New Children’s Book Needs Your Help
I’m a writer with four published books to my name and many blogs and articles. It surprises people then, when they learn that I don’t earn my living through my writing; few blogs or magazines pay writers, at least in the field I write, and the odd payment I do receive I donate to animal rescue shelters (I have another job that pays the bills). Writing for me is an obsession. I have to do it. It’s my way of campaigning against the cruelties of the international puppy trade. My books earn me royalties, but no more than enough to pay the odd household bill; writing really is not the lucrative thing people sometimes assume it is and I’d happily publish my royalty statements for their entertainment value, only I’m British, and it’s not polite to talk money is it! I’ve been tempted more than once to do so, when I’ve been accused of profiteering from the misery of my dogs.
I write on one topic, one I’m passionate about and driven by. And, I’ve found someone who is equally committed to ending the misery of puppy farms/mills and who, like me, passionately believes in using art to do this: Annabel Wilson. Over the past year we’ve been beavering away putting together what we think is a children’s book that won’t make either of us rich, in fact, it probably won’t pay more than the odd grocery bill for either of us, but, it will, we hope make a big, lasting contribution to the campaign to ending the suffering of dogs the world over who are trapped in the miserable breeding industry.
The book is written, the drawings are drawn – it’s almost ready to go to publication. And this is where we need your help. We’ve opted to crowdfund the book’s publication, not to seek a traditional publisher for a few reasons:
• We want to control the process and publishing timetable. We want this book out into the hands of readers now, not next year, or the year after which is what a traditional publisher would decide. The dogs are suffering daily, we need to do what we can, and urgently – in our case, publish a book – to contribute to ending their suffering.
• We definitely want to make the final decisions on book content, including the language. Both of us trust children to have a more sophisticated grasp of language, that today’s modern publishing world doesn’t always favour. As a school teacher, Annabel knows what children like, what they can cope with, what fascinates them. Nicky Singer writes powerfully on this:
“What might this freedom look like for someone like me? To be able to publish powerful, meaningful stories in powerful, meaningful language. For young people. Yes – young people.”
…wholeheartedly Annabel and I agree with this sentiment. I know from experience that traditional publishers have different ideas to me about the acceptable content of a book on puppy farming. And we know this book is meaningful. We hope to a lot of future readers who will go on to be future puppy buyers or adopters.
• We want to be able to make donations from book sales to our chosen animal rescues if the book is successful.
So, we’ve gone the crowdfunding route, like other authors and artists before us. In fact, crowdfunding is really a centuries old practice, it’s just modernised in the age of social media and the internet. In the past, writers and artists had wealthy patrons supporting their work, helping them get their work out to an audience. Or, some people see it as a modern form of the cooperative movement, everyone cooperating and working together, bringing something useful into the world. In our case, we know there are many people, like you, around the world who want to do what they can to end the puppy farms, mills and factories – educating people through books is one big way to help. So by joining our crowdfunding campaign and helping to bring the book out to readers, this is your way you can be proactive.
Crowdfunding is exciting as we’re convinced it will result in a great book that will educate children, the puppy buyers of the future, and parents. We’ve opted to use the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. By supporting the book through our Kickstarter campaign, you will help to bring the book out into the world. We only require funding for printing and production, we’re not seeking any money for the time spent writing, illustrating, marketing we’re taking care of all that ourselves..
How it works: in the next 28 days you pledge to support us, you believe in the project, you help get the book printed by your pledge. But, as well as being philanthropic and kind, you’re also rewarded: what you get as your reward depends on what you decide to pledge, it could be signed copies of the book, or an original drawing, or you can name a character, or, if you’re feeling really committed and generous, I’ll write a scene involving your dog and Annabel will illustrate this.
It’s really exciting for us to do this, crowdfunding is putting ourselves out there for your approval and support, which makes it scary too, as we don’t know for sure that there will be enough people who want to see this book succeed to help us reach the Kickstarter goal. It’s an all-or-nothing thing, if the pledges are not enough, we’ll have failed. And a rethink on our part will be needed and the book won’t be out this summer which is what we’re aiming and hoping for.
So, please take a look at our Kickstarter, share it with your friends and family and please, please support us, make your pledges and for the next 28 days we’ll all hold our collective breath as we wait to see if “Saving Maya” will become a reality this summer.