**Please remember to rate and review the podcast – it really helps others to find it.**

Today we’re talking about writing, self publishing, promoting and selling your own book.

We’ve had a self published author on the show before – but everyone has their own unique story to share. I hope all aspiring authors will find this useful!

Listen in to hear Alice share:

  • An introduction to Alice and why she writes about ‘taboo’ subjects (1:22)
  • The theme of her book (2:32)
  • Why she chose to write, rather than use another format (3:50)
  • The steps involved in writing and creating a book – and why she chose to self publish (6:30)
  • How she utilises print on demand across many different sales channels (8:40)
  • Writing a best-selling book (10:40)
  • How to work with illustrators (13:28)
  • How she promotes her book – and why she does it every day (18:28)
  • The importance of knowing your audience and where to find them (20:30)
  • The importance of persistence and consistently showing up (25:50)
  • What she enjoys about writing and publishing books (29:00)
  • One mistake she made – that you can avoid (29:40)
  • Her number one piece of advice (35:20)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Alice Clover’s website

Girls Love to Fart on Amazon

Alice Clover on Facebook

Alice Clover on Instagram

Episode 19 – How to write and publish your own books – with Suzanne Hemming, Thea Chops Books

LET’S CONNECT

Find me on Instagram

Work with me

Transcript
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Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast,

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practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell

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your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg

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Oh, thanks for listening. So today we have another fantastic

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interview with another fantastic self-published author. So some of you

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might have listened to the conversation with Suze from Thea

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Chops Books weeks ago, and obviously this podcast is about

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sharing the experiences of real life, product creators. So it

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just because we've had someone who sold books doesn't mean

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that we don't do it again, because as you can

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imagine, and both Suze and Alice, who is this week's

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guest experiences are really different and yeah, exactly. As you

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would expect. So I'm delighted to introduce you to Alice

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Clover. It is a feminist writer and she focuses on

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gender and a quality subjects because she wants to see

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a quality happened for us, or she also enjoys tackling

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taboo topics to help improve and increase confidence and body

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toxicity.

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And that is exactly what I'm Alice is a book

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is about, as you will hear in this conversation. So

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without any further ado, I think I will stop talking

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and introduce you to Alice. So, hi, thank you so

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much for being here. Can you tell us a bit

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about yourself and your Books Please?

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So I I've, I've always been passionate about Writing until

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2000 and I've worked with childrens. So I was 15

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and I I've also always been passionate about gender and

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feminism. And when I was at university, I studied gender

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studies as my elective. And since having two daughters, I

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felt very strongly that I need to address some of

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the issues around gender in children and say, my books

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are all about taboo subjects and trying to rebalance the

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disparity.

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So just what's the word, this disparity between boys' and

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girls' basically, and I'm helping to create a more equal

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world for their future. Okay. Thank you. So, can you

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tell me a little bit more about your books, about

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it, maybe about the themes of them? So my, my

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book that's out at the moment, it's, girl's love to

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Fart and its all about girls farting in different places.

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And then also reminding everybody that is a normal bodily

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function and shouldn't be something that girls and women are

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made to feel ashamed of, say they can embrace their

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bodies and feel more positive and confident about themselves.

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And then my inner straighter is also working on the

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next one at the moment, which is along the similar

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theme.

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Did you know when that one will be out

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And I'm hoping and time for the Christmas market, but

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it depends when she's finished because she wants the illustrations

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to be, she wants them to be right and she

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doesn't want to rush. So we're working towards,

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Well, that definitely makes sense. We'll look out for that

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and will come back to the, talking about the illustration

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a bit more later if that's okay. So what I'd

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love to know is, so thank you for sharing about,

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you know, your background and what inspired you to grow

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out your books, but what actually, what was the catalyst

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for you to actually say why Books basically what made

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you decide you are going to write children's books as

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opposed to doing something else to highlight the disparity?

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Well, I've always wanted to do Writing and I had

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never really had the confidence before, but then when I

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became a mother, I felt a lot more confident about

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myself, but I've also been inspired daily to write different

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stories. And I just felt like I wanted to write

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books so that I can help teach children and hopefully

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we can help them be the change that we need

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to see in the world because I've always felt like

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it's the children who will change things.

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And if we can teach them, then I feel like

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it's a, is how I've got to make my Mark

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basically and, and help make the world a better place

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for, or for our children and their children.

