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01 September, 2012

Putting your money where my mouth is

I think I'm averaging an update every two weeks or so on this blog lately. And every time I look back on two weeks ago, I shake my head and reflect on what a fortnight it's been. This fortnight has probably been even bigger than usual in terms of personal milestones for me.

On Sunday, I flicked the switch on self-publishing the book. As I had mentioned in an earlier entry, my intention was to crowdfund the publication costs of the book via a site called Pozible, and then use those funds to self-publish on a site called Blurb.

I love that both these sites exist today, and that with some verve and a bit of a digital flair I can finally make a dream happen.

Which brings me to why I gave this entry this particular title. In my day job, I'm paid to come up with digital strategies and ideas that will work for very large advertisers. There's a backlog of experience, knowledge and things learned along my short career that I can apply, and the fluid nature of digital means I have to be ready to adapt and learn new technologies that I can integrate into potential solutions.

I am good at what I do. I work for a fantastic company, and am very appreciative of the opportunities that present themselves as a consequence of my employment. Over time, I've encouraged, coerced, and dragged large advertisers into the digital space with a fair degree of success.

But hold up, if I know so much about digital, how come I can't seem to get my shit together with this blog? How come the traffic it does is a pittance? And why can't I write compelling enough content to make people want to read?

These are hard questions to answer, and all I could say is that I write in my blog more for me, than an audience (although having an audience is nice).

Let's apply a critical filter to these questions I've posed. If I know so much about digital that I get paid to come up with strategies for large advertisers... why I aren't applying that knowledge to me and what I want to do?

Well the penny dropped a month or so ago. I think I mentioned feeling inspired, wanting to apply myself to something, and realising I had all the tools and capabilities to do what I wanted already. Get the fucking book done, I thought. And with my new found realisation - there were really no more excuses.

I had dropped the ball. And if it wasn't apparent when I was languishing, it was definitely apparent when I picked the ball back up. I announced my reinvigorated fervour to my friends on email, explaining my intention and how I'm working to a deadline. The question that bounced back could have cut me to shreds if it wasn't so true: "Is this the book you've been working on for ages?" Ouch.

So I have been putting my money where my mouth is, and in turn yours. I'll come back to how that works.

I am very, very impressed with this number

I've been busy. I've sought advice from my mentor, visited a life coach, had a photo shoot done, and filmed a pitch video. I've sourced more diligent feedback from the book and have a new deadline that I'm working to.

It's all been built around a singular destination - - a site that is simultaneously drawing attention, capturing pre-orders, and raising funds for my book Being Bi-Bi: a memoir on mental health and sexuality.

One of the trickier things was pricing the book, as it depends on volumes I publish, and demand. There were a lot of variables at play, and wanted to be sure I wasn't put too far out of pocket, but at the same time didn't profit from the experience as that didn't feel right.

Enter an organisation called Soften the Fck Up. A group whose objective is to drop the male bravado when it comes to talking about not feeling okay, and bring down the rate of suicide - its the leading cause of death for adult males under 44 in Australia.

As can be read in Being Bi-Bi, it's an issue close to my heart, and any extra funds I raise from publishing the book will be going to this group.

Results have been very promising, and within the last week, we've managed to raise over $1,300 to help the book along and help this organisation. And that's something this writer can be proud about.