Written by Brenda Dempsey
Each year as the New Year approaches, it craves for your attention to reflect on what has gone by.
December 2020 was no different, yet it was more intense. What a year it had been. The whole world had been blighted by the Covid-19 virus. We were all experiencing the impact of a global pandemic.
I had been affected just like everyone else. I had felt fear, uncertainty and found myself looking suspiciously at my fellow man. I had become a prisoner in my own home, filled with fear of going out. We had been told to stay at home, so I took comfort from that advice.
The TV seemed to be on 24/7 filled with the dread and fear of the news. Despite the grim news, I listened with disbelief. Tens of thousands were losing their lives and the hospitals were filled with Covid-19 patients fighting for their lives. The medical staff were exhausted. Families could not say goodbye to their loved ones. We faced a dark time, yet with the stiff British upper lip we battled on with hope.
We clapped for the NHS on our doorsteps, raised money, and even found a new sweetheart in Captain Sir Tom Moore. Here was a centenarian walking 100 lengths of his garden on his Zimmer frame. What a hero! There were kids with prosthetic limbs and walking frames wanting to raise money too. The hearts of the public were swelling as they bravely wanted to make a difference in any way they could.
Wanting To Help
Here was I, normally a more hands-on person, who had done nothing to give back. It was like a cold shower, a wake-up call. What could I do?
I know! I am an author and better still, I am a publisher. I am also an anthologist. What better act could I do than to find extraordinary people who had done incredible things during 2020? I could document their stories in a book that will create a lasting testimony to this time in our history. This was an opportunity to encourage people to share their stories and leave a legacy. Who wouldn’t want to be part of this book?
Although I loved the idea, it was not enough. My next thought was to fund the project myself, as a way of giving back and then take all the proceeds from the sale and donate it to one of the many NHS charities. Boom! That was it… I had birthed the idea. The next stage was to put it into action.
The very next day, on 1st January 2021, I vowed it would be a better year. I would take action and make a difference, so I started to make a list of who I could ask to contribute to the book. It was at this stage I wondered what I would title it. My other books are all about voices – Voices of Courage and Voices of Hope. I have a plan to create a series of books centred on the Voice which in my world means truth, infused with love. Again, like a bolt of lightning, I understood that resilience is who we are and what we do when faced with adversity and challenge. At that moment, I knew it was going to be called Voices of Resilience, but it did not have the ring to it. I flipped it and Resilient Voices was born.
I turned on the computer and started to write up the Values, Vision and Mission for the project. I had a template I had used for previous anthology projects, so it was easy to edit the text and make it relevant to Resilient Voices. I believe in being professional always and this was no different. I wanted to attract influential people to the project.
I told my team, and they were delighted for us to do something as epic as having our very own book published by Book Brilliance Publishing, a new business also born out of lockdown.
Once organised and armed with a solid proposal, I set about asking the most influential people I knew as well as raving fans who would be a definite ‘YES’. I started with a few of my authors who I knew were making a difference and had carried on regardless during Covid-19. I knew they had stories of positivity and hope from a pandemic. As people of influence, I also knew they would recommend more amazing men and women. This created both a ripple and domino effect.
Growing And Succeeding
Steadily the number of authors grew from twenty to thirty to forty. I stopped at forty-five. Each co-author was to write their story of one thousand words. I had an impressive list. There were government and UN advisors for cybersecurity, doctors and nurses, university professors, businessmen and women, cartoonists, poets and — the eldest contributor at 87 — a journalist who had interviewed the great Margaret Thatcher PM. I even persuaded my brother and son to contribute. My brother contributed with some great photographs and my son from the perspective of a teacher living abroad.
I interviewed every co-author, created videos for each, and with the help of my granddaughter, Holly, wrote and created a promotional video as well as a marketing meme for each contributor too.
WOW! I did it with the help of a small army of trusted peers. My team worked tirelessly to edit and put the book together. The idea at first was just a simple eBook so it could be downloaded and we did not need to bother about physical copies.
On 5th July 2021, the 73rd anniversary of the NHS, we launched Resilient Voices. We enjoyed a great online launch, which was very moving, and to put the cherry on top we became an Amazon #1 bestseller on our launch day. What a victory! What champions!
Needless to say, we are now printing physical copies of the book and planning a celebration garden party to mark our success.
More From Brenda Dempsey:
- Brenda Dempsey is an award-winning entrepreneur, anthologist, philanthropist, international bestselling author, master coach, and woman of influence. Since June 2020, she has been the CEO of Book Brilliance Publishing. Having a prominent and highly successful career behind her as an educator, Brenda is passionate about writing and publishing and putting authors at the heart of business growth to reach high levels of success.
- Resilient Voices: available now as Kindle for £3.99 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B097F4T19B/ Out as a paperback 3rd September 2021, £11.99. All profits to NHS Charities Together.