Why my book launch is raising funds for 100 Women.

In the course of marketing my book I’ve been asked many times for my advice for folk wondering what they can do to make this world a better place. One small step I recommend is to donate to an organisation like 100 Women, that prioritises women’s economic empowerment, because the return on that investment is huge.

I’ve seen first hand in my ten years of international development work that when women contribute financially to the household it changes the dynamics of who makes the decisions.

When women have a greater say where household expenditure goes its more likely to be spent on the family’s health, education, and nutrition. That’s a fact that’s been verified many times over by research, (and a fact possibly known by women all over the world without having it verified by research).

When women are empowered economically, they also gain greater legitimacy in public discourse. During the years I spent working alongside DPOs (disabled people’s organisations) and Community Based Rehabilitation Programs in India, Bangladesh, China, Cambodia and Vietnam I saw the collective power of women. I saw mothers of children with disabilities coming together to advocate for their children to attend school and pressuring local authorities to improve safety for girls, among other things.

My book tells the story of Ammanuel, whose mum couldn’t find work because of stigma about his disability. She accessed microcredit to set up a small business cooking food on the roadside, and made enough money to pay for food and stable accommodation for them both.

My book also tells the stories of housebound young girls who learnt to walk again after being paralysed from TB of the spine, which meant they could return to school, finish their education and play with their pals. What I didn’t include in my book was the story of the community based rehabilitation program running alongside the physio department, that worked with local schools and authorities to overcome the stigma and physical barriers for kids with disabilities to attend, which empowered countless other girls and boys to access education. There is only space for so many stories in one book, unfortunately.

But with 100 Women’s giving circle you can be part of unlimited stories of women turning their lives around. Whether it’s utilising microcredit to change their individual circumstances or coming together to create job opportunities in the community; and working to overcome the structural inequalities facing women.

In 2019 their grants supported women overseas, in Aboriginal communities in the Kimberley and programs for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in WA, and 100% of donations go to their grants pool. And it’s 100% homegrown – it’s based in Perth! There’s one hundred more reasons why 100 Women are awesome (sorry, that’s corny but I couldn’t resist). You can look them up here: www.100women.org.au

Tired lady writes action montage instead of frequent blog posts.

I had grand plans of posting regular updates about my journey from signing a book contract to becoming a published author. But it turns out I didn’t do that, mainly because publishing a book, raising a toddler and maintaining sanity are mutually exclusive activities.

My next brilliant plan was to publish my inaugural blog post when advance copies of the book arrived. But that joyous day happened a few weeks back and it felt irreverent to post about good news when so many were worried about Coronovirus.

So I procrastinated respectfully delayed until now, when it feels right to post a pick-me-up, so here it is: It turns out that receiving your own book in the post is an unrivalled feeling! I can still barely believe it’s true.  For the first few days I couldn’t stop turning the book over in my hands and marvelling at its beauty.

So apologies dear readers that you didn’t get to join me along the way. In lieu of regular updates, I present to you an action montage instead. (Please note: This isn’t how my actual book reads, it has proper sentences):

May-Aug 2019. First round of edits. Submit finished first round back to editor. Feel teensy bit smug about ease of editing and being author.

Sept 2019: Receive next round of edits from my editor; have to move house unexpectedly, use up writing time packing and unpacking. Feel a bit stressed but excited and confident.

Wk 1 Oct: Son Theo gets pneumonia, writing in daytimes difficult as Theo can’t go to daycare. Writing in evenings when Theo’s asleep impossible, mainly as Theo barely ever asleep.  Theo’s sleep compounded by illness. In desperation, antibiotic syrup is disguised in ice cream and strawberry Quik, resulting in full consumption and sleeping toddler. Feel smug about success of combining author and mum role, then spend remainder of evening scraping pink vomit off bed, carpet and child instead of writing. 

Oct/Nov: Above scenario but with gastro/slapped cheek virus/ hours of bellowing for undiscernible reasons instead of sleep. Edits mainly done in wee hours of morning. Suspect being author could cause nervous breakdown, regret whole idea.

