The book is being worked on by my staff members the exceptional editor Deborah Natelson and the prodigious proofreader Sarah Awa. It’s a journey, editing, and it takes a lot of back and forth, and rewrites, but I will have the manuscript shipped to the book formatter next Friday.
In the meantime, I put the book available for pre-order on Amazon, but just the ebook. If you want the paperback, you’ll have to wait till next week to pre-order. The official publication date is April 12th, 5 days before I leave for the Netherlands.
However, I still encourage as many people as possible to pre-order the book. There’s a couple reasons behind this:
Really, reason #2 is why I am offering the book cheaper during pre-order than when it will be available to read. All the books you buy now, will show up as purchases for ranking purposes on the actual publication date, April 12th, instead of the date you bought it. The more pre-orders I get, the higher my ranking will be, and the more visibility the book will get, which means more sales in the long run.
So, if you help me, I’ll help you.
My goal is to get 50 paperback pre-orders and 50 ebook pre-orders. The second thing that will help me rise in rankings is if everyone that pre-orders writes or leaves a starred review. I realize this probably won’t happen, so my goal is a quarter of those pre-orders converted into reviews.
Which brings me to my final point on pre-orders. If you pre-order and promise to leave a review the day the book comes out, I will send you an email copy of the book so you can read it before it comes out. You can be an official beta reader for the book. If you pre-order, you will show up as a “verified purchase” on Amazon, which is super important, so I can’t just send you the book without you pre-ordering it.
Lastly, on a different subject, the cover is done! Well, for the ebook anyway. Nada Orlic over at Erelis Designs is still working on the paperback cover, but I’ll be sure to share when it’s done. I decided to go with the map cover for a couple reasons.
Normally, when I am working on a book cover, I keep it pretty under wraps until it’s nearly completely done. Part of this is because I’m a control freak, part I like to give people the element of surprise, and partly, I really respect my cover designer, Nada Orlic. (http://erelisdesign.com/) She really knows what she’s doing and we’ve been working with each other for a long time.
She’s done hundreds of covers, and she knows what works. I have realized from working on dozens of client covers with her what her pet peeves are. And one of the big ones is clients who give bad directions and ruin her beautiful covers with amateur suggestions. She’s been heartbroken a couple times. Me too.
I didn't want Joop's cover to break her designer's heart. So I gave her a few suggestions from me and other folks and gave her free reign. Then I worked with Joop to come up with a few final options for our fans to look over.
My favorite from the beginning was the Sprinkles cover. I never liked the burger cover much myself, while it was Joop's favorite. And it seemed pretty split among our fans between the white burger cover and the sprinkles cover. But we're not going with either.
Why I didn’t go with the original designs:
We went with a few more literal concepts: Maps and Joop, himself. My friend Zu had a great idea of Joop in a bowtie, and I had just the picture of him that I could use. Nada played around with a few covers, and these three covers are the favorites of the rest of my staff, Joop, Nada, me, and of course my mama and Joop’s Pap.
Please keep in mind that these covers are for concept only. The font, positioning, and subtitle WILL change. So please vote for your favorite concept.
I’m keeping the contest officially open, so if you comment with your thoughts on the cover, or even wish me and Joop good luck, you’re still going to be entered into the drawing for the free signed copy of the book.
I’m high-strung. I adore plans, and planners, and sticky notes. I have a meal planner, calendar, and life planner, and yes, they are all connected. I have notifications on my phone for everything: meditating, showering, picking up my kid from school. My lists have lists and my habit is making everything into a habit.
I come by it naturally. My dad is the ultimate list guy. My mom on the other hand writes a grocery list and promptly forgets it on the kitchen counter.
To be fair, some of this list making is an attempt to control my ADHD. Like my dad, I just might forget to pick my kid up from school if there isn’t a reminder. So yes, I have an alarm to snuggle with my kid, because it’s too important to be distracted from.
But, this listyness – it’s a word now; I made it up – can wreak havoc on my peace. Because, no matter how well I plan, life always happens. Like pretty much every day. Every. Single. Day. And when things don’t go according to plan, I quickly get frazzled, and then nothing happens.
This year for Christmas I asked my mom for Michael Hyatt’s new Full Focus Productivity planner. I’m a big Hyatt fan, and I send lots of my clients to his blog when they need to beef up their platforms (and honestly, what writer doesn’t need to beef up their platform a little?).
It’s the planners dream come true. It even helps you plan out your off time on the weekends with his Weekend Optimizer. Now I can cram even more into my weeks, but only the things that will actually help me achieve my dreams.
My mom, in her infinite wisdom, also gave me a copy of Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.
I love Shauna. She has a way with prose that makes it feel like poetry. She’s also a blonde, slightly older version of me. She’s a Dutch Pastor’s kid from the Midwest who grew up to be a mother, world traveler, and harried writer.
As I was setting up my planner for the year, seeing just how much I could smash into this year to make up for falling behind while sick last year, I was also reading her book, chronicling how she realized that doing, doing, doing was keeping her from being. Being with her family, being content, being a woman, person, Christian. How she didn’t listen to her body when it was giving out, when she was throwing up in parking lots, when she was up crying all night trying to hit self-imposed deadlines. Sounds like someone I know…
So I wrote in my Full Focus Planner as a goal: Give yourself grace. I underlined it 3 times.
And I’ve needed it this year. January has been a mess.
The first week back to school, Drake was there for 1.3 days. He was sent home one day for an allergic reaction, which lasted into the next day. Then it was MLK day, with 1 day back to school before there were two snow days, which was followed by my husband having a terrible flu bug, and you guessed it, me catching that flu bug. And no family flu epidemic would be complete without the kid getting it.
It's also had other challenges. My mom had knee surgery, my best friend had more health scares, and my husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a couple years of worsening mental health. Plus, he’s also in school full time and working full time at the university in our town, leaving me to deal with all the household stuff when school is in session.
I’m way behind where I wanted to be on Joop Does America.
But, because of my planner, every day I see the goal to give myself grace. And I do. Three days with snow on the ground in Athens, GA is a miracle, so I enjoyed every minute of it with my son. And I would have normally made my self sicker trying to work while puny, but I rested. I even slept 15 hours in one day.
Drake went back to school, which is good, because even though I am trying to give myself grace, I still have work to be done. And thankfully this planner shows me all the little victories I’ve made along the way.
Even with all the distractions, my final version of the Joop Does America will get to the editor this week and Joop will have it today, after I read through it one more time. And in April, I will be on my way to my ancestral land to visit new family, and maybe find some old family too.
And the book covers are here! I took in suggestions from several fans and here’s what we’ve come up with.
We went with a food theme, in case you can’t tell. While Mountain Dew was suggested, copyright issues prevented us from having his favorite soda on the front. Another suggestion was Chic-fil-A, but again copyright issues. Instead, we picked a giant, juicy bacon cheeseburger. Joop’s second favorite sandwich while here.
You can vote here on the blog, or via Facebook. Again, anyone that enters a vote will get their name put into the hat for a free signed copy. If you have a suggestion for a subtitle/tagline leave it in the comments. We’re not married to anything but Joop Does America.
Please comment with the number (1-6) that is your favorite, or even your second favorite. To see the full cover, click on the first picture and a gallery will open up. Thanks for your time!
I live in Athens, Georgia, with my son, my husband, and an ever-revolving list of exchange students, who are a never-ending source of entertainment and writing material.