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Going Pro: Book News and Other Gratitude Notes

going-pro-book

Aspiring artists defeated by resistance share one trait: they all think like amateurs. They have not yet turned pro.

Consider the differences: the amateur plays for fun. The professional plays for keeps…. Resistance hates it when we go pro. –The War of Art

***

Friends and readers, it’s been quite the journey over the past 12 months. The site recently celebrated its one-year birthday, and that got me thinking of a few other big milestones over the year:

  • The release of the World Domination manifesto (more than 100,000 people have now downloaded it from 60+ countries)
  • The careful, gradual introduction of paid products, allowing me to support myself through writing without putting ads on the site
  • The recent site redesign, courtesy of the amazing Reese

I also had a couple of big personal milestones over the year, including the trip to my 100th country last fall and the recent move to Portland, Oregon.

Today, I am thrilled to tell you about another milestone that is both personal and professional. I’m really excited, so bear with me on this. Here we go:

It’s been a long process, but I now have a real publisher for my first real book. The book will be published in September 2010 by Perigee, a division of Penguin.

Yay! Please allow me a moment of joy:

Seriously, I’m going to be a real author! I can’t believe I fooled so many people into thinking I could really write. This is awesome!

That’s pretty much been my thought process over the past couple of weeks. I’d do cartwheels if I knew how, but I’m constrained to smiling a lot. Also, I hope the check from the publisher doesn’t bounce when I go to deposit it, but so far, so good.

I’ll tell you a bit more about how this came about, but the most important thing I have to say is THANK YOU. Scroll down to read more about that if you don’t care about the details – the thank-you is the most important part.

The Long Process

I worked on finding a publisher for about six months, and the process was challenging at times. Like any first-time author, I had to experience a fair amount of rejection, and even worse – being ignored. That’s part of how it works, and I knew that going into it – but at the same time, I’m glad to have come through to the other side.

Before a proposal can be pitched to publishers, the first step for most authors is cementing a relationship with a great literary agent who will coach you on the proposal and then try to sell it on your behalf. After a number of different conversations, I ended up connecting with David Fugate from LaunchBooks.com last fall. I liked David immediately because he was interested in the project but also gave very specific, constructive feedback.

I had talked with 4-5 other agents before formalizing the relationship with David. I was on the fence about a couple of them (there are good and bad literary agents, just as there are good and bad prospective authors), and to be honest, I knew that a couple of them were also hesitant about me.

The response was generally, “You’ve got an interesting thing going there, Chris, but can you really write a marketable book?” I understand these hesitations, especially since I didn’t exactly know how to write a book proposal when I began the process. At the same time, of course, I felt like I had a strong concept and a growing audience of readers who identify with the ideas I write about, so I also wanted to push hard on getting the right team behind the project.

David was great at providing the kind of detailed feedback that I (desperately, sadly) needed. In fact, I can even look back now at the “final” proposal we sent out and see a few things that probably could have been better stated. All I can say in my defense is, stick with me, guys. I’m a slow learner, but when I get it, I’ll work harder than anyone.

The other agents I talked with gave short, general feedback about my early proposal drafts. David gave paragraph-by-paragraph, line-by-line feedback on what eventually became a 40-page document that we sent around to publishers. One agent I talked to told me bluntly, “We don’t do much coaching with our authors. We just send out the proposal and see what the editors say.” I told her I needed a stronger relationship than that, and I found it with David. In short, he was the right guy for the job.

In my initial conversations with the publisher, I also feel like we’ve found the right company and the right editor too. I’m just beginning the process of working with Maria (my editor), but she has already helped me consider a couple of significant improvements to the outline. I’m really looking forward to working more with her, and then with the whole Perigee team next year when we get closer to launching the book.

A Huge Thank-You

This would not have happened (really) without the support and encouragement of so many of you. Thank you for reading, commenting, writing in, and being an important part of my life. I try to live a life of gratefulness every day, but since I’ve finalized the book deal I’ve been even more grateful than usual.

