I’m going to be honest as per and share that whilst writing a book was a dream come true for me, a ticking off of a bucket list if you like, it’s also a hugely vulnerable pursuit, as is blogging, really, and I’m pretty nervous for publication date (May 3rd), so much so, I’m writing this at 3am as insomnia hits!
Being creative can be tough-going (the self-doubt can hinder us ALL at times) but the pros, thankfully, always outweigh the cons (the fact being honest helps others and of course doing what you love). Writing Mumboss was much-needed therapy for me during one of the hardest years of my life last year with a close relative unwell and the loss of my auntie Zak who was a second mum to me, not to mention juggling a crazy-busy blogging career and family-life with two young sons. I’ve proclaimed this year, a much-needed Year of Fun, a chance to live boldly and to do what scares me a little hence getting my third baby out there!
I wrote the book between the hours of 10pm and 3am, the only time I had in which to do so, and Mumboss is a true labour of love. I wrote 7 drafts and could have written an eighth but that’s creativity for you, you can work and work and never stop editing and honing it. It’s time though…
A lot of you have asked about the process: how I got a book deal and what it was like writing my first book.
Here’s a quick wrap-up of the series of events which led to Mumboss.
I was approached by a publishing house after winning the BritMums Best of the Best Blogging Award which prompted me to look for a literary agent. Once I’d met an agent I clicked with, I developed a proposal for two book ideas along with a detailed chapter breakdown for each. The other idea was a more general lifestyle idea based on the book. My agent at the time, Robyn (who moved on to be a commissioning agent) and I met with various publishers and accepted a deal with Jillian Young who I loved at Piatkus/Little Brown under the Hachette umbrella. It took me approximately 9 months to write the first draft of the book and I wrote each chapter based on my detailed chapter breakdown which offered me a guide. I actually changed the first chapter I’d originally submitted a fair bit but a lot of what initially demonstrated my voice and story are in there.
It’s a combination of my own journey along with tons of advice I’ve picked up along the way and know-how from experts. My Mum who read it over 2 days (she’s a quick reader as a former English Uni Lecturer) said it’s, ‘the ultimate manual for anyone wanting to blog and vlog’! I’ll have to get her to write an Amazon review!
Writing Mumboss was a stream of consciousness to start, I just wanted to get my story and insight onto the page, one chapter at a time. I also reached out to experts and friends for lots of quotes (75% of those were cut by my editor) who wanted more of me in the book but by laying down the foundations, I was able to rewrite, tweak and hone each chapter and did so until my final draft. As with screenwriting (my job before) and even blog posts, the beauty is always in the rewrites, but you need to get the page filled to have something to work from and sculpt.
Some chapters were easier to write than others. Detailing my traumatic birth again was emotional but it’s contextualised in such a way to help others, as is the entire book. This is a self-help book which covers many areas: maternal health, confidence, launching your own business and returning to work after maternity-leave.
Anna Steadman, my current editor who took over from Jillian who went on maternity leave, was crucial in helping to reassure me that the book worked and equally she ensured structurally, the order flowed. Neither editor rewrote a single word of mine, but a lot was cut and a few pages were switched around, and I’m grateful for their insight because the book benefits hugely from it.
So what’s the book about?
In Mumboss-The Honest Mum’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home, I share my own personal journey from creative child to TV Director then first-time parent suffering- and overcoming- a traumatic birth, to blogger and vlogger of one of the UK’s most popular blogs. I offer tangible advice and tips on absolutely everything I’ve learnt during these 7 years plus years as a digital creative building my personal brand and working with global brands. I also feature experts on everything from PR, SEO and even confidence.
This book promises to not only help you pivot into a digital career if you choose to, but it will equally support you as you return back to work after maternity-leave or time away, giving you greater strength in the process.
I might look crazy confident smiling back at you from the cover but I’m honestly s******* myself right now. That’s the reality and no bull honesty right there.
No one said it would be easy but being authentic and stepping up to your share your voice is life-affirming (what’s the alternative: hiding away) and as cheesy as it sounds, if this helps just one person, I’m happy.
I never thought I’d be blogging 7 years on from starting my site up back in November 2010, lost, alone and broken post-birth, unsure of who I was anymore and lacking in identity and purpose, but Honest Mum has opened up so many incredible doors, opportunities and experiences from honing my voice, empowering me to work flexibly and of course having the opportunity to collaborate with absolute heroes of mine from interviewing women like Emma Bunton and Anastasia to cooking with Jamie Oliver and even making history when I became the first blogger in the UK and quite possibly the world, to represent an airline, and more.
This very moment pre-release, feels exactly like I before having my first baby, Oliver. Exciting but nerve-wracking.
I literally have no idea what to expect from the book but it’s happening, so I’m embracing the unknown, going with the flow and trusting my gut while knowing the road and creative-life, like motherhood, is never easy but it’s always worth it for the love of it.
Wish me luck!
This is what others have kindly said about the book:
‘Vicki is one inspirational mumboss, who shares her secrets to juggling a thriving business with raising a family in this entertaining and empowering read!’ Una Healy
‘If ever there is a person who has shown just how successful you can be online whilst also being an amazing parent it is Vicki. Read, learn and follow. A brilliant book from an inspirational mother’. Natasha Courtenay-Smith, author of The Million Dollar Blog.
‘A must-read for the modern Mum; particularly one who has aspirations to build her own business. I wish I had been able to read it three years ago!’ Katie Massie-Taylor, Co-Founder, Mush.
Thanks too to Marie Claire for a fab little review in the May issue!
It takes a village to raise a baby and a village to raise a mumboss and I cherish everyone’s love and support on and offline so thank you!
For your chance to win a copy on publication date: May 3rd, enter below.
No cash alternative.
If the winners do not respond within 7 days of the emails being sent, new winners will be randomly selected.