Colin Pickell of Ladysmith has always dreamed of writing a book. And now his dream is one crowd-funding campaign away from becoming reality.
Pickell – who manages the 49th Café – has written a children’s book called Who Will Tuck Me Into Bed?, featuring illustrations by Amanda Key, a recent graduate of the Vancouver Island University graphic design program.
Pickell and his wife have two sons, aged seven and five, and when his oldest was a baby, as a new dad, Pickell loved singing him to sleep at night. One night, he had an idea that made him laugh – what if he were an opera singer, and he didn’t know how soothe his son to sleep because all he knew how to do was belt out operas?
“From there, I just kind of imagined what about a family where everybody has a talent, and they’re very worthwhile talents, but not when you’re trying to soothe a child to sleep,” he recalled. “So I created this family of really loving, really sweet people who try really hard to tuck him into bed, but it doesn’t work because it makes him more awake. The father’s an opera singer. The mother’s a writer, but she only writes thriller novels so all of her stories scare the heck out of him. And there’s a grandma and a brother and a sister and an uncle, so I just kind of got this idea, kind of a twist on the bedtime routine. It’s a little bit funny because the boy knows that this isn’t going to work, but he lets them each take their turn because he just loves them and he doesn’t want to offend them.”
Who Will Tuck Me Into Bed? is a rhyming book because those are the books Pickell loves to read to his children.
Pickell says he started making a conscious effort to write the book about two and a half years ago.
“I had the idea, but every time I’d sit down to write it, I’d get frustrated because I couldn’t get past the first paragraph or two and gave up, so about two and a half years ago, I started really actively writing it,” he said. “I’d take breaks, and I’d get writer’s block. Then I contacted a lot of publishers and agents. The children’s book market’s pretty saturated, and I wasn’t able to crack it, so I decided to look into doing it myself, and that’s when I found Amanda. Along the way, I had Kickstarter recommended to me by a few different people. It probably took me about three months to put together the Kickstarter campaign itself, to get the video ready and figure out all the Kickstarter rewards.”
This is the first “real writing” Pickell has done since he’s had a family, and he says it was hard to find blocks of time in which to write.
“For me, writing isn’t something I can just do on a 15-minute coffee break, so what I actually started doing was getting into a rhythm, every day, even if I didn’t know what I was going to write or feel I had anything to write about, I would take my lunch break, and I would go to the park and just sit for an hour,” he said. “Some days I would get all these ideas, and other days, I would just sit there and stare at the page, and that was kind of frustrating.”
Pickell found writing a rhyming book to be a lot harder than he expected because he had to find words that rhymed but that would make sense to children.
“Because you want everything to rhyme, it’s really hard to find the right word sometimes that would capture it but also would be understood by everybody,” h e said. “There was a lot of reading to kids and asking if it made sense, trying to make it interesting enough for parents to read it to their kids but make it accessible to the kids too.
Pickell says it is frightening to take this idea that was in his head for so long and put it out there, ready for people to enjoy or critique.
“I’ve never really done a creative project like this before, and it’s a little bit intimidating,” he said “But it’s exciting, and the response has been great.”
Pickell’s campaign had already raised 16 per cent of its goal before it had even been up for 24 hours.
“People are really getting behind it, and I feel really lucky to have a community of supporters,” said Pickell. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I think writing has always kind of been in my blood. People like supporting something if they feel like ‘he’s finally gotten around to doing it; let’s get behind him’ so that’s pretty neat to see.”
The Kickstarter campaign runs for 30 days, and it will end July 2. Pickell’s goal is to raise $7,000.
Perks include everything from a thank you card with an illustration from the book on it, there are 15 levels all the way up to limited-edition prints of the cover, dedicating the book to someone and Pickell coming to your town to do a book reading.
PIckell hopes to have his book funded and published by November.
The money raised from this Kickstarter campaign will go towards hiring Key to complete the rest of the illustrations, and towards the costs of the first print run of the hardcover edition of the book. They will also produce it as an illustrated e-book with audio of Pickell reading the book, plus distribution of both the hardcover book and the e-book through iTunes and Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Kobo and other channels.
Learn more about Pickell’s project here.