Well, it has finally happened!
Yes, to me!!
I'M GETTING PUBLISHED!!!!!!!
Sorry, I'll contain myself now.
In October 2014, I received an email we all dream about ‘We want to publish you’.
I have decided to keep a diary of this life changing journey.
6 October 2014 - Came across a call for submissions on a writers Facebook group for Dragon Tales Publishing. I stumbled across it really.
7 October 2014 - Submitted three manuscripts to Dragon Tales Publishing.
8 October 2014 - Response received from Dragon Tales Publishing. Happy dance begins.
9 October 2014 - Agreed to terms laid out in the email and advised to email me full contract.
10 October 2014 - Still happy dancing. The search for an illustrator begins.
11 October 2014 - I received their first illustrator recommendation. Not sure if this one will be the right fit, so I recommended a couple. I love how Kaylene and I want the same things for Polar Bear.
12 October 2014 - Feet tiring now. Time to stop dancing and give the brain a workout. Start mentally planning my first book launch. Oh, the possibilities!
13 October 2014 - Kaylene from Dragon Tales email me information about a possible illustrator. I think she is perfect! My manuscript has been forwarded to her, and the wait begins. Fingers crossed she is available to bring my book to life.
14 October 2014 - As part of my edits for Polar Bear’s Life, it needs a new title, and my gorgeous bear needs a name. She shall be christened Lulu
Later that day….Big breath! I received my contract and the layout for my picture book today! Both scared and excited about this part of my writing journey. Need to get it professionally looked at before signing but all looks great.
16 October 2014 - Tossed around a few different launch ideas today. Called an old friend to set the launch wheels in motion and also started a launch list to keep my ideas together. I don’t want to forget anything in the excited craziness. Also working on my edits to send back to the publisher. I had a flashback to when I was sitting in the schoolyard waiting to pick up my daughter from school when I began tapping on my iPad and Lulu the Polar Bear was born. I always thought this one was special.
17 October 2014 - Got to speak with my publisher in person today. Taking a break from the back and forth emails. I love the ideas that the Dragon Tales team have for my book, and I’m very happy to be signing with them. Kaylene and I tossed around some marketing ideas and potential promotion for my book. Still searching for the perfect illustrator! I need to realise I can’t assume control of this project. It’s time to let others help Lulu come to life.
20 October 2014 - The hunt continues for an illustrator. Where are you? A genius marketing plan by Kaylene to bring in illustrators is promote through Facebook. She sends the request out into the world and is immediately inundated with lots of potentials.
21 October 2014 - Not going to get too excited but think we may have an illustrator for my book. Stay tuned. Quietly happy dancing. Just a tip-toe.
24 October 2014 - The search for an illustrator continues as the title goes back and forth between Kaylene and I. Why is the title so difficult??? Maybe the illustrations will help me.
29 October 2014 - Yay! An illustrator has been assigned to my book. Yay! Yay! I announced my upcoming picture book to the world via social media. My daughter Charlotte made the announcement on my behalf. It was a very special moment as she has been my number 1 fan on all my stories, even the stinky ones. Social media response was overwhelming Feeling blessed with all the support from my writerly and illustrator friends.
5 November 2014 - My publisher emailed me the first draft from the illustrator today. It took my breath away. Gotta be a good sign. I love how Lulu is coming to life on the page.
7 November 2014 - My publisher is a tease. She’s seen more illustrations and insists my book is going to beautiful, but she won’t share them with me As I said a tease. I’m blowing you a big fat raspberry Kaylene.
12 November 2014 - Kaylene emailed me a layout of my 24-page picture book. I love it! The collaborative process between Kaylene and Dragon Tales Publishing has been a dream come true. Other author friends I've spoken with are jealous. I’m feeling very lucky
17 November 2014 - Having a final read through my contract today and couldn't help but smile when I read ©Georgie Donaghey 2015 I need to pinch myself that it’s really going to happen!
20 November 2014 - Still turning my brain to mush with a title for the book and then Kaylene whispered the word ‘sequel’ to me. A light bulb moment occurred. The title will be ‘Lulu’ this will ensure there is room for book two, three, four....ok getting a little ahead of myself, but it is nice to dream. Without a dream, I would not be writing this diary right now.
22 November 2014 - Dreams really do come true! Signed my first publishing contract. Yay!
1 December 2014 - Very busy day today with the launch of the new Creative Kids Tales website but my thoughts never too far from my first picture book publication. More preparations for my launch today when I asked a dear writer friend if she would launch my book, she accepted. I am over the moon.
7 December 2014 - Another busy day with Creative Kids Tales promotions. December is our birthday month and always very hectic but good hectic Tonight is the annual online Facebook birthday party. Just before party kick off Kaylene sent me another one of Ann Marie’s gorgeous illustrations for Lulu. I am so happy with how she is turning out. Ann Marie is a genius! This illustration has now become the banner for my Lulu by Georgie Donaghey Facebook page. Now it’s time to promote, promote, promote and spread the word about Lulu. Remember teasers are good – don’t give everything away. Create a buzz.
