How I Wrote A Book & other bookish FAQs

by Leonie Dawson on October 26, 2011

 

Hola darlinghearts,

 

So I wanted to share a behind-the-scenes on how & why I created my book.

 

This can be useful if you are thinking of writing one yourself, and are interested in:

  • how I managed to write a book (while being silly busy & a mama)
  • how I self published
  • why I did it
  • and where to from here!

So I thought it would be useful to give you the total behind-the-scenes of why and how I wrote the book.

 

Why I wrote the book

 

I have a pretty hilarious reason for writing a book.

In March, I had a stall at the North Queensland Spiritual Festival – the first spiritual event like it held in my sweet little goddess town of Proserpine. I knew that the vast majority of my clients were from everywhere else in the world except where I was, and I thought it would be nice to actually have some local goddesses. And I really wanted to meet other soulful people.

So I rocked up to the market with nothing physical to sell – I was really just promoting my website and e-courses and telling people to check me out online.

The festival ended up being SO busy and it was amazing… but I soon realised that it would be even more fun if I actually had something to sell, instead of just trying to get people to remember to go to my website with my fliers.

And I thought:

Hey you know what? For the next festival (that was six months later), I should have a book that I could sell! Instead of just telling people to go to a website! And people could buy it and read it and fall in love and remember they are goddesses!!! That would be SO FUN.

 

How I wrote the book

AKA How the BUGGERY DID YOU MANAGE TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Okay. SO.

I had some really sweet emails and questions from goddesses.

I’m really, really excited about your book… but I have to admit, as another mother, how on EARTH did you manage to write it? Now, please … do tell me you haven’t done the laundry, your hair is dirty and you are on vacation for awhile …

and another:

Can you share how you do all you do, especially with a liitle one in tow? Do you have struggles? How do you overcome them? Do you plan your year? Set goals? Go with the flow? You are an intriguing soul!

So I wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I did it.

Just so you realise, I totally am NOT a crazy superhero of any kind!

 

How I got it written

 

So I knew I wanted to write the book.

But I totally put it off, until about three months before the festival.

So I had this hilariously small window in which to make it happen.

And I thought about doing it the old Leonie way – the way of setting myself a ridunkulously hard deadline & riding my wild donkey until goal completion or burnout (whichever came first).

And then I thought:

There’s gotta be a better way.

I needed to bring in extra energy to make it happen.

And so I deliberated, and decided to find someone to work with instead.

I posted on the Goddess Circle‘s group for writers exactly what I was looking for. Within 24 hours, I had 4 responses from qualified editors all super excited to go.

And I went with the beautiful Charlotte Gonzalez.

 

 

She was super quick and clever.

She lassooed some of my best work over the last few years, and edited it down to be the beautiful lil turquoise handbook it is.

(It’s really, really useful to be in a writing and publishing habit consistently over a few years. It’s like building a book blog by blog!)

And in the meantime, I went to work on crafting some new hand-drawn pages to go into it.

Then once it all came together, I wrote the intro & designed the outside covers.

Then because we were cutting it so close to the deadline, I express shipped a review copy to my gorgeous assistant Marissa who checked it over.

 

This is Marissa with the review copy, sending me a sneak peek webcam look!

 

She made a couple of changes, and kablammy! we ordered a boxful!

So it was absoloodely, definitely a joint effort.

 

How did I arrange the joint effort?

I worked out a barter agreement with my editor – I was keen to give someone who was wanting to do editing freelance online some experience and a testimonial. So we worked out something that would work really beautifully for both of us.

With my life and schedule and commitments to baby, hubby, business and sanity, I needed extra help in order to make it happen.

 

Choosing A Printing Company

 

I decided to self publish. I looked around at a large range of companies, included investigating getting the books printed in China.

Because of the deadline & because it was a fairly small print run, I decided using a Chinese printer wasn’t the best option.

 

I’ve used Lulu before in self publishing my very first book “Today I Grew Like A Wildflower.”

I was grateful for the experience of printing with Lulu and overall it was positive…

but there were a couple of things that niggled me:

1. Books that were printed at different times looked fairly significantly different from each other.

2. At some point, the file for the book broke in Lulu and they removed it from sale and required it all reformatted again. (And I didn’t reformat because it would take a buttload of time again. So book is no longer for sale.)

3. It had fairly limited distribution range – the book could only be purchased from the Lulu website, not through Amazon or bookstores.

