How I came to host my own book launch event

Making Mindful Magic author, Lea McKnoulty

Making Mindful Magic author, Lea McKnoulty

My plan for Making Mindful Magic has always included the premise that the universe will help me and guide me in getting its message out into the world.

I didn’t set out to have a big launch event, it felt much more comfortable for me to proceed with an online launch but the universe has ways of offering opportunities and none more so than my author event at Mary Ryan’s Milton on Thursday 21 April.

I have discovered since self-publishing Making Mindful Magic that although the first part was not easy, it was straightforward in comparison to the varied skills required in marketing and distributing the book, one of them being public speaking. It’s not that I have an aversion to speaking in front of a group – I was a teacher – but speaking about myself is something quite new for me!

Mary Ryan Milton has a team of people, headed by the very capable and amiable Kirsty-Lee who are incredibly supportive of authors, even self-published ones like me. So when they agreed to stock my book, I of course accepted their offer to hold an author event at the store. It’s part of my plan for the book, to say ‘yes’ to whatever opportunities arise and then trust the universe will help me work it out.

On the night I’ll be exploring issues like what inspired me to write the book, how I came to write it and how I see the role of mindfulness in the quest to slow down and lead calmer, more meaningful lives.

There will be a Q&A session and I will also read the book and discuss ways to use it with the children in your lives. We’ll include a mindfulness exercise of our own and send you home with a little party favour to remember the night!

If you live in Brisbane I’d love to meet you personally and if you haven’t had the opportunity to purchase a book, I’ll happily write a personal message in a new one or bring along one you may have bought already.

EVENT DETAILS

Thursday 21 April
6.15pm (event will run for about an hour)

Mary Ryan's Milton
40 Park Road,
Milton, Brisbane

Please RSVP to lea@makingmindfulchildren.com or via our Facebook event here so we can count you in for nibbles, drinks and your goody to take away at the end. 

How I came up with the topic of mindfulness

Illustrating the mindful illustrations in Making Mindful Magic

Illustrating the mindful illustrations in Making Mindful Magic

I’ve been asked many times since publishing Making Mindful Magic how I decided to write about the topic of mindfulness for children. People seem rather intrigued that I was drawn to this topic so I thought I’d elaborate.

The seed to write a children’s book was planted many moons ago when I was an early childhood teacher when I was always eager to find books that related to a child’s emotional life and wellbeing. Books on the topic were certainly thin on the ground in those days but surprisingly those types of books haven’t really flourished despite the groundswell of interest in spirituality now.

But as for the topic of mindfulness itself, I think it really found me because I reached a point in my life that allowed me to hear and accept the thoughts and ideas that were coming to me!

I’d say it began when I learnt to meditate about 10 years ago. Over time, this habit I’ve come to relish twice a day for 20 minutes per session has had a profound effect on my life. At first I just came to enjoy the peace I felt with this short period of turning off. I found it made me less reactive to situations and much more able to put space between a potentially difficult situation and myself.

That space overtime allowed me the luxury and almost demanded that I give myself quiet time to let the dreams and positive thoughts unfold. Ideas would just spring into my head – always about family life and children, always about living authentically, always about slowing life down and most importantly, about giving children the time they deserve to be children without the pressures of modern day life.

Illustrating the mindful illustrations in Making Mindful Magic

Illustrating the mindful illustrations in Making Mindful Magic

I see mindfulness as threefold. Firstly there is the pure mindful meditation time, when thoughts can dissipate, when real quiet can be found – bliss, really! Then there is the mindfulness that relates to being fully present with whatever you are doing at any particular time; not thinking about what happened in the past and not contemplating what might happen in the future. The third prong is about living a mindful life. This means to me that you are consciously making decisions about what you eat, where you buy your food, what products you choose to use in your house and on your body, the list is endless when you really begin to explore the notion of living mindfully.

As for the book and writing it I really gave myself permission to follow my intuition and to let the ideas flow and to believe in them and eventually I produced Making Mindful Magic. The book begins with a “Sit Quietly’ activity which is really a pre-meditation experience for children. Perhaps it’s not something that children or many adults think about – perhaps not even realising that it’s ok to sit and do nothing! ‘The Take As Long As You Can’ experience is something in the same vein whilst the remainder are to prompt children into engaging with the present moment – Walk Barefoot on Grass, Find Stars to name just a couple.

Find Stars, one of the activities suggested in Making MIndful Magic.

Find Stars, one of the activities suggested in Making MIndful Magic.

The next book in the series will focus more on living mindfully, ‘Shopping at Markets’, Visiting your Elders’, ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ are a few which encourage children to take the time to pay attention to how they live their lives without harbouring the point.

I do find it interesting that there are not more books for children on the topic of mindfulness, perhaps people think the idea is beyond them? In Making Mindful Magic the word ‘mindfulness’ is never mentioned outside the title but I believe given the chance they can explore the nature of mindfulness at any age if given the encouragement, some tools and the example.