Dec 2019: Finish edits! Fist pump myself for being done with editing forever. Email off edited book.

Jan 2020: Editor sends next round of edits that I misinterpreted as someone else’s role.

Jan/Feb: Frantically work on edits in library while Theo in creche, daycare, with various beloved family members or babysitters. Exceed recommended daily intake of caffeine and sustenance chocolate, daily.

Feb: Marketing discussions. Front picture design discussions. Back jacket blurb discussions. Cover finalised.

Day of deadline for proof-reading changes: Theo looks sick again, can’t go to library creche. Work on final edits next to Theo, who lies down for five minutes and makes miracle recovery. Email off final copy with Theo sitting on my shoulders, playing bongos on my head.

Editor receives copy, later replies to say book is now off to printers, everything done. Cry a little bit, mainly as blood caffeine far exceeds RDI and celebratory chocolate not available.

March: Advance copy arrives. Feels so fantastic to see and hold my book, don’t regret even one minute of it. (Disclaimer: not entirely true). Start writing next book.

I have the best of intentions to deliver my next blog post soon, definitely before my next book. In the meantime, wishing good health and good spirits to all.

Blog

Hey guys….look what I made! I received the first advance copy of my book, actually a few weeks back, but it felt irreverant to post about good news then when so many were worried about coronovirus. But maybe now it’s time for a little pick-me-up, so here it is: It turns out that publishing a book, raising a toddler and maintaining sanity are mutually exclusive activities and that chocolate biscuits are a legitimate form of sustenance when writing at 4am. But it also turns out that receiving your own book in the post is an unrivalled feeling! It’s a day I’ve dreamt of for years and I can barely believe it’s true.  I couldn’t stop turning it over in my hands and marvelling at its beauty.

Lots of people had asked about the process and I had great plans of starting a blog and posting regular updates along the way but it turns out that was (wildly) unrealistic.

So now that the book is finished, here’s an action montage instead. Please note this isn’t how my actual book reads, it has proper sentences, and not even one action montage.

Sept: Receive next round of edits from my editor; have to move house unexpectedly, use up writing time packing and unpacking. Feel a bit stressed but excited and confident.

Wk 1 Oct: Theo gets pneumonia, writing in daytimes difficult as Theo can’t go to daycare. Writing in evenings when Theo’s asleep impossible, mainly as Theo barely ever asleep.  Theo’s sleep compounded by illness. In desperation, antibiotic syrup is disguised in ice cream and strawberry Quik, resulting in full consumption and sleeping toddler. One edited paragraph later, feel smug about success of combining author and mum role, then spend remainder of evening scraping pink vomit off bed, carpet and child instead of writing. 

Oct/Nov: Above scenario but with gastro/slapped cheek virus/ hours of bellowing for undiscernible reasons instead of sleep. Edits done in wee hours of morning. Suspect being author could cause nervous breakdown, regret whole idea.

Dec: Finish edits! Fist pump myself for being done with editing forever. Email off edited book.

Jan: Editor sends next round of edits that I misinterpreted as someone else’s role.

Jan/Feb: Work on edits in library while Theo in creche, daycare, with various beloved family members or babysitters. 

Feb: Marketing discussions. Front picture design discussions. Back jacket blurb discussions. Cover finalised.

Day of deadline for proof-reading changes: Theo looks sick again, can’t go to library creche. Work on final edits next to Theo, who lies down for five minutes and makes miracle recovery. Email off final copy with Theo sitting on my shoulders, playing bongos on my head.

Editor receives copy, later replies to say book is now off to printers, everything done. Cry a little bit, mainly as blood caffeine far exceeds RDI and celebratory chocolate not available.

March: Advance copy arrives. Feels so fantastic to see and hold my book, don’t regret even one minute of it (Disclaimer: not entirely true). Start writing next book.

Wishing you all good health and good spirits until next time.