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Absolutely. And I think that it suggests such a nice

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way for children to learn and to pick up messages

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and themes as well. They seem to take such a

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lot from bed. So we have a kit is a

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really nice way to get messages across to children because

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we love stories as well. So, you know,

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Yeah. They, they love, they loved books. All the children

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that I've ever known have loved books have with toilet

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humor and they just, they love it. So it, it

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kind of, it also, there are that many books with

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just female protagonists, but also books for girls in general,

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that I'm based on that subject. Most of the time,

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those books are aimed at boys. And I thought that

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was definitely a big gap in that market. And I

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wanted to increase the amount of books that are out

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say that girls know that they have access to that.

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Definitely. I mean, based in just my experience, I think

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girls' like toilet humor, just as much as boys do

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in that that's in my house probably even more. So

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actually. So once you decided that you were going to,

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you know, you wanted to write a book, so, so

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tell us to talk us through what happened from there.

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So what kind of steps do you have to go

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through? Because I always find that when you have people

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write books, it's a bit, what am I trying to

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say is quite a big thing. Isn't it? There's lots

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involved. And then you say it so casually that you

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decided to produce these books. So talk us through what

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you actually did.

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There is a lot involved and it is quite complicated.

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And I have been told by various people that there's

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a lot of writers out there, so it shouldn't even

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bother because I'm probably never going to get published. And

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it just a hard market to break through, you know,

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kind of lots of barriers for me also I'm having

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the finance is in place to promote myself properly has

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always been a bit of a barrier, but we decided

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to self publish it because I did send it off

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to some publishers, but they weren't sure about my illustrator.

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So I thought actually, we've got a complete Book Here

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and it's ready to go.

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So I'm not going to wait and see if a

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publisher will make up their mind. So I self published

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and I used a company that another person I know

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who self published recommended, and then we had to pay

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a fee to begin with, but because we sold X

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amount, I got that money back. And then it, basically

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the book has taken off because I've done continuous daily

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promotion for almost two years.

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So it's, it, it takes a huge amount of work

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and effort and you don't really see that much financial

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reward, but I would say it's a, it's a lot

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of patience as well. If you, if you were, you

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believe in what your product is, then you can achieve

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your goal, but you've got to be prepared that it's

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going to take quite a long time and not to

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rush things.

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I've got so many followup questions. So I'm going to

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try and take one at a time if you can,

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and try to remember what they were as well. And

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so the first is that the company that you mentioned,

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so it was this a company that was, what were

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they doing when they print in your book's promoting your

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book? What did they just say?

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And they self publish and then the book gets printed

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on demand. Yeah.

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Okay. So you don't actually have lots of physical copies

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of the books it's been around someone or does one

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and then it gets printed. I was amazing. And do

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you sell your books on Amazon at the moment? Is

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that right?

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Yeah. That they weren't Amazon WHSmith's waterstones, the Book people

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or various places, which I'm not entirely sure because the

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people that we self-published with is quite hard to access

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that information and I'm not very savvy with things like

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that. So I got into, I'm not a a hundred

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percent sure, but there are a lot of our sites

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that sell it. A friend of mine recently bought it

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from an independent bookstore in Brighton, just so that they

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will just be aware of it.

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That's amazing. So they, so I guess one is the,

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one of the things this company does is get you

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on the relevant, I guess its website is mainly isn't

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it, if it's print on demand, so they get you

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on the relevant platforms so that people can find you.

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Yeah, it is just online. That is not in any

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of the bookstores. And then I went into Why most

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recently and saw the array of books and I thought,

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Oh, my book would be perfect here. I can't wait

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until it is out properly on the shelves. And it's

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so colorful and it will just fit in with all

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of those colorful children's. But

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So is that your plan at some point?

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Yeah, that's my plan, but I think I have to

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be published by a publisher rather than self published. So

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I'm, I'm just waiting to see a, because at the

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moment has a 109 reviews on Amazon and became a

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number one best seller in June. So is being no

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test. And because of the algorithms of Amazon, it's being

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paired off with other popular books and it's also the

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only self published book quite often and the list of

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books. So it, it it's much we have, so Books

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for women and girls' Books for teenager's or whatever it

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is when, when it became a best seller, it was

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in the same category as the hunger games, which has

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got something like 20,000 reviews and on it overtook that

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briefly.

