“How I Got Published!”

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A slight departure from the food, fitness, and healthy living posts of norm to discuss book publishing!  Beyond “What breed is Maggie?” (a piebald dachshund), the most common question I receive is “How did you get your book published?”  I began to answer this question in this post (check out this post for Part II).  Basically, my agent read an article about Operation Beautiful in the New York Daily News and contacted me.


One thing that I want to add about my experience with getting my first book published is that I got rejected a LOT (I wrote about my rejection experiences here).  Although my route to publishing began in a non-traditional way, it ended like all other books-to-be.  My agent had to shop my proposal (non-fiction books require a proposal and fiction books require the entire thing to be pre-written) to a bunch of publishers, and many (around 13) rejected the book proposal.  So don’t give up if you’re a writer and finding the process hard.  It might seem like I had a fairy-tale-book-story, but I most certainly did not.


Through this post, I hope to illustrate that there are many ways to get your book published.  If you have a dream of writing a book, DO IT!  :)  It’s a really fun, exciting, and – I’ll admit it – sometimes draining experience.  But it’s totally worth it.


First thing:  I spoke at the FitBloggin’ conference last year on the Beyond the Blog: Getting Published panel.  Of course, this panel was very specific (blogs to books!).  Although I do not agree with everything that is said at the panel (you can kind of tell when I start to speak up!), I think each panelist does provide some important lessons through their own experiences.

This website is mentioned in the video as a good resource for writers.


Another great website to check out this blog, which has a TON of ‘publishing essentials’ posts on the left hand side.  Topics addressed include how to write a non-fiction proposal and how the publishing process works.


Next up: I interviewed my literary agent + four published authors to see what they had to say about the experience since everyone’s path to publishing is so unique.  The biggest difference is that some people are a huge fan of agents (I’m in that camp) and some blazed their own trails.  Their advice is below!




Chris says, “I started in publishing as an editorial assistant. This meant that a big part of my job was wading through the "slush," the unsolicited submissions that floods every publishing house. The editors I worked for (and later, I, when I became an editor myself) received bags of mail every week from would-be writers, and for the most part we sent back the SASEs with form letters. I’m sure at some point in the history of publishing a slush submission has been chosen for publication at a publishing house, but it never happened once during my ten years working for publishers. Now that everything is electronic, I’m sure most of the time editors press delete without ever responding. Some houses now have a policy of not accepting any work that is unagented. This may seem unfair, but publishers simply do not have the time or resources to respond to unsolicited submissions. That’s why they acquire most of their books from literary agents, who have spent the time finding authors, developing their ideas, and refining their proposals before taking them to market.  


But say you are the lucky one whose idea (or blog) catches the attention of a publisher on an unsolicited submission: do you really want to accept the first offer that comes your way? How do you know if the publisher is reputable and has successfully published other books in the same category as your own? Whether you are getting fair terms in the contract? Will you be able to navigate the publishing process by yourself once a deal is struck? Do you want to be your own advocate in situations that are uncomfortable – say, when you don’t like your cover design, or the publisher decides that they want to change the title? Or, heaven forbid, they want to cancel the book and want their money back? There are a lot of things that can go wrong during the publishing process, and having a good literary agent in your corner to address them is critical.”  Here’s some advice on how to find a literary agent.  


For a difference perspective, I also interviewed Kelly Lougheed, who is publishing her first book through a small publisher she sought out herself.



Kelly says, “I wrote my book Cads and Cadavers during National Novel Writing Month in my senior year of high school–like me, the heroine of my book was applying to college, but unlike me, she was also being running around with vampires every night. When I decided I wanted to do something with this 50,000-word manuscript I had sitting around on my hard drive, I couldn’t find any interested agents, so I Googled small press publishers and submitted to a few.  When I got offers, I chose the place with the prettiest website (just kidding– I chose the publisher that would put my book into print format as well as ebook). Publishing is largely about personal taste–even if you can’t find a big-shot agent, you might find some awesome publisher in Ohio who’s completely willing to print your book.”  You can learn more about her book here.


For yet another perspective, I also interviewed Rosie Molinary, who’s been around the block with two published books. 



