Self-Publishing A Monster Ate My Mum, Part 1

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For those of you who have read my blog from the very beginning, know me well or follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I have suffered, more than once, from post-natal depression. It’s a debilitating illness that affects the entire family and I was painfully aware of this after the birth of my third child when I was at my most ill. I witnessed my older children, then three and eleven, look at me with confusion when I was crying again and asked me why I was so sad. I saw them shy away from me when I was irritable and tip-toe around me when I was locked in my own anxiety ridden hell. It wasn’t their fault, it wasn’t anything they’d done, yet I know they were affected by it. I know they were confused by what was happening to their mum who was once such a confident and lively person.

Reaching out to them, and anyone in fact, when I was ill was hard. I hate asking for help and for a while battled with the reality of the illness, refusing to believe it had taken me in it’s grasp. Yet I did want to reach out to them, I did want to explain what was happening to me and that it wouldn’t be like this forever. So I wrote the poem A Monster Ate My Mum which looks at post natal depression through the eyes of a child, and initially illustrated it as a PowerPoint presentation on my iPad. My children loved the story and it prompted some very honest and open discussions about the illness. It helped us so much and even my husband understood a little bit more about what I was going through after reading the poem. Here is a little bit from the poem;

“Excuse me, but have you eaten my mum?
I want her back I want some fun,
I want to see her smile, my mum,
Is she in your big, round tum?”

“No she’s not here I just ate her smile,
I’ll give it back after a while,
I’m sorry I was hungry you see,
I don’t know where your mum could be.”

When I first published the poem on my blog the response was overwhelming. It seemed there was nothing like this out there to help children and families and that’s when I first thought about contacting publishers and agents in the hope that the book would be real, would be in my hands and in those hands of many other sufferers. I met a literary agent this year at Britmums Live and she was wonderfully supportive. We’ve been in touch ever since and she has encouraged me to self-publish the book, as generally children’s publishers like books on slightly happier topics. (frustrating much?!) She believed the book to be a brilliant one and very well written and gave me the encouragement I needed to self-publish.

The next step was to find an illustrator; someone who believed in the book as much as I did; and someone who would be able to draw some monsters that weren’t too scary (it was for children after all!) I needed someone I could trust and when I saw Helen Braid from allatseascotland.blogspot.co.uk advertise her services as a graphic designer I knew she would be the lady to ask. She is so wonderfully talented and has exceeded all of my expectations for the illustrations. They are stunning and I’m so honoured that she agreed to work with me. The print-ready CD arrived in my hands this week and now it’s down to me.

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I have extensively researched self-publishing, to the point where I thought my head would explode. It is an absolute minefield and for several days I felt totally overwhelmed. Should I employ the services of a company? Should it be published as an ebook or in print? And if I did decide to go down the DIY route what company should I use to do this? Thankfully, as if often the case, Twitter came to rescue along with some lovely people at the writing club I’ve recently joined. It would seem both ebooks and printed books are the way to go as then you get the best of both worlds. Kindle Direct Publishing was recommended to me by almost everyone I asked, however many have said that actually uploading the book onto the site is very challenging, even for the technically able. So this scares me a lot, I’m not the best technically, however since blogging and going self-hosted I have learnt so very much, but I’m far from being an expert.

With regards to print on demand books this was slightly more complicated. I downloaded ‘Choosing a Self-Publishing Service’ by The Alliance of Independent Authors, and so far it has proved very useful. It recommends several companies, but mainly CreateSpace and Lightening Source. The third it recommends is Lulu. These are all companies where you again upload the book yourself, order yourself a copy as a proof, and then when you’re happy scream about it from the rooftops! On chatting to the brilliantly helpful @wombat37 who has self published more than once, Lulu seemed like the best option as they print and distribute in the UK and many of the others do not, which could prove more costly.

