Behind the book
There is a story behind how this book came into being. Do you want to hear it? Well anyway here it is...
I'm a firm believer in passing on my knowledge and experience to the next generation and, as such, I informally mentor people from all walks of life. In March I started a dialogue with a young author from New York. All our interaction was via email and instant messaging and we struggled with a 5 hour time difference. Well I do like a challenge! It became clear to me that there were subjects where I could really add value to what he was trying to achieve, either by passing on knowledge directly, or applying skills that I could use to help, or doing research that he had no time for. I started to pass on eveything I knew, I even passed on new designs for his website and researched such rivetting topics as Facebook engagement! Over the weeks we fell into an easy friendship. At some point he mentioned that the 'stuff' I was passing on to him could really help a lot of others and of course, being an author, his go to solution was that I should write a book. A self help book. I considered this for a few days and while not wholly against the idea, having seen how hard it is to self publish, I was not looking to go down that route. Writing it all down in one place though appealed to me so I dumped my brain into a document! The whole process of publication still left me cold and also way out of my comfort zone. I sent him the brain dump and he printed it out. He was determined that I should publish and against my wishes forwarded the document on to some mutual friends! I was mad at him, he was defensive, we argued, we made up agreeing that publication was a topic off the agenda. He did however continue to use the messages from the document to help him and I continued to add more to the pot. Months went past and the idea of self publication still left me feeling rattled and I didn't want the hassle of finding an agent. Then I discovered, quite by accident, that there was a third option. A publishing house that would accept my manuscript direct, no agent required, and who would help with preparation, formating, legal 'stuff', publishing and a lot of marketing for what I considered to be quite a reasonable fee. On top of that I would retain all the rights and be paid royalties on sales. I decided to relook at the document. I couldn't help but laugh! In my rush to dump everything down I came across as though I had a pole stuck up my backside, stiff and barely human. If nothing else I had to correct that and put something of my self into it. So In September I decided to do just that. After the first pass I knew I could actually make it readable so I contacted the publishing house and signed a contract! I decided to do all the illustrations myself which added to the burden but meant that the whole thing was 'mine'.
When I first started thinking about this as a book I knew I had to include illustrations. Self help books can be quite dry, lots of text with little relief. The more I got into writing the words, putting my own personal spin on the subject, I began to realise the illustrations would need to lift the words as well as support them. They needed to be amusing and they needed a theme. One of my hobbies is art and design so it wasn't a huge step to decide that I would do my own illustrations. On one of my read throughs I noticed the fact that I had described the whole book as a 'spiders web... of guidance...' That was the clue I needed, the illustrations would all be spider related! I began to think about what they would represent and came up with about 20 themes to be represented, then of course there was the cover art, I would have to do that too. I started doodling spiders, rejected a shed load and finally settled on one. But he had no name! 'Legs?' 'Awareweb?' 'Spidaware?' 'Webaware?' Nothing suited him! Then, eureka! Webstar! My spider had a name at last!
As I mentioned above 'A Web to Success', my book, was inspired by my informal mentoring of a young New York author who just decided that the knowledge and experience I was sharing with him ought to be shared with a much wider audience. The germ of the idea had been planted and while I was fine with downloading my brain for him, and others I mentor, I was most definitely not ok with publishing to a wider audience. Eventually though the seed took root. I saw my friend taking my advice on board and using it to improve himself. That alone was a huge motivator for me. Then he started mentoring other, less experienced, authors himself and sharing his own knowledge. That was the catalyst I needed. As the process of rewriting my original brain dump evolved my mind saw possibilities that neither he nor I had envisaged. The whole 'book' grew arms and legs, eight of them!
It goes without saying that my family and friends motivate me but if you've read my book you'll know there is a special pet in my life who has made me laugh, without fail, every single day since he arrived! Nismo! Nismo may occasionally guest blog on Webstars blog!
I have always used a specific poem as motivation throughout my life. Max Erhmanns Desiderata. I first came across this as a teenager and it blew me away. It instantly supported all my own life values and felt like it had been written for that purpose even though it was written decades beforehand. I always have a copy to hand and it never fails to lift my spirits and calm my mind when I read it. Try it!
By Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious
to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.