 Beautiful You: A Practical Guide to Radical Self-AcceptanceHijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latin

Rosie wrote, “In October 2010, Seal Press published my second book, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.   About a decade ago, I went to grad school to get an MFA in Creative Writing because I was interested in using personal writing more deliberately in my classroom (I was a high school history teacher and soccer coach). In the process, I wrote a collection of personal essays on my own coming of age experiences complete with insight into my journey through ethnic identity (I am Puerto Rican), body image, and beauty perception. That manuscript, titled Giving Up Beauty, made me curious about how other Latinas reconcile how they grow up in a home that has one idea of what’s beautiful, feminine, and appropriate for women with the often completely messages they receive outside their home about those issues to become themselves. In the meantime, Seal Press had picked up one of my books to include in an anthology called Waking Up American, and I was really impressed with them. When I conceived the idea for what would become Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina (Seal Press, 2007), I went to Seal Press and negotiated my own contract. It was, as I imagined it would be, a great experience.  


Soon, I was doing a lot of traveling for Hijas Americanas and what women, of all backgrounds, wanted was a way out of their body hatred. I was struck by how the conversation in the book about body image and beauty perception as well as the messages  shared about those issues- that we are all enough, that our uniqueness is beautiful- were universally embraced by women. Women are really hungering for affirmation of what they inherently know to be true and guidance for how to let that truth shine out in them.  I have always been particularly interested in journaling and in creating and taking actionable steps towards a larger goal and so the idea of putting together an action plan
and empowerment guide for women where they could put together the pieces to their larger goal of loving and accepting themselves really resonated with me.   And so I wrote the proposal for Beautiful You and then sat on it for a bit while we brought our baby boy – now toddler boy- home from Ethiopia. After we were settled back at home for a few months, I went back to Seal with the proposal for Beautiful You and we had a deal.   


Since going to contract for Beautiful You came out, I have found an agent for future book projects because I simply have less time with a little boy at home to shop books projects in the way that is needed but it is absolutely possible to get a non-fiction book contract without an agent if you read a significant amount—Publisher’s Weekly and Writer’s Digest are great resources- and put some time into the effort. The most important advice? Keep going. Do something everyday that gets you closer to your dream.” 


Here’s the perspective of an author who almost got an agent and then went directly to a publisher instead!



Shauna wrote, “I started writing my memoir The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl in the evenings after work. After years of idle dreams of being an author, I realised I had to make the time, give up some crappy TV shows and get started! Writing is like getting healthy – you only need to commit to doing a little every day, regularly, then suddenly you’re getting results.  I put together a proposal and was just about to start querying agents when an editor from Random House found my blog and asked had I ever thought of writing a book? Hell yes! I sent her my proposal and a few weeks later I had a book deal. My book is now published in four different languages and the whole experience has been a blast.  My advice is to be passionate and write-write-write like the wind! And be yourself, don’t try to emulate others writer – publishers are always looking for a fresh voice.”


And last, but not least, I interviewed the famous Mama Pea, another blogger who is having her blog turned into a book.


PUBLISHED AUTHOR: MAMA PEA, AUTHOR OF PEAS AND THANK YOU (which will be released in Summer 2011)

Mama Pea wrote, “I’ve always wanted to write a book but didn’t know how or what to write.  I started several fiction pieces and then, after watching several of my favorite bloggers (i.e. Caitlin!) get blog-based book deals, I thought, "I can do that too!"  While there are hundreds of thousands of cookbooks on the market, I knew that there wasn’t a book like mine: a collection of stories and recipes for a mainstream family on a non-mainstream diet. 


Through talking with Caitlin, I knew I wanted to find an agent, so I put together a ten-page pitch with an example chapter and started just sending it to various agents that were suggested to me by a friend in the publishing industry.  I received two rejections before hearing from my agent, a day that still is one of the most exciting days of my life!  We refined my pitched and sent it to a couple dozen publishing houses.  Finally, the book was set for auction and about five publishers "bid" on my project.  Some had a different vision of my book (i.e. just recipes, no stories or just stories, no photos, etc.) and some offered very little money.  By the end of the day, though I’d signed with Harlequin Non-Fiction and was overjoyed with their vision for my book.

For those wanting to get published, I think the key is having a niche–not every blog lends itself to being a book.  Have a strong vision of what you want to write and be able to sell that to an agent or a publisher.  What makes your book relevant?  What kind of following do you already have that will translate into people wanting to buy your book?  And overall, don’t be afraid of rejection!  We’ve all experienced it, but the pain of rejection is definitely worth being able to realize your dreams, and you never know unless you put yourself out there.”


Are you a writer?   Or are you a reader extraordinaire?  What kind of books do you love to read?



  • Sarah @ See Sarah Graduate December 2, 2010, 8:53 am

    I’m by no means an author yet (still working on graduating college!) however I wouldn’t rule it out one day. 🙂 I absolutely LOVE reading though! I’m not a book snob by any means and will read just about anything. Some of my recent favorites have been “Into the Wild”, “Eat Pray Love” (waaaaaay before the movie came out), and “The Autobiography of a Yogi”.

