The first few weeks of lockdown for me were totally focused on the family and friends around me, also business with my husband, our team and colleagues. It felt it encompassed every waking hour.
The schools were closed and it was a while before I thought about the modules and what next. For weeks I toyed with how to continue to get a message out in a format that would be helpful. Trying to work out if the modules could be part of an online course felt like a starting point, however I had very little knowledge on how to develop a website, marketing or how to construct the modules in a downloadable form!
In the first few months during lockdown I began to work on our company website and dabble with Instagram and Facebook to support the business. I started to get a feel of how the background of a website worked and also began to post stories of local people helping in our community, at that time as it felt right to promote the good work rather than our company.
Earlier in the year I had been chatting to an author Andy Smithyman, who I had met the summer previous. He had encouraged me to send the storylines of the characters. Andy had felt there was mileage with the stories. So I sent the first brief of Bruce’s story. Andy’s support and input had the story to a first draft and we then we just sat with it. Rebecca had started a few drawings alongside, however was very busy. Although trained in performing arts, she was working with the elderly and as a key worker was isolating, working long hours.
I began to look at building a website, with the view of putting an online learning platform for teachers to download the modules and construct lesson plans within children’s personal development curriculum. Still not knowing where this would lead, I had a few pages constructed. I tried to film a few lesson plans, but it was so out of my comfort zone things still didn’t feel to click. I didn’t feel comfortable in front of a screen and did not have editing experience.
During a further conversation with Andy, we began to fine tune the book. Rebecca was now on a different shift pattern and found she had more free time and not a lot to focus on. We had a list of images that would compliment the storyline. Rebecca quickly began to work through the individual images. She was managing to interpret my thoughts beautifully. They were converted into the right digital format by my very patient husband and forwarded to Andy to edit within the storyline. He has a publishing company, Boz so knew the formats, process etc to get it to print.
Suddenly I was feeling, this really could happen. I could see there was a structure to support teachers and this could be the first part of the plan. I decided to focus solely on the book and once the decision was made the website took shape. It wasn’t perfect by any means, it did focus my mind on the simple information both for the book and a basic technique.
As the book started to come together I began to look at how I was going to market it. Andy advised the various platforms we could sell the book.
Whilst this was all new, I was very naive as to how little money there is for the majority of authors in selling books. I also wanted control of my characters, and the message I wanted to give. It was therefore decided the best way was to sell through the website rather than a distributor. I now had to learn how to make the website a shop.
I still had no name for the company and bounced many ideas with people. What are the customers going to be buying and why? It was staring me in the face….. it was Bruce! So simple. Everything slotted into place. The website was finalised, so I turned to marketing. Setting up Bruce’s Instagram and Facebook was okay as I was beginning to understand it however TicTok….. was a different beast! Still I would give it a go.
It would still be a while for the publication, however I was beginning to feel I had a pathway to promote some of the techniques.
Look out for how we went to print and how the first few months have gone in the next blog.