Storysofar

Sunday September 14th 2014 - Carl writing.

It's Reuben's first birthday today and we found he still doesn't like the noise of wrapping paper ripping.  

We bought him a little train he can sit on which teaches numbers and colours, Grandma bought him a ball pen and Nana a winter coat, which was all appreciated.  Aunty Theresa got Reuben his first child's Lego set (Big approval from daddy).

Reuben had a lovely video birthday song from Issac too, which was lovely.

At 2pm we have a little Welsh party and tommorrow at 6pm we'll have another tea for those family and friends living in and around the Manchester area.

We had a few more Kickstarter pledges overnight, including one from a friend in Israel.  The campaign continues to grow steadily, we just need someone to come along now with a big pledge to bump up the figure.


Saturday September 13th 2014 - Carl writing.

04:16am - I'm finding myself waking up at 4ish most mornings at the moment, either because I'm excited or because I know it's a time where everything is quiet and I can focus a bit on what needs to be done with the project, replying to lovely encouragement emails, it certainly does give you that warm fuzzy feeling.

It's Reuben's first birthday tommorrow and as he's asleep upstairs he has no idea what Rebekah and I are working on.  We want this Kickstarter to be the best birthday present we can for him.  Most of you won't know, but Reuben has a cows milk protein allergy so can't tolerate any diary products, so the cake will be jelly we think.  

We want to do this for his future and who knows where this will all go, it might well become a family business, we have no idea right now, that's all we do know is by February, he'll be readying a book e created for him, because we love our firstborn son.  Better stop now, before I start blubbering.


Friday September 12th 2014 - Carl writing.

It's been a busy week at work, lots of meetings.  I downloaded the Kickstarter app so I could track progress at break and lunch times, We hit £1,400 today which is 11% of our goal, a brilliant start, but it's going to take time to educate people as to what Kickstarter is and how it works.

What we've already realised is Kickstarter has a very small following in the UK, and most UK book projects fail to get funded because people don't put the work in.  I was so sad to see a page full of projects with a few on there, which had 0% funding with only a few days to go, they didn't even get one pledge.  

I'm also pleased to announce after three days of activity, our little project is the second most popular Children's Book project in the UK on Kickstarter, wow.   And as I said that another friend in Carlisle has just pledged £50 - yippiee.


Tuesday September 9th 2014 - Carl writing.

We have lift off, I switch on my computer to receive a lovely email from Kickstarter telling me our project was approved with no suggested changes (I guess my research paid off).  I can now launch the funding campaign.  But wait, do I do it now, or do I wait, the social media side of things is building, what is the best time to push the Kickstarter now ?  These are all questions which you wonder you are doing right when launching a business.  To be honest, the answer is, Let's do it, having done months of research, let's get on with it.  So at 6.36am I launched the Kickstarter.

It took 136 minutes for the first pledge to come through.  It was nail biting, £100 from a friend in North Wales, then just before I headed out for work, my email pingged with a notification of a £500 pledge, wahooooooo, I was on cloud nine, it's actually happening.  People were believing in the project and believing in us to deliver it. - Awesome.

Sara Flay has been helping a lot on the social media side and we've already got 337 people following us on Facebook and 65 people on twitter, we discuss strategy every day now, and are tweaking what we post based on the new ideas.

It's all about getting the message out there, so one strategy Sara came up with was if we follow Nursery schools on our twitter account, some will follow back and get involved and true enough, after following 30, around 5 followed back and one pledged £100 - great suggestion Sara, for a little amount of work.


Saturday September 6th 2014 - Carl writing.

'Houston we have a problem' - the immortal words that come to mind when something doesn't go according to plan.  The big switch on didn't work, apparently Kickstarter review all projects (especially if you haven't run one before) ahead of launch.  I guess this is to check you have broken their extensive list of rules.  Problem is now that we've told people about a project launching today and we don't have a project to launch, also there's no information on the Kickstarter site to say how long the review takes.  Some blog sites are saying anything between 3 and 14 days - aarrrrgggghhhhh.

