Big News: The APW Book!!!

Dear Team Practical,

So, last month I told you that I’d quit my job to go fulltime on writing APW. Well. There was this one other small thing that I failed to clue you in on: I sold a book.

More specifically, I sold the APW book and it will be published by Da Capo Press, and imprint of Perseus Books in December 2011. (It’s actually due to the publisher on June 1st. JUNE FIRST!! Which is soon. Soon!) Now that the contracts are signed, and to the publisher, and and and (publishing is a slow industry), I’m finally FINALLY able to tell you all about it. Eeep! So let me back up, and walk you through all this.

The Book

First, what is the book, exactly, you ask? Well, when I started looking into writing a book two years ago, I was really convinced that the book that I wanted to write had already been written. I mean, it was such an obvious, sensible book, that it had to have been written, right? Well. After lots of digging around on bookstore shelves (which involved some horror, puzzled looks, and lots of hilarious laughter), I realized it really didn’t exist. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are a handfull of really good wedding books out there, but not this book.

I wanted to write a wedding planning handbook for normal people. A book for those of us that don’t have six figures to throw at our wedding and you know, have jobs, and don’t have infinite time for crafting. And I didn’t want to write a ‘budget wedding’ book, because it makes me irate to think that those of us who have worked hard for our budget (or whose parents have worked hard for our budget) are condescended to by being told that our wedding is a ‘budget wedding.’ I didn’t want to write a memoir, I wanted to write the no-nonsense, dead useful, wedding planning guide that I couldn’t find.

So the book, working title, A Practical Wedding: Graceful Wedding Planning That Won’t End in the Poorhouse or the Madhouse, is a how-to book, that walks you through planning a wedding in a super sane way. Like, for example, when you tell your parents that you’re not getting married in a Catholic church because you and your partner have talked it through and don’t believe in God, expect to cry a little, but know this is normal and good setting of boundaries. And, here are all the ways you can get an beautiful wedding dress for under, um, a grand. And here are ways to build a day-of wedding planning spreadsheet, so you know your wedding is organized and you can relax. And NO, of course you don’t have to feel guilty about not having X, Y, and Z nonsense because none of this was traditional in the first place. In fact, lets talk about what is really traditional…

Plus, there will be lots of quotes from wedding graduates, of course, so expect me to get in touch with you guys on that.

The bottom line is that blogs are good for lots of things. They are good for inspiration, they are good for community, they are a good real-time way to recommend businesses that are helpful. But they are terrible for actually helping you plan in a step-by-step way, because that’s not the way they are structured. Plus, you can’t hand a blog to your mom to calm her down when she’s freaking out about “what the books say”, and you can’t give a blog to your girlfriend when she gets engaged.

I started APW because I was planning a wedding, and I’d worked as a non-profit event planner, so I knew how to tackle an enormous event, plan the sh*t out of it, and get it to come out well on a ridiculously tiny budget. The book is my way to pass on a lot of those event planning skills to you, plus all the information I’ve learned writing APW for three years, boiled down in a way that makes sense, and you can reference easily when you need it.

Oh, AND I’M GOING TO BE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. So. Let’s talk about THAT.

How It Happened

{Valentine’s Day Weekend last year: Proposal writing begins}

I decided to tell you about the book on Valentine’s Day (happy Valentine’s Day!) because this is the one year anniversary of when I started, um, lying to you about what was going on.(I am paranoid about jinxing things, so I never want to give out information early.) Last year I wrote a post about weighing hopes and dreams, and about how we were going away for Valentine’s day weekend to do nothing. This was not strictly true. We were going away for Valentine’s Day weekend so that I could lock myself in a room and do nothing but write a book proposal.

I did pretty well, and walked away from that weekend with 25 pages of rough draft. We put in a call to an interested agent (we used to work in professional theatre in New York, which means we were still plugged into talent agents), and she wanted me to send it over.

{Editing in the park on my 30th birthday}

So I stalled a little. I freaked out. And then, on the afternoon of my 30th birthday last April, I decided enough was enough. We went to Golden Gate park, I spread out all of my notes, and I edited that proposal. On the evening of my 30th birthday I sent it to the agent, who suddenly became MY agent (crazy!)

So all last summer, when we were getting ready to go to Italy, and I seemed like a crazy stressball, and I was working 70 hours a week? The real secret is, I was revising my book proposal (on top of working full time, and writing the blog by myself, and trying to get two weeks’ content ready so we could go on vacation). I remember sitting there one Saturday, with a horrible sinus infection, with my book proposal spread out all around me, wanting to cry, and I kept thinking one thing, “If I ever sell this d*mn book, I am going to tell everyone one thing. When you look at someone and think, ‘Wow, their star is really rising!’ What you don’t know is that they are hauling up the star themselves, by hand.” And that’s great news (on days you’re not overworked and crying with a sinus infection) because it means we all have access to success.

And I think that’s what I really want to say today. Over the past year, what I learned is that luck is yours to make. I always had the perception that bloggers suddenly started getting big, and then agents and publishers started throwing themselves at said blogger, and said blogger became an adorable, talented superstar. And that’s not the way it works in real life. In real life, you decide you want something, and then you go out and you work yourself into the ground trying to get it. You ask for what you want, you get told no, and you ask some more.

So in September, the week before Mighty Summit, my agent started shopping my proposal. In mid-October, things didn’t look good (and I wrote a post about continuing to knock on doors). By mid-October plus one day, things suddenly started looking better. By Halloween, I knew the book was going to sell. By early November, there was a small flurry of interest. By the end of November I had a contract in hand. By Christmas we were in contract negotiations. And by the week of Alt Summit, the contract had been signed.

And now, every single week, I’m writing 6,000 – 8,000 words, on top of the writing I do for APW. The whole book is due, totally finished and shiny and wonderful, to my editor on June first. I am by turns elated, frustrated, rage-full, productive, and delighted. I am working hard. But I think Cate Subrosa said it best last week when she said, “whenever we really want something, it always seems that by the time we achieve it we’re so busy thinking about where we go next, we don’t really stop and congratulate ourselves properly.”

{Me at Alt Summit, shortly after signing my contract}

So now, a year after starting my proposal, three-and-a-half months after finding out I was going to sell the book, two-and-a-half months after first getting my contract, and a month after signing it, I can finally tell you: I’m writing a book. And I’d like to stop, just for a day, and congratulate myself properly. This is a big deal, and I did it. And I couldn’t have done it without you (And without all of the many ladies of the internet, who supported me every step of the way. You know who you are.)

Which reminds me. There will be a book tour in January 2012, and I’m excited to meet all you APWers in person, and thank you.

MWAH! And keep on hauling up your stars!

Meg

PS To help celebrate, I finally updated the APW about page, which now has my full bio, and full name (!), and Lauren and Alyssa’s full bios as well. It makes things seem official around here.

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