Tasmanian writer turns to crowdfunding to publish book

It all started with juggling for Fiona Stocker.

Juggling classes were where she met her husband Oliver in the United Kingdom.

When they decided to move to Tasmania about 11 years ago, she spent four years juggling her new country lifestyle with writing and looking after her children.

Now she is juggling a book crowdfunding campaign with running a pig farm, writing and school holidays.

She started as a “mummy blogger” soon after moving in Tasmania as she was home with her two kids.

“I started writing about our new life having left the city and come to Tasmania because I had material coming out my ears.”

She remembered her husband manifesting all these skills she never knew he had.

“I found him standing in the dining room, zipping himself into a wetsuit one day. He lowered himself into our underground water tank because he was convinced we had a crack in it, and we did and he was able to fix it,” Stocker said.

“I lived in London for 10 years and not once did I meet someone who would go for a swim in their water tank to see if they had a leak.”

Suddenly they had a ride-on mower, a vegetable patch “the size of most people’s suburban garden” and entered the food swap world.

Apple Island Wife was a humourous take on life from her point-of-view.

At one point, Oliver decided they needed to have alpacas so they learnt the ins and outs of alpaca care.

For three years, Stocker wrote the blog, culminating in 135 posts.

“That was the start of material for two books.”

It took a few years to write before it was put on hold to set their pig business up.

She eventually flicked it to publishers during a year, and while she got great feedback, Apple Island Wife wasn’t picked up.

A BBC podcast sparked her quest for an alternative publisher after they mentioned Unbound, a crowdfunding publisher.

“I wanted to look for a middle route between self-publishing and mainstream publishing.”

About 10 per cent of submitted manuscripts were accepted, which then meant the author was tasked with crowdfunding a target created to offset the cost of publishing.

“It’s raising funds to bring a book to fruition.”

For Stocker, it’s $6868 and she’s already reached 63 per cent of her target by her end of November deadline.

The pledges have been ticking away since the end of July.

Once she met her target, Unbound would publish the book, designing and formatting it so it was ready for the shelf, Stocker said.

“It’s a way for people to support the arts and sponsor the arts by making pledges and pre-ordering a copy of the book.”

“I think there’s a lot of appetite for a book like this.”