How I Got a Book Deal, Part Three

How I Got a Book Deal, Part 3

Note: This is a series of posts about how I signed a deal with Wiley and Sons for a book on Pinterest marketing. Click here to see the navigation page for the rest of the series.

I was in the middle of my workday on Wednesday, February 22nd when I got an email note via my website contact form.  Here’s what the email said:

Hello, Beth.

I am a business book editor and would love to talk about a publishing idea I have. I just read your piece on CopyBlogger for how to market your business on Pinterest. Good stuff!! There is a HUGE market ready to hear what you have to say on this.

Let’s talk!

The note was signed by an editor at Wiley. This is the kind of note that bloggers dream about getting from publishers, so I had to read it several times (and look up the editor online to see if she was legit) before I let myself believe that this wasn’t just a nasty trick that someone was playing on me.

After doing a little research on Wiley (and realizing that Wiley has published virtually ALL of my favorite social media books (by authors like Scott Stratten, David Meerman Scott, Ann Handley and Joel Comm) I spent about fifteen minutes privately freaking out about the fact that a publisher had contact me.

After I spent another couple of minutes getting my major delusions of grandeur and daydreams of best-selling book glory out of system, I took a couple of deep breaths and called the editor back.

The editor was wonderful on the phone. She was clearly very excited about the idea of publishing a book on Pinterest marketing, and thought there could be a huge market for a book on the topic. She told me she had seen my guest post on Copyblogger and really enjoyed it, then asked me if I thought I would have enough material for a book on Pinterest marketing. I said yes.

She then asked me if I could write a book proposal by the following Monday morning. Internally, I groaned, knowing that book proposals are notoriously hard to write and that they are typically incredibly labor intensive.

But when an editor from Wiley is on the phone, and she asks you for a proposal, and she thinks you might be able to write a book that could really sell really well, YOU SAY YES.

So I smiled and said “Absolutely! No problem!” We exchanged a few more pleasantries and hung up the phone.

Over the course of the next few days, I also found out from Wiley that they really needed me to write the Pinterest book in six weeks.

When they asked me if that was possible, I had a moment where I consciously thought to myself, “Say yes, then figure out how to do it.” I called my friend Lori Wostl, who is the person in my life who supports me when I want to do truly insane and awesome things, and asked “I am insane for wanting to agree to this?”

She said, “Yes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!”

We talked logistics. We talked time management. We talked about quitting my day job. And in the end, we came up with a workable plan for getting the book done. So I told Wiley that I thought I could do the work in six weeks.

Then I started working on the proposal. Because of family and work obligations (I was still working 30 hours a week at a day job at this point) I had to wait until the weekend to really be able to dig into the writing. And man, did I work hard that weekend. My butt didn’t leave my chair (except to eat and sleep) for three solid days.

My agent, Kristina Holmes, was invaluable in helping me write the proposal. The story of how I retained Kristina as my agent is another epic tale, but I’ll save that one for another day. Kristina read every word of my proposal – many of them several times – and gave me great advice on what publishers look for in a book proposal and how to present myself and my platform in the best possible light.

By Monday morning, I was exhausted, but I felt like we had put together a decent proposal. I took a deep breath and sent it to the Wiley editor, saying a little prayer in my head to the publishing gods as I hit “send.”

After sweating it and dealing with very negative self-talk for several hours, I heard back from the editor and heard that she was happy with the proposal. Then she told me she was going to take my proposal into a weekly meeting that she had on Tuesday afternoon. I got the feeling this was a meeting where people pitching new ideas. I also got the feeling this was a meeting that was kind of a Big Deal.

I won’t deny it – Tuesday was hell. I went back and forth between thinking that my life was about to change and thinking that I was a crap writer who was going to fail utterly at everything I tried to do in my life.

All I could do was wait until the good folks in Hoboken, New Jersey decided my fate.

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  1. OK, first: YAY!!! Second: Jealous. Having been through the proposal writing process, I can say I hope never to write a proposal in three days. Third: I also hope never to complete a manuscript in 6 weeks. I’m in awe. Now, if only get riches came along with publication, but they seldom do with books, unless your last name is “King,” “Grisham” or “Patterson.”

    Congratulations, Bethy! I’m so proud of you!!

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