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SheChanges Book #2: Powered by Women

$1,885 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 22 people in 8 months

My name is Lael Couper Jepson and I am the woman that lives at the red-hot, fiery center of SheChanges , a Portland, Maine-based business that's all about change powered by women. 

This campaign is to support the publishing of my second book—the first one being Unscripted: A Woman's Living Prayer , published in 2015. 

I am very proud of that first book, and it was wonderfully received, but this next book? It feels super-charged—like I've pulled out all the stops and am not holding anything back. 

The book is called It Seems I’m Not Alone: Lighting The Leader Fire, and I've felt it coming in me for years. I have coached executives, senior-level women and entrepreneurs all over the county for the past thirteen years in my business, so at the core of this book is a call for more women to lead us forward...but not just any way. THEIR way. Embedded in this book is an invitation for women to to bring MORE of who they are to HOW they show up—everywhere.

This is a book about women NOT waiting one minute longer.
This is a book about women being BORN ready + MORE than enough.
This is a book about going rogue from "the way it's done".
This is a book about women bringing everything they've got to bear...
Embodying who they are naturally, creatively, resourcefully and wholly.

And this is, ultimately, a book that not only DEBUNKS our stories we tell ourselves about the women we admire, but also shows us how we ARE the women we admire—and what happens when more women decide to assume the responsibility for the full-throttle power that lives inside them as one of our greatest sustainable resources. 

Because I've had the good fortune of being a midwife to countless badass women over the years who go on to do some pretty epic maneuvers in their personal and professional lives, I've gotten to witness what happens when no one is looking—the stuff that goes on behind the veil that she either doesn't talk about at social gatherings or has tried to tell you but you won't hear of it—because that would mean she's not much different or more special than you, right? 

Could you tolerate being that woman you admire? 

Over the years, I've gathered (and lived) loads of stories and illustrations—enough so to see a pattern (not a formula or a how-to...) emerge. I've designed this book with that pattern in mind, organizing the stories around FIVE sections that each have their own governing question: 

Roots: What's Happening To Me?
Hunger: Can I Really Want This?
Opening: What the Hell Am I Doing? 
Movement: Am I Willing To Make An Ass Of Myself? 
Perspective: Can We Be Done Yet? 

You can hear a bit more about why I feel so strongly about this book and where it comes from in my video. Or, if you want to get a flavor for how I write and what you'll find inside the book, I've recorded 5 five different excerpts  of me reading from the manuscript via SoundCloud. 

This book is how I am contributing to the conversation about women leading in the world. This book is my fiery missive I'm sending into the nighttime sky through the vast web of women's networks. And as a result, this book will be powered by and for women. Period.

Which is why I need your help to get it published. It's more than just mine this time around. I've proven myself as a published author on my own, and that was important to me, but this is different. This is bigger. This is about more than just me. And (happily) it's now OUT of me. 

Why I'm Self-Publishing (in case you were wondering...):
I want to spend my time/energy actually writing what's pouring into my soul, not creating proposals, pitching my stories, and shopping myself around hoping someone I don't know will notice me
I self-published my first book . It got my book to you 6 mos after I finished the manuscript, not 2 yrs 
I want a high degree of creative control over my own art—I know what I want
I actually want to get paid for my art after it's released—not when the advance has been met
I know how to do me well—I am messy,  wild, and completely immersed when I create, so answering to others or thinking about my "market audience" will sour or staunch my creative juices fast
It's fast(er) than traditional publishing, and I'm wildly impatient 
I have at least two other books cued up to write inside me...and I want to get to them

What This Campaign Will Cover (see links for the amazing people on my team so far):
First round  of editing (developmental: overall structure, ensuring clarity and flow of concepts)
Second round  of editing (line editing: catching and correcting grammar, tense, tone, voice, clarity)
Cover photography
Interior design/layout to make it all perdy 
Cover design to make it all pop and pull you in 
Final round  of editing (technical: proofing with the lice comb to get out all the tiny nits)
Upload to KDP...formerly CreateSpace  (so people can actually BUY it)
Kindle conversion (so people can have an electronic version) 
Misc stuff like ISBN number, marketing channels, website promotion

So if you see yourself (or someone you know) in my words here or feel connected to this community launch in anyway, I would welcome your gift of support. If you'd like to make a donation to honor a girl or woman in your life, then please make it in her name. If you believe in me and want to see this book reach others beyond the SheChanges community, please consider connecting me with your web of women by sharing this campaign and showing your support of it—the more the merrier.