8 December 2014 - Less than 24 hours since I launched the Lulu by Georgie Donaghey Facebook page and already it is over 100 likes. Woo hoo! Keep the promotion machine chugging along.
9 December 2014 - Working on some printed material promotion for Lulu today. I need to seize every opportunity to promote Lulu but without forcing it down people’s throats.
10 December 2014 - I love to shop especially when it is creating designer marketing material for Lulu. I just designed and ordered some gorgeous post cards, wrap around mugs and tote bags with one of Lulu’s beautiful illustrations. I can’t wait to receive them. It’s all very exciting.
22 December 2014 - My pre ordered promotional goodies for Lulu arrived. Happy Christmas to me
27 December 2014 - I just saw the front cover. I am in love
1 January 2015 - This is the year Lulu will be introduced to young dreamers everywhere. I can’t wait.
4 January 2015 - Wrote my dedication today and the blurb for the back cover. It’s all coming together. I’m still pinching myself. I am still in awe of the input Kaylene, and Ann-Marie are allowing me with my first book. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Dragon Tales Publishing is a dream publisher for my first book.
5 January 2015 - A busy day today finalising the launch date for Lulu. Lots of emails between Kaylene (DT), the venue and the special guest who will be launching Lulu. All will be revealed soon. I promise.
6 January 2015 - Today I received my first author talk invitation. While I have done one at my daughter’s school, in fact this is the same day I started writing Lulu while I was waiting at the school to present, this invitation is from a school I am not associated with. It’s both exciting and flattering.
7 January 2015 - Publisher happy – check. Illustrator happy – check. Author very happy - check. Venue confirmed. Special guest confirmed. My first launch date all booked! Now some shopping for props. I think I’m going to like book launches
9 January 2015 - I want to generate a buzz about Lulu so today I started my marketing strategy by posting some fun polar bear pictures including fun facts on the Lulu Facebook page.
12 January 2015 - Back to my full-time job today My mind never too far from writing and creating more adventures for children.
13 January 2015 - Rainy day today. A good day for more prop shopping But first let’s see what suggestions my writer friends have about book launches.
14 January 2015 - Wow! An avalanche of ideas. I have so many fun and exciting suggestions I only hope I have lots of book launches to use them all
15 January 2015 - I heard a little voice in the shower this morning. Don’t be alarmed this is my only quiet place in the whole house. It’s here, during my complete and total alone time where I get most of my story ideas. Anyway, the little voice was Lulu’s brother, and he has a story to tell. Do I have the strength for another rhyming story? Eeek!
27 January 2015 - Lots of little parcels on the doorstep when I got home today. It was like Christmas! A book launch is a great excuse to shop. Well, that’s what I’m telling myself. Now where’s my credit card?
6 February 2015 - Had the most unbelievable session with my Editor today. We are working on a new manuscript, and she has opened my eyes to things I had not contemplated before. I feel like I am finally hitting my grove. I love being a writer.
9 February 2015 - Dragon Tales launch their new website and 2015 catalogue. I am chuffed (is that a word anymore) to see Lulu on the top left of their catalogue.
10 February 2015 - The gorgeous Ann-Marie (illustrator) just sent me another illustration. I am so fortunate Lulu is in good hands. It’s almost like Ann-Marie can see each scene in my head and has recreated it. Loving this new partnership.
13 February 2015 - The all-important invitation list is starting to take shape. I want to invite the world, but I don’t think the room is big enough.
27 February 2015 - Visited the lovely Melinda at Sutherland Library today. They have some creative ideas for the launch and have been so supportive. I’m excited about having the launch in my local area.
3 March 2015 - Emailed information to the library for their promotional material. It’s all happening.
8 March 2015 - Received the first draft of the promotional flyer from Dragon Tales.
9 March 2015 - Arghhh!!! Only nine weeks until the launch
10 March 2015 - I know I will regret this, but I have decided to make the Lulu cupcakes with the help of my assistant, Charlotte.
11 March 2015 - I think balloons are needed. Yes, balloons it shall be. Hello, Google, my best friend.
12 March 2015 - Kaylene emailed me another of Ann-Marie’s gorgeous illustrations and have promised me the complete proof by weekend's end. Very very excited.
14 March 2015 - Woke up in a sweat thinking about cupcakes. No, not because I was drooling over the sugary sweetness but because I realised I was in way over my head. Sifting through the Internet in search of the perfect design. Found at least ten I like probably none of which I can make. Oh gosh! What have I gotten myself into?
16 March 2015 - Received the first proof. A couple of minor tweaks needed and all done.
17 March 2015 - Emailed my requested changes and looking forward to seeing the final proof in a few days. Put together the Facebook event page and sent it out to the world. Also put together a personal invite for some close friends and colleagues and emailed them.
18 March 2015 - Receiving lots of lovely messages in response to my invite. I’m sad one special friend, in particular, will be interstate on the day, but such is the life of a successful author.
