Back in April, I talked to Greg McQueen, the man behind 100 Stories for Haiti, and he wowed us with the tale of how the book was born. Now six months on from the Haiti earthquake, I talked to him again to find out how the next chapters in his fundraising success story took shape.
It’s been a few months since we last spoke – what’s happened with 100 Stories since then?
Quite a lot! We have now sold over 500 copies. I realise that doesn’t sound like a lot but the book was produced through an indie publisher, with the word spread about it through Twitter, Facebook and other social media. We’ve had articles in several magazines and websites as well. So, for an indie publisher, 500 copies sold in three months is rather a lot.
The book is also out as an audiobook on iTunes and Audible.com. There it’s called Stories for Haiti and it features 20 stories from the paperback and ebook edition, and was produced by BBC Audiobooks America.
And I see you now have a podcast?
Yes. Again, you can find it on iTunes or by visiting the 100 Stories for Haiti website. The podcast is free, and features snippets of how the book was put together and interviews with some of the authors and people involved in the project.
The first episode of the podcast is now live, and it includes an interview with Lorraine Mace, author of the Writer’s ABC Checklist, and volunteer editor on 100 Stories for Haiti.
Interviews for future episodes include Dan Deyan, the guy behind the audiobook version. He’s produced audiobooks for 20 years, won Grammy awards, and produced audiobooks for pretty much all the major publishers. He’ll be a fascinating guy to talk to.
What has surprised you the most about the whole project?
People’s generosity. People who say that the internet is making us more insular and more separate are wrong. 100 Stories for Haiti would not have been possible without the internet or without sites like Twitter and Facebook. The internet really has shown that people are connecting and collaborating on projects like 100 Stories for Haiti because they know that together they can help make a difference.
What’s been the best feedback you’ve received?
It’s hard to single out one thing. But something that strikes me a lot is people’s reactions to the project. I was in a cafe a few weeks ago and I heard the owner talking to another customer about the fact he was writing a book. I got talking to the owner some minutes later about what he was doing and told him about 100 Stories for Haiti and his face lit up as he said: “Wow! Where can I buy a copy?” I happened to have a couple of copies in my bag and he bought one straight away. I’ve since been back to the cafe and the book is on display available for his customers to read.
Reactions like that and people’s willingness to give and help – it astounds and amazes me every time it happens. I have sold about a dozen copies of the book face-to-face like that.
Do you have any plans for the future – for 100 stories, or for other projects?
The 100 Stories podcast will run for 12 episodes. It’s bi-weekly, so it’ll run until November time. I’ll start studying at Aarhus Business Academy in Denmark in August doing multimedia design and communication. I really want to learn more about how the internet works – knowledge I want to use for future publishing projects.
I want to start another charity book project by the end of the year as well. I don’t want to say too much about it until I have planned it more. But it will be for teens and young adults. It’s also quite an ambitious project, so I need to get help from other writers, editors, and publishers to make it happen.
What have you learnt from the project?
Don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. If you want to publish a book – be it to help a charity or not – start now. Finish reading this article and then start figuring out how you can make it happen. If you’re sitting on your book, waiting for an agent or publisher to pay you some attention, you’ll wait an awful a long time … Stop waiting, start doing.