You're welcome to ride shotgun on this journey with me, or just hitch your wagon to our caravan, but we're headed to a publishing date of summer 2019, which means this party is going to get started pretty soon in the publishing pipeline! 

Here are some reward levels if that's something that gets your motor running: 

$15 (Hermiones) If you're just dipping your toe in this pool for the first time and want to see what it's like, I'll give you a warm shout out by name in the acknowledgement pages of my book!

$25 (Vixens) Way to step up, there hot stuff! For your fleet feet and sure-footedness on that show of support, not only will I acknowledge you by name in my book, but I will also welcome you to this level with a hand-written (yes, I am an old-school fan) thank you note with lots of Lael-love. I'm good at gratitude. Go ahead, test me. 

$50 (Spitfires) Ah, you sassy number! Way to lay it down for something you feel passionate about! For your moxie and pluck, I will name you in my book for your support, sure, but will also welcome you to this level with a hand-written Lael-love note and also a signed copy of my new book! 

$100 (Badasses) Well now, you DO mean business, doncha!? High five and chest bump on that gift, you! For that show of amazing support, I will name you in my book, give you an extra special Lael-love old-school thank you note, and signed copies of my first book as well as this second one! 

$250 (High Priestesses) And.....WHOMP! There it is! (insert sounds of bells and whistles here and explode the confetti capsules). I am honored by your generosity and bow deeply to your commitment to this cause. For your awesome show of support at this level, I will name you in my book, give you a juicy good Lael-love-old-school thank you note, two signed copies of my book (first and newest) AND one 45-minute badass coaching session to be scheduled by you at your leisure. 

Thank you!
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Hellloooooooo!!!! Hold me like you love me, people (please and thank you!) The Jeep Is packed and I’m headed up the coast to a friend’s house by the ocean (I’ve got such amazing women in my life!!!!) for FIVE FULL DAYS of re-writes (which is retooling, yes, but also conjuring new stuff as I’ve completely rehauled the book. My eyes on in the August 5th deadline to deliver this badass mama manuscript to Hawaii into the capable hands of my editor, Nikki ( not to be confused with my cover/interior designer Nicki...). So this is not a drill...shit is SUPER REAL, and truth be told, I LOVE when it gets this way, because I get all powerhousey under pressure. (I used to be the anchor in the 4x400m relay for this very reason...). Bring it the fuck on.

AND. I could use some good mojo and prayers and lots of love. So if you see this, please think of me up there and work your magic woman. It might be shaking your hips and doing a dance, it might be a quiet prayer, it might mean envisioning a blue orb of badassery surrounding me, it might mean forwarding this email and enlisting a friend to make a donation.

Because as of now, I have spent ALL of our beautiful money... so again, shit is getting real. The lovely badass photographer Lauryn Sophia was just paid today ($500) thanks to your generous donations. ❤️ And while I am TOTALLY committed and into this with both feet, it would feel really good (and be a sign ‍♀️) to know that I am, indeed, not alone.

And SPEAKING of not alone!!! 25 women joined me up in Freeport last week for the photo shoot—with like 10 days notice, in July, at 7:00 at night!!! It was EPIC and so very much fun! I’ve shared a few photos above, but more are to come! Yea, Lauryn is the BOMB! Amazingly, talented! And now my High Priestess of a designer (otherwise known as Nicki Fenderson :) is working her magic with the cover and interior designs...

So off I go! I just wanted to let you know I’m brining you with me in my heart. It really really helps to have you there—but then hopefully you know. Because you’re all brave badasses, too, and you KNOW what it’s like to feel...out there.

Mwah! Much love and gratitude to you, my friends! Be back soon with more!
Xo

Lael
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Hey there beautiful people!!!

Big day! And much gratitude, as I finally spent the money you’ve invested in me! Mwah!!! I’m heading back into my manuscript for the first of 8 days to rehaul it and get it ready for my next editorial deadline of August 1st! Here’s an update with the latest and a look at my delivery plan that involves my team of FOUR rockstar women (two editors, a photographer and a designer!) who are helping me to get this badass uploaded by Nov 15 so I can have copies for sale at SheSpeaks Dec 5th and 6th!! Woot woot! And thank you!!!
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Hello My People!!!