A few very cool people were especially helpful in giving advice and referring me to helpful contacts in the industry. I’m probably missing someone, but the first people that came along were Cal Newport, Valeria Maltoni, Pam Slim, Gretchen Rubin, Jonathan Fields, and Tom Ziglar. All of these people are way above my league, but they never treated me that way.

Now, I just need to write the book. No problem, right? We’ll see — but ready or not, that will be the project I spend the most time on over the next nine months. I may provide a few updates about the writing here and there, but for the most part, I want to put my head down and get serious about actually doing it. I learned an important lesson through the book proposal process: better to focus on the work, and then tell people about it.

Rest assured that while the book will be my most important project for the rest of the year, the regular articles will continue every Monday and Thursday, along with occasional short posts on other days. (You have to come to the site for those – they are not sent through email or RSS.)

You guys read the Art of Nonconformity site for a reason, and I won’t let you down. If anything, I’m working harder than ever and getting into a good balance with writing, travel, and home life.

I’m going to keep Expanding the Pie for everyone who identifies with nonconformity and unconventional living of all kinds. I have to – it’s my job now.

So That’s It

I’m going pro. This is what I do. Can you believe it? I know, neither can I. But it’s really true.

I started this project one year ago with the goal of building a bridge to a full-time writing career. Without putting ads on the site, getting ranked on Digg, or a lot of the other things bloggers are supposed to do, I am now a ProBlogger.

True, I’m not getting rich at the moment, but I’m still traveling around the world, right? And as long as I get my act together and learn how to write in an extended format, next summer you can see my real book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble and the virtual shelves of Amazon.com.

Thanks again, so much, for your support. You guys rock!

###

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71 Comments

  • Jay Schryer says:

    Chris!

    You are officially my biggest hero now! Congratulations on your book deal! That is so awesome!

    You’ve been a huge inspiration to me, and to countless other people as well. You truly deserve this, and I am so happy for you!

  • Way to go, Chris! And thank you for the kind words.

  • Well done sir. I have been enjoying your writing for sometime now and was thrilled to hear you’re reaching the level of success you deserve. I must say, I think about your ‘Be Awesome’ article everyday. What will be the book’s focus?

    Thank you for the inspiration and GOOD LUCK!

  • Jason Weaver says:

    Hey congratulations! Based on what I read here, you’re sure to come up trumps. Your excitement practically burns off the screen!

  • Brandon W says:

    Congratulations Chris! I’ve enjoyed following your quest the past year and will look for your book when it’s done. I’m sure it will be inspiring. I’m attempting a similar quest over the course of the next 6-12 months, and I can only hope that it goes so well.

  • Chad says:

    Congratulations Chris!

    I’ve followed your work for a while now and I’m very happy to hear about your book. I can’t wait to read it.

  • Joely Black says:

    I am hugely, hugely happy for you that you’ve made this happen! Fantastic!

  • Congrats Chris on a very important milestone.

  • Ken Stewart says:

    Congratulations Chris. Discernment triumphs!

  • Guy says:

    I was just reading one of your posts where you set this as a goal, and were to be held accountable and I was going to ask you about this, but hell you beat me to it. Congratulations. Now the hard work starts..

  • Allison says:

    That is so wonderful! Congratulations!

  • Andrew says:

    Way to go! That’s HUGE.

  • Allison says:

    That is absolutely wonderful news! Congratulations!! Very happy for you 🙂

  • Can we get the shorter posts in the rss feed? or perhaps in a second rss feed, if you’re worried about overloading us?

    oh! and congrats! It’s great being able to follow your story; very inspiring for me.

  • CathD says:

    Well done, Chris! I expect your book will be a roaring success.

  • Congratulations Chris! It bolsters my confidence to see this too, as this writer and editor reads through the first rough draft of my own manuscript.

    As you shape up your MS, I’d be happy to be one of your “guinea pig”/feedback readers.

    If you haven’t read Stephen King’s On Writing, I’d highly recommend it – good tips not only on telling an honest story, but also on rewriting. I just reread it this past weekend, and am about to go through it again with a highlighter. One of my favorite bits of his advice is this:

    2nd draft = 1st draft – 10%

    Good luck on the writing!

