Warning: Shameless asking for help aheadA few weeks ago, Zoe was having some issues at school, mostly stemming from self-image things due to bullying. She asked if I would write her a book explaining why she looked like she did.
So I did what all good moms would do, I started putting together a book for her. My idea was just to have it for HER. As I shared the idea, several other moms with cleft affected kids said they would be interested in a book like that.
I should produce it? Hmmm. And at that moment, this project took on a life of it's own.
This book contains actual photographs of Zoe. We have some very good "before" and "after" pictures starting when she was a newborn. I think it a very graphic/realistic way to show what a cleft child truly looks like better than any artist could do. It is a very simple, straight forward way of explaining the medical and emotional components many cleft affected children face. It emphasizes, "I'm a 'regular' kid." It's written from Zoe's perspective, using words I've heard her say.
We are now at the end stages of editing the book. Next step is final layout and then printing. I'm hoping to have this ready for sale in about 2 weeks or so.
As a result of asking around a bit for some ideas, I've been contacted by someone from PBS that wants to run this story as part of a series they have. In the Fall, we're scheduled to be interviewed and they will promote the book.
Meanwhile, I've been connected with a cleft group and the director is interested in putting it on their website.
I've had several people say we should promote it on sites like SmileTrain, etc. (There really are very few children's cleft books I've discovered from my research.)
So here's the part where the asking for help comes in:
1) People to promote the book. (Not yet, but when the book is ready.) So in the meantime, please be thinking of ways to promote this. (I'm NOT a marketer!) Think word of mouth. Think organizations who help cleft affected kids. Think Cleft teams. Think Cleft families. Think Cleft doctors. etc. etc.
2) Fulfillment. We have no clue how many books will be sold. 100? 500? More? I will need someone to take the orders, put a label on an envelope, put a "thank you" letter in it and ship the book. Someone very organized or someone with prior experience in this would be very helpful. There should even be a (small) stipend built into the price of the book for someone to help with this.
3) Accounting. There are many pieces that need to be tracked. For example, there's the cost of the printing, cost of shipping, stipend for the fulfillment person, a percentage of the profits to go to the Zoe House (which we are currently fundraising for ... this is a house for kids with craniofacial disorders.), etc. I also have the idea to have a "buy a book" option where people can buy an extra book (at cost) to be able to give to a child who could use it but can't afford it. My brain hurts just at thinking of the money coming and going. Spreadsheets give me the hives. If this is a small operation, then it's not as big of a deal but if we had a few books sold, this would get beyond me very quickly.
4) Feedback. We plan to do a very short run (meaning not a lot of books) for the first printing. There are always "bugs" that have to be worked out. During that first run, I'll be very open to any feedback. If there's a type-o we missed, inaccuracies, wordings that are hard to understand, etc etc. we would want to know.
If you would like to help in any of these ways (or ways I haven't even thought of), please drop me a line or call me. The best way to reach me is firstname.lastname@example.org or 813/967.0880.
Thanks in advance for your help, support and prayers as we venture to this new world.