“Average is a place where we all fit. It’s normal to feel like you don’t fit in and I want to change that. I want young women to realize that they are beautiful just as they are!” | Q&A with Photographer Emily Lauren Dick on Crowdfunding her book “Average Girl: A Guide to Loving Your Body”

Many people have discovered that crowdfunding their publishing project is a better way to bring their ideas to the public than more traditional routes. They are able to control more of the project, enabling their complete vision comes to fruition. Photographer Emily Lauren Dick is doing exactly that through the website Kickstarter. Her project is a noble one, and she answered a few questions for me.

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Image linked from Emily Lauren Dick’s website

1) First off, could you give a bit of an outline of Average Girl: A Guide to Loving Your Body?

Average Girl: A Guide to Loving Your Body is filled with interesting facts, information, work sheets and quotes from young women. Each chapter focuses on an issue that relates to body image development. For example, Bullying and Harassment and Thinspiration. I’ve interviewed over 80 women and I’ve included direct quotes to give readers a broad spectrum of how these issues make young women feel. I like to think that I’ve taken complex information and transformed it into text that is easy for any young woman to understand. I want to make this information accessible. I also believe that this information must be accompanied with photographs of real women! I’ve photographed 40+ women so far and their images will be included within the book. It’s a book with a little bit of everything needed to fight negative body image. Feel good photographs, information, advice, real perspectives and work sheets!

2) What inspired you to create the book? What are you hoping Average Girl will accomplish?

I decided to create this book because it’s something I longed for growing up as a teenage girl. I studied Women and Gender Studies in university and gained access to some very important information that helped me explain how and why I felt a certain way towards my body. The more I learned, the more I sought out sources of positive body image. I became so aware of why negative body image exists and I wanted to change this, even just for a few women. If more women learned what I had learned about how businesses and media profit off of our dissatisfaction then they could be more critical and in turn could feel better about who they are. My goal is to offer up another source of body positivity so that young women do not feel they are alone. Average is a place where we all fit. It’s normal to feel like you don’t fit in and I want to change that. I want young women to realize that they are beautiful just as they are!
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Image linked from Emily Lauren Dick’s website

3) You talk on your website that you have talked to over 80 girls about “critical issues that affect body image.” How did you choose the girls? Were they willing to be part of the book?

 

When I started the interview process, I created an online survey and asked friends and family to pass it on. I posted on social media and reached out to any female focused organizations and asked them to share it. I garnered responses from around the world and got a variety of perspectives from women young and old. In the survey, I asked them if they would like to remain anonymous or if they would like their name shared but all of them were on board for being a part of this book. The young women that I photographed have mostly been local and we connected in similar ways. The first year was a struggle to find women willing to be photographed but the more people who participated, the easier it got to ask others.

4) How has the reaction been to Average Girl so far?

I have received so much positive attention over this project. I’ve included a variety of women of all sizes, shapes and ethnicities and people seem to really like that. I think what sets my project apart from others is that the girls I’ve photographed are happy and smiling! Some body image projects have featured more artistic, sad looking images to make their point but I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted young women to see these women in a happy place, being comfortable and in touch with their bodies. Of course, you are always going to get negative comments too. I’ve read a few that say I’m promoting obesity or I am only including one type of woman but those people haven’t fully looked into everything that this project is about. I’ve included skinny women and plus size women! It doesn’t matter what size you are, we all face body image issues.

5) You are using Kickstarter to fund this project. Could you explain why you choose to go that route instead of approaching a publisher? How is the campaign going so far?

I tried for quite a while to query my manuscript but I think my book is so different from what people have seen before that their has been some reluctance in picking it up. It’s very hard to get photography books published but from a manuscript perspective I have received a lot of great feedback from literary agents. I decided to self publish because I would get full control over the final outcome. It’s such a personal and visual project that I couldn’t give up that control. I need to see my vision through because I really believe this book can make a difference.

6) How did you come up with the figure of $7,500 as a goal to fund the publishing of the book? What research – if any – did you do into getting Average Girl published?

I’ve been in touch with a Canadian publishing company and that amount would cover the costs associated with designing, editing and setting up the e-book and print distribution. Additionally, I’ve included some cost for shipping and printing. And then of course there are the costs associated with funding the Kickstarter campaign! Kickstarter takes a percentage of the funds raised and a percentage for putting through the credit card transactions. To be honest, I’m not sure if that amount will cover my costs but I did not start this project to make money. All I want to do is get this book published so that it can start making a difference. Even if I affect one person, then I would be happy. I just want young women to stop struggling with the pain of negative body image…there is so much more to life!

 

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Image linked from Emily Lauren Dick’s website

7) Do you have any plans in using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) for readers to keep in touch with you about the book?

Definitely! I’ve created an Instagram account (Link to instagram’s @averagegirlguide profile here), a Facebook page (Link to the Love Average profile on Facebook here), twitter (Link to LoveAverage ‘s twitter feed here) and I have a website ( Link to www.loveraverage.com here ) which I try to keep updated. Especially now that we are getting some great media coverage, I will be posting as much as I can!

8) Do you have any plans after Average Girl is published? (promotional tours, sequels, other book projects?)

We definitely have to see how this book goes first but I absolutely would love to continue my work in fighting negative body image! It would be a dream to do another edition! 🙂

*****

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