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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  • Eek! This update made me giddy with excitement. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Or ten. And hand them out to all the people.

    Maybe I’ll stalk the wedding section in Barnes and Noble and thrust them on anxious looking ladies.

  • Jen

    AHH!! This is so exciting! Estimated arrival time 12/29….and I have that week off!

    I love that the customers who bought this book also bought:
    – every APW book club selection.
    – reusable produce bags
    -and this: http://www.amazon.com/Giottos-AA1900-Rocket-Blaster-Large/dp/B00017LSPI/ref=pd_sim_b14

    allright? Which one of you bought the rocket blaster?

    • Guessing one of the photographer sponsors. The Beagle has one.

      Funny story: airport security always freaks out about it because it looks like a grenade on their scanners.

    • meg

      Actual arrival time is actually before Christmas (shhhh!)

      • This is excellent, excellent information!

      • Not in the UK. SOB.

        • We’ll get people to smuggle them out from the US to the UK.

          Do they count as illegal contraband? Ooo that makes it far more exciting!

          • Hypothetical Sarah

            I’m a willing smuggler! I’ll be home in the US over Christmas… but you’d have to wait until after New Years for the shady handoff on a street corner in London (or an impromptu APW book club, perhaps?)

        • meg

          If we can order How to Be A Woman from Amazon UK, you can order this from Amazon US!

          • D’oh!

            I forgot about Amazon.com. What an eejit.

    • I bought the Rocket Blaster :)
      And the book!

    • Zan

      ahahaha. Rocketblaster.

      Because, of course we would have one of those too.

      • H

        Yum…. cookie scoopers too.
        Yay books!!!!

  • Mmmm, galleys.

    You’ve got an amazing community here . . . the tour (small and self-financed as it may be) is gonna be boss.

  • Meg, this post makes me want to throw on a party dress and toss confetti everywhere. Think how nuts I’m going to be when the book actually *launches*!

  • Eeee! Book tour! Yippie!

    I’m so happy for you Meg, this is awesome.

  • My husband likes to play a game called “tease Elissa with ideas of her birthday present.” I hate surprises so he tells me stuff like, “Your birthday is coming up! (in two months.) Your present is going to be sooo good! I’ll give you a hint. It’s NOT 5 feet by 5 feet by 5 feet.” In other words, the most useless information about a present. And every time he does it I get really excited, then sad my birthday is so far away. Because I want my hands on the present NOW since he TEASES me incessantly about it.

    That’s how I feel about this book! I feel so teased! I want it now! I have it ordered and I know what the cover looks like, but it’s not in my hands yet! Ahhh can’t wait!

  • I’m so glad you had great editors who got your message. Yay book!

  • I’m already married and so are basically all my friends but I’m buying one anyway (obviously) and reading the whole thing with a giant smile on my face. How could I not?

  • Funny, though you’ve been like a mentor to me, I’m completely beaming with pride for you right now. Literally, sitting here, coffee in one hand, other hand on my chest smiling like an idiot.

    • athena

      Me too! Way to go, Meg! I got teary with excitement reading this post!

  • CrAzY eXcItEd!!!!!

  • Gigi

    “Trepidatious”….LOVE that word! And tea at Kinko’s – the rest of the world is so civilized. This book is the only thing on my Christmas list!

  • Just bought my copy! Can’t wait!

  • Anne

    Any idea which (independent) San Francisco bookstores will carry it? I’d be very happy to put a copy on my Christmas wish list. Or, uh, buy it for myself because I don’t want to wait…

    • meg

      Oh trust me, more details are coming. I’m just not providing them now, because it’s way better for me/ book rankings if everyone buys it at once in December. So there will be a whole book week, with details on all the ways and places you can buy it.

      • Anne

        Excellent, good to know! I’m happy to wait to buy it in December — I just love buying books in bookstores.

  • Oh I am so excited, going to preorder it already. Also, little sis just got engaged, and the wedding will most probably be in February, so she will be able to speed read it. And as for me, I can’t wait to lay my hands on it. Oh and those red shoes on the cover. Jumping up and down happy dance.

  • I just love that last photo. You look so thrilled! Hooray, it’s happening!

  • Ohhhh! This is so exciting!

    Are you coming to Texas? Are you coming to Austin? If so, I know a great bookstore you should do a reading at: BookWoman. It’s a feminist bookstore and I already told the owner about how awesome your website is and how awesome your book will be.

    • meg

      Probably not. There is a limited amount of travel I can afford to pay for…

      • Oh boo. Do you know what locations you WILL be going to, however tentative?

        • meg

          Very tentative: Boston, NYC, DC, LA, SF. But we shall see. Nothing is planned yet.

          • woooooooooooop!

          • Awww nothing in the south! Maybe all of us Texanites can band together and raise enough money for you to zip down here? :) Come on Texas APWers! Whaddya say?

          • And LONDON. Ahem.

            And that leg will not be *wholly* self-financed, because I will pay for all your drinks. ;)

          • I thought Chicago was on the list!

          • meg

            Chicago isn’t a big media city for books apparently, which means it doesn’t pay for itself, basically. When it’s all out of pocket I have to be choosy. And this isn’t a final list.

          • V

            Elissa – I’m totally in on funding the Austin stop on the tour. If you want, you can get in touch with me (g+, I finally ditched facebook) and I’ll help with planning. I suck at motivating people to do shit, but I can plan like nobody’s business.

          • what about Denver?

  • Jo

    Oh my God. So happy for you!!!!

    And this is just icing on an insanely awesome, rainbow cake:
    “And besides, the book might or might not be dedicated to you. I couldn’t possibly say.”

    We should be so lucky.

  • Personally I want to find out who bought the Muppet Christmas Carol.

