t. This is my first book and first attempt at self-publishing, so everything is new (and very exciting). That said, everybody has to start somewhere and as they say ‘you can’t get a job with no experience, you can’t get experience with no job’. I am a very committed woman of my word. I said that I would go to Asia for four months and complete the first draft of my book while I was there, and I did it. I’m making the same commitment to publishing the book by September 2013 and I will not rest until I have achieved what I set out to do.

#2 I'M PRETTY MUCH DOING THIS ALL BY MYSELF

It’s largely a solo pursuit. I’m working on my own editing, production and marketing, and managing the few other people that will be involved (professional editor, proofreader, cover designer etc.). There is always a chance that I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, which, let’s face it, might make things a liiitttlleee tricky. But I managed to make it round Asia in one piece all by myself, so I’m going to be optimistic and say that that’s unlikely to happen. On the off chance that I am the victim of some horrible accident that physically prevents me from completing the project, you will be entitled to receive all of your money back.

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