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So it, I was pretty amazed that it was So

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became so popular.

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Wow. That is absolutely amazing. Yeah. Hope you're really proud

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of because it was a fantastic achievement and it sounds

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like, yeah, it's just gaining in popularity. So it's been

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around for two years, is that right?

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been working on it for, since I think last August

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when we started the illustrations and really thinking about it.

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And then, because it was taking so long to get

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finished, I spoke to a few different people about how

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we could get, if you get to out that quicker.

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And that really helped having the information from other professional

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women who, who kinda helped me spur on the Finnish

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say that we could get out because obviously we were

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still unsure how it would be, how well it would

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do where we were going to self publish and everything

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like that. And it, and just having lots of different

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inputs from other people who has been invaluable.

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Yeah. So what was causing the delaying and getting in

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and getting it finished?

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Oh, it was, it was just taking longer to, to

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finish the illustrations and, and get the book layout finished

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because that's the, one of the hardest parts of it.

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So we had to make sure that the, the stairs

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we're all in the right place and the, and all

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of the illustrations were as they should be in everything.

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Oh. And everything else like that, if it was placed

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on the page as you want it, that kind of

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thing. Yeah, exactly. So how does all that work? So

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I guess obviously you, you write the text for the

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bit, and so then is it a, for a case,

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or I'll find it in illustrator and then briefing them

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on the kind of illustrations that you want and where

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you want the text placing or so as to how

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much of it comes from you and how much comes

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from the illustrator in terms of how the finished book?

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Well, basically I have been very fortunate because my illustrator

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is a friend of mine sister-in-law and we took a

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bit of a gamble working together, but it's worked out

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really well. So we actually become friends and we have

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regular discussions about it. And she's got all of the

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programs on her computer, a booklet, because she's written on

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her own books as well. So she has got it.

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So she knows how to lay out. She knows how

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many pages we need. She knows, she knows all of

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that kind of things.

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So we, we, we sat down together. I went through

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all of the nurses and then we were able to

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work out what, which ones where, so that it sounded

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right. Because it's, it's because, because each verse is different

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and there's no continuity with the illustrations, or do you

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think they all have to be done individually? And, or

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the characters are a completely different, that's partly what I

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take so long, because normally with Books it's the same

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character throughout, but this one, each girl on each page

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is different.

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Right.

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Oh, I can see you. So yes. Everyone has to

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be, we go on from scratch. Yeah. Yeah. That makes

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sense.

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Yeah. Yeah. And we also wanted to include every type

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of background, every type of race, every type of culture,

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a disability, everything.

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Yes. That sounds like that. Was it a lot of

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work that goes into that.

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Yeah. And like I said, because my other straight, once

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it wants the pictures all too, to be the best

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that she can make them, it takes longer. And, and,

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but they always turn out really brilliantly. And everybody who

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reads the book who likes it loves the illustrations as

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well. They, they they're always complimenting. And I think a

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lot of people feel that the two of the writing

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on the illustrations are very well matched.

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I think that the children's books or in particular that

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is illustrations are really important. Aren't they, because the children

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need to see the illustration, but also as haven't you

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noticed the illustration as well, and, you know, and you'll

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be getting to your child. That is something you see,

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because yeah, I think that it's really important. So it

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sounds definitely worth spending the time to get them. Right.

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So do you have any tips or advice to anyone

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working with illustrators?

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I would say that it's best to, so we've torn

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up a contract, so it's best to have a contract

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in place, build up a good rapport and communicate with

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each other regularly and also try and have some kind

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of And deadline in place, if you can. And so

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that you're working towards something, because otherwise it can be

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a bit kind of, I don't know where you're going.

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And I mean, a lot of people would pay their

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way in Australia to up front, but because we split

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the profit 50, 50, it's different, we are relying on,

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on the selling.

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So I think M if somebody was to pay in

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illustrator and say, right, I want this done in three

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months. It's a, it's a different way of doing it

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to how we've done it. We're kind of more doing

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it on trust and that's why communication. So, all right.

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Important. But as you say, you have a contract in

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place as well. So why do you have that to

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fall back on, I guess,

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Yeah. Its kind of a contract with the agreements that

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we split everything 50 and that, because obviously the illustrations

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are all hurt us and the writing's all mine. So

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I'm just kind of keep trying to keep, keep it

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so that we have a insured, I suppose.

