I meant to do this whole thing where I blogged my progress along the path of becoming a writer. But because it all happened quickly and because I have at least 472 things to do per day, my blogging time turned into me mashing my head on the keyboard.
And let’s be honest.. A step-by-step blog would be a bit long and weird and I would probably panic that it’s not interesting enough. So I’ve decided to just make a massive timeline of what happened. Which will also be long and weird and nowhere near interesting enough. Get out now while you can.
• After a lot of wine I finally get off my ass and finish my book, Pussweek. I re-design it and re-design it and spell-check it and edit the crap out of it and edit it some more. I get it proof-read by some people who I know will be brutally honest, I get a designer to go over it and criticise the shit out of it. I re-design it again. I do all of this during my nights and weekends after just starting a brand new full time job.
• I submitted to the fact that it would be an e-book. I learned the hard way that I needed new software to do it and because I’m broke I downloaded trial versions of everything and re-designed it for the thousandth time. I made a Pussweek website and set up a Facebook page and Twitter and Instagram and email addresses.
• I previewed my ebook on apple iBooks and discovered that the fonts I had my heart set on were not viewable in iBooks. I redesigned my book yet again.
• I finally published my book on iBooks for $1.99. I breathed deeply and hit ‘upload’. Then I waited. And I waited. ‘Processing’ it said. On the third day I lost my shit and decided to figure out why it was taking so long. It turns out I had to fill out a contract that nobody told me about. Thanks, Apple.
• My baby went live on August 24. I only know that because I decided to check my itunes connect account while walking to the station on my way to work. Apple don’t send you an email. They don’t inform you of anything.
• I grinned like a moron the entire day. I posted on Facebook and bugged anyone who would listen. I texted everybody, even people I didn’t know were in my phone. I sent an all-staff email and told everyone in my office. I said goodbye to being the new girl in the office and said hello to being the nut case who wrote a book about cats and is shamelessly flogging it at any opportunity she gets, including, yes, meetings and conference calls.
• After only a day on iBooks my baby went to number one on the humour charts. I was convinced it was a mistake, but it wasn’t. I had the highest volume of sales for two whole days and for those two days I was the happiest girl on the planet (oh, and I told anyone who would listen). I worked on formatting my book for Android instead of celebrating my #1.
• I watched my book slowly slide down the charts and settle in. I checked the stats constantly to try and see how many people had bought my book but I kept getting errors. I called Apple and they told me their stats system was broken. Naturally I assumed my book had broken their servers with its awesomeness and I let it go, deciding to be patient instead.
• I released my book on Google Play. It was live within 8 minutes. Note to self: Google Play is a walk in the park when compared to iBooks, which is more like a walk down an alley at night in the rain while wearing a blindfold. To date I’ve sold more on iBooks (which I now know is in the hundreds), and I’ve sold about 10 whole copies on Google Play, so the pain may have been worth it with Apple.
• I designed flyers and business cards and posters and handed them out at pet shops, cafes and anywhere animal related. I made friends with a vet in Melbourne and I posted her some. She read my book and gave it a glowing review. My friend Ash’s cat wrote a review as well and I felt very very special. I contacted Cat Protection about putting up flyers but they didn’t reply and I was sad, because they were the ones I wanted to get involved with the most because of what they did for my kitty, Trim.
• I worked on the Kindle/Amazon version and released that and told nobody. I have no idea how many I’ve sold, nor have I had the time or presence of mind to check. I actually forgot about it until this very minute. It’s $3.99 for some reason. I honestly don’t know why.
• I befriended a guy who created a cat game app called ‘Nippy Cats’ when he approached me about featuring it in my magazine. We did a little collaboration and have been helping each other get publicity.
• I worked on getting more Facebook followers. I posted about cats and I spread the word to grow my audience. I spent the bare minimum on one or two promoted posts, and I got really excited when I got 500 followers. I now have 10,300 and it still surprises me every time I see it.
