Reflections on the positive things that took place in 2018

[ 0 ] 16/12/2018 |

Life with small children can often be hectic. What I miss the most in our ‘married with kids’ life are moments of stillness and quiet, being all by myself. Moments where I can sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee, read a book, write, reflect on anything and everything. The kids now are at a birthday party with Roy and while I have things that should be done, I decided to prioritise my need for stillness, give space to my thoughts and help them take shape and form, to be transformed into words.

It’s snowing outside here in Horten and it’s freezing cold. Being a Mediterranean girl at heart who has spent most of her life under the sun, the short, dark winter days of Scandinavia are hard to get used to and have taken a toll on me. We have decorated our Christmas tree, we have bought most of the gifts, we have baked traditional Norwegian biscuits and Greek delicacies. It’s that time of the year… I never liked making big plans for the new year to come, it never worked for me, but I always try to take the time and look back at the things that went well, which gives me strength to try and do more next year. Like a positive kick on the butt of sorts. Why only the good things one might ask. What’s done is done and I find it’s much more productive to try and remember the good stuff, build on them and keep on working on top of them instead of dwelling over the bad ones. It’s the remembrance and reinforcement of the positive memories that propel action and energise me.

A while back I joined a writers’ group on Facebook, my very favourite group of this sort, where writers share knowledge and ideas, uplift each other and work as a community. One of the admins, a writer I admire, started a new thread asking ‘WHAT WERE YOUR 2018 ACCOMPLISHMENTS? As the year winds down, let’s look back on it. What were your biggest accomplishments of 2018, as they relate to book publishing?’. And it got me thinking… This is what I need to reflect on to get back my positivism, strength and energy flowing through my body again and ‘get back to work’.

Writing and books play a major role in my life, and if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I am currently working on the publication of my first children’s picture book, ‘Where am I from?’ which will be published in the summer by Faraxa Publishing. I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in July to validate the book concept, market the book and raise the necessary funds to produce it. It just occurred to me I never found the time to actually sit down and sum up in a blog post the outcome of that campaign and celebrate the subsequent journey and the small, step-by-step victories.

First things first, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for a truly spectacular level of support you’ve shown me this year. To everyone who’s been reading my blog, bought something from my eshop, has ordered content and translations, supported financially and pre-ordered Where am I from ? via Kickstarter and now via Faraxa’s website, interviewed me or featured the book on their newspaper / magazine / website / blog, helped spread the word on social media, invited me to speak, shared your own time, skills and wisdom, mentored me and helped me avoid potential disasters, left an encouraging word or comment online… I thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart! I am forever grateful and aware that I never EVER manage things on my ‘own’. This is pure arrogance. We are all connected, one way or another, and it is thanks to each and every one of you that I keep on progressing towards what feels as the right path in my life. Thank you for a wonderful 2018 and I wish you and your loved ones the very best on your own personal journeys <3

Back to the question about what were my 2018 accomplishments related to book publishing.

  • Signed a contract with the award-winning small press in Malta, Faraxa Publishing
  •  The street artist Platon agreed to paint the graffiti and illustrate Where am I from ?
  • Planned and executed a Kickstarter campaign where we raised about 10.700 euro to publish this book
  • The backers, our supporters, 139 individuals, come literally from all over the world (we even got orders from as far as Australia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Canada and USA!)
  • All children, the baby and the mum characters to be featured in the book (except from the main character which we decided not to commission) were commissioned by individuals who all except one are of a multicultural background!
  • We received financial support by 3 public sector institutions, namely:
    a) 200 books ordered by David Muscat, Head of the National Literacy Agency, Malta, to be distributed to the public school libraries of Malta
    b) 20 books ordered by Aase Wivestad, Libraries Counsellor, Vestfold Municipality, Norway to be distributed to 13 public libraries in Norway
    c) 12 books ordered by the Central Library of Malta, to be distributed to the public libraries of Malta
  • Newspaper features in 3 countries (Malta, Greece, Norway) and other features in Maltese, Greek, Norwegian, Turkish and international blogs and websites
  • 2 speaking engagements; one in Norway where I was honoured to be invited alongside writers who have given so much to the Norwegian community like Veronica Salinas and the best-selling author Jan Mehlum, and one in Scotland where I got to spend 4 days with my family alongside the most inspiring and amazing women

While the artist is working on the art to accompany the book, I decided to take a ‘break’ during the month of December, read some books and enjoy the holidays with my family. 1st of January we’re heading to Thailand for 3 months. I always get inspired there and get more things done. These months prior to the publication of the book are far from idle. I actually had never imagined there is so much work involved behind a children’s book. I am learning as much as I can about publishing and marketing books, I am working on the lesson plan and accompanying fun activities for the book (putting back on my teacher’s hat which hasn’t been used since I left my home country), going through other book ideas.

I wish you all Merry Christmas <3 I hope you will get to enjoy the holidays with your loved ones, will be able to get some well needed rest to keep the creative juices flowing, and can manage to be as kind to yourself as you are with the others around you.

Love, as always, Liza.

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Category: Erik and me, Multicultural Kid, Mum's Library, Where am I from?

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