Yesterday we talked about the go-getter nature of dreams. And this morning, before we dive headfirst into weddings again, I wanted to talk a little bit about the dream I’ve had since I started this site—the dream that’s coming true next month: writing a book. But more than that, I wanted to talk about how (contrary to what we all wish was true) nothing about dreams is easy.
I wanted to write my book from month one of wedding planning. Because the truth is, with a few exceptions listed over here, the wedding book market is pretty bereft of sanity. When I was getting hitched, I really wanted a sane and funny how-to manual that walked me through the craziness of wedding planning, gave me logistical and emotional tips for managing through it, and made me laugh. I wanted a wedding planning book for normal people, so since what I wanted didn’t exist, I wrote one. And it’s coming out next month. Oh my god.
Almost three years ago, I wrote this about the need for better books on the wedding shelf:
This weekend, David and I went to a bookstore and somehow ended up sitting on the floor in the wedding section going through piles and piles of wedding books… Laughing at the wedding industry has it’s own punishment. Namely, it’s really really funny until suddenly it’s horrifying.
So there we were, sitting in the bookstore, reading wedding advice back and forth, and suddenly I started feeling really ill. Not, “Oh, this is making me nauseous, ha, ha, ha!” but more, “Oh dear God I’m going to lose it.” I think it was right after I had read a tip to David about how “It is critical to think of your wedding as an enormous theatrical event,” and while he was reading me a tip about how “Many brides waste literally thousands of their gift dollars by failing to register for the most lucrative items, forcing them to buy these items after the fact.”
This bridal book hilarity (or lack there of) haunted me all weekend. Over and over what kept running through my head was “Garbage in, garbage out.” We went through almost every bridal book on the shelf, and almost every single one was explicit instructions on how to be a needy, self absorbed, demanding, obsessive bride.
So I wrote the book that I wished was on that shelf. And I believe in it. And now my job is to get it into the hands of people who need it. And, frankly, into your hands, because I owe the book to you. I mean, it was a good idea for a book, sure. But the way the publishing industry works, I had to be able to point to the whole APW community and say, “They believe in this. They will make this go,” before anyone else would believe in the book. Which brings me back to what I was pondering yesterday: dreams are important. Figuring out what we want and vowing to change our lives is important. But we can’t do any of it unless we’re ready to lift each other up. And that is something that the APW community is so profoundly good at that it blows my mind every single day. So I’m pretty convinced we can do this.
Last year, when I was still working full time and trying to make a million changes in my life at once, never ever getting down time, I wrote a post called Pulling On The Boots. I said:
I’d forgotten what it was like to knock on door after door after door and get told no, over and over again. I’d forgotten how depressing it was. I’d forgotten how determined it can make you. I’d forgotten that confusing, partially excited, mostly terrified feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when someone finally says yes. I’d almost forgotten that art is my hustle.
But over these last few weeks, I’ve remembered. I’ve felt the instantaneous swoop of despair you feel at “no.” I’d felt the confusing terror of “yes.”
And while I couldn’t be clear about it at the time, what I was talking about was the process of trying to sell a book. Because let me finally come right out and say this: even with a proposal I was proud of and an awesome agent who I trusted, there was a period of time where I thought the book wasn’t going to sell. Why? Well. In short, it’s easier for people to say no to you than to say yes. You have to give them a really good reason to say yes, and there are times that can feel completely impossible.
When we were pitching the book, we heard a mixture of, “Oh, all the wedding books have already been written,” (which, had that been true, would have been a sad state of affairs) and, “Everyone just wants a traditional wedding, so this is the kind of book no one wants” (which sites like APW, East Side Bride, Offbeat Bride, and The Broke Ass Bride disprove every damn day). So it was such an awesome gift to find my editor Katie at a major house, who had never bought a wedding book in her whole career, and who got the book right away.
But the funny thing is, now that the book is written, I’ve realized it’s time to convince people to say yes all over again. As we’re starting to market the book, we’re hearing the same message, “Our people are not wedding people.” (As my friend Robin said, most people are not wedding people till they suddenly are wedding people, and that’s when they need a sane wedding book.) Or, “People getting married just want traditional wedding books.” Which. Obviously no.
So. Today is the beginning of us turning a no into a yes. It’s the beginning of us proving that people do, in fact, want sane wedding books, and that we’re reclaiming this whole wedding nonsense. This is the plan:
The Great APW Book Buy
Inspired by David Malki (click that link, the story is hilarious) who writes the web comic Wondermark (we grew up together, funny enough), we’re launching the Great APW Book Buy for December 7th, which is the first day the APW book ships from my publisher’s warehouses. (Side note: book publication is a little weird. My book’s official publication date is January 1, 2012, but those of you who pre-order on Dec 7th will have it in your hands the next week.) The idea is this: it’s actually pretty manageable to push a book up the Amazon bestseller list for a day or so (though we’re going to have to work extra hard to make this happen in the Christmas season) because you only need to sell hundreds of books a day, not thousands, to make this happen.
So! If everyone buys the APW book on the same day (whether you’re buying it for yourself… since it’s dedicated partially to you, or for your mother to calm her down, or for your best friend who’s getting married, or for your wedding clients next year, or for any combination of these reasons), we can push the APW book up the charts, and get some attention for a book by a first time author. We can make the publishing industry take notice and prove that yes, we want more sane weddings and fewer crazy ones. By all working together, you guys can help make this dream happen.
So! The Great APW Book Buy will take place on Wednesday December 7th. We have a countdown clock on the top of the blog as of today (pretty), and you’ll hear more about the book in the next few weeks. Come December 7th, you can order the book through:
(BUT DON’T ORDER IT YET!)
I have faith that we can make the APW book a bestseller… if only for a day. And by doing so, we can point out that this is a conversation that needs to be had, and we can help get the book into the hands of people who need it.
Which can only mean one thing, of course. That I’ll finally get to write a non-wedding book, too. One of these days.
Team, can we do this thing? You have my deepest gratitude in advance.
Picture of me & the galley copy of my book by One Love Photo. I love those guys.