24th November 2019 Marks the 1st Year Anniversary of the Catnap Stories Brand
Little did I know what I was up against when I decided to write my first book: The Adventures of Vince the Cat – Vince Goes to Paris last October. On the 24th November 2018, the brand, first book and cuddly cat toys were launched at the Bredhurst Cats Protection Christmas Fair in Kent. I even managed to get an article written about me in the Kent Messenger. I was petrified and I really wanted people to love my book.
A year on, I wanted to reflect on what has happened over the last year and provide some insight into my journey and hopefully provide some guidance and encouragement to other budding authors out there who haven’t yet taken that scary step to put pen to paper and publish their first book. Trust me, it isn’t all plain sailing, what with ordering the ISBNs to registering the books for sale with retailers, to finding a reputable printer who can deliver a quality product.
Being a marketer by profession, I thought that the journey to get where I’ve got to today would have been much quicker and smoother than it was and I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. Some of which have shocked me to my core and deeply saddened me at how ruthless some people and organisations can be. There have been several setbacks along the way, but these experiences have only made me more driven to succeed. The majority of experiences however have really shown me how wonderful life can be when you are doing something you really love and when you put smiles on people’s faces when they read and love something that you’ve produced.
Over the last 12 months I have learned about the publishing industry, I’ve discovered how vast the children’s book industry is. I’ve exhibited my books in Seattle in the United States, London in the UK and Bologna in Italy at some of the world’s largest and most prestigious international book fairs. I’ve taken school assemblies both in the UK as well as in Qatar in the Middle east with hundreds of eager primary school children all dying to ask questions about becoming an author, my favourite places in the world and trying their best to trip me up with weird and wonderful questions! I’ve discovered skills and resilience that I didn’t know I had.
I’ve found a wonderful partnership with my illustrators at Prayan Animation Studio, based in India, who have so skilfully produced the beautiful illustrations that are included in my books.
The Catnap Stories trademark was approved in early 2019 and the brand has grown from strength to strength over the last 12 months. We have been able to develop not just fun adventure stories, but ones that offer children and parents the ability to learn something new together, whether that be a new language or discovering facts and figures about new cities and countries. There are many more ideas and stories to come and I can’t wait to get started on them.
One of the best experiences this year was definitely spending a few days with the amazing children at the ACS International School in Doha, where the children took great pleasure in learning how to order four ice-creams in Spanish!!! What more could you want from life! They were such intelligent, friendly and engaging children and I have a wonderful friend to thank for the introduction as well as a fabulous teacher at the school who organised the days and looked after me so well.
Now, we are approaching the Christmas season, I have just launched the worldwide Christmas delivery dates for books and gifts to be shipped worldwide for anyone wishing to start their collection of Catnap Stories books and gifts. I have just recorded my first ever podcast that will be broadcast on many platforms across the United States of America in early December. And thanks to everyone who has supported me to get this little business off the ground, my mum and dad especially, my books are now available for immediate download or for sale and distribution within a few days in thousands of stores globally as well as from my own Catnap Stories website, designed by yours truly.
Our events that we have attended have grown in size and stature too, from humble but very worthy beginnings at the Cats Protection to the Sunday Times sponsored Handmade Festival at Hampton Court Palace and in December 2019 The Design Emporium near Hays Galleria on London’s famous south-bank is looming large!
Last year I had a dream to write a book…
hard, I will never give up focus, and from this day forth I plan to always do what I love