  • Emily December 2, 2010, 8:53 am

    Thank you SO MUCH Caitlin for taking the time to write all of this out, as well as to get different perspectives from others. It’s always been a dream of mine to get published. I know there are a million weight loss memoirs out there, but I’m going to try my stab at my own one day. I’d also like to write fiction, but that doesn’t come as easily as writing about myself- ha!

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun December 2, 2010, 8:55 am

    Thanks for this post Caitlin! It’s so interesting to see all the different avenues. It’s something I would love to pursue one day in my future. I love to both write and read. It would be amazing to be a part of it.

  • Heather (Faces of Beauty) December 2, 2010, 8:55 am

    i like to consider myself a writer, although not published as of yet 🙂 but most DEFINITELY a reader extraordinaire!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) December 2, 2010, 8:56 am

    Great post. I never knew the process in getting a book published.
    Not now or even in the immediate future but maybe one day, I’ll have a book published.;)

    Have a great day!

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking December 2, 2010, 8:57 am

    Great post Caitlin. Getting published isn’t really one of my dreams, but I’m so impressed with all of you who have! It obviously takes a lot of work and commitment and is a good example to anyone to get out there and work hard to achieve your goals. This was so interesting 🙂

  • Balanced Healthy Life December 2, 2010, 8:59 am

    Oh, you look so cute in the pic with your agent! I am a advid reader!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday December 2, 2010, 9:01 am

    Thanks for sharing this with all your readers. I’m sure that a lot of bloggers aspire to one day get published.


  • Emily Malone December 2, 2010, 9:02 am

    Great info – thank you so much for being so open with your experience! It’s nice to have friends who can guide you through the process. 🙂

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing December 2, 2010, 9:02 am

    Great information, Caitlin!

    I have always known that non-fiction was what I wanted to write, but never felt “expert” enough in any certain area to write an entire book about it.

    Then, I found my blog!

    I’m hoping to one day write about my turn from an ultra-American diet and lifestyle to eating completely all natural food, and mostly organic. What I’d really like to focus on is the beginnings, the struggles, and the “why,” in hopes of inspiring others at that precipice to do the same.

    I also hope to include music & concerts with this, as I travel to see shows for a good chunk of the year, and food/drink is a huge part of our travels, reunions with old friends, and tailgating in the parking lots.

    Lastly, I want to include my “social worker” brain and what I’ve learned about how food greatly effects all children, but especially those with disabilities.

    Lots of ideas floating around in my head! Thanks for the inspiration girl!

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black December 2, 2010, 9:03 am

    Very interestnig post- enjoyed reading about it!

  • Erin @ Bishella December 2, 2010, 9:06 am

    What a great post! and it’s very cool of you to share this with us, your readers. Such an inspiration! <3

  • RhodeyGirl December 2, 2010, 9:07 am

    Thanks for the post Caitlin. It is very informative!

  • gabriella @ embracement December 2, 2010, 9:11 am

    Great post! I love to read and it’s so interesting to see what exactly goes into the process and how many different ways it can do done. Like most things in life, I think success comes when you do what’s right for you and it’s cool to see how many people succeeded going down different roads.

  • Katie December 2, 2010, 9:12 am

    I am a voracious reader. I literally never go anywhere without my book, it is always in my purse! You never know when you will have to wait for something! Or just find a nice spot to stop outside for a few minutes. I like to read historical fiction.

  • Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances December 2, 2010, 9:13 am

    This is a great post – and inspiring too! Thanks for putting it together and sharing with us.

    Totally off-topic question, but where did you get those cute shoes you are wearing in the pic with your agent? I really like them.

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 9:15 am

      Banana Republic 🙂

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) December 2, 2010, 9:13 am

    I feel like it is such a cliche for me to write a cookbook, but I really do. I have started putting one together and even have photos to go along with it. I have talked a lot with my husband and I do think an agent is the way to go…now I need to start sending my work to them. Thank you for writing this! I have a feeling I am going to be spending more time on this post reading through all the links you posted too. You are an inspiration!

  • Alayna @ Thyme Bombe December 2, 2010, 9:13 am

    This is so helpful! Thank you for the wonderful tips and examples you gave.

  • Shari December 2, 2010, 9:14 am

    I’ve been looking forward to this post since you first mentioned it. As an aspiring author, I’m always so interested to hear how everyone approaches the process. It truly is amazing how different each experience seems to be. That’s wonderful, though, and inspiring. I think it’s easy to forget that no two paths to publication are exactly the same.