Now – this is totally not indicative of what Lulu would be like now – I self published that book five years ago, which is a lifetime in internet years.

But I wanted something more powerful.

 

I asked a few other business owners & on business forums for recommendations, and had a few glowing recommendations for CreateSpace.

 

What pushed me to choose CreateSpace.

1. They were quite cheap. I think books ended up being about $6 each (for an 6×9 inch paperback, 220 b&w pages) plus postage. For me living in Australia, postage is about $100 for 50 books ($2 each), but because I’m usually needing them urgently, my two orders have been express shipped which ends up being about $180 for 50 books.

2. They can distribute through Amazon plus bookstores. Woo!

3. Other authors who’d used them said the print quality was lovely.

4. I knew Leo Babauta had sold his book through Createspace so I figured he’d done his research.

 

What it felt like having another printed book

 

I remember what it felt like getting those books delivered.

The ladies in our old historic post office greeted me as I walked in the door

“Here comes Happy! We’ve got some boxes for you!”

And they wheeled out two boxes of books.

 

And I promptly squealed and shrieked and did a happy dance in the office

The Post Office ladies LOVED my dance. I’m sure of it. I could tell.

Then I lugged the boxes over into my car (FYI: 50 books are HEAVY. Prepare to engage biceps.)

I ripped open the boxes, gasped in delight at the sea of turquoise books.

 

 

I grabbed the top one out, I took one of them & sat in my favourite cafe, reading it.

As I read over the words, I just felt like they were this channelled message…

of exactly what I needed to hear.

Exactly what I was supposed to write.

I was gobsmacked at the beauty of it all.

 

 

And all I could do was grin & cry & feel elated…

And as I read these words,

that felt like such a balm to my soul,

I felt so deeply and dearly proud of myself

for trusting in my own voice

for saying what needed to be said

and for birthing this book into the world.

 

 

I just kept whispering over and over to myself

“I love you so much Leonie!!!

I love you!!!

I am so proud of you!!!

I just LOVE you”

 

 

In short: a joyful, loving, sacred, beautiful experience.

How the festival went

 

Even if I didn’t sell a thing at the NQ Spiritual Festival, I’d still get a stall there.

Just so I could sit and hang out in the energy and meet everyone there.

SO many beautiful souls. SO many gifts.

For the festival, I ordered 50 copies.

I sold about 30 & gave 3 away (my grandmother, She D’Monford & a sweet faerie woman whose stall was just across from me who I felt called to gift it too).

As part of my Grand Master Plan to perform the ultimate miracle and open up my small town spiritually and become a Goddess town, I really wanted to make sure my book was available in as many places as possible in Proserpine. I want the turquoise love letter to be read, ya know? I want it to be out there, creating miracles, opening hearts, helping women remember they are goddesses.

So I donated 3 copies to my local library – one for each of its offices. With the remaining books, I divvied them up to be sold on consignment at three beautiful stores here in Proserpine – the Grub CAFE, Akiah Elan & Whitsunday Professional Counselling.

And it’s pretty dang beautiful.

I get really lovely emails and sharings from goddesses here who found me and read my book and have started opening up.

It’s just the best thing ever.

 

And the rest?

 

The rest, they say, is history.

I didn’t really plan on selling this book online… until goddesses started seeing the pics of it at the festival and asking to buy it online.

And I thought I’d pop it up online for those who were wanting it.

I didn’t really plan on it doing so incredibly well on Amazon.

I didn’t really plan on it being bought so much.

All I really, really wanted was to be able to turn up to this sweet little town’s festival with a turquoise love letter, and say to people:

here. this is who I am. this is the work and the wisdom that has utterly changed my life. maybe it will change your life too.

I didn’t write a book as a profit making thing. Books really *don’t* make that much profit at all.

I have a deep and profound love affair with books. Books are, and have always been, my dearest companion. I curl up in bathtubs with them when my soul is needing replenishment. I turn to them when I’ve lost my joy for life, and need a whole new world awakened within me. I flick them open as an oracle. I soothe my spirit with them. They are my crystal ball, my best friend, my dreaming, my mind-opener, my wisdom teacher, my sage. They are comfort and kindness and inspiration.

I become who I am through books.

And I wanted to be able to pour everything I know out onto cream pages.

To write a letter of everything I know to be true out into the world, everything I want to say, everything I need women to know. I adorned it with pages of my handwriting and drawing.

And I wrapped it in turquoise.

And that, my darling heart, is how and why I wrote a book.


All my love,