I created a book! It’s a journal for mothers called Creativity Island for Mums.

I launched it in November 2021 and sold out of my pre-sale allocation. Yay! I’ve been steadily making sales by chatting about it on my mailing list, instagram and other socials.

I wanted to write this post to share some of the ‘behind the scenes’ of getting to this point.

You know I think we can sometimes be wired to think things are instant and beautoful social media content shows mums “doing it all”.

I also feel like there are female entrepreneurs who give the impression they are doing it ALL by themselves. There are often huge teams of people behind a ‘instagram working mum’ and as I’ve worked while in my daighters first year I wanted to share some honestly around it.

This process for me has been longer than you might think for lots of reasons… it started when I first became a mum and it’s important to say 7 years of motherhood has taught me alot about what is and isn’t possible. I’ll also add I couldn’t have launched a project like this whilst caring for my first baby – motherhood was not only a shock to the system, my baby was up a gazillion times a night and we had very little support. Added to this, my now husband was going through a lot of huge challenges including family bereavements, a change of career and an incredibly volitile divorce.

So I guess it’s interesting to share this time round, who I did I work with and what did I do myself?

1. The creative process
This is hands down my favourite part! I adored thinking about who to work with and how long the journal would be. I purposefully kept it shorter than I would like as I wanted to give myself space to breathe and for it not to feel overwhelming like alot of the other write in journals I’ve tried. I worked with two creatives I’ve worked with before, one I’ve known a long time and one I’ve gotten to know more recently. We work well together – there is honesty, openness and they compliment my skill set really well.

I’ve wanted to launch a journal since I set up Creatively Conscious in 2017 but wanted to fascinate in the process first. I’ve handmade books in the past and I’m a huge journal and notebook fan I’ve also written and read ebooks so I had quite a clear idea about what I wanted it to look like and feel like in the hands of a mum with a very young baby or child.

Claire at the beach in a hat with her daughter in a sling

Beach life… I take my journal everywhere with me.. I love writing down the memories, the moments, the things my son says…

I knew I wanted it to be a5 and spiral bound and I jumped on a zoom call with my designer Ebony Newton early doors to chat more about it. Taking on Ebony’s ideas and experience was so valuable and helped me align my idea more confidently.

2. The production and proofing
I had a lot of thoughts about the production. I went down a fair few rabbit holes. I looked at printing on Lulu and Amazon print on demand. I eventually went with Mixam and bought 100 copies. I bought a insta pal’s book and asked her where she printed it and she said Mixam and she was really happy with them. I really had no idea how much it would be to print but I was pleased with the cost and the turn-around time especially as in October Lulu had said they couldn’t guarantee print before Chrsitmas.

Proofing was hard – I read and read it and kept changing things – I also asked my mum and one of my mum friends but I think any more than that I would have ended up taking on other people’s ideas so I kept it all quite close. It’s not the book I would have written today and I had huge doubts about it – would it be relevant?

3. Marketing and PR
I worked with a coach Sarah Raad on a marketing plan and on content ideas which I’m still delivering. I found marketing quite tiring and it’s hard to find the best way to describe my book because it’s so unique and such a hybrid. Still learning. I worked with a PR expert around ideas for PR for my Creativity Island project and PR for the book is still on my to do list! Partly because radio and newspapers need a ‘hook’ and I always feel I have too many things to say… perhaps you can help me?

Photos – I took the journal everywhere with me to snap quick photos but the perfectionist in me kept using the same ones over and over… I can see why people invest in product photography! it’s a real skill as is finding different ways to “sell” ie talk about it to reach your audience… I’m still trying to photograph a christmas box after around a month of faffing!

4. The Launch and selling portal
I sold out of my allocated pre-sales which gave me a real boost of enthusiasm. I worried people might be resistant if they’d missed the special offer but people kept buying them for themselves and as presents.
I set up paypal payments and bacs transfer invoices on woo-commerce here on my website and some people emailed me about shipping abroad or to different addresses. I tried to make this as EASY as possible – a skill I have learnt from taking Leonie Dawson’s courses.

5. Packing and postage
I was quite faffy with packing and it took me ages to decide what to do. I wanted it to be eco friendly and bought packaging from ebay, amazon and Lulu and Nova – I couldn’t decide how important it might be for people to have the added value of a box so I asked in my instagram stories.

After the pre-sale I got quicker at wrapping and found my own style with it. This now includes;
– A handwritten postcard and a wrapped tea bag (these are personal and done individually after each order)
– Cerise tissue paper – one large sheet and I don’t tape it so people can use it again.
– heart confetti stamped by my 7 year old from old cards and scrap paper
– Brown paper taped with eco friendly tape.
– a paper wrapped tea bag
– It costs £1.99 to post at our local postoffice but I could print labels and post them and pop them in the postbox at the end of the road if I wanted to.

6. Surprises and Next Steps
I am working with my team of collaborators on them selling journals themselves which I didn’t plan at the beginning but it feels such a collaborative effort I want to gift something back to them.

I’m talking to a local boutique about stocking it
I found three typos and want to change at least 10 things for the reprint. My husband reassured me this makes me more relatable as I was deep in the trenches of motherhood when I wrote it… haha I hope so!

The journal photographed at a window at sunrise in Northumberland

A spot of winter sunrise journalling? Yes please!

My favourite part is seeing it out and about in the wild and getting tags on instagram – it feels so brilliant to know mums are actually finding time to use it and taking it with them as they go about their days!

Do you have any questions about the creative process of making and selling a journal or perhaps you’ve been thinking of doing something similar?

If you’d like to grab a copy of Creativity Island for Mums – The Journal you can here.