Being a new dad - advice book

Author Spot: Al Ferguson

New dad Al Ferguson tells how the arrival of his own baby prompted him not only to start a blog, but write a book…

 

Being a new dad - advice book

BY AL FERGUSON

Name, age and area where you live in the UK

Al Ferguson, 26, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Book name, publication date, who book is published by.

New Dad Book of Secrets: Things you didn’t realise you needed to know. November 2014, Self Published on Amazon KDP

Is this your first book? If not, how many other books have you published?

This is my first book, although, I would love to write more.

What is the book about?

New Dad Book of Secrets aims to be a quick and easy to read, whilst giving genuine helpful hints and tips to get through the early stages of having a baby – all from a dad’s perspective! My goal was to give other new or expectant dads a quick blast of comfort, encouragement, humour and a little touch of wisdom to help them get through the early stages of having a baby.

Becoming a new dad inspired me to share tips I’ve found useful for any parents with a new baby. The advice in New Dad Book of Secrets is real life advice, based on events that have actually happened to me and it was these things that helped me get through those moments. The book pinpoints key principles of dad-hood and refines them down to unforgettable sound bites of wisdom that can be called upon instantly to inform a critical decision. It covers issues such as how to cope with your baby not sleeping, how to deal with things not going to plan, what to keep in your change bag, advice to help your relationship with partner, practical advice about handling your baby, how to make the most of having a baby and how to maintain a good frame of mind.

For example, We found that one night we’d follow a routine and the baby would sleep perfectly/ the next day we’d do the same and he’d sleep horrendously! The book talks through getting your head round these kind of situations.

When did you start writing/what gave you the idea to write a book?

Having my own baby, Ted,  inspired me to write my blog www.thedadnetwork.co.uk  His birth brought on a huge wave of emotions. Yet while I was overwhelmed with joy, torrents of love when he smiled and excitement watching him grow, there was also a fear of not being a good enough dad and of course new financial responsibilities bearing down on me.  Until Ted was born I’d never have classed myself as a writer, but found an enjoyment for it that I had never had before. As I became a new dad I realised that a lot of books, aimed at dads, were very longwinded and were slightly patronising! I couldn’t relate to them because they didn’t suit my personality or my lifestyle. I saw a gap in the market for a short, quick and easy to read guide for dads. There are so many new emotions and new happenings when you have a baby. I would have loved a book I could dip in and out of for advice, comfort, knowledge, encouragement or entertainment. So I decided to write one.

How long did it take to write? 

Being a short, sharp book, it didn’t take too long to write. It took a while to create the chapters, but not as long as an epic trilogy! Writing for the blog and made it a little easier, as I had the material. I was also living it, so I was able to write about my current experiences. I remember one night something happening with the baby, which led me to write one of the chapters the following morning. I do work full time as a teacher, so I had to fit it round that, and a new baby. However, as a teacher, I was fortunate that Ted arrived in the summer holidays which gave me a good 5 weeks off to get to know my new son. This time was really precious for me and allowed me to jump into the deep end of parenting, thus gathering plenty of material for the book!

Al Ferguson author and blogger
Al Ferguson

If it’s a personal book about you, how did you feel about that? Did you set out to write a personal book or did things just turn out that way? Were friends and family surprised or shocked to read it at first?

I guess this is a personal book, in that it is based on my personal experiences. But it has to be as I think that it means the book is accessible to the everyday, ordinary dad. I am just an ordinary dad clambering my way through the journey of fatherhood, making horrendous mistakes and trying to learn from them. I wanted this book to be real – based on real life. Not creating an image of a perfect dad doing a perfect job.

My wife is very supportive of the book and has helped me write it in parts. To be honest, she’s perfect at being a mum; a natural. I spend most of the time in awe of her and learning from her. Whilst the book offers advice, I don’t always follow it myself – we’re all human right! It has sparked off discussion between us though which in turn has meant we’ve been able to keep communicating. As I said, this is crucial for parents with a new born!

Being just 26 means I am classed as young father. People are having children in their 30’s nowadays. On top of this, I am very young to have written a book on being a dad… But that’s why this book is so important. Age is irrelevant… being a dad is what’s important.

How did you get published? Did you approach a literary agent first or go directly to a publisher?

I have self-published this book as it seemed like the most appropriate option for me. I used Kindle Direct Publishing which is an Amazon product and very good! Publishing on Amazon is as simple as creating a Kindle Direct Publishing account, which can be the same as your amazon account. It’s free to upload, but you do pay a royalty fee to Amazon for selling your book. You don’t have to go down this route, but I felt it would be easier in the long run for Amazon to handle all the logistics. It does also require you to fill out tax details!

I have approached a literary agency in New York who specialise in Non-fiction and they are reading it, but due to its short nature, it might not be something they can work with us on.

It wasn’t hard to choose the cover for the book. The photo of me holding Ted went viral after I put it on my blog. It even appeared on national newspaper websites so that was an easy decision…

Was it hard to get published? 

I’m not very technically minded so getting all the relevant bits ready, formatted and uploaded was tricky. (I had some help…) But Amazon offers plenty of advice, help, and guidance and ultimately, most things are sold on Amazon, so this should be too!

Any advice for other book writers?

If you have an idea, give it some time and get writing. You have nothing to lose so go for it.

Buy New Dad of Secrets from Amazon.

Have you recently published a book? Contact us if you would like to appear on Author Spot. 

Contact sister site Featureworld if you have a real-life story to sell to a newspaper or magazine about being a new dad.

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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