This is a long over-due post. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to give you an update with the book progress. As you can imagine, I haven’t had much time for anything since starting this book venture and my work with KRAFT Jet-Puffed marshmallows. Lots and lots and lots has happened since we first decided to write a book which was exactly a year ago. In this post, not only will I be telling you how the book is coming along but also about our struggles and experiences as self-publishers. In the past I’ve shared a few photos here and there, mostly on our Instagram page but this is the first post that I’ll actually dig a little deeper into what our road has been like. It’s been a bumpy one….
After receiving many emails and comments on our social pages requesting tutorials and online videos, I began kicking around the idea of possibly writing a book in my mind but never really thought I’d be able to do it. Until one day, I woke up and decided to just do it and see what happened. I began by researching how to submit a manuscript to a publishing company and how author-publisher contracts worked. Let’s just say, it would not have worked for us. Then I researched how to self-publish and that seemed like a lot more work but a much better fit for my control-freak, impatient, perfectionist, independent self that I am. We made the decision to self-publish! To get started – we sat down, laid out what the work scope entitled, we evaluated our skills and resources, and finally drafted a guide of what the book would include and look like. Sounds simple right?!?!
At this point, we decided to hire a lawyer, a photographer, a stylist, partner up with a few graphic designers (to create something really special for our book readers) and to begin writing the manuscript. On May 15, 2012 we announced we were writing a book. The feedback was unbelievable. I knew we were onto something great! Around the end of June, I asked my sister to come stay with us during her Summer vacation so she could help me watch our two little boys while I made all the marshmallow designs for the book. With her help, I was able to make them in 4 days! Next, I packaged them all together along with other items and traveled to deliver them to our photographer and stylist. On July 18, 2012, we announced the title of the book. So far everything was going according to plan…. but it’s always calm before the storm. In August, my husband received a job offer in Las Vegas, Nevada which meant we would have to move out of San Diego, California. Oh lord, this book did not look like it was going to get done by October 2012 as I had initially planned. We had my son, Aiden’s 3rd birthday party then four weeks after we were packed and moving. As you can imagine, once we got to our new home it was all about unpacking, settling in, getting Aiden in preschool, and transferring addresses, licenses, permits, etc.
By now it’s mid-October and I’m finally ready to get back into the book. I still had to finish writing 50% of the book and schedule the hands-on instruction and filler photos with the photographer. I contacted my photographer and stylist team to check on the progress but sadly, learned they had been unable to shoot anything yet due to some last minute schedule complications. This took a huge hit on our projected release date. But we’re troopers and this was not going to stop us! We picked up the designs from California and scrambled to look for another photographer closer to us in Las Vegas. My husband then said, stop struggling and let’s just do it ourselves! I was opposed to this at first because I knew it would take us a long time to shoot every photo, it would take away even more time from our boys, and it would indeed push back the release date some more, again. Luckily, Kyle had taken photography classes a while back and is a total tech geek so I was confident he could do it but still nervous as he is no pro published photographer, yet ;). Well, we sat down again and figured out what equipment (camera, lighting, stands, backdrops, props, etc.) we would need to purchase and how we were going to do it all. I called my mother-in-law to ask if she could PLEASE watch the boys for several weekends so Kyle and I could do the shoots. She is awesome! Her and her sister were a tremendous help and did a great job keeping the boys entertained and happy.
During the shoots, I had to play the stylist, the model, the light reflector holder, the lunch runner and the author all at once. My poor husband, had to be the photographer, the equipment carrier, the construction man, my psychiatrist, and the book designer all at once too. Mind you, I’m not the most pleasant person to work with when I’m stressed and in business-mode. But we make a great team and there’s no one else I would rather have by my side during this time than him. He had to continue going to work at his regular job during the week and I had to continue my work obligations with The Marshmallow Studio and Jet-Puffed throughout. Anyways, a few days later he showed me the photos on the computer screen and, let me tell you, I was blown away. He surpassed my expectations. The photos can definitely hold up on their own next to any other book’s. So now that the photos were done, I had to hurry up and hire a professional editor and finish writing those last few pages left. On January 29, 2013 I typed the last words and completed my manuscript. I cannot explain to you how awesome that felt. I felt like that day that I finally had my college diploma in my hands. I’m thinking when I actually have the book in my hands it will feel like the first time I held my baby boys in the hospital after delivering them. Sounds like I’m exaggerating but you have no idea how much work and time it has taken us to see this a reality.
So where is the book now? Well, the manuscript is being edited in New York City by my fabulous editor. My husband is designing the book’s layout. I am researching where are going to have it printed at (USA vs China) and how to promote, sell and present it to retailers across the nation (Michael’s, Barnes & Nobles, Williams & Sonoma, Hobby Lobby, and more). If you have any tips, contacts or ideas… I’m all ears. Please DO tell So far it looks like we’ll be selling it on Amazon and direct through our website to start. Once the book as been edited and designed, I’ll have to get it reviewed by a few persons that I admire so much, then we’ll have to get marketing materials designed, file ISBN numbers, copyright book, start taking pre-orders, send it off to print, and finally ship them off to your hands. Again, sounds straight forward but I’m still hesitant to announce a pre-order or release date because of what we’ve been through and other things that might be out of our control. As the stars begin to align and the light at the end of the tunnel begins to shine, I’ll be sure to announce these dates and write another update.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you all for being so patient and understanding with me. This book adventure as been one interesting roller coaster but I know it’s all going to be totally worth at the end. I’m always happy to hear you guys are excited for it and can’t wait to have your copy. As a self-publisher, I don’t have a big fancy budget for marketing nor do I have celebrity friends to help promote my book so I’m hoping you can all help me spread the word about my book and tell all your friends about it. It would really really really mean the world to me!! Love you guys YOU are all the BEST!!