So You Want to Publish a Book?

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Nope.

Last week I attended BlogHer 14 – the 10th annual conference for women in the blogosphere (and anyone else interested in attending).

My first foray into the world of writing conferences was BlogHer 12. That year I went because I wanted to experience New York City, and being honored as a Voice of the Year for my post on prematurity seemed like a great excuse to do so.

It was chaotic. And exciting. And terrifying.

I walked away (or sat on the tarmac for a good long while waiting for storms to pass so I could return to my left coast) feeling rather disheartened. This space will never evoke the Evita ditty, “The Money Kept Rolling In.” I was overwhelmed.

I did not go to BlogHer 13.

But in 2014, the conference came back to San Jose – my home turf. How could I not go? After all, I’m still blogging. So I headed back to the lion’s den.

I attended PathFinder Day (the Thursday before the big show): The Path to Published Author. I thought it would be an in-depth discussion on the minutia involved in becoming a published author.

It was not.

It was an exercise in boastful pride by a well-established, prize-winning author. I learned that self-publishing is for losers and even though bloggers are crappy writers, you might be able to get a book deal if you have 20 million readers. (Not even close folks. But your awesomeness totally makes up for that.)

Summary: So you want to be a published author? Nope.

I returned to the main conference the next day. The morning panel on getting your first great book deal featured a lot more variety, as the panel discussed the wide range of options regarding the new state of publishing. It was still pretty bleak, but sometimes you’ve got to cry a little – even die a little – for the love of the game.

I loved every minute of it. This year, I came away inspired.

Sept. 30, my children’s book is coming out.

Mid-September, I am a featured essayist in the anthology, “Motherhood: May cause drowsiness.”

I am just about done with the first draft of my memoir.

I am four and a half years into this blogging adventure. This year’s conference told me I don’t have a chance in hell of becoming a published author.

Clearly I’m already going to hell. So at this point it’s go big, or go home.

Tell me I can’t, and I will. I am going to be published.

But really what it’s all about are the stories bloggers have to tell. BlogHer 2014 was totally worth it because of the people I met.

Everyone has a story to tell.

To the bloggers willing to share it – it was a pleasure to meet you. And thank you. The people I met this year were wholly awesome.

To the readers – thank you for being a part of our story.

These here interwebs create a society that link us. The way we communicate is ever-changing. But from the beginning of oral history, it has been stories that keep us going.

I do not have 20 million blog viewers. I have not won prestigious awards. I am not J.K. Rowling or The Bloggess.

As The Bloggess noted during her keynote, “Everyone has a story. If you don’t think you do, it’s because you haven’t read it through someone else’s eyes.”

I really hope those speakers who fancied denying us the impossible listened to that keynote.

“None of the cool kids started that way.” ‪#BlogHer14

9 Comments

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9 Responses to So You Want to Publish a Book?

  1. Wendy Zamora

    Great takeaway! It was so wonderful and inspiring to meet so many great female (and male) bloggers this weekend. I agree that the BlogHer crowd can be intimidating, and the book publishing panel was for sure a reality check. But for those of us hungry enough, desperate enough…instead of turning us away from our goal, it only makes us more hungry. I’m with you, Tricia! I WILL write a book and, but for the Grace of God, I will do all I can to get it published!

  2. Knowing that #BlogHer14 was in your neck of the woods, I wanted to go, just so that I could forget to meet you one more time 🙂

    And I’ll fully admit that a core of awesome readers beats a readership of 20 million, though a book deal would be wonderful. If only I had a manuscript….

  3. Ha– I love it. And while I’m so with you on the doom and gloom they reigned upon us, I still came away so freajung motivated to kick arse. A reader once told me (diagnosed me?) I was quote obviously motivated by having an “enemy.” I think it’s true, because I had this bizarre and manic moment while at the wordpress panel where I was like “It’s not IF I publish, it’s WHEN. I WILL hold my book in my hands.” I think my voice was all high pitched like Gretchen in Mean Girls when she says “You can’t sit with us!”

    I can’t wait to get my summary post up…. And I can’t wait to get back to writing. It was awesome to meet you!

  4. I totally agree with you in the disappointment that was Pathfinder day – especially considering the extra money that we had to shell out for the registration and extra hotel night.

    My main problem with the session was that half of it had nothing to do with the steps or knowledge we would need to help us become published authors. Instead it was two hours of self-adoration, especially by Mr. “My blog pays my mortgage”. I found there to be too much condescension and not enough nuts and bolts of the business. I don’t expect a panelist to blow smoke up my hoohaw and serenade me with “it’s all rainbows and unicorns” – I’m a realist and I expect hard truths. But I don’t expect or appreciate spending so much money and time in order to build up someone’s ego. Since both authors followed the same format, I don’t know if this was something the BlogHer powers that be implimented or if it was the authors idea – but it was a bad one.

    That being said, as a first time BlogHer attendee, I found the conference to be a great networking and socializing platform and I loved meeting my online friends and finding new folks who I clicked with. I also learned some interesting and helpful information – just not as much as I imagined I would.

    I’d probably give it another go, especially since I heard from so many people that last years panels were so much more informative (so maybe this was a fluke?) I’d be interested in hearing from veterans to get their take on it.

  5. Seriously WTF was with those two speakers! I wanted to scream, and I loved the questions that were met with yeah we are gonna talk about that in the afternoon. Umm…how about now? I am considering writing BlogHer to request a refund for Pathfinder. I seriously think if we all did they would have to realize that it was just atrocious. I gave it a 1 star write up and flambéed it on their app. But yes, loved meeting and seeing friends again. Just would have liked to have learned something too. Jenny Lawson and Rev Run pretty much made the event fantastic.

  6. Great summary! I’m totally with you on the pathfinder day and have already sent in my letter.

    But, more importantly, I’ll go to your book signing if you come to mine.

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