I just can’t even tell you how much I love talking about Westbow Press and this book. It’s not a pride thing [I hope!] but instead, I hope this is a fun story for you to hear. And maybe, just maybe, there is this “thing” that you’ve always wanted to do; and I hope you see that if I can do this and I’m kind of a dork, then you can totally do your “thing”.
Do yo thing.
First- let me answer some questions from the last time we talked book.
This isn’t dumb, Face. Great question. The difference is this [I think]: with traditional publishing, you get chosen by them, you get an advance [$$], and you work with the publishing house’s editor, graphic designer, marketing team, and all sorts of other cool perks from professionals who make books all the livelong day. And then you get paid a percent of the profit from book sales.
With self-publishing [and you can read more on Westbow's website]: you pay up front to have the book made and based on what package you pick determines how many of the company’s hands are on deck. [As for me, I have my own professional editor and graphic designer, so I didn't pay for that.] And then in the end, you get a little bit bigger percent of the profit from book sales.
Both ways are super awesome. Traditional publishing is cool and trustworthy and tried and true. Self-publishing is cool and new and a wee bit indie. Maybe a bit hipster? I hope so. It’s my new goal in life.[There are a few other differences- if you are deciding which route to take, read up on both. Seriously.]
First of all, super cute pic, Dani. Secondly, thanks for your kind words. My marketing plan? Well, I’m gonna get right on that as soon as we turn the book in this week. I’m kinda surrounded by genius marketers, so I plan to abuse, I mean USE, their knowledge.
I would definitely suggest getting an agent. They are way way smart, have great connections, and know how to speak the publishing language. In fact, I’m probably going to look into an agent in the near future for some other projects I’m working on.
Tam, I love that we share Lindsey as a mutual friend. She’s dear to me. And I love that you have already talked to the folks at Westbow. They are rad. I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone so far. Truly.
A good editor is a MUST MUST MUST. You can borrow mine, but you can’t have her. Email me and I’ll connect you with her. Same with my designer. Her name is Emily and she is the epitome of an artist.
And here is one of the finest pieces of art I have ever seen.
The cover art for my first ever book. MY cover. The cover of MY BOOK. [I'm dying a little just writing that.]
I’ll be honest. I totally teared up when I saw this the first time. I think it is perfectly lovely. The goal for this book is that it fit comfortably between a teen girl’s Bible and journal. I wanted it to be beautiful but subtle. And Emily NAILED IT. Totally nailed it.
Tell me what YOU think! I did not-one-thing to make this cover, so I take no pride in it except that I am proud of my graphic designer pickin’ skillz. But I’d love to hear your thoughts.
We’ll turn the book in this week and then I’ll have more updates for you. Again, as always, if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask and I will answer. Or I’ll find the answer.
Also, who out there is writing a book? Or wants to? Or is thinking about it a little bit but is scared to say so? Tell us about YOUR journey.
And remember my tip for today :: Do. yo. thing.
I love y’all. Thanks for walking this road with me.
Wednesday was stressful. At 11:30pm, I finally sat down and checked my email. Right there, in my inbox, were two unbelievable emails.
Email #1 :: My manuscript, back from the editor, with 170 pages splattered with minor fixes, grammatical errors, and some new ideas to think about.
Email #2 :: Two options of the book cover from my graphic designer.
Good gracious. All I could think was, “I should be jumping-out-of-my-skin excited. But I’m so tired. But this is a big moment. But I’m sleepy. Do I need to record this moment? Or can I just close my eyes?” It was a confusing conversation [that completely happened in my mind].
But I did think, “I can’t believe this is really happening.” In a good way.
Let me back up and tell you how this whole thing started….
So like I mentioned last week, I wrote a book, got picked up by an agent, pitched the book, no one wanted it, and then splitsville from my agent.
Over the summer, I began to dream. God started something with this book in 2006. I dreamed of finishing what God had started [with Him, of course. I hope.]
I looked around. A friend from church is a graphic designer. Hmmm…. another friend used to be an editor at Thomas Nelson. Hmmm….. wait.
Y’all know I’m a people person. And you know I love my Nash-people.
