Task: Publish a memoir as a physical and electronic book.
Timescale: As soon as possible.
Budget: £28 (gained from from pre-orders)
Expenses: £28 used towards an alarm clock rug priced at £41 that I convince myself I need in order to get up earlier and be more productive. Budget blown.......
So no budget to speak of, no book ever written (or attempted) before, limited time due to full time job/full time family and an 'asap' schedule.
How hard could it be?! Gulp.....
But let's go back a few days and see how we got to the point of a 'must have a smart rug from China or I'll never get to write the book'.
Start the process by drafting an email asking for help in validating a business idea within 48 hours while trying to use free tools along the way.
Include a 3D template of a book like this one from the site MyEbook (free) with an image created on Canva (free) to demonstrate visually what the email is about.
Most importantly in terms of validation include a Paypal direct link (free) so that a purchase can be made immediately. (Prices were stated in the email body.)
Send the (personalised) email (obviously free) to 30+ friends and family. Then wait for the crickets and the tumbleweed to come and spend the rest of the day fretting about impostor syndrome, misplaced optimism and entrenched pessimism. I try not to look at my iPhone every 60 seconds. I succeed and manage to hold out instead to only every minute and a half.
After the initial terror of incoming ridicule subsides I realise I should also post the (tweaked) email on Facebook and LinkedIn. I also remind myself that the whole point of the exercise is to embrace failure and if I get no uptake whatsoever then that would be a success. How so? Well because this quick and dirty exercise would prove the idea was not worth pursuing. Which is a good thing! No more pondering in isolation and wondering 'what if'. Because if you can't get at least a handful of friends and family to buy your product then what hope have do you have selling to strangers?
Decide to give it an extra day validation and post a reminder on Facebook. Because why not? By this stage I have had a couple of pre-orders from supportive friends so there is hope. I also receive encouraging messages and promises of purchases but no cash is splashed and that is a prerequisite for validation.
I end up with 7 pre order customers (my 'Magnificent Seven) who were willing to stump up the cash and pre-order the book (4 e-books and 3 paperbacks). Another gulp...
At least the good thing about starting from the ground up is that there isn't far to fall.
Have you ever wanted to do some writing? Have you been successful in getting your own story out? Drop me a comment and tell me about it.
Jason is currently an emergency humanitarian supply chain specialist and budding side hustler. He is also the creator of the daily humanitarian focused journal Aid Memoire.
From selling shoes to avoiding bombs. An eye-opening and honest memoir of my time as a novice aid worker in war-torn Sudan at the turn of the millennium.
A simple yet stylish notebook for humanitarians and aid workers. This 150-page notebook is printed with cream coloured unlined pages with a daily quotation on each page to help inspire and motivate.