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Yeah. I think it is definitely good to have everything

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in writing. So you mentioned that the better because our

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in may of last year, but it is, it, it

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was June this year that it got to the top

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of the best sellers. So why is it that, or

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do you think that you've done in the last year?

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That's helped them get it so popular

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When we had the Christmas sales last year? It, it,

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it sells quite well, but basically it's been continuous promotion

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for me because I didn't really do anything different during

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lockdown. I just did the usual posts about a new

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review or something like that. It's just, I, I post

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on different Facebook groups and that's one in particular where

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the people in that really like it. And I think

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it got, I can't remember how many, 500 likes or

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something and people were buying it there and then, and

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leaving a comment saying, and they bought it.

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And that was some, and I think also it, because

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people were in a lockdown and the algorithm's of Amazon

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and it just popping up 'cause if you type in

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girls, Love on Amazon, it's the first thing that comes

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up. So I think that's why it ended up becoming

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a best seller just because so many people we're at

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home in wanting something to read and that's quite a

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different read. Really.

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Yeah. It sounds like it. So, so you had mentioned

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about being in post in Facebook groups. So do you

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have a really clear idea of who is your market

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in the book too? And why would you say that

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is important?

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Yeah, it's really important. And I've been to various meetups

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about this. So I created three avatars and a is

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basically, I've got one particular friend who was represented my

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target audience and she absolutely loves the book. So that's

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kind of more like a liberal mums who are quite

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alternative and quirky. And then another group of people are

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kind of grandmothers or great aunt's or whatever who, who

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loves to have a laugh and I want to get

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something for their grandchildren or their nieces and nephews that

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is different and funny.

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And then the other group is mums who are middle

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class, but also like to think outside the box and,

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and, and again, like something that's different in a bit

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more quirky. Right.

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And I seen you talk, so all three of these

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audiences slightly differently And are they in different places as

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well? Just to have interest. So they do, do you

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find that one group more than one channel or group

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and yeah. Do you, are they yeah. The in different

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places?

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Well, I'd say that the more liberal mums, all, not

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necessarily on social media as well as much, they, like,

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some of them don't have smart phones or anything and,

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but they hear about the book through word of mouth

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and then promote it themselves. And then the grandmother's and

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great aunts, they might be on social media. But again,

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its kind of something like that. For example, my mom

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took my book to Her West drive as of wa

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as a, a price and the people that run it

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liked it so much.

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They actually came to her house and luckily I was

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there at the time and I'm wanted a copy. So

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I signed it for them. So it's things like that,

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taking it to go to a raffle prize or telling

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friends. So she, she tells everyone, so that has been

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where you go out and then the other two are

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on social media and a lot and very happy with

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it. And, and, and that's how they get to know

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about it. For some of these groups. A lot of

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the time have these types of women who into alternative

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culture and things.

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I think it's fantastic how clear you are on here,

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your marketing team and also that you recognize it every

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three different customers, because I think quite often the advice

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to you here is to think about your ideal customers,

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but then like you found that it isn't always one

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person who's gonna buy your book, all your product. So

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I think it's great that you've got free avid set

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for avatars and that you know where to find them

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all and know how to talk to them all. And

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then also that you're doing a bit of marketing for

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your buck of social media as well. I think that's

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really clever because as you say, not everyone's on social

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media and also it is a lot of noise and

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social media, isn't that at the moment. And I guess

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it's quite hard too, to always stand out.

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So apart from social media and what you're doing off

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it, or you doing anything else, promote your books, say

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on Amazon, you do in any kind of advertising or

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are you doing anything to increase your reviews? I've seen,

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you've got, if you've got over a a hundred really

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good reviews, are you doing anything to get those or

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are just happening Organically as in, do you ask people

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for reviews?

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And I have been asking people for reviews if they

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get them, but also they have been happening more organically

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now because the first set of reviews were largely from

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people I knew or from these Facebook groups that I

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was posting it on. Some of the reviews of now

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started to, because it was all five star to begin

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with. And they've, they've, they're not quite, so it's not

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quite so popular with some people, but it, it just

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proves that it is a different market that are buying

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the book and it, and it in its kind of

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happening organically, which is really good because it, it, it,

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it means that it is getting more exposure apart from

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the fact that I want it to be a success.

