This one is something I started with my boyfriend, Jon, when we realised that we wanted to be digital nomads more than anything else ever. He'd come up with the idea to write a guide to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival a few years before but - beyond the name - hadn't really made a start.
So just before Christmas 2012, we started writing it. At the time, I was living in Brighton, and Jon was in London. During 2013, as I darted between Sydney, Paris, New York, Ireland and London, we wrote the book, learning absolutely loads along the way about business, publishing, working together and marketing. We published on January 18, 2014 in at my mum's dining room table in Sydney. Here are some of the things we learnt:
To pull this book together, we needed to ask lots of favours. The first came from a designer friend of Jon's, Tom Hyatt, who created our logo. He normally charges for his services but we bought him a burger and a milkshake on New Years' Day 2013. He pulled together the logo within a week, listened to our vague instructions and made them reality.
We also talked to absolutely loads of Edinburgh Fringe types - performers, producers, behind-the-scenes powerhouses, promoters and media. They were all very happy to volunteer their time and share their Fringe wisdom. It's just a matter of asking. We also asked for loads of advice from our friends at Making it Anywhere when it came to self-publishing, because they've done it all before.
Working with your partner is both great and terrible
There are pros and cons to working as a couple. We definitely enjoyed the majority of it, but there were times - when we were stressed out about the more technical aspects of publishing (like the tax stuff you have to organise when publishing via CreateSpace - which requires you to fill out forms and Skype the IRS in America) when things got a bit tense.
I'd say, as with any business partnership, you need to clearly define roles, tasks and deadlines, and make sure you don't let the pressures of the project affect the rest of the relationship.
Just start (and just finish)
I'm constantly having ideas that I want to put into action. I'm a great starter but not a fabulous follower-through. Finishing something, having an actual physical copy of a book that I co-wrote in my hand and making some money from it is the best. Seeing a project go from a few shared Google Docs to a real-live book is a pretty magnificent feeling, and has definitely spurred me on to do more.
Negative criticism hurts more than positive feedback feels good
We've had heaps of people - people in our target demographic - say that the books is really great. That was great. But one person - not in our demographic, but a member of the press - really didn't like it much, and wrote a pretty negative review on an influential comedy website. It caused us untold angst for several days. But for some reason, all the positives didn't outweigh that one negative. Irrationally, the praise hadn't armed us for the criticism, and nor did it help us get over it.
The hard part isn't over yet
Now we have to market the darn thing, which, once it's finished, is quite tricky. We wanted to write a book, post about it on Facebook a few times and then let the sales roll in. Unfortunately, that's not the way it works, so we're having to send out press releases, organise competition giveaways and tweet CONSTANTLY. It's fine, but although we knew theoretically that we'd have to market it, we weren't prepared for the reality of slogging it out every day.