When I created ‘Sylva Fae’ (no that’s not my real name) I ventured out into the weird world of social media in a business-like fashion. My intention was to build up useful contacts and learn how to self publish my stories. I have definitely learnt a lot but what I wasn’t expecting was these ‘connections’ would become genuine friends. One of my first Twitter followers was the lovely Lesley Hayes, author of some of my favourite books, and now someone I consider to be a dear friend. She introduced me to an Indie Author group, and there I made yet more friends.
I am in an almost unique position, being one of the only writers in the Indie Author group without a published book. As such, I have had the pleasure to read their books for fun and write reviews on a ‘pay it forward’ basis. The group’s founder Paul Ruddock has gathered together an amazing group of talented authors and genuinely nice people. All authors want to promote their work, but in this group the love of a good story and the supporting of each other, seems to take precedence over the ruthless self promotion you see elsewhere. The group covers such a wide range of skills and experience that any questions asked solicit a flood of advice and support within minutes. It makes me smile to see these connections between strangers from around the world growing into friendships.
A short while ago, Ian D. Moore, author of Salby Damned, put out a call for help. He wanted to put together an anthology of short stories to raise money for charity. Without really knowing much more, people volunteered, lots of people! Another example of the kindness of strangers coming together to support another. The anthology was to be in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and dedicated to the memory of his mother-in-law Pamela Winton. I never got to meet Pamela, but she has become symbolic of all the friends and relatives the group members have lost to cancer. This project, while very personal to Ian, has become a chance for each of us to give thanks to all the healthcare professionals who cared for our loved ones, but in particular to honour the Macmillan nurses.
I was honoured to take my place on the team with such a talented group of authors. It was decided that the theme would be ‘relationships’ and that any genre linked to this theme would be included. In addition to writing my own story for the anthology, I have worked with the editing team and been part of the decision making processes. Reading through all the stories submitted, made me realise just how proud I am to be a part of this venture.
I asked my mum, artist Christine Southworth, if she would design a cover and she was happy to help. Ian and I gave mum a vague idea of our vision for the cover and that it needed to convey a feeling of hope. Mum set to work and quickly produced a few sketches. One stood out as perfect. Nico Laeser, author, artist, technical wizard and all round nice guy, worked his magic to turn mum’s sketch into a cover. The result was better than we could have hoped for.
Coming up with a title was probably the hardest part of the process. Picture a group of outspoken, creative minds all trying to agree on one thing – at one point I thought it would never be resolved. While reading about the work Macmillan do, I discovered their ‘Not Alone‘ campaign and suggested it to the team. Ian changed it to You’re Not Alone and our anthology had its title. It connects the relationships theme with the cover image and the Macmillan campaign, and also conveys hope – perfect!
And so, the book is almost ready for publishing; it’s really exciting to be this close to seeing all the many hours of hard work reaching completion. But this is only the start of the story. To support and raise money for Macmillan we now need to promote and sell our book.
Please show your support by liking and following the You’re Not Alone Facebook page. We will shortly be posting a link showing where you can buy You’re Not Alone. 100% of the net royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the Pamela Winton Fund, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
If you would like to donate directly to The Pamela Mary Winton Tribute fund the link is on the You’re Not Alone Facebook page. This fund is in Pamela’s name but all donations go to Macmillan Cancer Support. Any kind donations will be gratefully received.
For me this project has not really been about creating a book, it has been about the kindness of others, all the authors and artists who shared their talents and time to create something good. It is a reminder that in giving we receive far more in return. These connections we make are special, and when we work together, we can achieve great things. In this faceless world of social media it’s nice to remember You’re Not Alone.