" Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time "
- Thomas A. Edison -
I loved this quote so much I put it in my book 'Makeup Artist Bootcamp'. I never anticipated how applicable it would become for me.
2016 certainly looked like a brilliant year for me from the outside. I saw the launch of LAUD Magazine with the rest of the team and I finally published my three books - Makeup Artist Bootcamp Book One, The workbook, and WE THE PAINTED (the soft cover)
Today... it's official. I am SOLD OUT of the Makeup Artist Bootcamp Book One!
For those who are still waiting on their copy with their Hard Cover of WE THE PAINTED... do not fear I have put your MUA Bootcamps aside (if you ordered the duo).
And yes... The Hard Covers are coming.
No one is in more anticipation than myself.
For those who haven't met me (or ordered the Hard Cover and checked their junk folder)... it's time you knew the story behind the publishing of the books... and the reason for the delay.
Of course there are some details that remain private for legal reasons... however... I never anticipated the journey for these books to be so much like a plot from a crazy Hollywood movie.
Would have I done it all over again given the chance? Yes... this education is something that I am in love with and really works for those who use it. I would have made a few changes however.
In short... leading up to the 2015 IMATS... Myself and LAUD Magazine had a stand booked on the advice from my 'publisher'. Why is 'Publisher' in inverted commas? Because this 'Publisher' that I had a contract with for pre production, production and post production decided to take their payment in full yet deliver on only one point of a four page contract.
Three days before I was due to go to print... they dropped in the final budget for the books which exceeded the initial budget by some peoples yearly wage (even though it was contracted to a capped amount), said I had approved everything, offered no alternative, and said their job was done.
Three days before I was supposed to go to print... I was left with an unfinished PDF version of my book and an AWOL 'Publisher' who then moved interstate. After 5 months of legal action (which was mainly this person avoiding actually answering the lawyer) I got a response of:
"Becca doesn't have the money to sue me"
I knew in that moment I had been conned.
I had a stand at IMATS with no product yet to sell. I had been in pre sale on the 'publishers' advice for 6 months already... and I was now in a massive debt with my investor and had no way to pay it back apart from freelancing. I had a 'publisher' who did do some layouts for me but didn't actually complete any points of their contract. Correction... ONE point of the contract which was to provide creative advice which they did in fact do... even if they didn't complete the work. The layouts were incomplete, still full of spelling errors thanks to the 'copy editor' I don't even think was a real person.
I have never been more devastated.
What makes it worse is I have known this person for 20 years. How did I not see this coming? I had worked on these books for 3 years already at great sacrifice to other things... and just when I thought my dreams were about to come true... the rug was pulled from underneath my feet.
There were a few tears... and lots of wine.
Then after some time I was clearly able to think about what my next move was... (as well as cancel my plans to move to America and relocate again to Sydney to go into damage control)
I knew that this 'publisher' was laughing with all my money and it was true... I didn't have the money to sue them. It was enough that they drew out replying to my Lawyer so I couldn't pay any more of the bills. It was one of the most horrific experiences. I even asked them just for the InDesign files of the books so we could get the books completed by a professional... OH... this was due to the fact their business was wound down by the government (during my pre production in which they never disclosed) and was actually illegal to do business with them anymore. Even if I WANTED them to see it through to the end I couldn't.
Can you even imagine what this was like?
So. One night i sat down with a piece of paper and I actually did a few exercises from MUA Bootcamp around this predicament. Sure... it was quite an intense period but I couldn't afford to buy into the drama anymore. I had to make a decision. This 'publisher' had put me in a huge amount of debt with nothing to show for it, my USA plans had to be paused and I had to relocate back to Sydney and somehow reignite my career there.
I had two choices...
Let this destroy me... or turn it around into a great experience.
I had a long hard look at whether it was time to throw in the towel and just work out how to pay back my investor... or think creatively about how to achieve my goal of publishing the books. And just like magic I started getting feedback from artists whom had done the live MUA Bootcamp.
One in particular got to me:
I read over the testimonials and the new ones coming through... and I realised if I gave up on the books... I would be giving up on the opportunity for more artists to say things like:
There is an activity in MUA Bootcamp called 'Milestone mapping' which is a way of breaking down huge goals into bite sized pieces that makes anything manageable and achievable.
