I Wrote A Book, And Here’s Why I’d Like For You To Care About It
The title of this blogpost is true: I wrote a book. I mean, I don’t want to brag about it. But at the same time, I invested a heap of my life into it, so I’d kind of love if people noticed. That’s why I talk about it so much.
The book is called The Traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World.
Here’s a quick synopsis:
On January 1, 2011, thirty year-old Daniel Baylis left his home in Montreal, vowing not to return for one year. Spending every month in a different country, he attempted to exchange work for room and board in an effort to not only travel cheaply, but to see what was happening on the ground of each community he visited. As the story progresses from the wetlands of Louisiana to the markets of Peru to the classrooms of Laos, what emerges is a portrait of an individual trying to be helpful in a variety of volunteer positions and of all the people who subsequently help him along the way. ‘The Traveller’ is a witty and thoughtful account of the joys and disappointments of pursuing a dream journey.
Doesn’t that sound interesting? Well, if you’re not yet convinced that this book is for you, here are three persuasive reasons to surf on over to Indiegogo right now to pre-order a copy. (Editorial update: The campaign is now over! Visit thetraveller.ca to see how you can order.)
You love travel. First and foremost this book is a travel memoir—the story of a man who went into the world to visit twelve different countries and to interact with locals. The book speaks to anyone who has ever dreamed of travelling, of connecting with people different than themselves, or of simply pursing a dream. If you’ve got a dream, this book is for you.
You think independent creative projects are great. In a word of product placement, advertorial content and market-specific book deals, independent creative projects are like lambs among robots. From rapper Macklemore to the indie television series The Outs, people are sidestepping traditional methods to make the art they want to make, and this art is often downright awesome. If you believe in self-directed creativity, this book is a vote for just that.
You have a warm spot in your heart for entrepreneurialism. “The entrepreneur is commonly seen as an innovator — a generator of new ideas and business processes.” That’s what Wikipedia says. I won’t be so bold as to label myself an “innovator,” but this project did require an entrepreneurial spirit: I booked all my tickets, I researched and connected with each of my host organizations, and now I’m self-publishing. From work-exchange networks to crowdfunding sites, the trip and the subsequent book are the result of using innovative models to interact and engage with the world. If you’ve ever felt compelled to step outside the box, this book is an example of what can be accomplished.
Bonus: Questions & Answers About “The Traveller”
Why did you decide to call your book ‘The Traveller’? One of the challenges of this project was its plurality. Whereas many stories have a fixed setting and central characters, my story spans twelve different nations and includes many characters. Thus, the book can be viewed as an interconnected set of short stories, and as such a singular title becomes difficult to select. The winning title—The Traveller—was something that emerged early on in the writing process, and simply wouldn’t go away. Compared to titles such as How To Get Mugged In Cape Town or Notes From A Goat Whisperer, a simple, all encompassing title made the most sense. The Traveller references the single protagonist who weaves all the stories together, and alludes to a character that I have always aspired to: a mythical wanderer who carries nothing more than a small suitcase brimming with international tales. Am I worthy of such a title? Ultimately it’s up to the reader to decide.
Why are you self-publishing? Great question. The short version is that I wanted to maintain creative control and proprietorship over my product. If you’d prefer the long version, knock your socks off: read this article on self-publishing a book.
What is Indiegogo? It’s a website that helps people fund what matters to them. Essentially, if you’ve got a project and need some money to make it happen, you can create a campaign and raise funds by pitching your project and eliciting support. This type of collective effort is called “crowdfunding” and is becoming a vital tool for independent projects and activist work around the world.
Why did you decide to do an Indiegogo campaign? The decision to run a crowdfunding campaign is directly linked to my decision to self-publish my book. Indiegogo provides a stellar platform that enables folks with independent projects to share their aspirations, makes it easy for people to give money, manages the financial transactions (credit cards & paypal) and then provides the information needed to deliver “perks.”
Wait, what are perks? When you visit any Indiegogo campaign page, on the right-hand side of the page you’ll see a short, tiered list entitled “Select a Perk.” Essentially perks are your reward for supporting a project. In my case, funding levels range from $5 to $1000, and each level offers the opportunity to nab a variety of goodies. For instance, if you give $25, you’ll get a print copy and a digital copy of the book!
Who’s going to give you $1000? To be honest, I’m not assuming that anyone will support on that level. But I’m making it an option because WHO KNOWS?
How can I help? A bit of financial support is the primary way to help any Indiegogo campaign. If money is tight and you’d still like to support my independent publishing endeavours, a great way to help is simply to share the campaign link. And when you share, maybe write a quick sentence or two about why travel or independent projects are important to you! (update: The campaign is now over! The best way to help now is to buy the book. Options are here: www.thetraveller.ca)
Finally, what’s your favourite animal? And don’t say dolphins. I’m glad you asked! One of the places I visited in my travels was an organic goat farm in the hills of Galilee. I learned a couple of things from the experience (plug: read the book and find out more!) but one of the main takeaways was that goats are awesome! They are playful, inquisitive and stubborn creatures. Sorta like myself.