For the past year or so I've been working on a book. For the past six months or so I've gotten more serious about the project and posted about it publicly to motivate myself to stay focused. For the most part, it's worked and I've made good progress.
But lately I can't stop thinking about other projects I want to do and was considering abandoning the book project.
From the beginning I have been convinced this is a book that should exist (and, as far as I can tell, doesn't exist). I'm also confident that between me and my co-author we are qualified to write this book. Not that others couldn't, just that we can.
But lately I'm starting to question my original premise that there is a need for this book. I'm not worried about selling tons of books or even really making money but I am worried about investing my time in a project that isn't useful to the world. Know what I mean? I've pretty much gotten over the sunk costs but the opportunity cost of finishing it is really quite high.
After a few days of mulling I thought of a solution.
Right now, I need to pause book creation and figure out if there is a real interest in this book. Would anyone need it? Buy it? If not, no problem at all, I'll move on to other things. If so, I'm crazy excited to finish this project and make it even better knowing there are real people waiting for it.
What, you might ask, is the solution? Kickstarter. Ages ago I heard a podcast with Seth Godin where he talked about using Kickstarter not to fund a project (a book) but to presell a book to ensure there is sufficient interest. Well, duh!
So for the past week I've been thinking about Kickstarter and even practiced making a video (wow, I am seriously terrible on video--I look all shifty eyed.)
---this is where I paused writing this post for several days as my mind continued thinking about books, Kickstarter, what I really want to do, the embarassment of quitting altogether and I continued talking to friends and boring them with all my considerations. then I started up this post again with more ideas---
In addition to thinking about Kickstarter I really starting (re)thinking about this project and talking to folks I trust. One good friend has a child with autism who uses some of the stuff that would be in the book even though sensory disorders are not his primary challenge. She gently pointed out to me that what special needs parents have the least of is time. Really, most would rather buy the weighted blanket off the internet. Even if they like to sew (she does not like to sew). She felt that the advantages I see of of making a project for your child (self satisfaction and the meditative act of making, the idea of stitching in love for the child, complete customization options for your child etc) simply don't outweigh the time for most special needs parents.
So I started rethinking how I'm approaching the book. From the original brainstorming session with Kristin when we made an outline I was imagining a pattern book with ~12 full length project patterns for kids needing support with different sensory systems (ie vestibular, proprioception, tactile). On one hand, a cool, comprehensive resource. On the other hand, most folks might only need one or two patterns so individual pattern sales would be more attractive. From the beginning the book also contained a section on "repurposing household items to help your sensory disregulated child" Super simple stuff, much of which can be found on Pinterest, but put into one place with input from a pediatric Occupational Therapist.
Thinking about my friend's comment about time, maybe the book is the simple ideas and the more complicated patterns are some sort of add on, separate thing, something. Maybe I just list them for sale on Craftsy/Etsy and use the book to promote them. Maybe those patterns are just freebies. Maybe "book" is actually "pdf download" or even "free download" of simple ideas.
Maybe self publishing isn't actually the right avenue. Maybe instead of Kickstarter I try to pitch an agent/publisher and use their knowledge to determine 1. if there is a market and 2. how to position the book.
Maybe I am overthinking this.
But I have been so head-down-focused on getting the projects designed, made, tested, patterned etc that I really haven't stepped back and now it really is time.
This post has been in my drafts folder for several days because it's kinda hard to put yourself out there online and with friends and say you're fully committed to a project and then come back and say well.....I might actually quit this project. Or at least completely reimagine it.
But I decided that since I have posted about this effort I should continue to do so--it keeps me honest and might be a chance for a reader to provide feedback or thoughts. If you made it this far--congrats--I welcome your thoughts!
In the meantime I'm off to a sewing class. For all the classes I've taught I haven't attended a sewing class in years and I'm really excited.