In celebration of the “three month anniversary” of the book’s publication, here is Part II of Je T’Aime, Me Neither’s story. I’d fully intended to write this shortly after the first post from early May… that was until I insanely flew down to South Africa last minute and finished the book up there. Perhaps it was better not to have written a “Part II” then… because the second instalment of the story was far from over!
So where were we… ah yes, the Mexican (if you haven’t read Part I of the Story’s Story, start it here first). It really was the craziness of the telenovela with the Mexican which made me start the blog last October, nevertheless, it was a logical step towards the book becoming a reality as I’d noticed that a growing number of bloggers were getting book deals. I was sort of going about things in the wrong order, but never mind. I thought that if I built up a good enough readership on the blog, that would help me get a book deal, seeing as I already had the book after all. However, life is full of surprises…
I started the blog quietly, sending the link around mainly to friends and remaining anonymous on the public site. Feedback on my zany adventures was encouraging and readership was (slowly) building. People I didn’t know (or people I knew but didn’t know the blog was mine) also started liking the Facebook page. Then in November while on a hectic work trip—during which I first tried to dodge the Catalan down in Barcelona, then had an unexpected though thrilling encounters elsewhere—I received an exciting email from a follower of the blog inquiring whether I would be interested in writing an article for the beauty magazine she worked for. Would I ever!
Contract signed in December, I set to work at it in early January. It turned out the article (read it here!) would be published in June. The wheels of my mind began spinning. Hmmm what a good publicity opportunity, almost too good to miss out on. Could I get the book ready for then… if I published it myself?
Did I really need a publishing house? I knew of several self-publishing success stories and right at the time a good friend, Keith Spicer was in the process of self-publishing his first crime thriller Murder by Champagne. He became a valuable advisor on the topic and vouched for Print on Demand company Create Space. I also found a wealth of information online. But what would it really take to get my book ready?
That’s when I sent the manuscript off to another writer friend to get her opinion. I was so fortunate to get a thorough critique from her mid-January, with excellent advice on how to finetune the book and its strengthen its structure. In February I buckled down to incorporated her suggested adjustments, every week sending the new sections off to incredible Naughty for proofing.
As much as Naughty and Special Kay were awesome editors, all the sites I was reading on self-publishing strongly encouraged hiring a private editor. The idea certainly made sense, but how much would it cost? From what I saw around $1,500, I’m sure money well spent, but an amount I really didn’t have. Once again, Naughty came to the rescue connecting me with the fabulous Samantha Mehra, who not only did a great job, but offered me a reasonable rate and agreed to my crazy short deadline of May 12. submitted on time we finished up the corrections and questions over the next week.
Okay, the inside was coming together, but what about the outside? Again, I decided it was worth spending the money on a professional cover designer, Aurélie Dhuit, who also was a marvel to work with and whose creative is admired by most viewers of the cover with gasps of “I love it!”. The cover was ready in addition to the chapter page images by early-May as well. The countdown was on, only a few more weeks to go.
Lastly, was the interior text layout, now there was a little bit of confusion over if my e-book layout designer was going to do it or not, creating last minute panic while I was in South Africa… not an ideal situation, but down to the wire we got things together and were only two days late (on Amazon, the trials and tribulations with i-Tunes are still not all sorted out yet).
I officially released the book on May 28th, not having seen an actual hard copy of the book, proving that complete insanity was surely nearing. I almost couldn’t believe it when, a mere week later, I was holding a copy of the book in my hands. I’d actually done it. Je T’Aime, Me Neither was a reality. And just in time for the magazine article… which came out the next day.
Okay, the book was published, which was great, but then what? People needed to know about it. So I donned my PR hat and started reaching out to all my Paris writer-blogger friends and contacts (they add up after thirteen years!), fruitfully leading to get some great write ups about the book release and they keep coming in. Twitter and Facebook have proven extremely valuable and have allowed me to connect with people across the globe, leading to many unexpected contacts and events, like being invited on the Champagne Sisters’ Radio Show and to host a dating event!
A new book also needs to have a proper book launch, and being the celebratory person I am, I tacked on a few more book events around the world. The official event was held at the fabulous Abbey Bookstore, a lively evening highlighted in photos here and a great article on Paris Insights. I exhausted myself with two more events when I was in Canada, it was time to take a little break, however, I’ve learnt that when you self-publish a book, or for any writer with a recent publication, the promotion is endless. So… I know what I’ll be doing every Sunday afternoon or Tuesday evening, at least it isn’t every night anymore.
I’ve also learnt countless other lessons over the course of this whole process. There have certainly been a lot of ups and downs and I was so busy that I didn’t even have time to throw in the towel when I might have wanted to. Emailing with my good friend Kathy the other day she reminded me of something very important summed up as: “do we bathe ourselves in the 95% positive events and people that we have in our lives or does the 5% of small/few negatives (people or comments) ruin the good stuff?” She was absolutely right and it made me all the more grateful for everyone who’s helped me and the book get this far. Their efforts and encouragement is what has truthfully kept me going.
I was digging around online trying to find the perfect quote to underline this, and instead I found hundreds! Among the sites was this great list on Forbes, I might just bookmark it, and have a look at it whenever I’m a little down, because looking down is definitely not the way to move forward. With all this in mind, here is a great slideshow of photos sent in by my dear friend Susan who took JTMN to the county fair! Thanks so much to Susan and to all of you out there!