I‘ve been seriously elated with all your kind comments and fellow excitement about Organized Simplicity‘s release this week. Publishing a book was one of those items on my bucket list I was fairly sure would be a long-shot. My arms have been turning red from pinching myself, floored.
Over the past month, I’ve talked about some of the content and the overall theme of the book: redefining “simple living.” Here are those posts:
- Redefining Simple Living: Choose Your Priorities
- Redefining Simple Living: What it Isn’t
- Redefining Simple Living: Enjoying the Things You Love
Today I thought I would savor this rare moment in my life — watching this book I’ve crafted over many months finally emerge as a tangible thing — and share with you some of the behind-the-scenes moments in my book writing process.
Come along for the ride, and I’ll end with a little treat for five of you.
The first contact: an editor’s email
I remember where I was and what I was doing. It was February 26, 2009. My husband, kids, and I were visiting my parents’ house and were headed back overseas in just a few weeks, so we were spending as much time with them as we could. I thought I’d quickly check my email before sitting down to watch TV with them (a baseball game? movie? can’t remember now).
There was this email from my contact page — a nondescript subject line, so I didn’t think much of it. But when I read this line:
“Have you ever considered writing a home organizing/cleaning book for print publication? I would love to discuss this opportunity with you.”
I straightened up, and so did the hair on the back of my head. After a bit more back-and-forth dialogue with her, I realized this offer was legit.
Next steps: A book proposal, timeline, and contract
This editor — who turned out to be a gem among rhinestones — needed me to write a book proposal in a matter of weeks. So on March 20, 2009, just a few weeks after we decided this book idea was pitch-able, I submitted a 19-page book proposal. I had to research all sorts of things I never knew prior, such as what makes a book marketable, and what hasn’t been written yet (clue: there’s not much, or so it seems).
She then pitched my proposal to her group of publishers, and they were enthusiastic about the book idea. On April 3, 2009, I received this email:
“Congratulations! The book was approved today. We are very excited. Sales wants to move the publication date back from August 2010 to November 2010 so the book can be considered for display in the bookstores ‘New Year, New You’ sections in January. Would a final manuscript due date of January 15, 2010, work for you? With an interim date of September 1, 2009?”
We ironed out the details and I signed the contract. The plan was for me to submit two chapters per month, with half of it done by September; the completed work in January. This meant 16 chapters and 4 appendices, not to mention regular blogging on Simple Mom, juggling cross-cultural living in our home in the Middle East, and being a wife and mom with a busy household to run.
I had my work cut out for me.
Kyle and I decided I needed a mama’s helper, so we hired 18-year-old Hannah to come over and watch the kids three mornings a week while I wrote. On those days, I would retreat to our bedroom where my writing desk was stationed, and I would flesh out those chapters while the kids played. I never could have written the book without her help. Thank you, Hannah.
The waiting game
I turned in my manuscript with a week or two to spare, in January of this year. It was not unlike handing over your newborn baby — this vulnerable, helpless thing you’ve grown to love, hoping it’s in good hands. We worked through edits throughout the submission process, so by the time everything was in the hands of the publishers, most everything was done.
We went through two name changes. There were a whole slew of photos to slough through, taken by some dear blogging friends. We had to verify facts and quotes. I needed to write a resource section and whittle down my recommended books and websites to the absolute essentials, which was incredibly painful. The book ended up almost 50 pages longer than we originally anticipated, but we just couldn’t cut any of it.
Other than an introduction to write, there wasn’t much for me to do in the spring. It was a challenge to wait, but I was beyond busy with launching our SLM network and our family suddenly moving back to the States. My manuscript was in good hands, so I focused on our family’s needs while we set up a new home.
On April 9, I saw the cover of my book, and it appeared on Amazon for the first time. That’s when it felt official. My book was going to be printed and in the hands of people.
The book was designed and printed throughout the summer, and on September 21, my editor sent me my first copy of Organized Simplicity. Soon after opening the envelope, I posted this on Facebook:
This book is a gift. To readers, yes, but also to me and my family. It’s a gift from you to me. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to write this book without you reading this blog, telling your friends and family, and sharing with me your thoughts and ideas how to make this site flourish. In that sense, Organized Simplicity is a book crafted by the Simple Mom community. Thank you seem like such small words.
Now for some fun. I’d like to give five of you a signed copy of Organized Simplicity! Here’s how you can win one:
1. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post, telling me about my favorite time of year, fall. Sweaters, leaves, college football, pumpkin spice lattes… What’s your absolute favorite thing about the fall?
2. To get a second bonus entry, mention this giveaway on Facebook, linking to this post. Here’s the URL: http://bit.ly/aK8nyu Important: You must then return here and leave an additional comment, telling me you did this. It won’t count otherwise.
3. To get a third bonus entry, mention this giveaway on Twitter, linking to this post and using @simplemom. Again, same as above — you must return here and leave yet another comment, or else it won’t count.
This giveaway will end tomorrow night, November 6, at 11:59 pm CST, and I’ll announce the winners soon after. I hope you win!
This giveaway is now closed. Check back soon for the winner!