APW Book: The Pages

I haven’t talked much about the process of writing the APW Book since I finished it in early June, and I wanted to catch you up. This summer has been a slow back and forth of edits between me, my editor, and the proofreaders. When I finished the book, I was borderline terrified of the editorial process. First off, I’d found writing the book to be relatively painless, so I figured the other shoe had to drop sooner or later. And secondly, I generally operate in an industry where everything I write is viewed as “problematic,” so I figured it would be just the same with book writing. Let me explain…

As much as the wedding industry and I are not buddy-buddy, I still operate generally within the wedding industry. I’ve built a little bubble of safe space here at APW, but I still know that by saying over and over that you don’t have to buy All The Things, I’m not necessarily making friends. There is a whole industry perpetuating upon you buying All The Things, and who am I to f*ck up that system? Every so often, the wedding industry decides to try to make a friend of me, asks me to do something that seems reasonable… and then inevitable mayhem ensues. Because it quickly becomes clear that my message is not, in fact, the traditional message of, “You really should be sad that you cannot afford All The Things, so here is a plan for you to beg, borrow, or steal cheap replicas of The Things, which will still make you feel terrible because you know that All The Things is the standard. But hey! It’s better than nothing.” Instead my message is, “You don’t need All The Things in the first damn place. Why don’t you have just The Things you actually care about? Or  you can have none of The Things if you don’t care about any of them! Just be happy.” Because apparently you can’t sell happiness, so people get very uncomfortable.

So, it was with this re-occurring experience that I went into receiving edits on the book, and I was trepidatious. When I got my first round of edits back in July, I saw a little note from my editor next to my section on “Calling Off Your Wedding,” and I started hyperventilating. They were going to make me cut it, I was sure, because if you call off your wedding, you won’t buy All The Things. But then I read the note and it said, “Great! Maybe we should put this section in a box to highlight it?” And I realized A) That the wedding industry was crazy, and I had post-traumatic stress, and B) I had the best editors in the world. Perseus Books my friends, the largest independent publisher in the US, is full of talented and delightful people who do not care about you purchasing All The Things.

So after my initial fears proved unfounded, the summer’s edits went along swimmingly well. And then suddenly it was September, and I was in Istanbul, and I was receiving the full inside page layouts. It was no longer a manuscript; it was a book. I got the file, and we had to run around Istanbul, in between a baklava outing and the airport, and find a copy center to print the book. At first there was the normal copy center wait, and I sighed to David, “Copy centers… the same the world over.” At which point someone appeared with some tea for each of us while we were waiting, and I drank my words. Never has Kinkos offered me tea with sugar. Then the one man who spoke any English at all was ready to help us. After some gesturing and pointing, we had it worked out, and he cheerfully said, “A4 paper?” and we both sort of stammered and blushed and said, “8.5 X 11? American paper?” You’ve never seen such confused looks. Why is it that we do everything differently than the rest of the world, but in seemingly arbitrary ways? “Right. Well. A4 paper is fine.”

And then we were off to the airport, where I got to look at my book as a book for the very first time. I couldn’t remember what the heck I’d written in it, but half way through the intro I turned to David delighted and said, “This author is funny, and seems so nice. Do you think she’d be friends with me?” He seemed to think she would.

Soon I’ll have book galleys in hand, and we’ll be ready to do this thing. Stay tuned, as I plan a small (self-financed… that’s the way the world works now) book tour, and we get ready to buy the book* all at once in December. Because if you’re not planning a wedding, you always have gifts to give, right? And besides, the book might or might not be dedicated to you. I couldn’t possibly say.

* Funny. Customers who bought my book also bought Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman. Always a sign you’re doing something right. More details on that book club coming later this week.

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