Well, these last two days have certainly been a whirlwind. Not the scary tornado type, but the awesome warm windy Oz kind.
We have no clue how many copies of From Head to Foot have been sold in the first 48 hours, and that doesn’t totally matter. What was awesome was that social media was all.a.buzz.
It was really fun.
So thank ya kindly for your time and tweets. It really means more than you could ever know.
. . . . . . . . . .
And here’s how it started.
In my heart, I dreamed of someday writing a book.
In 2003, I went over to Drew & Natalie’s house. I took my laptop. I sat down beside Drew and said, “I think I want to write a book.” I then had him read a few practice chapters that were literally horrible.
But that was the first time I said it.
That was the start. I had a huge chunky laptop and I wondered if two page chapters would be acceptable. I wrote stupid things that really no one should ever have to read. I wrote a chapter titled “Valentine’s Day” and all it said was “I hate it.” IN THE WHOLE CHAPTER.
Yeah, good stuff.
I kept it 100% to myself until the day I told Drew and Natalie.
It’s been a seven year journey. There were multiple times that I wanted to quit. Heck. There were multiple times [including, but not limited to, April 2010] when I actually did quit and say, “nope, I’ll never get to be an author.”[God made the whole thing happen and that's a much longer story than we have space for.]
But it would have never started if I didn’t say it outloud that day in Athens, Georgia sitting on the couch with Drew and Natalie.
And because you and I have been friends for a while, you’ve seen this whole thing unfold. [If you haven't, here is the Westbow Self Pub story.] So you know the end of the story.
But for things to even start, I had to say it.
It was a scary moment, to tell them. But I don’t regret it at all. Because, y’all, I have a copy of my own book on my bedside table. How could I regret that first moment when the end of the story is so stinkin’ cool?
I don’t even care if anyone else buys it. I have a copy of my own. That’s the real win. Right?
So I’m going to push you a little today. I’m not a major feather ruffler [huh?], but I’m going to make you molt today. You’ve got this whole comment section and nothing to be afraid of. Saying your dream doesn’t force you to act on it [I'm not the boss of you], it is just the first step.
And I have to wonder if you are here because you are dying for someone to give you permission to be brave.
And I have to wonder if we have the hugest collection of awesome dreams and I wonder if more people will dream if we say our dreams first.
You have permission to tell us.
Just say it.
My dream is __________________.
I’ll go first. A girl’s gotta dream….
So the book is turned in. And it is now officially out of my control.
Praise the Lord.
And to be real honest with you, it was a bit anti-climactic. I mean, “yay! I pushed send on an email and now the book is gone into cyberspace.”
For you possible future authors, let’s talk deets.
I don’t know if I’ve told y’all this. But when you pick Westbow, first you talk with a supervisor. I talked to Richard. [When you decide to self-publish and when you pick Westbow, ask for Richard. He's really REALLY good at his job. And he's a great guy. So. Tuck that nugget of wisdom in your back pocket.]
So Richard and I picked the plan I wanted and then he turned me over to Echo. Yep, her name is Echo. Echo is a check-in coordinator. [Titles are funny to me.] So, Echo is the one who has been calling me and emailing me and making sure that I’m on track. Pretty much, Echo emails me and says, “So Annie, you said the book would be done on the 15th. Today is the 25th. Love, Echo.”
Not really. But sorta.
She makes sure all the files I turn in are correctly formatted and filled out and when I call her and say, “Hey Echo, this is Annie. I have a gazillion questions. Are you busy?” she always says no. Which I appreciate.
So. Friday I called Echo and said, “ECHO! WE ARE A GO!”
She said, “Turn that puppy in!”
I said, “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!”
She said, “Atta girl, Downs!”[No. She didn't. But I would have loved if she did.]
Echo actually said, “I will have you in production by early Monday morning!”
And…. I don’t know what that means.[She's awesome as well. So you should say, "Richard, now that you and I have talked, can Echo be my check-in coordinator?"] [Want more info on Westbow? Feel free to CLICK HERE or the button on the right.]
Today Richard and I will chat and talk about when the book will be ready and how much it will cost and exactly what I do now. Cause I’m not really sure, but I’ll update you when the next step begins.
But I am super super happy.
The design is gorgeous. The layout is perfect. And my heart is thu-rilled.
This is a total dream come true. And I’m grateful to Westbow for making it happen.
I know you have seen the cover, but I also want you to see the back cover. Lyndsay Rush wrote it. Yeah, she’s a total genius and does beautiful things with words. And I’m grateful to Hillary and Shannon for endorsing the book. And thanks to Jeremy for taking the pic and making me look like a stunna’.
And. Obviously. Emily is the greatest designer that has ever lived.
I guess this is the best way to tell you what the book is about as well. That is convenient.
You don’t think I’d publish a book without making sure Mr. Darcy (the bird) is involved, do you?
Of course not.
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.
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.