Well, what a year its been!
I wanted to write this blog post to go hand-in-hand with the Instagram Live session we'd be doing to review the year.
Of course, so much has happened this year, aside from the blindingly obvious, that it would be impossible to cover everything in the time we have on the IG Live so I wanted to use this post to elaborate on some things I wouldn't been able to on the Live.
I want to encourage you with the story behind my book and self-publishing in 2020 with how difficult it has been in a lot of ways!
This time last year I was getting used to being a Mum of two and some months earlier I had done a major pivot unto a completely new career pathway. It had been 15 years since I wrote my journal about my time in an NYSC camp but publishing the book that was borne from it was not even on my radar.
Well, all that changed and I did have the book published earlier this year.
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The Year in Review:
January - I decided to just do it, my motto became "Done over Perfect". I talk about this in detail during first edition of Lazy Korfa Live which you can watch back on YouTube.
February - My friend sent me this podcast and I was absolutely intrigued by the idea of dreaming small and again you can find details of what this podcast did for me by watching the YouTube video where I talk about it during the first IG Live I did in October.
March - Bringing my big brother on board and talking to him about my ideas, using him as a sounding board and being challenged by him meant I was able to bring my vision into sharp focus. Those meetings required me to write things down, answer challenging questions all of which meant that I had a plan/strategy in place before launching out which was helpful for the days when I wasn't feeling up to much.
April - As part of the conversations I had with my brother, we planned an online "soft launch" for the 1st of April. The reaction was AMAZING and as the reviews started coming in I was just blown away. A friend who I hadn't spoken to in a while and knew nothing about the book found out about it and offered her support which went into sponsoring the giveaways we had early on - help came from unexpected places!
May - Once we had some momentum, I decided to build on the success and go ahead to print and make paperback copies available in Nigeria. As you would have heard from me in the first IG Live I didn't initially set out to do paperback in Nigeria, but this was about building on what we already had going for us and not resting on our laurels. I used some connections that I had to get a first printer but things didn't work out well. Interestingly, the owner of one of the bookshops that had been recommended to me, who is also a publisher, was the one who linked me with the printer we ended up going with as well as links to other bookshops too without even asking!
June - Once the printer was sorted we went on to distribute to bookshops. I live in the UK and with the help of a few people in Nigeria, I was able to successfully get it in 9 bookshops. Even if I knew this in passing, it brought it home, that we no longer have to be in the same physical space to get things done! As with most things, there are downsides to that but the fact remains that the things that used to be a barrier, such as distance, no longer need to be. I know I am late to that party but it was a bit of a revelation for me
July - There was the idea to get a few people to do videos for our social media saying what they like and didn't like about NYSC. I found myself learning how to do basic video editing because there really as no one else to do it and I didn't have a budget to throw at it and get someone else to do the videos for me. So sometimes one has to learn something new even if just the basics and do some DIY unless you have a huge budget to throw at it.
August - I always thought I would love to do an audio book version of the book. I spoke with my brother about it and we came up with the idea of a full audio experience including the sounds of camp! I had met Temi Ami-Williams not long before this and after she did a video review for me I thought to ask her if she would be interested in working with us on the audio book with my brother as producer. Temi is incredibly talented and she absolutely nailed it from the start! I know people often like it when an author does their own reading and I get that but it doesn't always have to be the case. Sometimes, there are others who might be able to do something better than you can or have greater capacity for it and that's absolutely fine. Have the confidence, humility to look beyond yourself, to delegate, to double down on your strengths and find someone to flourish where they are good at!
September - This was very interesting! I sent review copies of my book out to book reviewers including Literandra back in June. They didn't actually get round to reviewing it till September but turns out I got a full website review rather than an Instagram post only. As they say Good things come to those who wait - definitely true in this case!!
October - After much persuasion, I agreed to do an Instagram Live and talk about the story behind my book. We called it LazyKorfa Live and you can watch the full video back on our YouTube Channel and do subscribe while you're there! I was so nervous about doing it but ended up thoroughly enjoying it! It was good to try something new and step out of my comfort zone. This might not be such a big deal to others (it's 'just' IG Live after all!) but that's why it's a comfort zone - it's different for everyone and I was glad to step out of mine and enjoy the rewards of telling my story!
November - One of the things we decided early on was that we were going to use the blog to highlight other people's stories about NYSC so decided to follow the NYSC hashtag on Instagram. Found someone who was willing to do post about their current camp experience (2020). He was very busy so couldn't write so I suggested he send voice notes instead which I transcribed then he checked it over and that's how we were able to get the blog post published on his last day of camp - The Quarter Guard - there's always a way.
December - Well, I decided I needed a bit of a break this month and I did not need to be firing on all cylinders, all the time - December is for rest and recuperation and that's okay.