    I’m in the middle of querying agents for my new manuscript now, and while it’s not quite as overwhelming as it was last time around, it’s still an absolute emotional rollercoaster. As I’m sure you know from your own experience, it’s tough to put your “baby” out there and wait to hear feedback on it. Rejection stings no matter how much you prepare yourself for it, but like you said, it’s part of this industry and it’s so important to try to develop a thick skin to it. Yes, it still hurts, but I like to think of every “no” as a stepping stone to that much-hoped-for “yes.”

    I think the most important thing is to never, ever give up. After all, nothing worth having ever comes easy, right? And everything worth having is worth fighting for 🙂 I’ve had two agents request material so far, and while I’m hoping, wishing, and praying that one of them falls in love with my book, I’m also continuing to query others at the same time. I won’t stop until my dream is a reality!

    Your story really is inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with everyone!

    (And yes – avid reader right here, too! What’s better than a good book?!?)

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 9:15 am

      I completely agree with everything you said!

  • kimmy December 2, 2010, 9:15 am

    You dont even know what this post means to me. I am 30,000 words in on my first YA novel, and am really worried about publishing. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 9:17 am

      30,000 words = you are epic! Keep writing!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit December 2, 2010, 9:19 am

    I love reading nonfiction, and would love to write a book someday!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 2, 2010, 9:20 am

    Wow, what an eye-opening post! I’m not really an aspiring writer (yet anyways) but it’s so interesting to hear how the whole process works. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience! And congrats again on everything that has happened so far with the Operation Beautiful book. You’re a huge inspiration in more ways than one Caitlin! 🙂

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow December 2, 2010, 9:25 am

    Thank you for such an awesome post! It goes to show that if you do what you love and share what you love…big things can happen!!!!

  • Camille December 2, 2010, 9:26 am

    This post actually made me feel like publishing a book is more achievable than I thought!
    I would love to write a book someday, I just don’t have the perfect idea yet. You can bet that when I do, I WILL get my book published 🙂

  • Jamie @ Food in Real Life December 2, 2010, 9:32 am

    What an interesting post Caitlin! Thanks for sharing. I think the suggestions are great. I love to read, mostly fiction stuff, but with school I haven’t been reading all that much. I love to write too, which is one of the main reasons why I got back into blogging. Not sure if I’ll ever go down the writing a book route, but we’ll see!

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations December 2, 2010, 9:32 am

    This is wonderful advice for anyone who wants to publish a book. I read some fiction but not too much. It has to really capture my attention. My favorite fiction book is Umberto Eco’s “The Name of the Rose.” I read mostly non-fiction.

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) December 2, 2010, 9:42 am

    This is a great post with great advice! I am both a writer and reader extaordinaire. I love using words to “create” something, whether it be fiction or nonfiction. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment and allows me to express myself.

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman December 2, 2010, 9:43 am

    I’m a writer (journalist, so nonfiction articles, not books) and a reader. I love reading fiction the most. It’s my escape. Plus, I hope to write a novel one day. (Of course, I’m sure the entire world’s population and their mothers have that on their bucket list!)

    • Anon December 2, 2010, 4:07 pm

      Excellent point! I am kind of …jaded…at the number of people that want to be “published” …want to especially pick some non-fiction topic. I HOPE people remember that writing ought to be intrinsic. Does a person want to write…or just get some prestige or money or “quick-fix” to solve all their problems? Everyone has a different path. Some take a month. Some take years upon years. Some need to know its okay to not be published – if you do something that you like (no matter what it is) that has to be good!

      • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 4:11 pm

        I highly doubt that anyone who wants to get published seriously thinks it’s going to be a quick fix to get rich.

        • Anon December 2, 2010, 4:28 pm

          Definitely not. Agreed.

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries December 2, 2010, 9:47 am

    I love you AND Mama Pea. Thanks for writing these tips!

  • skinnyrunner December 2, 2010, 9:49 am

    thats so exciting for you and mamma pea.
    i have the literary taste of a 15 year old girl… a chick lit. bring on the devil wears prada!

  • Ashley December 2, 2010, 9:56 am

    Such great info! I plan to write a book one day related to my work in academia – so it’s nice to hear about the process and everything that is entailed!

  • Lisa Fine December 2, 2010, 10:07 am

    Great post. Not only did I love learning about the process, but I love learning more about bloggers’ stories.

