Back during the snow storm in January, Abby Little and I released a little video letting the world know that we have a forthcoming children’s book about Birmingham called Down in the Ham: A Child’s Guide to Downtown Birmingham, and since that was two months ago, I wanted to give a little update on where we are in the journey. (Here’s a link to a blog post that accompanied the video and introduced the book.)
At this point, we are expecting to release the book in early June, and we’ll be doing several pop-ups over the course of the summer. Plus, the book will be available on Amazon, and I’m about to start talking with local vendors about selling the book in their stores. Of course, you’ll be hearing more about all of this as we get closer to the book’s release.
The Book Busyness & Business
As I have learned since this whole Down in the Ham journey began, writing a book is a whole lot easier than everything else that is involved in bringing it to fruition. Some days, my head is just swimming with details and items on the to-do list (and this is on top of working a full-time job and being back in school). But today was a milestone day where God answered a lot of prayers all at once with regards to the book.
Since my background is middle grades education, I lack business and marketing experience, so I’m learning about branding, websites, social media strategies, business plans, business licenses, trademarks, professional photos, etc. But it’s a steep learning curve. REV Birmingham offers a Biz 1.0 Workshop (which I highly recommend) for folks who have a great idea and want to know what to do next, and I went last month and basically learned what I don’t know – and how much I don’t know! But I’m so thankful that I went, and I’ve been working through material that they gave us.
So what happened today? Several weeks ago, Abby and I learned that Vulcan’s name and image is trademarked, and since it would be unthinkable to have a children’s book about Birmingham and not include Vulcan, we sought permission to include Vulcan in our illustrations. Today, we received our permission! This was crucial time-wise if we were going to stay on track to meet our projected deadline.
So at this point, Abby has been working hard on finishing up the illustrations (some pages like Railroad Park and Pepper Place have taken longer than others to do), and now that we have our clearance from Vulcan Park & Museum, we can wrap these pages up. And I’m #hustling to get a business license, seek endorsements for the book, and keep our blog and social media running. Plus, we’re both working on the release party and pop-ups, and we have a little surprise up our sleeve that we’re both having a hard time keeping secret.
Our goal in all of this is to promote our city. We are both proud to call Birmingham “home,” and we want to encourage families in particular (but really people of all ages) to go downtown and to visit all of the places mentioned in the book.
At this point, I need to give a shout-out to some creative friends who are part of this journey with us: Caroline Crouch (she gets the photo cred for the pics above and for others you’ll be seeing), Bethany Hubbard who is helping us with our “little surprise,” and Christine McDermott of Great Oak Circle who has worked her tech magic with this website and helped us establish our online presence. Plus, Abby and I both have incredible support systems of family and friends who are praying for us and walking with us (and who are willing to let me Instagram their food every time we go out to eat). More than anything, we have both seen God’s faithfulness throughout this whole process – from the book’s idea to leading me to identify Abby as the illustrator to working things out today. This whole endeavor is a testament to His grace in both of our lives.
We cannot wait to share the book with you, but until then, enjoy this sneak peak…And if you follow me (@downintheham) and Abby (@missabbylittle) on Instagram, you’ll see more teasers in the weeks to come.