If you're looking for conscious, positive gifts for children this Christmas, our children's book, Making Mindful Magic makes for the perfect gift for children of all ages - nieces, nephews, grandkids, godchildren, friends' children and your own kids!

Please place Christmas orders before Thursday 17 December (if you're in Australia) to ensure your present arrives before the big day!

Making a children's book: the self-publishing journey

Lea McKnoulty, author & illustrator of Making Mindful Magic.

Lea McKnoulty, author & illustrator of Making Mindful Magic.

Making a children's book is not easy! It's a long journey, but a rewarding one. The idea for Making Mindful Magic started as a brainstorm with all the ideas that were running through my head – children living authentically, child-rearing in other cultures, children being grounded, ways of teaching a slower view of life and many more ideas. It was a continual bombardment of little ideas, I didn’t know at the time how I would bring them all together. Read more about how I came to write and illustrate Making Mindful Magic here.

One of my early pastel works that didn't make it into this book, maybe the next one!

One of my early pastel works that didn't make it into this book, maybe the next one!

My next challenge after writing and illustrating the book was to decide to self-publish or submit my work to publishers. At that point my vision for the book was very complete and I was reluctant to give up control of the details so I chose self-publishing.

Self-publishing has proven to be a huge journey – if I thought writing and illustrating a book was challenging, this next leg of the journey was about to be littered with pitfalls! I looked into subsidy press options with little joy, finding the final product not to my liking. My number one criteria has always been that Making Mindful Magic had to look like a publishing house had produced it!

Funnily enough, I had seen a beautiful book that had been printed by Tien Wah Press in Singapore so with my marketing consultant daughter Katie at the helm we explored the options with them. We loved what we found and were further pushed in their direction when we discovered they did a lot of printing for large publishing companies. I could literally walk into a bookstore and intuitively pick up a book they had printed so it felt very right to go with them.

Next issue book design! I was also very fortunate that my other daughter Louise, a designer, is amazing with graphics and art and she brought those skills to designing the book, giving it the special touches that come with loving attention.

That’s how I feel about my book – it’s been a long journey of almost two years in the making but it’s been one of self-discovery and following what felt right and all the while a family collaboration was joyfully taking place.

The realisation of what you’ve created when that physical copy is in your hands is an amazing feeling common to all authors but with a self-publisher it’s coupled with the challenge of selling your ‘baby’! 

So embracing the digital era, I’m busy learning from my super-skilled daughter and with her help creating my public-facing platform through this website, blog, Facebook  and Instagram.

Writers these days clearly need to do more than write books if they want their book to succeed in the marketplace! Book number two in the Making Mindful Children series is well underway and will be our next challenge, which I’ll welcome with open arms!

Making Mindful Magic is now available for purchase through our shop for Australian and international orders. Purchase the book

LAUNCH OFFERS

We have two special offers to celebrate our book launch this week!

10% off: Receive 10% off until Wednesday 4 November at midnight AEST, you'll be one of the first to receive the book!
Use code: mindfulness111

5 books offer: Buy 5 books, get 1 free. Perfect if you’d like to buy a few copies to give to children as presents (Christmas is less than two months away!), or just to share around to your parent or teacher friends.
Use code: mindfulness555

How did I come to write this book?

I have always been a lover of books! It was my favourite pastime as a child, the favourite part of my early childhood teaching career and bedtime stories with my children was one of the best parts of being a mother!

Then writing children’s books became a hobby which moved to publishing a newsletter to circulate children’s writing and then out of that came a  neighbourhood children’s art festival which encompassed writing, music, dance and art. That sort of exhausted me in the end!

I learnt transcendental meditation from a wonderful man Steve Griffith (Success without Stress) and that began the process of my spiritual life. For the last 10 years I’ve been drawn to books that explore spiritual growth – Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay – all setting me up to write Making Mindful Magic.

About 2 years ago I started getting strong messages from somewhere that I needed to return to writing children’s books; the messages came from everywhere.  I knew it had to be about children living authentically but it wasn’t really coming together until I did an amazing online course Living Intuitively with intuitive teacher and writer Helen Jacobs of The Little Sage. That allowed me to shift focus to myself and believe in what I could achieve if I allowed it to happen.

At the same time I was on a wonderful visit to a Balinese Ayurvedic retreat (Sukhavati) and I was blessed with 2 wonderful healing sessions and that coupled with the panchakarma treatments allowed everything to really come together.

I’d never thought of writing in verse but one night those verses just poured out of me and onto my notebook – it was exhilarating and strangely lightening! As for the art work that forms the illustrations for Making Mindful Magic, I was asked by my sister-in-law Diana if I’d like to do a pastel course with her. In my new open-minded frame of mind I just did it, although I’d never considered myself creatively artistic generally. I loved the medium and decided to give it a go with my verses I’d written. Being a novice, the naïve, whimsical style suited my theme and the rest as they say is history!