  • Francyne says:

    Congratulations Chris on your book to be published soon. I can’t wait to read it. I’m very happy for you … and us.

  • Diana says:

    It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Thank you for generously sharing your adventures around the world!

  • @bethbellor says:

    Congratulations! I am proud of you, even without having met you, and thrilled your path is unrolling so well. Looking forward to the book and will be sure to spread the word when the time comes.

  • Crystal says:

    Inevitable! Exciting! Congrats! Wow, wow!

    Aww, hell. I’ll come back and leave a substantive comment when my vocabulary improves 😉

  • Chris says:

    @Everyone,

    THANKS. As mentioned, you guys are great!

    I really appreciate your kind words and support. I’m going to bed now (it’s 11pm over this way), but I’ll read and post the rest of your comments first thing in the morning. 🙂

  • amycao says:

    Chris – you are endlessly inspiring. Thank you, congratulations and good luck on the next chapter of your adventures!

  • Pamela Slim says:

    I am SO proud of you Chris! Way to go. You deserve every single great thing that comes your way because you make it happen.

    Finding the right agent who really understands you and your book is so important. It is a highly personal experience, and you really need the right fit. I am so glad you found a great agent that understood you and got your book sold!

    I can’t wait to read it.

    Advice, having just written a book:

    -Write every day. I adopted the mantra “writers write” when I got blocked.
    -Carry around a copy of Anne Lammott’s Bird by Bird. I literally had it by my side as I was in the thick of writing, and when I started to despair (inevitable in the writing process), I would pull it out and laugh my head off at her description of the crazy looney bin lot of vagabonds that us writers are. In her words, “shitty first drafts.”
    -Have a small copy of your outline taped everywhere. Mine was on my computer monitor, at the foot of the bathtub, and in a notebook in my purse. That way I could always keep the structure of the book in mind when writing.
    -Don’t be afraid to call for help when you are drowning. Talk to other writers who have been there when you have no idea what you are doing and don’t think you can ever finish the book (which will happen at least once a day in the final stretches). You know my number — call me!

    Have fun!

    -Pam

  • Bravo! I had heard a rumor about your book deal and I’m thrilled to get more details. I remember when I came back from NY and told my daughter I’d seen the cover for MAKING A LIVING WITHOUT A JOB. She said, “You mean it’s going to be a REAL book?” Wait until you walk into a bookstore and see it there for the first time. Big moments ahead for you, Chris!

  • Kay says:

    Chris, You haven’t had to fool anyone…you CAN write. I am a huge fan of your website. Congratulations to you!!!!

  • Andy Fossett says:

    Congrats! That is super-exciting news.

    It so good to hear that you’re going “pro” – for one thing, it’s yet another gentle prod for my to get my own act together.

  • moom says:

    Congratulations!

  • Absolutely fabulous, Chris. It’s always a pleasure and usually thought provoking to read you. It would be so silly for you NOT to be published, IMHO. 😉 It has been a joy being along for the very interesting ride so far and I personally want a signed first edition of the book. Best news today. Really.

    Proof positive that enlarging the pie is a viable position to take. Okay now, happy, happy dance for you and for all of us.

    All best,
    Jan

  • Koko says:

    Congratulations, Chris! If you are as generous in writing your book as you are here at AONC in sharing your ideas, your efforts to grow and improve, and your encouragement of others, then you’re certain to succeed. All the best!

  • David Fugate at LaunchBooks Literary Agency says:

    Congratulations, Chris! And of course, thanks for the kind words. Now don’t you have a book you should be writing? 😉

  • l.j.t. says:

    Congrats Chris. Those of us who have followed you for a long time will love being able to read you, even while on our own adventures where wifi is less abundant while airborne.

  • Congratulations, Chris! This is just a testament to the good work you’ve been doing all along. Keep it up!

  • Congratulations! Chris, this is so well-deserved. I couldn’t be happier for you! Awesome news. Well done!

  • Kate Yowein says:

    Congrats Chris!! Thanks for sharing this triumphant story. So happy for you. Stay on track and you’ll eventually get there. I want a signed copy of your book when it comes out!

