So, I Wrote a Book

When I decided that I wanted to write a book, I (like anyone else who’s never done it) thought ‘how hard could this be?’ I remember sitting down around for the very first time to write this book. The only issue was, I didn’t have any idea of what I wanted to write. I’ve been slapped with inspiration throughout my life, stopped what I was doing and wrote the first chapter of what, surely, would be my first book. But I never revisited those chapters and have since relegated them to a lonely folder hidden inside other folders on my desktop.

When I quickly realized that I needed some help getting stated, I took to the internet and began furiously searching “writing classes.” Then drilling down further by adding “online” into the Google search field. After poking around at my options, one seemed to stand out to me because it’s somewhere I could never actually go to school. Stanford. There’s some family history with Stanford but I’ll save that for another time.

Tucked between about a dozen creative writing courses was one called Anatomy of a Premise Line. It stuck out to me like a glaring neon sign. I read the course description and quickly ascertained that this class will be my business plan. Once I have my premise line, then I can write the book.

As I previously alluded to, I did not have any ideas when I began this class but through weekly work and exercises, I somehow stumbled into the main idea for Do You Follow. Now, if anyone has done premise line work, you’ll know that a lot more goes into it than just a few words. And much to my surprise, when the course concluded I had created an ironed out a pretty solid premise line. I remember my professor saying, “now you just have to write it.”

And I did. It took me about three months, but I wrote the first draft of my book, printed it out and then realized that I had no idea what to do next. I decided to reach out to a freelance editor. She agreed to take me on as a client and we read, edited, read, rewrote, and read it again. Finally, she told me it was time to pitch.

A little backstory for you, but Do You Follow is actually not my first book. I did write a coffee table/lifestyle type of book for my blog and when I queried agents, they all told me I needed 50,000 followers. I had 10,000. And I had worked really hard to get to 10,000 so 50,000 seemed impossible. But I wanted this book deal. I shifted my focus away from the book and worked so hard to grow my following. And this is where the burn out started to happen. By the time I reached 35,000 followers, I didn’t even care about publishing the book anymore. So, when my editor suggested I start the query process for Do You Follow, I was definitely nervous from this previous experience.

I was so nervous that I asked her about self-publishing the book instead. She informed me of my publishing options, including hybrid publishing. Hybrid publishing? This is something I had never heard of before. She was kind enough to send me some recommendations and I began my queries. While I was waiting to hear back, I kept researching the publishing industry. Each click showing me more ways to publish. It was overwhelming. It IS overwhelming.

I was able to talk to several different publishers about my book. Some of them passed. Some of them were interested. But one publisher stood out to me because it allowed me to retain the most control over my work. As a control freak, this was very enticing to me. Of course, I had to put in a financial investment, but we worked as a team. From the very first day to the present day, they have been my teammates, and I am thrilled that I decided to stay independent and go this route.

I get asked a lot about the hybrid publishing space and I tell people that my main reasons for going this route are as follows:

  1. Maintaining control. This means if you sell your film rights, YOU get paid. Not your publisher. If you want to change your title, it’s your call. You are the boss.
  2. Higher Royalties. If you sell more books, that’s more money back to you than most any publisher would offer a new writer.
  3. Time to Market. It’s way quicker than if I went with a traditional publisher.

We are living in a time when creators have more control than ever. That’s not to say that a traditional publishing deal isn’t great. It can be. But it’s really cool to know that there are way more options out there. I can’t speak to them all, since this is my first book. But I’m happy to share that I had an incredible hybrid experience and would feel lucky to publish my next book with my publisher as well.


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Nice to meet you!

I'm Jessica Bidonde -  longtime reader, blogger and first-time author.
time author.