    So much excitement!!!!

    This is a wonderful post b-day post :)

    • Jen

      Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite!!

  • Can’t wait for your book, it’s going right on my Christmas list!

  • Caroline

    So excited!!!!

  • WAY TO GO MEG! You just hoist that star up, girl… hand over sweaty non-stuff-hawking hand.

  • April


    And I meant what I said a while back: I’m going to buy several copies and give them to my baby brides that I meet with. Beacause seriously, it will be their saving grace.


    p.s. Please tour in San Diego. We have amazing fish tacos here. Or, you know… if you can just get yourself as far south as L.A. I will drive up – PROMISE!!!

    • meg

      I will be in LA… and email me. I’m going to be in San Diego this month (sans book ;)

  • Wonderful! I have always loved your philosophy in not having all the things and I’m glad the world gets to read it too!

  • Class of 1980

    Or if you’re not planning a wedding, you could buy the book and donate it to a library … as a public service.

    • Kinzie Kangaroo

      That’s SUCH a good idea!

  • Congratulations! I wonder what it’s like to hold parts of a book in your hands? I hope it feels as great as I imagine.

  • Tamara Van Horn

    Congratulations, Meg! So…I have pre-ordered two copies (for my married azz and another bride I am bringing to the Force that is APW). Is it better for you and the baby-book-that-I-already-love, to order in December instead?

    And here’s a pitch for Denver/Boulder on the book tour. I am going to ask our women’s center if they would be interested in doing a Book Club with the book, or perhaps be able to subsidize your coming. I know a lot of our students dream-think-deal with marriage, but there’s not a lot of institutional space made for sane discussions.

    • meg

      I think December is better. AND, clearly there needs to be some talk about a community powered book tour, since I can’t go to all the places under my own steam.

      • ElfPuddle

        If you come to Northern Georgia, you can stay with the fiance and I.

      • DUDE, definitely. Are there enough UK readers to have a Bring The Book Tour To London whip round?

      • Tamara Van Horn

        Got it…will cancel now, and re-reorder with the masses.

    • Oh man, I could help make Denver/ Boulder happen -For Realz- if I get to meet Meg finally. No, really. I am already thinking of spaces.

      Um, confession: I got totally wide eyed when you mentioned the editorial note was on “Calling Off Your Wedding.”

  • Cass

    This is one of my favorite posts at APW so far, and that’s saying a lot.
    Can I also be friends with the nice and funny writer? :)

    • meg

      I’ll ask ;)

  • You’re doing it, Meg! This post has me so excited!*

  • Lauren

    Read this today: http://jezebel.com/5845594/why-single-ladies-need-their-coupled-friends

    Thought of APW. Scrolled down: it’s a book excerpt. Published by? Perseus!

    • meg

      Ah! That’s a Seal imprint book, which is a totally different arm then where I am with Da Capo!

  • Karoline

    Meg, I cannot tell you how unbelievably excited I am to read your book this Winter… I’m getting married next July, so it’s coming out just in time!


    Also, I cannot tell you how much I love these building your business/publishing your book/how to be a complete superstar badass posts. They rock.

  • WOOOOOOOOT! That is all.

  • Excuse me while I go “exactly” every single comment on this post. While squeeing.

  • I am so so excited!!! Meg – how do I let my absolute favorite bookstore know that you have a great book they should carry? I feel like saying “here is the Amazon link!” might not be the nicest way to do things. Do you have some other kind of website that I could link to (maybe with the publisher)? Or should I just give them the name/author/amazing description and let them do the rest?

  • Meg, you are amazing. And can I just say that though I’ve been married for 2 years and have no desire to plan a wedding ever again, I’ll be buying this book. And reading it. Because, well, it’s APW. How could I not?

  • Ah, see, you just summed up where I was coming from over on twitter the other day (on wanting to be noticed and liked). I don’t think of myself as a fan per se, I just think you’re funny and you seem nice, and it would be nice to be friends with you.

    Hooray for the book, every last page!

  • I have been married for 6 years and I don’t know anyone who is getting married, but I will buy one copy. For myself. Just because I REALLY want to read it and because I am sure I will enjoy it.

    And when you get pregnant and have a baby, you can write a book about how we DON’T NEED ALL THE THINGS the baby/children industry is trying to sell us either.And my kids will be grown up but I will buy that one too :)

  • Amelia

    Meg, you’re inspiring and help grow little seeds of possibility about what can be for my future. so thanks for that, sometimes posts like this are just what I need to keep dreaming about life.

  • YAY! it must be so ridiculously exciting. i am vicariously hyperventilating. in a good way.

  • Kelly

    Congrats Meg! I’ve been a long time reader and I am going to be starting wedding planning in the near future (but will probably wait until the amazing book comes out to really get into it). Any thoughts about having a monthly post from an undergrad who is working her way through your book in planning her wedding…?


    • meg

      We’re thinking about it. We’re working our way through getting everything else stabilized around here (it’s been a long year), but it’s on the list.

  • Buy All The Things…reference to Hyperbole and a Half?

    I am looking forward to the eventual arrival of my copy! :D

  • Emmy

    I’m so looking foward to this. As an an aspiring wedding planner (and a bride to be). I don’t want to be come part of the problem. I look forward to helping brides to navigate this soemtimes scary wedding planning process. APW gives me hope and keeps me sane. So proud of you.

  • Sierra

    This looks wonderful, and I am so excited!

    I am newly engaged and found my way quickly to APW…I can see already that it will be a frequently-clicked bookmark over the next year and a half. What a lovely community. I look forward to using your book while I plan, and would love to update as I go!

    Thanks for all of your work, Meg! Please consider coming up to Madison, WI on your tour; we’d love to have you!