  • John Pearl says:

    Sweet! Nice job. Hard work and good ideas are climaxing in success for you. I just found your sight but find it, and you, refreshing. BTW..when and where can I pre-order the book? I don’t need that answer right away….take care.

  • Scott Young says:

    Congrats Chris! You deserve it!

    I stumbled onto your blog after a reader of my own website said I should take a look, I can say it certainly has been worthwhile. You have a refreshing perspective on life, work and adventure.

    I’ll be happy to read your book when it is published.

    -Scott

  • Chris says:

    I am honestly so happy for you!

    I would recommend ‘On Writing Well’ by William Zinsser, here are some excerpts of it!

    http://www.cla.wayne.edu/polisci/kdk/general/sources/zinsser.htm

    And keep writing! Your audience will be measuring you twice per week.You already know my comments how your writing has improved lately! Keep up with it!

  • Zoe says:

    I can’t think of a better example of someone who’s earned this opportunity.

    I am incredibly excited for you! It’s so wonderful and heartening to see that an unconventional idea will gain even more exposure through your hard work and your talent.

  • Michael says:

    Turning pro….

    I suspect that the book deal is a reflection of the “life as a pro” attitude.
    Congratulations on this juicy milestone. Proof positive you are on the Path with Art!

    Doing a book is a different dance from that of writing blog posts, but you have the right spirit, and my experience is that you learn to do it by doing it. It is a remarkable journey. I’ve not written my own words, just translated someone else’s. But I can tell you the process of doing a book, especially of working with talented and caring editors, is fertile material for gratitude and growth.

    Looking forward to your sharing the journey with us!
    Michael

  • Many congratulations on your publishing deal. Well deserved.

    When do we get to hear the synopsis?

    Best of luck with the writing of it, and thereafter.

    Dave

  • Audrey says:

    Just wanted to add my congratulations as well! It’s been a long journey to this point, and I’m sure the next part will take you through all sorts of learning twists and turns. Enjoy the journey and look forward to seeing the outcome!

  • Darrick J Lee says:

    Congrats on the book deal! I’ve heard it’s a drawn out and difficult process and I’m sure we’d love to hear about your experience with it.

    Keep up the good work. I enjoy checking your latest posts to reflect on your latest musings and I look forward to your book. I am curious as to how you will use it to expand the pie and I wonder how you will approach the separation of web content and book content that authors are encountering.

    Keep us informed about your latest journeys and we should keep track of airports with free wifi for would be travelers…. 😀

  • Jen says:

    Wow!! Congratulations, I’m sure you will do extremely well and make all of your readers proud! I for one shall be queuing to buy that book in Sept ’10! x

  • G.B. says:

    Félicitations and may the best be yet to come, Chris !

  • Congrats, Chris! I’m happily using some of your airfare strategies and taking a lot of inspiration from your journeys. I can’t wait for the book to come out. I’m sure it will help a lot of people.

  • Summer Foovay says:

    I’m doing a happy dance for you! That is so awesome and I do know how you feel – my little novel got into print this year and I’ve been insufferable ever since. However, you’ve done way better, finding an agent, and getting with a much better publisher. YAY YOU!!!

  • Goofy Foot says:

    Most excellent – You fooled ’em.

    Congratulations!!!

    I look forward to following the adventure and enjoying more posts — but not like all the others. I am a non-conformist.

    Yo tambien, me quedo muy agradecido por haber hallado tu blog.

  • Dave Jeffery dave@compassbuilders.com says:

    Congratulations on the book deal Chris. You are a real inspiration & challenge me every day.

  • Karen says:

    Congratulations Chris! I’m so happy for you! And I didn’t know that you live in Portland. That’s where I live! Yay Portland!

    Looking forward to your book!

  • CONGRATULATIONS!! Chris, this is wonderful news. (If it makes you feel better, my friend Squawfox had to write a 70,000 word book in 2 weeks. Your writing schedule is a HUGE improvement on that.)

  • Coco M Davis says:

    Chris, way to go! I just finished up a writing class with the goal of getting my first book finished and ready for publishing. A group of my classmates and I have formed a writing circle to support and inspire and my first email to the group was this post. Thanks for reminding us ‘it can happen’!