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And, and you know, for me, I'd like to be

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able to earn an income. I also want the message

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that's in the book to get as far and wide

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as possible so that we can help change the language

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we use and encourage girls too, to be more confident

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about themselves. And I guess not everyone can like everything

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you do. And even if people don't enjoy the book

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with any of the messages or whatever, or at least

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they were talking about that, which I guess, you know

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that you're never gonna please everyone get again. Why is

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that? There is still a really positive. So I, in

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my, or something, I was straight away after which she

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wasn't helpful.

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So are you doing anything to promote your book on

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Amazon in particular or a people just coming across to

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you from browsing the best Saturday tests and things like

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that? Like I said, it was the first thing that

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if you type it in, it's the first thing that

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comes up. And if I haven't paid for any advertisement

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campaigns apart from early on last year, when it first

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came out, I think I did a Facebook advertisement campaign

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for a couple of days, but otherwise I haven't paid

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for any thing is just kind of growing on its

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own. But that is not to do with the fact

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that I am so persistent and I, I feel like

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I need to be present.

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And when, if anyone writes a comment about my bookkeeper,

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it, I, I always reply individually. So if sometimes it

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can be some of the Facebook groups is literally hundreds

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of comments when I try and reply to each person.

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I mean, I have had some very negative comments that

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one person, when I was promoting it before, it was

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even out said to me, they talked about narcissistic snowflake

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children, and they hope to comment with hit the earth

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because of the way that Books, we're going. Also, I

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was, I don't know if something, so I've had a

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quite amusing comments and also someone recently wrote a comment

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saying disgusting, but then a whole load of other people

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started writing and replies.

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So I never really have to say anything. And I

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find it's best not to anyway because, because obviously everyone's

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been talking to each their own opinion and I know

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that not everyone's going to like my book kind of

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either like, mom, I love it. Or you hate it

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basically. So it is quite a niche book, but I

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mean, one person on, on that thread bought a copy

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of then and there. So, you know,

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I'm sure it was, well, we have such a niche,

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but, but at some people as well, we are going

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to be commenting or just to invoke or a response

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from you as well. So that's, yeah, it was probably

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good that you don't sort of give all these comments

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at a time of day and days sort of takes

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them to heart because I'm sure there are some people

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who just like to be negative.

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Yeah, exactly. And it also is to it. It's not,

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it doesn't help. I mean, I know that people aren't

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going to like it and I know that people are

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going to leave comments on that's fine. And then I

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just let them get on with it because I'm prepared

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for the fact that not everyone is going to like,

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and, and, and it, it, it doesn't really bother me,

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it's it? It is what it is.

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And then as you say, you can't, you definitely never

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going to make, to create anything that pleases everyone, but

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it's fantastic that you've got fans of the book that,

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you know, that are going to come in and defend

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you and people do say negative things about it. So

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that's really good. And the fact that you take the

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time to respond to people's comments, I think that must

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make a huge difference as well. So just a few

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final questions before we finish up. Alice so what do

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you enjoy about writing and publishing your own books?

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I enjoy the freedom cause I've always after working in

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jobs where I felt like I really wasn't valued properly

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and I didn't have the freedom. I like the fact

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that I am in complete control of what I'm doing.

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I love what I'm doing. I get to be creative.

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I get to explore different avenues and we have self

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publishing, its for me, I just feel like it it's,

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it is, it's a way to get my work out

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that and have people see it.

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And then I'm hoping one day a publisher will notice

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and they will approach us. And, and you know, at

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the moment we are just happy that the book's done

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so well. And because I'm, I'm the face of it

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all and I'm promoting it. But my illustrator does a

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lot in the background and we work with your wealth

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as a team. So we have those qualities that work

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well together and It, and it seems to help with

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the or you for all Product.

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Yeah. That makes sense. And what about, what have you

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learnt through the process of creating your own bags? Or

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is there anything that you would do differently? For example?

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Yeah, it don't promote to soon.

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So when you say to you soon, do you mean

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before the Books is actually available to buy?

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Yeah. I was really hoping that the book was going

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there was no way. So then I started to freak

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out about it and then someone also said, well, if

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you promote it to sell and it's not out or

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someone else could steal your idea. So then I kind

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of started panicking about it. So now I know you

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for the next one, not really even talking about the

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title, I'm just kind of letting its take it, take

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its course whilst I am working on the other products.