19 March 2015 - A little shopping for launch supplies today. I found a great party shop in the city overflowing with bits and pieces to give the launch an extra celebratory feel. We are getting closer. I received another proof tonight and had a lengthy chat with Kaylene. There were a few things that confused me so it was good to be able to discuss them in more detail.
20 March 2015 - Although it’s all come together beautifully I am feeling flat today. This process has been an emotional journey, and I’m feeling drained. I’m sure tomorrow will be different. Ann-Marie forwarded me the amended proof for my perusal.
21 March 2015 - My final comments sent to the Dragon Tales team. It should be a matter of days now before the final proof is uploaded to the printers. Yay!
8 April 2015 - Needed to postpone the launch date today due to an unforeseen hiccup. Fingers crossed I can organise for a new date in June instead.
20 April 2015 - What an eye opener this whole process has been.
24 April 2015 - Christmas Day – A box filled with freshly printed Lulu’s waiting for me when I got home. Now it’s full steam ahead and get moving on the finer launch details. Time to lick those stamps and post out some copies of Lulu to some very special friends. She’s on her way
25 April 2015 - Facebook event updated. New invitations emailed out. Check. Lulu stickers designed and ordered. T-shirts for the kids with two tutus to match. I can’t wait to see my girls fitted out in their Lulu costumes. It’s so easy to overspend when buying items for my first launch.
27 April 2015 - New launch date all booked! 13th of June at 11.00am at Sutherland Library. Let the party begin.
28 April 2015 - I had the most delightful chat with my local bookshop today. It was great to learn how the process works from their side. Very exciting! I now have someone to take care of the sales on the day. They will organise stock, EFTPOS facilities and the selling table. Another thing to check off the list.
7 May 2015 - Chatted with Susanne Gervay today about the proceedings for the launch. Susanne has lots of experience in the book launch department, and I am fortunate and appreciative to have her guidance.
8 May 2015 - I don’t need any excuse to shop, but in case I did, I have a good one..just over a month until launch day. I purchased the ingredients for my Lulu cupcakes today and a few more items for the goody bags. I posted out more copies of Lulu today. Refining my presentation skills by co-ordinating copies of Lulu with matching wrapping paper and gift cards and don’t forget Lulu’s signature pink bow.
11 May 2015 - Everything is starting to fall into place for the launch. Library confirmed, all the supplies purchased, now I just need about a thousand hours to put everything together. There is so much involved in planning a launch.
13 May 2015 - Sold out my first 60 copies of Lulu. Woo hoo!
19 May 2015 - Lulu is now on Goodreads. I can’t wait to start reading reviews.
27 May 2015 - Picked up a pair of comfy polar bear slippers today. Thought it best not to get the matching pj’s ;) Lulu is now listed on Booktopia!
28 May 2015 - One of my dear friends in the US has made some inspired Lulu goodies for the launch. I can’t wait to receive the gorgeous teddy and hat she has made. Check out the Lulu by Georgie Donaghey Facebook page for pictures.
31 May 2015 - Just completed the first solid weekend of Lulu launch preparations. Now I understand what a dear author friend meant when she said that once the book is accepted for publication that’s when the real work begins.
Polar Bear chocolates for the goody bags made and packaged, stickers cut and sorted, activity sheets collated and a craft example Lulu mask made.
7 June 2015 - A long weekend. Phew! 50 masks made – 100 eyes cut out, 100 sets of ears, 50 noses (painted by Charlotte xx), 50 craft sticks stuck on and there you have a polar bear mask. Now for the garbage sized bag filled with cotton balls to be stuck onto the masks during our craft activities. All the goody bags finished complete with 2 x balloons, 2 x Lulu stickers, 1 x Lulu colouring sheet, 1 x Lulu find a word, 1 x Polar Bear chocolate, 1 x Lulu postcard, 1 x activity book containing – word jumble, Lulu slice, Lulu puppet, Polar Bear fun facts, tutu colouring page, find the clues in the book questionnaire and few other little activities to help promote Ann-Marie's and my beautiful book.
8 June 2015 - So many mixed emotions in the lead up to Lulu’s launch. I’m so thankful for my family and friends who have supported me through the highs and lows of this process.
9 June 2015 - Working on my speech today. What to say
11 June 2015 - The next two days I’ll be preparing the scrumptious treats for the launch; Lulu cupcakes, rice bubble and marshmallow slice, cheese and crackers for the grown-ups. Lots to do and the clock is ticking.
12 May 2015 - The eve before my first picture book launch. I am elbow deep in fondant, rice bubbles, marshmallow and mixed emotions. It has been an interesting experience filled with highs and lows. Jacqueline Harvey once said to me that it is when your book is accepted that the real work begins. How right she was. All the goody bags are packed. The masks and craft items are ready for eager little hands to finish putting them together. All the planning, promotion and waiting is almost over. Tomorrow I enter an elite group – published children’s author.
13 May 2015 - Launch day has arrived.
Thank you for coming along on my publishing journey. I hope you have enjoyed reading my diary. While this chapter has closed, stay tuned for the next chapter.
Read the full wrap-up of my launch experience here.