So, I’ve written a book. And we’re crowdfunding it. It’s really exciting and I hope you’re going to be excited too.
It’s my first book and our first crowdfunding experiment and I’m keen to see if we can build a community of friends who want to be part of something special, exploring ways to engage, motivate and re-activate people who many would have us believe are hopeless, feckless and workshy.
The book draws on experiences of hundreds of unemployed people who found work with help from Clean Slate, the social enterprise I’ve run since 2006, but don’t call it self-publishing. The Social Publishing Project now takes over the reins and its first job, crowdfunding-allowing, will be to find a book editor to channel SPP’s knowhow for writing in the language of target audiences.
The lead character, Jock, is someone I knew. The first half of the story is true, the rest is a composite made up of hundreds of other Jocks I've met in the past 20 years. We follow him from feeling unemployable, hemmed in by circumstances but set free by a simple offer of paid work. His decision to do ‘a favour’ for a friend sets wheels in motion that introduce him to people who see how much he has to offer and teach him to do the same.
The real Jock died before he could realise his potential. He was just 38. Last time I saw him he said: 'Other people helping me had given up on me, they can't believe I'm doing it. Even I gave up on me but now I'm thinking about a future. I haven't done that for over 15 years.' I'm Ready is Jock's legacy, an upbeat tale of what could have been and what has since been for many others.
The Social Publishing Project is the perfect home for this first edition. Its work is about speaking to people on low incomes in their own language, helping them help themselves, not doing it to them. Quids in! magazine, SPP's flagship, takes a unique approach, drip feeding money management advice in ways the Money Advice Service cannot; it is irreverent, informal, uses celebs to hook readers in, and is sometimes even a bit sexy. In a recent online event run by Citizens Advice, SPP won praise for placing User Experience at its heart. Maybe it's because Quids in! is tangibly borrowed from another sector (publishing) but SPP is gaining recognition Clean Slate struggles to achieve. I'm hoping the book will help set it apart as something special.
We’re crowdfunding the book because we want to create a community of supporters who see things sometimes need to be done differently. Innovation doesn't solely belong to technology, it can also be about getting back to basics and identifying what is overlooked. Conventional support isn't always able to engage those least able to help themselves. To fill the gap, it's down to you, me and jobseekers themselves to find a different way of doing things.
Please help us get I'm Ready into print by sharing links to this blog, the crowdfunding page and all our social media activity. Please pledge to buy the book, if we hit our funding targets. And please keep in touch, to see whatever might follow - be part of our community.