I Got a Book Deal!!! (And Here’s the WIFM for You…)

Did you feel a tremble in the earth the other day? Sort of like an earthquake but way less ominous? That was probably from me, gawkily jumping up and down and making the high-pitched “squeeee” sound . . . because HOLY SHIT! I got a book deal! I did it! I’m going to have a book published (yes! The same book you are totally going to buy when it comes out in fall-ish of 2024)!

Before I tell you how this applies to YOU and YOUR ASTONISHING LIFE, here’s the book scoop:

  • “What’s the book about?” It should come as no surprise when I tell you it’s going to be about using our mortality as a motivator to live like we mean it. Carpe the Fuck out of This Diem! The working title is You Only Die Once. 
  • Voracious Little Brown Logo“Who’s the publisher?” The publisher is Voracious—an imprint of Little, Brown and Company. I am digging this because Four Thousand Mondays is allll about indulging in a voracious appetite for life. (Here is my doodled version of their logo; if I just blew up the deal because of some sort of copyright bastardization/ infringement issue, well that’ll make for a fabulous entry into the Book of Bad Calls. We’ll cry-laugh about it later.)
  • “Is it going to be a pop-up book?” OMG, no, but that’s a phenomenal idea. Imagine the Grim Reaper popping up on the last page, with a bloody scythe in his bony hand? Maybe for the next book.
  • “So now what?” I have to write and illustrate this puppy now. Before October. And then it will enter the mysterious machine of traditional publishing, which means that it will take about a year to go through its various editorial polishing machines and conveyor belts and then get spat out as a shiny book. (Clearly I have no clue about the process yet, but I’m alarmingly giddy to find out and then tell you all about it if you’re interested.)

Speaking of you . . . how does my news impact your life?

Other than you attending my book launch party 18-ish months from now (PALM SPRINGS + MARGARITAS . . . IT’S A DATE!!)?

I’m hoping my wee little tale inspires you to do things that matter in your life, too.

Here are my notes on this important subject of taking (*gasp*) risks:

  • DECIDE IF YOU WANT IT BADLY ENOUGH. I had been talking about writing a book for a couple of years. While I’ve been writing blog posts 168 Mondays in a row (hi! Glad you’re here!), I was more comfortable talking about writing a book than doing anything close to sitting down and getting on with it. One evening out for drinks with my friend Kevin (hi Kevin!), we shared our goals for the year, and mine consisted of tippy toeing around the book. He said, “I don’t think you want this badly enough.” I felt punched, and not just because I was on drink number two. (Kevin is the kind of person who can get away with saying anything because he’s a coach and has kind eyes.) His tough love lit a fire in me. I’m going to Kevin the crap out of you right now: What goal are YOU incessantly thinking/ talking about? What goal are you tippy toeing around? DO YOU WANT IT BADLY ENOUGH? If you want it, commit to it. If you don’t want it, that’s okay—let it go and move onto something that you’re prepared to take action on. Don’t get to your deathbed and simmer in the soup of regret.
  • TAKE ONE SMALL STEP. I had no idea how to write a book proposal, so obviously I bought the book called—get ready for it—How to Write a Book Proposal. (I emailed the author Michael Larsen with a question and that generous man CALLED ME within the hour to answer it. Lesson learned: asking for help actually helps!) What’s one step you can take towards your goal? Do you need to take an online stats course to prep for the PhD program you want to apply for? Do you need to watch YouTube videos about starting your own business on Amazon? Do you need to book a session with a personal trainer to talk about what triathlon training looks like? Pick one small thing and watch the momentum carry you down the river of goal-attainment.
  • COMMIT TO A DEADLINE. I registered for a writer’s retreat that required a copy of my book proposal. I had nine days to get my shit together! And that was all that I needed: an excuse to get that sucker done. If I didn’t have the deadline I’d still be toying with the font choice on page one. How can you create a deadline for your goal? Announce a workshop date on social media—that’ll get you creating it and delivering it. Hire a coach to hold your feet to the fire—Kevin styles. Tell your network that you’re launching your new business/ product/ career change/ one-woman show/ piano recital/ etc. and watch how motivated you become to NOT look like a person who’s full of hot air. Register for your own version of a writer’s retreat.
  • PUSH THROUGH THE DISCOMFORT. So I had a book proposal! Good for me! The air deflated out of my book balloon when I realized that potential agents preferred to be solicited with 1-page query letters, not 72-page proposals. I did a lot of handwringing, because brevity is not my strong suit. It felt like exquisite torture distilling my ideas and illustrations from the proposal into the query letter, but I committed to my Dad one Friday that I’d have it done by Monday, and I am a daughter who delivers, dammit. What is the thing you’re agonizing over? What if you sat your cute little ass down and started it, rather than delaying it? What if you trusted that you were more than capable of doing the hard work?
  • BELIEVE IN WHAT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. Query letter . . . check! Now, agents. I had been compiling a list over several months of agents I was interested in, and I was 93% convinced I’d be rejected by all of them and then just take the self-publish exit off the highway. Cool. But you know what? We can make great things happen. I reached out to Laura the Agent on the Monday I finished my query letter, received an email back from her on Tuesday, and was signed with her the following week. What stories are you telling yourself about what’s going to be impossible, “not for people like you,” dream-worthy but not reality-worthy? Rejection is likely, yet not a guarantee. We just keep going.
  • DO THE WORK. Before my agent was able to shop the proposal to editors at publishing houses, I needed to build my “platform”—specifically my Instagram following. I was not that into social media and I was intimidated by it. And yet . . . I consciously chose to look at this required part of the process as an assignment (and OMG I love being a student—I wanted to get an A so badly). So instead of bitching and moaning about needing a platform and needing to figure out how to do reels in Instagram, I buckled down. I had my eye, quite obsessively, on the end goal (NO, NOT DEATH THIS TIME). What “assignments” do you need to plug your nose and just complete, as a means to the glorious and fabulous end?
  • BE GUMBY. Thea the Editor has been doing a bang-up job of making this book (and me) better, already. My proposed title for the book was thrown in the trash recycling bin from the day we had our kick-off call—something she handled with aplomb. I have been intentional about handling things with aplomb, too. I want to be aplombable! I want to be flexible. I want to be open to being-made-better by people who are experts at their craft. Where might you need to be a bit more flexible (like Gumby) to new ideas? Where might you need to be “edited” in your life, being careful to not rigidly adhere to your way of doing things?

Dare to be bad awesome quoteAll through this book-shopping process I was afraid of rejection. I do not love or like rejection, and I’m pretty sure you’re not eager to tangle with it either.

At some point I started looking at rejection differently, though—I saw that I was rejecting the choice to live with width and depth by not going for my dream. It dawned on me that I was delaying the opportunity to feel alive by playing small, by talking about the book and not doing a damned thing about it.

I was living in black and white instead of the possibility of vivid, splashy technicolor. I didn’t want another year to go by, disappointed in myself for not trying (and I didn’t want to hear what Kevin would have to say, either).

Jump into the deep end of the pool.

You deserve a life riddled with the rewards that are born from the risks you take in pursuit of your scary-but-special goals.

You can take rejection to the grave, but definitely not inaction.

Let’s die trying, shall we?

Book Deal Announcement!

This is the official announcement that went out in the publishing world! (So it’s legit.)

Jodi Wellman

P.S.: Now that I’ve gone on and on about Instagram . . . let’s follow one another?

P.P.S.: Oh and just in case you missed it… I’d love you forever if you took 16 minutes out of your life to watch my TEDx talk!


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