Update #6 We Did It. WANE TV Noticed

Update #6 We Did It. WANE TV Noticed

We Did It. WANE TV Noticed. 

Sunday afternoon I was worried. We were 90 percent funded when Kickstarter switched from “days remaining” to hours. The sense of urgency infused the campaign with energy–but threatened my sense of peace. My kids were going back to school and it was the last official day of their summer. They deserved my attention. 

And so does this project and everyone who is supporting it. I had to stay focused.

Two backers whose names I did not recognize made pledges that pushed the campaign to 99 percent funded. This was significant because people donate for two reasons. Some pledges are in support of me and some are in support of the project. Both motivations are pure, and one does not exclude the other. Seeing unfamiliar names in the final hour was the boost of confidence I needed. I decided it was safe to relax.

Several hours later, I dared to peek. WOW! The number of new and familiar names was overwhelming. The project hit the goal and contributions continued to pour in. In addition, there was a separate message from WANE T.V. Would I be available to be interviewed on Monday for their Well Being segment on the 5 o’clock news? They wanted to discuss the book and the successful Kickstarter campaign. 

Checking email on a Sunday night has never been so worthwhile.

So, friends, we are funded to $9,006 with 24 hours remaining. I did the WANE T.V. interview this afternoon. I was nervous. To prepare, I did a handstand and took 10 deep breaths upside down. I do this meditatively to energize my brain with a sense of calm and find my focus. It seemed to work. (I just hope I remembered to smooth out my hair before they started recording.)

Overfunding can be problematic for certain types of projects, as there are more rewards going to more backers. At this point, I do not anticipate any problems with fulfillment as I haven’t given the printer a final order on the number of books, and coaching appointments and presentations will be scheduled individually, regardless. As far as the release party goes, the more the merrier. 

The response this project has received confirms that Life Off the Label will make a difference in our community, families and children’s lives. Your donations have made it possible. I couldn’t have gotten this kind of visibility without the momentum each of you has contributed. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I hope each of you feel a sense of pride and ownership when the books are delivered. 

We’re finishing up final changes and sending the book to the printer on Monday. Once they lay it out and send a test print, I’ll have an exact delivery date. Hopefully, their schedule will allow for a quick turn around. It’s estimated to be no more than a few weeks. I’m hoping for less. 

The campaign officially closes tomorrow at 4 p.m. There is still room to grow and so much to be excited about. We need a new song about Rainy Days and Mondays . . . Check out WANE TVs website coverage of the article at http://wane.com/2016/08/15/fort-wayne-woman-writes-book-about-food-safety-and-conscious-consumption/ 

I go upside down to get right inside . . .

I go upside down to get right inside . . .

Update #5: An Actual Update

Update #5: An Actual Update

The proofs of the jacket and cover were overnighted to me yesterday for approval.

The proofs of the jacket and cover were overnighted to me yesterday for approval.

I must give Cynthia Presser credit for not only encouraging me to do this Kickstarter campaign, but for directing me to Walsworth, the company that printed her first self-published book, Cooking with a Twist

Cynthia did a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013. I remember seeing a post on Facebook, but there was a lot going on in my life at the time. Honestly, I thought it was a reality cooking television competition that she was auditioning for (true story). I didn’t understand what it was until my sister urged me to call her. Cynthia graciously took the time to explain, listen and direct me. By the end of the conversation, I was inspired to follow in her footsteps. 

The Life Off the Label team consists of Heather Shively, graphic designer, Lori Parker, editor, and myself. We are scheduled to send the book to Walsworth on August 18th. I feel like we’re trying to run through quicksand, but that deadline is official and we’re all pushing harder than we thought possible to make it happen. 

Heather is preparing the Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files for the printer, a job that requires a Ph.D in technical expertise and patience. When I’m CC’d on emails that advise, “The only issue on the last test files were they were still 4/C,” I say a prayer of gratefulness that Heather not only understands what that means, but has probably already fixed it. 

Lori is doing the final proofread, which means she is reading the book from back to front, and each page from bottom to top, examining every word and punctuation for accuracy. That consumes at least 5 minutes per page, and she can only complete 8 pages in one sitting, lest her brain explode. The final page count for the book is 368. As of yesterday, she was 80 pages from goal. Godspeed to Lori. 

I’m promoting the Kickstarter campaign, writing and sending press releases, working on the website and recording an audio version for each chapter. I’m also signing off on final changes, such as the last line of the book. Despite Lori and Heather’s misgivings, I had wanted to end with a funny Groucho Marx quote that I thought was encouraging to those about to go off the label.

The ending that didn't make the cut...

The ending that didn’t make the cut…

But I hired a team for a reason . . .not every idea I have needs to be implemented (in fact, most have been strickened from the record, thank God.) Lori suggested an alternative, Heather found a more fitting place for the Marx quote, and I just happened to have a Dr. Suess hat. We are all happy now, heading back to our duties in preparation for send off.

Update #4: Influence and Action

Update #4: Influence and Action

Kids spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to be when they “grow up.” Even choosing classes in middle school requires philosophical deliberations. Choir or band? Spanish or Latin? Robotics or Cross Country? Such decisions might affect the rest of a kid’s life! Or they might not. How can you know what will be important and what won’t matter in the long run? 

You can’t. 

The blessing disguised as “growing up” is hindsight. It’s counterintuitive to expect that small experiences can have a huge impact, but they do. Our life’s course of action can emerge from seemingly inconsequential moments–a silent observation, a conversation held in passing, the ache of need, an idea, an image, or just a glimpse of potential. Retracing our actions to the initial spark of influence gives us wisdom and perspective. The “why” in what we do fuels the “what.”