After some consultation with the team, we decide to announce what the project is and tell folk the Kickstarter campaign is starting in the next few days, at least we deliver on the announcement.  I guess this is one of the things which I'll chalk down to the whole learning process on Crowd Funding, there are always hidden querks to processes that you don't know or you might miss or even just not understand.


Monday September 1st 2014 - Carl writing.

I'm crazy busy now in the evenings getting things ready for the Kickstarter launch on Saturday.  I've researched around 200 Crowdfunding projects and the one thing that comes through on most successful projects is to get the prep done and have a good video.  We've been fortunate that we have an AMAZING video guy on board from Church, Mark Tuson of Northern Spark Films, who came and did all the takes for us in an hour or so and then three short rounds of editing, he just nailed it.  So it's been all about checking reward levels, pledge breaks and stretch goals, all phrases complete alien to me a few months ago.  I'm aiming to press the big green go button at mid-day on Saturday.


Friday August 8th 2014 - Carl writing.

Today we visited Seven Stories, the National children's book museum in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, which is fortunately the same city where Derek Brettle, my Cousin and our Illustrator lives.  It was a lovely day, being inspired by displays from many famous books, which showed the letters between Author and Publisher, original pieces of artwork and the finished project.  My my, it surprised me how much correspondence happened between all parties and really spurred me on to think about cataloguing all this material for the historical record of what we do.  If the company does well, it will be very important to tell the story to inspire others to try.  I would really recommend a visit if ever you are in that area.  Try and avoid school holidays though, it was very busy, especially in the cafe.

I am holding out such hope for our little project, and reading some of the publisher/author letters in Seven Stories it made me even more convinced and determined to bring together family and child in the storyline of the books.


Sunday June 29th 2014 - Sara Flay writing.

Just come away from an interesting meeting with Carl. I've been introduced to the idea of a range of children's books all centred around the family. At first glance I was simply amazed as to the possibilities and directions a project like this could take.

I've known Carl a long time and if he is excited and fully behind something then he's done the figures and it all stacks up. I usually go away and think over my commitments and the work involved but on this project my head and heart connected quickly to decide I was in even before the meeting was over. I can't wait to find out more and get started on the whole marketing campaign.


Saturday June 14th 2014 - Carl writing.

OK so we came home early.  Easyjet had a flight on Wednesday and the only thing extra we had to pay was an admin fee.  We just got so bored in the end.  Recommend this lovely island for 3-5 days max. especially with children.

Been to the trafford centre today to investigate more why books don't have family members in the story line, been to Smith's, and Waterstones, who have hundred's of books, but we only found two which mention anything about a parent, both featuring Dad as a hero character, but what about Mum, and Grandma, Grandad etc.  Seems to be a gap in the market.


Sunday June 8th 2014 - Carl writing.

At the end of our first week's holiday in Mykonos, we realised a greek island is not the place to take a 9 month old for a two week holiday.  Scenery beautiful, but no paths for walks, Reuben doesn't seem to like the beach and the Mosquitos are a problem.

Reuben slept the whole way there and the whole way back, seems the planes engines act like an off switch for our little miracle.  This first holiday together was also the time where Reuben just started to crawl, it was so natural for him, and wonderful for us both to be there to witness.

All that said, Rebekah and I have been talking about all sorts of things including the Children's books we brought with us. There are some differences but generally they all lack one thing, there never seems to be a family figure in the story line.  


Saturday September 28th 2013 - Carl writing.

After a very traumatic 72 hr delivery it's lovely to see Rebekah settle into motherhood, one of the best things is to hear are the funny stories she makes up off the cuff with new characters like Jeanette the Giraffe and Evelyn the elephant, she's a natural.

Reuben is transfixed by her voice and the sound of the characters, it's just so funny.  I love her for taking the time with him, you can see the bond of parenthood growing deeper and deeper.