As many of you know, the book has been a big focus for me lately. You might be wondering— what is it about the book that is taking up so much time? Didn’t you finish writing your book back in November?
The answer is, yes, I did finish writing it back in November, but that was just the first draft. I had thought, as I think most people do, that writing the book is the hardest part. But then at the beginning of February, I got the edits back and was told I had to cut 25K words. My editor said I had “over-delivered” and my manuscript would go way over the amount of pages written into my contract.
So… can’t they just make a longer book?
Yeah, I would have thought the same thing. But apparently, every additional page makes the book more expensive which means it would have to sell at a higher price point. And nobody wants to buy your super expensive book. Once I understood that, I understood why I had to cut 25K words.
This ended up being a blessing in disguise because once I reread my first draft, I was like— OH MY GOD, THAT SECTION SUCKS, how could I possibly have wanted to publish that in my book??? But then instead of driving myself crazy trying to rewrite it, I could be like— Oh cool. I can just cut that section out. Only 24K words left to go!
By the end of February, I had delivered the second draft, 25K words lighter and I think much better for the overhaul.
Then I had to wait for the next phase to come back to me which is the book in layout (which you can see a hint of up top). That’s everything dropped into pages— narrative, pictures, charts, lists, etc. It’s put together by the book designer in a preliminary fashion and once things are laid out, you can start to see what makes sense and what doesn’t. Suddenly your story about potty training feels totally out of place and you realize there should obviously be eight Picky Eaters Club pics instead of ten. That pacifier chart belongs three pages earlier, the lead-in to the baby death trap list should be deleted and what the fuck, there is a missing paragraph on page 113!
Did I say the edits were the hardest? Because I actually found the layout phase even harder. I realized a lot of what works in blog format has to be reimagined for book format. Blogs are always linear so you know exactly what order you are supposed to read and look at things, whereas books can have random sections and pictures that need to make sense separate from the narrative.
My editor also sent me the actual dummy book so I could hold it in my hand and see the exact size for myself.
The next phase, the one that I am currently in, is finding the high res versions of my photos and sourcing the photos I want to use from my readers. Basically, the part of the process I have been dreading since Day One. I don’t know which is harder— finding the original photos of my family from my personal stash or figuring out the email address of the person who submitted the photo of their kid slathered in peanut butter four years ago, but both those tasks need to get done.
For my personal photos, it’s been the hardest to find pictures of Mazzy from when she was a baby. These are the oldest photos and therefore, the ones buried on old computers and portable hard drives in drawers I haven’t opened since 2010. But making it even more difficult is the fact that a few years ago, while trying to organize my photos (on iPhoto mind you, which doesn’t even exist anymore), I deleted a bunch of Mazzy’s baby photos by accident. If I had just deleted them and that was the end of it, that would be one thing. But I can still see the thumbnails of the photos like they exist, but when I click on them, I get a big ugly pixelated question mark, which makes sorting through my old photos very painful. These are pictures taken before Instagram and before my blog was as photo heavy, so they do not exist anywhere else. At the time this happened, I just shut the computer down and stopped the organization process entirely because a) I didn’t want to know what I had lost and b) I didn’t want to risk deleting anything else.
Now, I’m being forced to look my old photo demons straight in the face and JUST DEAL. So maybe this part is actually the hardest. If I ever write a second book, I think I will make it fiction with the only picture on the cover.
On the plus side, I did discover a whole bunch of photos I had forgotten about, like the family photo below. Isn’t it funny how photos sort of disappear if they just live in your photo library and you never post them anywhere?
The photo releases for reader submissions is a whole other animal and I have just begun the process of reaching out to people, so if you get a shady person direct messaging you on Instagram or Facebook asking you to sign away your firstborn, that’s me! Heeelllooooo!!!!
I am also looking for a few new photos so if you have a funny photo of your kid you think I might like to include in the book, hashtag it #mommyshortsbook on Instagram. At the moment, I’m looking for babies doing a Harlow-esque death stare, a close-up photo of a baby crying and some toddlers who don’t like the looks of their food. You can also email your pics to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll reach out if I’d like to use them.
What else can I tell you?
Oh I know— the title, the cover. when it goes on pre-sale, etc.
I promise, all of that is coming soon and I can’t wait to share these details with you.
FYI, I’ve heard convincing your friends, family and readers to buy the book without sounding like a broken record and annoying the crap out of them is the hardest part of all.