Well now, THIS has been and illuminating couple of weeks... there’s a story there and I will be telling that for sure in this book, but here’s the bottom line for those of you who are riding this wild mustang of a journey with me (and thank you for that!).

Last Friday and Saturday I met with each of my two readers of my manuscript. It was the first time ANYONE has read the manuscript from soup to nuts...including me. Needless to say, I was nervi-cited (my new favorite word a client gave me...), but eager to hear their thoughts and see their reactions.

On the first of these, I sat down with my manuscript in my lap, and she asked: “...so tell me what you are trying to do here, before we jump in....”

I surprised myself by responding that I was intersecting the topics of “women” and “leadership”... and then I FURTHER surprised myself by saying, “... but WATCH FOR ME to dodge the “whole leadership thing”, because I have spent most of my life doing that....”

Gah. And then: “Holy shit, I did it AGAIN, didn’t I!?” She didn’t say a world, she just smiled.

I was SAYING “Witch”, but was MEANING “Leader”

I was SAYING “create change”, but I was talking about Leading.

I was SAYING “a revolution”, but I was talking about women leading.

Needless to say, that changed things. Starting with the title, which you’ll now see is:

It Seems I’m Not Alone: Lighting The Leader Fire.

I am more clear now than I ever have been. And I feel like my engines now have permission to go full steam ahead.

To that end, I have FINALLY contracted with an editor for the developmental edits (my original plan), and will deliver her the revised manuscript Aug 5.

I’ve also contracted with another editor to do the line edits beginning Oct 1, which will also include a final proof read.

I’ve also enlisted a photographer for the cover and a designer for the interior.

If all goes well, I’ll be uploading this book by my birthday Nov 1st.

Happy birthday to me!

So all this is to say THANK YOU, because I have not only FELT your support, but now also am using your generous donations to fund my initial deposit for my editing. It feels SOOOOO GOOd to have you with me.

Thank you! Mwah!
Xo

Lael
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Helloooooo good people of SheChanges!

It’s been forEVAH since I’ve updated you, but I assure you I have not fallen off the map.

Here’s the latest on Witch Ways and where I am:

— I have not yet spent a single dollar of the money I’ve raised to date, but have it squirreled away as I save up for my editing costs. I’m good like that. :)

—April 1st: I handed over my manuscript to two readers for a first-round developmental editing. This is the phase where I learn: does it make sense, are the bones solid, or am I come across as batshit crazy? (kidding...kind of). These readers are two trusted and wise women who know both ME (and my work) and good writing (what works, what doesn’t).

—June 1st: I meet with each of them to get their feedback, suggestions and recommended edits.

—I have an entire week in June allocated to make revisions to the manuscript to get it ready for its second round of editing. This, as they say, is when shit gets real, because I will be signing a contact and spending the money you have donated.

—I think I’ll be taking another week in July to get all the final bits and pieces buffed and polished to the best of my ability.

—My editor will be editing the manuscript for the entire month of August.

—and this is where it gets fuzzy for me... and why I haven’t been in touch. Because I’ve been listening and listening and looking, and am of two minds of where to go from here:

#1. Proceed to self-publishing option, which I am familiar and comfortable with...but will require another significant investment of money (and will I be able to raise that?) to make that happen (final proofing, photography, cover design, interior design, kindle conversion, etc). If I proceed this route I will have it ready to sell at SheSpeaks in early December...which is appealing. And exciting. That timing feels...right.

Or

#2. Go about enlisting an agent (which takes time....) and have that person shop the manuscript around with publishers (which takes even more time...if it gets picked up at all). I am not as familiar with this option, nor am I as comfortable, but I’m doing my best to not let that deter me, as I know it’s only a matter of time before I go this route (given I’ve already started my 3rd book....yup).

If I were a betting woman, I would put my money on option #1...because you KNOW that patience and waiting is kind of antithetical to who I am... not impossible, just not me. And frankly, I’m a fan of the artistic control self-publishing gives me...I can LITERALLY close my eyes and SEE the cover of this book.

So maybe I’m answering my own question. And maybe tomorrow I’ll have a different take on it.

But I didn’t want to let another day go by and not thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gift and investment in me. Your belief in me has kept me going on MANY dark nights of my creative soul. I treasure every one of you for that.

You, fine people, keep me standing upright and hydrated in the arena...and have me feel so very honored to be bringing this book to this world—because it DOES feel like it’s got so many of our stories in it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Lael
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$1,885 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 22 people in 8 months
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