Dr. Rudy Kachmann is my father-in-law. His professional accomplishments are surpassed only by his personal. His children and grandchildren are talented and fun. I am especially fond of his eldest son, Jeffrey (we married in August, 2015). 

At last count, Rudy has written 27 books. He’s published at least 8 since I started Life Off the Label. (Yes, that’s intimidating.) His books explore a variety of mainstream assumptions in nutrition and medicine, and challenge the conventional approaches to managing disease. The content of one of his recent publications caught me off guard–to the extent that it was difficult to read (but only because it felt weird to read The Sitting Disease while . . .sitting). The book motivated me to set up a workstation in my office that forces me to stand, and to take movement breaks every hour. (I’ve now heard that treadmill desks are available. That sounds a wee-bit problematic given my accident-prone nature, but at least the sitting disease won’t take me down.) 

I met Dr. Kachmann when he invited me to speak about the vegan diet at one of his lectures. (I did not yet know his son, whom I met through my friend Heidi, his sister.) During our follow up discussion, I summoned the courage to ask how he manages to publish so many books, given the time constraints of his career. At the time, I kept my aspirations to write a book to myself. I assumed that getting a health and wellness book published would be mostly a matter of far-fetched luck as I’m neither a neurosurgeon or a celebrity. His answer to the question challenged my dismissive perceptions.

“I self-publish,” he revealed. “Many successful authors do. Youcan self-publish. And I think you should, Colleen.” He proceeded to describe the process, but the little details were lost in the glare of a brilliant revelation that shined upon a previously hidden door. I can self-publish.

I can.

I left our meeting at Starbucks that day knowing one thing for sure: I would write the book that burned in my soul and self-publish. In hindsight, that was the entirety of what I knew “for sure.” The details overshadowed by the dazzle weren’t as “little” as expected. But they never are. Nearly four years later, I am working hard to achieve a semblance of professional perfection without the support (experience, connections or financial backing) of a corporate publisher. Every day, there is a new challenge to overcome. I think my next book will be Life Off the Label: Publishing Without a Clue.

Self-publishing has taught me that we can do anything we want in life. We just have to do it. As it turns out, God works through us, not for us. That’s why it doesn’t matter what we do so much as why we do it. Small moments of influence are the divine inspirations that direct our life. Provided we act on them.

Update #4: Influence and Action

Update #1: Fundraising Jitters

It’s so hard to ask for help. It’s even harder to ask for money. They say it’s better to give than to receive and I whole-heartedly agree. It feels powerful when you are able to help; it’s humbling to be in a position of need. 

This Kickstarter campaign is pushing me out of a very comfortable, secluded zone. I’ve been working on Life Off the Label for three years. The book has lived mostly in my mind and on my computer screen. Yeah, my editor and graphic designer can vouch for it’s existence, but as I communicate with them mostly online, there were days I wondered if they were all just figments of my imagination. In moments of self doubt, I had an eerie sensation that I suffered with the same type of delusions as Russell Crowe’s character in The Beautiful Mind.

That sensation, and the boundaries of my comfort zone, evaporated when my Kickstarter project launched on Monday. Life Off the Label became an independent entity–something others can see, form an opinion about, accept, reject, and most frightening of all–ignore. My illusions of success and fears of failure were manifested with the click of a mouse. The “what if’s?” were transformed into “what is.” And the “what is” are my challenges for the next 25 days: 

  • I must ask for support from people I don’t know. (Hard)
  • I must ask for support from people I know. (Even harder)
  • I will hear “no” more than I hear “yes.” (Ouch)
  • Neither answer is personal. (Really?)

Success and failure (like beauty) are in the eye of the beholder. I’ve felt all along that I will be a success the moment Life Off the Label appears in my hand. Even if I’m the only one that reads it cover to cover, I will do so with pride. Of course, I wrote the book because I wanted to make a difference. Is it possible that an intention like that could be a failure? I don’t think so. Oh, I know there will be things I’ll wish I’d done differently. But as long as I am willing to learn from my mistakes, and keep trying, I cannot be a failure.

The success and/or failure of this project, however, are less susceptible to optimism. If there aren’t at least $8219 worth of pledges, there will be zero dollars earned. “What is” could end up “What isn’t.” That makes me vulnerable and uncomfortable. 

Good. That’s motivating. That’s exciting. What fun is anything predictable? It’s not rewarding to get something that’s already in the bag. And if I ever want to be in that powerful place where I have something to offer, I must first understand the humility of need.

Game on. 

Update #4: Influence and Action

Kicking Off Kickstarter

The food we eat is nothing less than a matter of (long) life or (early) death. Life Off the Label: A Handbook for Creating Your Own Brand of Health and Happiness is going up against the billions of dollars being spent by Big Business to make (and keep) trillions of revenue dollars. Americans are no longer consumers; we’re producers–of profit. As corporate sponsorships are hard to come by for books that discourage them, this revolutionary manuscript must be self-published. The custom info-graphs, images, eBook, audio files and durable binding offer a powerful multi-media tool that will transform lives.

Life Off the Label speculates that you can’t be normal and healthy at the same time, and then challenges the reader to prove that wrong!

Check out Life Off the Label’s Kickstarter campaign and the many rewards offered to contributors. Please share and support the project any way that you can. 


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