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Yeah. That absolutely makes sense. And then so what we

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do plan to talk about at once it's once it

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is, once it's done, once it's ready and people can

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actually order it.

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Yeah. I think once, once more illustrations have finished and

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we feel happy that we're going to reach our target,

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I will start promoting the title and, and generate interest

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that once it's our people know about it and they

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will then once you buy it and because it's going

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to be a series co it's, all the, all the

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books are going to be N a C or E.

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So hopefully people will want, want a beach, but you

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know,

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And where people will be able to pre-order or is

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that the plan, once you can talk about the book

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and read a book about the title or will you,

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will you be taking preorders? Is, is that something you

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thought about?

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And I think they, it all depends where the, because

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I have to have a backlog of books that I

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can send out for that to happen, but because it

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got gets printed on demand is quite difficult to know

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exactly where they'll be able to do pre-orders right.

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I guess this is a case of gauging the interest

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once you start talking about it, perhaps.

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Yeah. But that is a really good point actually, because

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we haven't done that with girls love to follow it

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kind of just run its own course and because I'm

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on Amazon, it's the next day delivery. It it's quite

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easy to get hold of the problem with the, the

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first of all, it was a two to three week

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Whates. So we will worried that people will go to

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be put off by that. But because there was so

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much interest in it quickly changed to the next day

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delivery. So that was amazing.

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So what, how did that change? So it was this,

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the company that did, does it, do you, the company

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that your work with manage the printing or does Amazon

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manage the printing?

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I think it's both, but because apparently the Amazon takes

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a little while to catch up a few days to

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catch up. So once it had caught up on everything

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was properly, properly out, it then started to change the

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waiting times. It almost sounds as if the more pop

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here is that your book is the quicker people can

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get hold of it, which I guess would make sense

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because I guess obviously Amazon or getting something out of

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this and they wanted to make a bunch of money

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to do so, perhaps it was the case that, you

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know, the more popular Books get sent her a little

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bit quicker, maybe.

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Yeah, exactly. It, it, it was, but now it's a,

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the next day till everywhere I was on some like

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Waterstones because no one is really buying it on Waterstones

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it is a two to three week wait. So if

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more people were buying it from there, then they would

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realize that people want it. But because Amazon is so

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easy to use everyone just use it and play. And

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I would like it to do well on other books

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store sights, because I want to support other bookstores as

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well. Like I, you know, I'm quite passionate about that

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too, but for me being self published, it just makes

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sense.

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The Amazon is doing all this work for me because

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then it takes the pressure off as well. Yeah, absolutely.

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So if anyone's listening to this and wants to get

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hold of a book on Amazon, sounds like the place

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to go. If you want to say it quickly. Yeah.

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Or if you want to support your local bookstore or

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somewhere else, you can do that too. But yeah, that

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does make sense. And I guess this is where it

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was, you know, it's a business', isn't it, you, you

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know, that you have to do what makes most sense

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for you for the business side as well? Yeah. Is

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that clear? And also we are planning on getting an

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ebook version out as well.

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Oh, that's exciting. Okay. So one final question for you,

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at least, which is a question that I ask everyone

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who comes on. So what is your number one piece

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of advice for anyone else who's looking to write and

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publish their own books, whether they're looking at, to go

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down the self published or the published rate,

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just write, and if you're really passionate about, and you

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believe in yourself, you can succeed. You just got to

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be patient and realize that it's not going to become

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a best seller over night or not going to sell

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Loads overnight. And you might not make any money from

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it at all, but if you really are passionate about

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it and wants to do it, you should just do

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it.

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That's pretty, thank you so much. Okay. Well, I'm going

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to link it to your book and uhm, and to

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your website and to everything else in the show notes.

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So people can find you really easily. Thank you so

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much for coming on and for sharing your story. I

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think that's been lots of useful things. Is there a

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lot I've learned today about self publishing that I never

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knew and I'm really thinking of people find it useful.

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So thank you so much.

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Thank you.

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So you're welcome. Hi. I really hope you enjoyed the

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conversation with Alice and you took something away from it

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as always. I'd love to know what you think. You

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can email me. Vicki@tinychipmunk.com or you can leave a review

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for this show in Apple podcast, which I would really

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appreciate it if we don't have the time to do

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that. But you've just got a couple of seconds. I

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would love if you can leave a Writing. So that's

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all for this week. Thank you again for listening and