A Family Affair

Front coverI’ve written before about my three sisters, Gill, Ginge and Les, their energy, imagination and the hours they devote to raising money for charity (and having a bloody good time in the process). They obviously got a marketing gene which bypassed me (and probably my two brothers as well). Anyway, the reason I’m bringing them up again is because their work on flogging Rory the Dragon and Princess Daisy is an example of what we all need to do to shift more of our books.

In case you’re a new visitor I should explain that the book’s proceeds are going to charity. It’s dedicated to my grand-niece, Daisy Warn, who only lived for 16 weeks. During that time, she and her family were given wonderful care, love and support by the Children’s Hospice South West and, since then, the extended family has been continuing to express its thanks by fund-raising for the CHSW through a group called The Friends of Daisy Chain. I blogged about it in more detail in February.

OK, I wrote the story (which meant sitting on my bum in a warm room having a good time and laughing at my own jokes), my nephew Joe illustrated it (and knowing Joe, he probably quite enjoyed himself in the process, too), then I put it all together. But since then, the sisters have taken over and (although, as I said, they too enjoy themselves), they’ve been working very hard and, it seems, being successful. So, without asking her permission and therefore risking being sued by her – which would divert the book’s profits from the charity to some lawyers – I thought I’d just copy a couple of Gill’s recent emails to show you what I mean. So here they are.

March 10th. On Saturday we had a table at a sale in a local church – not much good financially but good in a networking way. Ginger’s suggestion was that we all wore black and used the bowler hats they had for the Cabaret dance at my 60th. These were decorated with a string of daisies and looked really good. We dressed the stall with balloons and all CHSW banners etc.  We created quite a storm amongst the ladies who were manning the stalls (what’s that called – is it an oxymoron?) and about 30 people came up to us and said how much they liked the hats and how smart we looked etc.  We only raised about £37.50 which was rubbish but the Herald photographer came up and asked for a photo shoot – well about 10 photos – how many constitute a ‘shoot’?  We told her the story about the book and she took some more with us holding the books and was very interested. I said I’d send her a press release.

March 13th. Back from Tiverton where we met with about 80 people. Gave a small presentation and the fundraiser had made sure there was a book on every seat so they all had one to look at.  We gave them a handout with the story and the details of all the money going to them etc. It was really well received and the fundraiser for South Somerset & Devon was taking orders while we were there. Some of the women read the book and we could see them laughing. During the presentation I made I asked them their opinion and they said they thought it was brilliant, and it was great to see them walking out with bundles of the book under their arms.
The area manager of the retail side came over and asked us about putting the books in the shops and displaying them properly etc – so that was good.  Altogether a very positive day – it’s all looking good – we also have a table in the CHSW marquee  at both the Devon & Cornwall County Shows – another good place for networking since it is mostly businesses that have marquees there as it’s very expensive to hire one. We could split our time between selling the books and going around trying to drum up sponsorship.

The  book’s aimed at the age range 5-8. It’s £4.99 and if anyone wants a copy, please get in touch with Gill at
gillytom@blueyonder.co.uk

It’s wonderful to think that, thanks to all their hard work, the book’s going to make several hundred quid for the CHSW. Now all I need to do is con the sisters into doing the same thing for my other books where the profits will be ALL MINE..

0 comments

  1. I think your sisters are doing a wonderful job, Bill and obviously for a cause close to their hearts and the hearts of many other people, but they clearly admire your work and your part in all this. It must be gratifying to hear your book is so popular, even though it is not swelling your own coffers. Who knows where it may lead. You deserve a little good fortune for the time spent sitting on your bottom, and of course your generosity.

  2. Thanks to all for dropping by.

    Gwen, you’re right, they do a great job. And this is only a tiny fraction of the fund-raising they’ve been doing over the years. Makes me realise their social consciences are better than mine, too.

    Myra, I know. It’s so easy to take it for granted that there are people like these around who put up with all sorts of rubbish from me. But I’m curious – have you ever used your imaginary sister in a story? Sounds tempting to me.

    Janice, that’s the one gap in their otherwise immaculate campaign so far. I’ve been pestering them to create a buy link on the Daisy Chain site but it hasn’t appeared yet.

    Anne, this is the first time so many of us have worked together on anything. My younger brother Bob has got some sponsorship and I think I’ve made Ron feel guilty enough to persuade him to write the sequel – so that makes it a full house.

  3. A lovely account of your family affair, Bill. Such a good cause – the hospice movement is well worth supporting.

    1. Thank you Joan. Yes, even in the abstract, the work of hospices is clearly admirable but when you have direct experience of it, you realise that it’s actually essential.

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