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How I Turned a Book Into a Business

It has always been my dream to publish a book; however I never knew when this opportunity would arise.

My name is Jackie Griffin Synnott and I am the authour of a book called Rhymes for Remedies.

Rhymes for Remedies teaches parents and children about the use of homeopathic remedies. The book uses nursery rhymes to act as a reference and remembrance tool so that parents can learn what actions to take when using homeopathy to deal with everyday ailments.

I think Helios.co.uk. has described it best:

“Delightful hardback, color-illustrated guide to homeopathic remedies for children’s complaints. Bright, bold, engaging illustrations of each nursery rhyme depicting a remedy leap out of the page at you! Learn how poor old Humpty Dumpty needs his Arnica…Wee Willie Winkie his Arsenicum… or little Miss Muffet her Aconite! Aimed at parents with children especially – but the vivid, primary colors, amusing cartoons, and nursery rhyme motif will surely appeal to kids too – kindling their early enthusiasm for homeopathy. Brilliant learning fun for all the family!”

I am currently a student with the Irish School of Homeopathy. In my first year at the school we had to devise a Remedy Kit for acute situations as part of a project and hence Rhymes for Remedies was born.

The book took over a year to devise and develop. The concept came to me while teaching my daughter, 18 months old at the time, some well-loved nursery rhymes.

While reading about poor old Humpty Dumpty having a ‘great fall,’ I immediately thought of the remedy Arnica – A renowned remedy to treat bruising. Thus the idea was born! I realised that using simple nursery rhyme association would help deliver and retain the information in a clear and concise format.

Now all I needed was a creative illustrator to bring my book to life.

Bringing my book to life

I had encountered Paul Delaney, a local artist and designer through my husband and was very aware of his artistic talents. I couldn’t believe my luck when Paul agreed to come on board with the project! Paul loved the idea for the book and thought my idea was a ‘light-bulb moment!’

When developing the idea I spoke to Paul about wanting to portray homeopathy in a new light with bold and colorful illustrations and breaking down all the information into a very engaging reference tool. I wanted my book to have a fun and engaging personality, and be something that would welcome newcomers to this well-loved medicine.

As well as this I wanted the book to demonstrate how easy and effective it was to use natural remedies to help treat simple acute everyday children’s ailments. Finally, I hoped
that this book not only appealing to parents but also to children and maybe help in kindling their early enthusiasm for homeopathy.

Paul deciphered all this information and got to work at devising preliminary illustrations and layout designs and soon he presented me with a very initial draft of how he was planning to approach the book’s style. As soon as I saw the initial ideas I knew we were on the exact same wavelength as I was thrilled with what he was developing.

After a few months of us researching, writing, illustrating, designing, developing, editing, talking, pulling all-nighters, and most importantly – having a few laughs, Rhymes for Remedies was no longer just an idea but a tangible piece of on-screen work that I was extremely proud of.

Our next step was to see how all our on-screen work translated into print. For this we used blurb.com. BLURB is an online self-publishing platform that enables people to create and self-publish their own print and ebooks. This is a fantastic and inexpensive way to get some professionally printed samples of a book project. The website lets you upload your book files, order your required amount and in a matter of weeks your printed books are delivered to your door.

Getting it published

Once I had the hardcover book samples in my hands I knew it had huge potential as a marketable book because of how well it simplified Homeopathy for both parents and children. There was only one thing on my mind – ‘I don’t know how just yet, but I need to get this published!’

A phase of investigation began as we tried to figure out the best way to get the book published. After thorough investigation and discussion we decided that the best way was to self-publish. I believed in my book and if publishers weren’t interested I’d just have to do it myself!!

As luck would have it ‘Self Publish Books’ was right on our doorstep in Cork. This made it even more special as it meant I could print it not only in Ireland, but in my native Cork!!
Self-publishing my book was the best decision I could have made with regards to getting my book out into the public.

Once the first batch of professionally printed books arrived at my doorstep I did something that might seem very old-fashioned now – I started making phone calls. Bookstores, distributors, newspapers, magazines, libraries – anyone I could think of!! Through constant phone calling, cold calling, and online marketing I have managed to turn my book into a business.

Currently Rhymes for Remedies is in 60 shops around Ireland with a mix of Health shops and some Independent bookstores.

It is for sale online throughout Ireland, Europe and America.

It has been featured and reviewed in many newspapers and health magazines in Ireland.

It received an Irish Print Award for Best Digital Print in November 2013.

The book is also being stocked in a selection of Libraries throughout Ireland.

We currently have 793 face-book fans on our page, which is growing all the time not to mention 366 Twitter fans. We also launched our website, www.rhymesforremedies.com
From someone who has gone through all the highs and lows of getting a book idea from my brain to the bookshelves, the following are five pieces of valuable advice for anyone who is interested in turning a book into a business.

1. Have a good idea for a book?
Get feedback. There is a tendency to keep good ideas a secret but getting initial feedback is a good indication as to whether or not it is an idea worth investing your time energy and resources into.

2. Surround yourself with positive, energetic people who you can trust to delegate.
This will lighten your workload and help you to concentrate on the skills you can bring to the table.

3. Make sure you can sum up the idea behind your book in two sentences.
If you are making phone calls to book stores about stocking your book, (and you will be doing this!) they will literally give you a few seconds to pitch it. Being able to perfectly describe the book in a few short sentences will be of huge benefit.

4. Have a plan.
If you have self-published a book and it arrives at your door, that’s when the real work begins. Become familiar with how bookshops and distributors operate, and if it is a niche book make sure you know all about the industry the book is related to.

5. Online marketing is SO SO SO powerful.
Do not ignore it. Social media has given back power to the people and if people like your book the word will almost certainly spread. Be clever and consistent with your online marketing activities.

Jackie Griffin Synnott, Author of Rhymes for Remedies, www.rhymesforremedies.com

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