And suddenly it looked like my people were going to help make this dream a reality. [At this point, about a month ago, I kinda freaked out with excitement.]
Then I wrote up a business proposal and made my math-wiz friend Wes crunch the numbers and emailed my parents.
I think the email said this:
“Hey guys. Y’all are great. Look at this business plan for self-publishing my book. We could totally be business partners. You in?“[It wasn't that informal. Also, I don't start emails to my parents by saying, "hey guys."]
So we shopped around, looking at lots of different self-publishing houses, and we decided on Westbow Press. [I'm gonna tell you why next week. Hold on to your horses, future authors.]
We hired the editor. We hired a graphic designer. We called Westbow Press, talked through which plan we wanted, and signed up.
And then suddenly I blinked and it was Wednesday night and I had an edited manuscript and two absolutely gorgie-poo cover choices and an advocate at Westbow Press emailing me and saying, “hey Annie, what can I do to help you?”
So this train is moving ahead. My next step is going through the edits then sending it back to the editor for a final look over. I have to pick a book cover and collect endorsements. And then the goal is to turn everything in by October 15.
In the next few weeks, I’ll tell you why I picked Westbow [if you want to hear more about them, click the button in the sidebar], how the editing process works, and how the first few weeks of working with Westbow folks has been.[preview: 95% awesome, 3% scary, 2% confusing.]
Also- I can totes answer any questions. I know that many of you are considering this or just want to hear something I’m not thinking to say. So ask away, askers. This is our journey together- I want you to feel like you are seeing the map.
Like Boots and Dora. We are Boots and Dora.[you're welcome.]
I’m going to try not to capitalize this entire post because I honestly am excited enough to JUMP OUT OF MY SKIN.
A little background.
Many of you know that I moved to Nashville to pursue writing. [If you weren't around for this time, I'm gonna link to those posts so you can catch up.... if you wanna.]
And then I sent it to my agent. And waited. And waited. And to make a long story short- after a year of trying to get published in the traditional way, it never got picked up. By anyone. So she and I parted ways in April 2010. It just wasn’t working. I didn’t have a book deal, she didn’t make any money, and I was over the process.
I don’t know why it didn’t work for me. I don’t have an answer. It just didn’t. For some of my friends [like the most excellent Anne Jackson], traditional publishing is awesome and works beautifully.
For me, it didn’t work. It has made me doubt, retreat, and re-evaluate whether or not this was a good plan. I questioned more than my skill- I questioned my own heart.
But, here’s the truth.
I adore the book. I feel like it is a story I want to tell. I feel like God wants to use this book for His glory. It was so much work, so much of my heart, and such a massive part of where I want my life to go.
So. [insert drum roll here if you are into that kind of thing......]
I’m taking the non-traditional [but up-and-coming route] of self-publishing.[Here's the PERFECT explanation of self-publishing from Thomas Nelson's CEO Michael Hyatt. Read it. Please.]
What does that mean? That means that my parents and I have partnered with Westbow Press and we will be publishing the book ourselves.
Do I hear some squealing?!? Is it you or just me?!? I’m hoping both. Because what that means is that within a few months, you will be able to HOLD MY BOOK IN YOUR HANDS.[Yep, I hear the squealing now.]
I know you have tons of questions. That’s great. I’m going to answer them all.
And here’s the cool thing. I’m gonna blog about it.
I love you guys. Like so so much. And you have been a major part of the book writing process. It only feels right to include you on every step of the book publishing process.
So from now on, I will blog weekly[ish] about the path of self-publishing. I want you to hear the ins and outs, the easy and hard, the stressful and scary and awesome parts of self-publishing with Westbow Press.
Maybe you have considered publishing a book yourself or maybe you just love me or maybe you’ll just find it interesting to watch the process. Whatever the reason, I’m gonna tell you about it.
I’ll tell you why I decided to try this, why I picked Westbow Press, why this is the right time, why my parents jumped on board, why I’m willing to tell you the process even though I could fail miserably.
I’ll tell you all of it.
Because the book is just a part of the story. A good part.
But this. This right here? The process?
It’s the real story.
Welcome to the real story.