• I sent my success story to the AWC. They wrote about it on their website but didn’t tell me and I didn’t find out about it until later.
• I saw a poster for the 1st annual RSPCA Cat Film Furstival in Sydney. I was already toying with the idea of printing my book and this felt like a sign. I booked a stall, then re-designed my book yet again for print. I got a proof sent to me which looked terrible. I shopped around and ended up finding a printer less than 100m from my office who did a fantastic job. I printed more posters, made decorations, designed stickers and used my badge maker to make over 150 cat badges to sell at the event. At 3am one night I woke, sat up bolt upright in bed and said, ‘PAW READING’. And then I worked on building Benji’s paw reading booth. It was the icing on the cake and my stall was now ready.
• On October 5 Pussweek became real. I stood there at my stall and held my breath – this is really happening. My book is real and it’s in my hand and it’s here in this stall having its own little party and it is MAGNIFICENT. I didn’t expect to sell any. I thought maybe I’d sell one or two to a couple of friends who came to show their support, and I didn’t care. I wanted my book to be real and now it was. But within 30 minutes we were on fire and Benji’s paw reading booth had a queue! An actual queue! By the end of the night I’d sold $600 worth of books and merchandise and I was almost as shocked as when it’d gone to #1.
• I met another crazy cat lady called Carla and she interviewed me as a cat and it was awesome.
• I got the festival bug and booked three more events.
• Cat Protection finally emailed me. They said that there had been a few hiccups and apologised for their late reply and said, ‘Sure, we can put out some flyers’. I wrote back and set up a sales meeting instead, because book. I sent emails to other possible stockists and I had the best ever meeting in a room full of cats. Cat Protection loved it and bought a bunch of copies to sell in their shop and are now an official stockist. Pet Stock demanded an 80% profit and since they are not a charity and I am one person, not Pacific Magazines for God’s sake, I told them to eat a dick. I’m currently setting up more meetings with more stockists.
• I took Pussweek to Super Furry Festival on October 25 and Cruelty Free Festival on October 26. A few of the lady customers tried to pick up my husband, and some people asked where the proceeds went. I don’t understand this, but I guess it’s a compliment because they actually think I have ‘proceeds’. What I really have is a credit card debt from the printing and marketing and paying for event stalls. The proceeds from the e-book go straight to charity, but as for the print version I haven’t broken even yet, so no, earth mother lady, I am not in a position to donate anything yet to anyone except a little of my own money to RSPCA and an order of books to Cat Protection. So ‘proceeds’ of the printed book go to skinny cats, not fat-cats. I have put everything I have into this, so for some reason I now have to explain the concept of market stalls to people: ‘Some people make bracelets and sell those. I made this book. It cost me my sanity, isn’t that enough?’ When I finally do break even I have vowed to donate as much as possible to CPS and hopefully use the rest to start another charity project, or at the very least, Issue two. I did not do this for money. I don’t want money. Money is filthy and I hate it, and I hate the power it has with the fire of a thousand suns.
• I have discovered that the sweetest sound in the world is laughter from perfect strangers as they flick through my book. My heart warms just a little more every time it happens, and I seem to smile a lot more these days.
• I talked to a guy at work called Jason about a youtube conference he went to. We decided it’d be a great idea to take Pussweek to youtube, so I’ve started a show I call ‘PussWeekly’. It’s basically a 3 minute news show about cats. It’s poorly edited because I had to teach myself how to edit video. I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself in to, but like everything else I figure that future Bexy can deal with whatever happens next.
Ok, I think we’re all caught up. I’m now working on issue two because apparently cats want it. I have a meowling list where people subscribe to updates about my crazy little book and I’m loving that I have this purpose in life right now to respond to people who believe in my book. Who knows if it will go further, fizzle out or crash and burn…? All I know is that it’s my dream, and every time I ask myself if it’s worth it, my answer is always: ‘Abso-fucking-lutely’.
Here’s the link to my silly little video. Paws out.