The unexpected.

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As you may know, I am writing my third book.

I began writing it in January 2020, while in India, and lock-down meant that I threw myself into daily writing until October 2020, hiring a freelance editor in August to go over the draft manuscript.

When I read through the manuscript, even though it was in its infancy, I knew the book was not where I wanted it to be. There was something missing and although I did not know what it was, I knew I needed support to get it to where I wanted it to go.

I also knew that after 10 months of writing, I needed to put the book down. We both needed a break from each other.

I was not concerned; I trusted that I needed to put it down and that I would pick it back up at the right time, although I had no idea when the right time was going to arrive.

What I did know was that the book was going to need a team as committed to the book as I was, and trying to do it alone was not going to manifest the book’s potential.

As a two-time, self-published author, I thought I’d wait until January of this year and then start to have conversations with some freelancers and gather a team.

And then, the unexpected. I received an email from a publisher.

This is not the first time I have been approached by a publisher. When I was in the raw food space, I was very excited about the opportunity of creating a beautiful raw food recipe book, but the publisher wanted a raw food diet book because it would sell more copies, so I declined. I had no interest in becoming a part of diet culture.

A few years later, another publisher approached me, but then I was told I didn’t have enough social media followers to warrant a deal; she would never get it over the line. But if I could increase my followers, maybe pay for some…?

I had no interest in building my social media followers, my focus was on writing.

So, I decided that I was not going to wait for someone (a publisher) to give me permission to share my voice, to be an author. I had something to write, and I was going to write it and publish it myself.

I found a wonderful writing mentor, Andrew Griffith, who believed in my voice, and through Andrew I was introduced to my self-publishing partner, Michael Hanrahan. Together we created Raw Beauty and The Gift of Asking.

I was well on track to self-publish my third book. I loved the process, the team I work with and having full creative control!!

And then, the unexpected. Just as I was finishing work for the year, in mid-December 2020, I received a message from Penguin Random House asking me if I would be interested in working with them on my 3rd book.

The publisher, unknown to me, had just taken part in an online workshop I was facilitating, and sent me the email as soon as I had left the zoom room.

A week later, we jumped on the phone and had a great conversation.

To be honest, I was not sure. I knew I needed a team, but I was enjoying the many benefits of being a self-published author, and some of those benefits would no longer remain if I went down the traditional publishing route.

I spent the summer holidays deciding if this was right for me — the pro’s and the con’s.

In late January, I had lunch with a dear friend, who told me she was going to set up a meeting with another large publisher. That meeting also went very well.

And then, a successful author friend told me, “If two publishers are interested, you need an agent. I’ll introduce you to mine.”

It was only when I met with the agent, Pippa, that I knew I wanted to give this opportunity 100%. I felt so connected to her and I knew I would be looked after; the world I was about to enter was a very new world to me.

I have always been the captain of my ‘author ship’, but I trusted Pippa to steer the ship for me in this next phase of the journey.

Pippa sent out some chapters of the book and then the following week, during Melbourne’s 5-day lockdown, I had five more meetings with various publishers; two weeks later, the offers came in.

5 days later, final offers came in.

And last week I signed a two-book deal with Penguin Random House. They will be publishing my 3rd book, but they will also be re-publishing The Gift of Asking!

My team found me.

I picked up the manuscript again a few weeks ago, we are happy to be back together.

I am so excited for this book and the difference I want it to make for women.

And this is when I say thank you, to you.

Thank you for reading my words, either here in my Weekly Words, or through my books and my columns over the years.

Thank you for letting me know what has resonated, by sharing your words with me; it has kept me writing, growing and focusing my voice and my heart.

Thank you. I look forward to taking you on this journey with me.

And now to the writing cave. I now have book deadlines to meet that I didn’t create!!

Wishing you a weekend of unexpected opportunities.

 

Kemi xxx

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