Two months on from my last update and a lot has happened! I am really reaching the final stages now, as everything slots into place and becomes completed. It has been over a year since I decided to write up my journey around Europe. A decision that I made entirely for me. However as the project progressed I received more interest and support so I felt that I should share the story and publish it.
I thought about the decision to publish for a long time, as I am not a natural writer, although I do feel that I am improving. However due to the amount of time that I have put into it I thought that it would be fitting to have something to show for all my effort. Publishing will also enable me to share my story with other people, family and friends who supported us and people interested in cycle touring. Also as our cycle around Europe raised over £3300 for the MS Society the sales of this book will allow me to continue our efforts and raise yet more money for this worthwhile cause. This is possible as I will donate £1 from every book sale to the charity. This doesn’t sound like much but unfortunately that is one of the pitfalls of self-publishing, you don’t make much money. From each of my books priced at £9.99, and eBooks at £2.99, I will make around £1.37 profit, of which £1 will be going to the MS Society. They are therefore receiving a large chunk of the profits as every little helps I am sure that whatever the amount of money that is raised will help them to do some good. I have recently learned that the money that we raised whilst cycling around Europe enabled the MS Society to keep a centre open in Leeds. This is a centre that sufferers of MS can go to and receive help and information. It also helps to organise groups so that people can meet others, like themselves, who are going through similar experiences of the disease. These groups are vital for many sufferers as they offer them an additional lifeline and help. Without the money from our cycle the Leeds centre would have closed and those MS Sufferers who use it would have been left to manage their disease by themselves; cut off from the support and friends that they receive at the group.
I learned of the effects that our cycle had had quite haphazardly through my mum. By a stroke of chance she had to visit this particular MS group in Leeds with her work. It was only halfway through her visit when they mentioned my name and how that the money I had raised whilst cycling had enabled them to continue in their work. I didn’t know quite what to say when I found out this news. However what I have taken from it is just how easy it is to make a difference to other peoples lives through the simple act of doing sponsored events. It has made me want to continue raising money through new and exciting adventures so that hopefully more people can benefit. I was always going to donate money from the book to the MS Society, as hopefully it will mean that our cycle has a prolonged beneficence. However learning more about where the money has gone makes it more important to me that the profits will go to charity because it is clear that the MS Society needs it and will spend it wisely.
I have spent the past two months polishing my manuscript and editing it so that it will be in the correct layout and format for the publishers. I have also learned some Photoshop skills, on an opensource version of Photoshop, and constructed my whole cover. Designing the cover was quite a long process as I had an idea of what I wanted but did not have the required skills to make it come to life. Fortunately after a few days spent solidly at the computer I learned the necessary skills and had something that I was happy with. I wanted the cover to be quite simple because it is important that it is recognisable as a small thumbnail image on websites. However I also wanted it to be eye-catching and encompass some key moments in our adventure. The front cover is a photo in the Pyrenees of me and Tom; the section of the journey where we really began to enjoy cycle touring and life on the road. The back cover is me cycling down Mont Cenis my favourite mountain that we cycled up in Europe. Hopefully the cover will stand out, for all the right reasons, when it is on amazon.
Last week I received the first proof copy of my book. It felt amazing to finally have something to show for all my work. I have spent the past week going through it carefully with other people, identifying small typos and edits. Fortunately these were few and far between so I will alter the manuscript this weekend into its final form. I can then submit it for distribution, along with the eBook, and then hopefully in a couple of weeks it will be available for purchase from Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and Lulu.com. Those first few weeks will be quite nerve-wracking, receiving my first few reviews and criticisms. However I don’t think they matter too much. This is my first book, I’m still a teenager, and it is simply a travelogue of our experiences along the road telling our whole story with no embellishments. Also every book that sells raises yet more money for the MS Society so I am looking forward for what the next few weeks have in store!