I milestone mapped 'publishing my books' .
What I didn't have was:
- A publisher
- An edited book
What I DID have was:
- My original manuscript
- My original photos
- The knowledge that this training method works
What I needed was:
- My books-re graphic designed.
- My books re-copy edited.
- A printer to print the books.
So I knew what I had to do! Get to work.
I had the time, a computer and brains in my head. I put aside all mind chatter about my own limitations like 'but you're a makeup artist not a graphic designer'... and focused on what was important. The books.
This year I have spent most days and night teaching myself InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop and have done the graphic design and publication of my books myself. In the process I realised that my books hadn't been copy edited... merely text left out of pages that didn't fit into the 'publishers' version of the book. I paid good money for that. I had to let a lot go in the process.
The printer who prints LAUD Magazine heard my story and offered to be my printer and I couldn't be more grateful. The trips I made to the central coast to test print and do final, then final final, then final final final were countless... and I was more determined than ever to have the books looking perfect! We were a small yet tight team all committed to triumph!
There were many unbelievable hurdles.
I couldn't give up.
Like the time I spent months working and got 2/3 the way through designing in InDesign and like MAGIC! All files were wiped from my hard drive and external storage. VANISHED. Who knew you couldn't open a file from Dropbox and work from that directly. Thanks Adobe for the tip! (did you notice my sarcastic font there?)
I had many many 3am bed times, 16 hour days and somehow had to squeeze in freelance work to pay the bills. I have had 5 days off in 2016 and 3 of those were after the books were published. In between all that I had understandably curious people wondering where the hell their books were ... and all I could say was production issues.
I had days where after a test print I realised I had to colour balance over 300 step by step images.
After a test print of WE THE PAINTED I had to make an emergency flight to QLD to alter the colours on the art images and then the next day drive to the printer for more tests. This was after I thought we were ready to go.
After months and months of hard work (on top of the 3 years it took to create the content)... ONE DAY before I was due to launch the books at Beauty Expo 2016... I got to see the books in real life! Talk about cutting it fine. Here are just some of the images of the process:
Australian Tour done and there was more to do, Including travel to Jakarta to speak at IMAE in which I just returned from yesterday.
Yesterday I also realised one thing... I HAD SOLD OUT OF MY FIRST PRINT RUN OF MAKEUP ARTIST BOOTCAMP.
I did this with no distribution only word of mouth and a link on my website.
I had lived off the smell of an oily rag for a year. Sacrificed my social life. Dealt with the stress of people asking where the books were. Dealt with the knowledge a friend had taken all my money without even getting close to finishing the job and there was little I could do about it. I lost friends from that. ( They were a convincing manipulator of the truth and I can't blame those closer to her then me taking her side of non truths. I could show them the contract and all the evidence but what would that give me? Just more drama. I would rather focus on the good and believe in Karma )
I believe in Karma and I also can see the big picture:
I now have my own publishing label (The Green Brush Project has been transformed as the mentorship is now built into MUA Bootcamp)... I can design my own books and love every minute of that process.
For this I am grateful for that horrific experience... as I got to publically demonstrate the philosophies of MUA Bootcamp works. Mastery comes in repetition and actions taken every day in line with your goals makes impossibles become realities.
What an amazing story I now have to tell! I also have become one of the best testimonials of the work.
I also mention this in the imprint page of MUA Bootcamp:
I of course could not have done this without the support of my friends, LAUD Magazine and my family... especially Trish and Donna who are the two angels of this work.
So if you are someone who has been waiting on their HARD COPY version of WE THE PAINTED... so patiently. I thank you for your support. The covers have been held up in customs (for reals! It's crazy...) but I am assured they are due any day. Once I individually customise them I have the goal of having them to you by Xmas. It's my mission to make sure this will happen.
I will forever be grateful that your support has been part of this long and crazy journey! The inside pages have been printed since August... and no one is more eager to see them in completion than me!
The next round of MUA Bootcamps shouldn't take long as all the work has been done already.
I am so grateful to have sold out in Four months. It gives me confidence the work is as valuable as I think it is.
So thankyou for everyones support. I can't wait for round two!