There are no words to explain seeing and holding your book for the first time. Last week a box arrived on my doorstep from Penguin and, with shaky hands, I opened the book and drank it all in. The only thing that even comes close to this experience is the birth of my children.
Last week I received an email that nearly brought me to my knees. My editor emailed to let me know that we had already sold the first print run of the book and they had to reprint it. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around that, can you?
The big question I am always asked is how you even begin the process of writing a book. My experience getting published was a unique one because it came through a truly unique opportunity for our family. Several years ago, I had replied to a media inquiry for a magazine that was looking for families that choose to live a life without credit cards. I submitted our family as an example and shared that we also had celebrated paying off our credit cards with our kids by throwing a debt-free party with them. They loved this unique spin on debt-free living and sent a team out to my house to photograph me for Redbook and wrote a feature on us. It was, perhaps, the most glamorous day of my life and I couldn’t believe all of these people were in our little house in Granger.
That magazine somehow landed in the hands of a literary agent who reached out to me and asked if I had ever considered writing a book.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Of course, the process of going from a blog and freelance article writer to a book writer was a difficult one. The entire process took me three years, mainly due to my own obstacles with running my site and running after small children. When we finally sold the book, I had only gone over the first hurdle. You see, with nonfiction books, you sell your proposal before you sell a book. Writing the proposal is writing the blueprint for what you envision the book will look like. It sets up the skeleton of how it will all look, but it is not the book.
Once that was sold, I still had a book to write.
I remember talking to another author about how I had never realized what a process this all would be and he shared with me that it isn’t really about how talented of a writer you are, it is just if you have the endurance to get through the process of publishing a book. I now understand.
When I finally received a copy of my book in my hands after all that writing, it was a big girl’s little girl dream come true. I don’t know if I ever will get over how incredibly incredible it all is. You see, even as a child, I wanted to be a writer and to write my very own book.
I remember sitting and listening to my teachers read to me and rolling around words and phrases in my head and mouth because I loved them so much. I wished that I could have that power with words that my words would someday get stuck in their heads the way they did in mine.
One of my favorite authors was Beverly Cleary and now that I am rereading her books with my daughter, it brings even more joy to me as I roll the words around in my mouth again and her stories bring new meaning to me as an adult.
When I was a kid, I used to type furiously on an old typewriter in my parent’s basement, writing my own little books of stories of my own imagination. My mother can also attest to the elaborate storytelling (that’s how I like to think of it) and my power at embellishing every story I told. I wanted more than anything to be a writer.
When my husband suggested I start a blog for my ideas, it turned out to be a fantastic outlet for me when I first became a stay-at-home mom and has fed that creative part of my brain so well over the years. I could be a “published author,” simply by hitting a button to post my words. Granted, it was publishing that anyone can do, but I have always treated it like my life’s work to write words and have people read them. More empowering is when someone reads your words and then they share with you how you have changed their lives through them.
If you have followed me over the years, you have seen the evolution of the blog, the words, and the found love for creating beautiful images with those words. If there is one thing I have learned it is that there is always the potential to do and be better. I am still evolving.
I hope you will be able to pick up my book and read more about our family’s journey out of debt and unemployment and into a life far richer than we could have ever imagined…in all the important ways.
The book will be out on bookstore shelves on January 2nd (a slight shift in dates due to our reprinting), but is now available for pre-order. Here are some options for great places to order it! I also encourage you to hit your local bookstore to pick it up!
Barnes & Noble
My first book signing will be on January 19th from 2-4 PM at the Mishawaka Barnes & Noble Store in the University Park Mall. Feel free to accept my invitation to join me on that day. I will admit, I am SUPER nervous about that. I can just picture me and my mom sitting at a table alone.
You don’t want that do you? I would be so honored to meet you all and please forgive me ahead of time about knowing everyone’s name. I know Facebook faces, Twitter profile handles, and can recognize you on IG… BUT I tend to have an old lady brain and can’t always remember actual names! That is the other part I am nervous about so I thought I would say that in advance!
Thank you all for your continued love and support for me through this project. I find myself randomly bursting into tears when I think of how kind everyone has been to us through this process and the genuine excitement from our friends about all of it.
Happy Holidays, everyone!