So now I have decided which companies to go with the next step is to actually do it! Eeeeek! I have planned for this Friday to be completely child free all day and am intending to sit at my laptop and not move until the book has been uploaded on both Kindle Direct Publishing and Lulu. (or at least one of them!) If you would like to keep up to date with how I am getting on please follow me on Twitter as @MonsterAteMyMum and hopefully there will champagne corks popping and excited tweets on Friday at some point, celebrating that I’ve successfully self-published!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

32 Comments on Self-Publishing A Monster Ate My Mum, Part 1

  1. Iona@redpeffer
    October 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm (4 years ago)

    Yay Jen, very exciting. I think the illustrations look fab too. Can’t wait to see the finished piece and best of luck with the uploading on Friday

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:54 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
  2. emilytealady
    October 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm (4 years ago)

    Squueee its been Amazing seeing this journey. I am so excited for you this is such a worthwhile project. Xx

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you lovely xx

      Reply
  3. Helen Braid
    October 16, 2013 at 5:29 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow, wow, wow! So excited that’s its all moving along and I can’t wait to have my very own copy. I’ll be your first customer! Thanks so much for the mention it was a pleasure to illustrate and its truly such a wonderful story xxx

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm (4 years ago)

      🙂 xx

      Reply
  4. Jo
    October 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm (4 years ago)

    Good luck x

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
  5. Fi Star-Stone
    October 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm (4 years ago)

    Super exciting! Huge congrats on a wonderful idea. I’ll happily promote it – I think it’s marvellous!

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:45 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much, any promotion would be fab!

      Reply
  6. BakedPotato Mummy
    October 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow! How exciting 🙂 Hope it all goes well on Friday xx

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
  7. Katie
    October 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm (4 years ago)

    The poem is what grabbed my attention when i first started following you on twitter and reading your blog =] so glad that everything is working out to get it published, it really is a fantastic poem. Good luck with the rest of it, very excited for you! ktbtw x

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
  8. Dawn Frazier
    October 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm (4 years ago)

    I will be happy to re-tweet to help you promote your book. I recently self published my book and it’s quite nerve wracking but satisfying at the same time. Good luck with your book 🙂

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm (4 years ago)

      That would be great, thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  9. sarahmo3w
    October 18, 2013 at 9:59 am (4 years ago)

    Good luck! This is so exciting. And what an amazing idea to share your experiences in such a positive way to help others.
    Look forward to seeing those tweets later! x

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
  10. Notmyyearoff
    October 18, 2013 at 11:14 am (4 years ago)

    WOW well done, this looks a briiiant book and I’m so glad something positive has come out of your hard journey.

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
  11. Jaime Oliver
    October 18, 2013 at 11:24 am (4 years ago)

    YAY YAY this is amazing Jen i am so so pleased that its all coming together for you, please do let me know once its out there! xx

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:43 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you x

      Reply
  12. Victoria Welton (@VicWelton)
    October 19, 2013 at 2:55 pm (4 years ago)

    I remember so well when you first shared A Monster Ate My Mum. It’s as brilliant now as it was then. It was a pleasure to share my time at BritMums with the publisher with you – you deserved it so much more than me! I had another chat with Ross today about my book – you are inspiring me and giving me even more confidence to go with it (I keep putting it to one side!). The illustrations complement your book perfectly. I am so excited for you. Well done Jen. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo x

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:42 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you, and pick up that book and go for it! So rewarding! X

      Reply
  13. Nell Heshram
    October 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm (4 years ago)

    WOW you did it!!!! I’m so happy and excited for you. Can’t wait to read it – I bet there will be loads of demand ……

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh I hope so, thank you!

      Reply
  14. Sara (@mumturnedmom)
    October 20, 2013 at 2:43 pm (4 years ago)

    Lots of luck 🙂 Will keep my fingers crossed for you on Friday and keep an eye out for excited tweets!

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  15. Orli D
    October 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Good luck! I think it’s a great idea, and a very brave one!
    #PoCoLo

    Reply
    • instinctivemum
      November 7, 2013 at 7:38 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply

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