  • Bill Riddell says:

    Very well deserved Chris, congratulations and all the best.

    Cant wait to see the finished product.

  • Chris, well done! Your journey is inspiring and it just goes to show how hard work, dedication, passion, and inspiration can help you design a life that allows you to be happy and accomplish your goals.

    I can’t wait to read it.

    On a side note, did you ever consider using Lulu.com as a test?

  • Omedetou! (as we say here in Japan…)

    Chris – a few years ago I went through the business of finding an agent (for nonfiction book), getting a publisher, edits, sales, translations, dealing with media, etc. so if you have a question (not already answered by the many professionals in your network) please feel free to get in touch.

  • Excellent! Congrats! I was so happy to read this good news! I can’t wait to read the book!

  • Awesome. Congrats on taking non conformity mainstream – I’m sure many people will benefit from your success. Can’t wait to read it!

  • Carl Nelson says:

    That’s excellent Chris! I look forward to hearing about the process and challenges you overcome along the way and, of course, the book to come.

  • Carl Résimont says:

    Bravo, bravo, mon cher Christian… (not too late to learn French language, isn’t it
    :-)))

    Excellente évolution de tes très, très intéressantes idées.

    In a near furure, I’ll probably spend a few months with San groups in Africa.

    Bonne chance et bravo encore pour ton choix de vie.

    Carl

  • Chris says:

    Team AONC, thank you so much (again). I really appreciate your tremendous support.

    To answer a couple questions:

    What the Book Is About: The book will be a full-length expansion of unconventional ideas in the style of A Brief Guide to World Domination. In fact, that’s the working title at the moment.

    Self-Publishing: Well, I am a big fan of self-publishing for products and services, but for this kind of project I wanted the support of a mainstream publisher. I don’t think I’d be able to get the book in the bookstores on my own — plus I am looking forward to the value of a great editorial and publicity team.

    I’ll probably write more about each of these things later (and other topics related to writing and publishing), but for now I mostly wanted you guys to know it was in the works.

    All the best from Namibia… I’m headed home shortly.

  • Nice. I just stumbled on your site from somewhere and have spent the last 30 minutes pouring over tons of information. Love your blog!

  • NBik says:

    Congrats! Travel-ninja, Flyer-miles guide and now this… Keep us in the loop on this book!

  • Skylab says:

    Congrats!~ That’s great news. Keep us updated on the book! I’ll be sure to write about it on Art Of Backpacking blog.

  • Stephen George says:

    Congrats on the book! I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now, and I’m enjoying the similarities to my own life and the encouragement to do more. I’ll be happy to buy a book when it hits the shelves!

  • Andrew says:

    Congrats! Being a book author myself before, I understand the thrills and woes of getting your first book out!

    Thanks for your advice to me via email the other time. Now that you are getting your book out, let me encourage you in the journey as well.

  • tina says:

    Congratulations! Keep on letting your “light” shine, so that we may all be inspired to follow you. It takes each and every one of us to “light up the World”, and you are doing a great job!

  • Congratulations!

    I have been reading your blog and other lateral thinkers lately as I have been caught up in this economic slump. Just read your post on abundance again for inspiration.

    Many years ago I decided I wanted to write. Sadly I have done little about it to this point but I am actively pursuing it now.

    Its encouraging to “see” first hand a first time pro author launch their career. I’m sure it will be stellar.

  • Jon Strocel says:

    Congratulations Chris, you’ve got a great story and all the talent in the world. Go get ’em.

  • emily-sarah says:

    Just chiming in with more congratulations!

  • steve says:

    chris, this is wonderful..! i will be excited to read your book. it’s very inspiring for me when other writers who dare to challenge the status quo are able to break out of obscurity & reach some mass of people.

  • Darcy says:

    I’m not going to read all the comments, so i’m probably just repeating what everyone else has said but; well done! congratulations, this is a huge inspiration to people like myself who aspire to travel and write like you do.

  • Late in the game here, Chris, but congrats. I LOVE the War of Art. Killin’ it! Keep it up.

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