    I love to read and write. While at first the majority of my writing was on my blog or in journals, I recently finished writing my first ebook, which goes on sale on December 15. I’m really excited about it, and it’s been a big learning process; I hope to work on more books in the future.

  • Lauren December 2, 2010, 10:37 am

    I’ve always loved writing since I was a kid. Someday I would like to write a book – about something? I’ll figure it out when the time’s right.

  • Bronwyn Coyne December 2, 2010, 10:39 am

    I read every day. When I was teenager I wanted to be a published fiction author, and I actually started in university for creative writing before switching into sciences. One day I will be a published author of some kind, there’s no doubt about that in my mind. When and how is still a little fuzzy, but it’ll happen.

  • Mabelle @ Latina Health Diaries December 2, 2010, 10:44 am

    HI Caitlin! Thank you for all that wonderful advice on how to get published! I always wanted to write a book (used to actually write fictional stories as a hobbie when I was a teenager). I’ve “googled” the ‘getting published’ topic before but never really got a clear answer on how to go about it. So again, thank you for taking the time in writing this post and doing all that research/interviews. Very inspiring stories. Congratulations on getting published by the way! Best of luck to you.

  • Kiran December 2, 2010, 10:48 am

    Thanks for the wonderful advice Caitlin. It certainly puts me into perspective of the how-tos of getting a book published. Especially for a girl who came from a non English speaking country, I’m proud of my writing so far 😉

  • Candice December 2, 2010, 10:50 am

    Speaking of being published…
    Caitlin- you made the homepage of the website of my employer (Valencia Community College)! I saw it this morning and was like- wait, I read her blog! Small world, don’t cha think?

    And congrats on making the Yahoo list! That rocks socks!!

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 10:52 am

      Hahaha awesome! Did you know that I started Operation Beautiful at Valencia? 🙂

  • Amanda (Eating Up) December 2, 2010, 10:58 am

    Publishing a book is my dream! My favorite class when I was in third grade was the “writing period” right before lunch. Pretty sure we had to write 30 short stories that year. I loved every minute.

  • Kate @ Walking in the Rain December 2, 2010, 11:05 am

    My dream would be to publish a book (well a series of books actually). But every time I read something that says how hard it is to get published (and now I need an agent? ack!) I give up. I know its all in my head, but its one of the big factors holding me back from writing.

  • Amber K December 2, 2010, 11:13 am

    My favorite books are suspense thrillers. But right after that comes memoirs, non-fiction, and cookbooks. I have loved reading about other’s journeys and that’s just another reason why I love your book. I get a snapshot of so many different people and their realization that they are worth more than they ever thought possible.

    I have started writing a fiction book, just for fun. And my husband is always telling me to write down stuff about my own journey. But I don’t know about writing a book about that!

  • Joanne December 2, 2010, 11:22 am

    So interesting! Did you go to school for journalism? Were there a lot of “rules” to learn or “styles” to adjust to when writing your book that were recommended by your agent/publicist?

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 1:04 pm

      Before I got my deal, I had freelanced for The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition for 6 years, worked as a tech writer for 3.5 years, and I majored in Creative Writing. So I did have a strong background which definitely helped. But no real changes to my style – I think staying true to your voice is important.

  • Camels & Chocolate December 2, 2010, 11:25 am

    Great round-up and information for budding authors! I’ve been with the same publishing company for six years, but should I eventually branch out and pitch non-fiction proposals to other agents/houses, I will definitely be referencing this =)

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) December 2, 2010, 11:41 am

    I’m more of a reader, but I used to want to be a children’s book author. Never say never!

  • grocery goddess jen December 2, 2010, 11:43 am

    Thank you for writing this post! I will watch the panel discussion and check the links later, as I want to look at it all. I’m definitely a writer. In fact, I’ve had a non-fiction book idea rejected by maybe 7 or 8 publishers and an agent, too 🙂 That was a couple of years ago, and now I’m sort of onto a new niche, and I do hope at some point in the next couple of years to get published. Was it easier to get your second book published?

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 1:05 pm

      Yes because I went with Penguin again and they knew who I was – they approached me with the idea, actually.

  • Vikki December 2, 2010, 11:46 am

    As writers, I think the biggest thing we can do for ourselves is to educate ourselves on the process. I write romance and my goal is to query in 2011. I’ve joined RWA and I’ve taken courses and read a ton of books and blogs. To quote GI Joe: Now I know and knowing is half the battle.

  • Kristy December 2, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Hi Caitlin! I wanted to thank you very much for this post. It’s really inspiring and just what I need. I’m at a standstill trying to formulate a plan to becoming a full-time writer. This has provided me with new, fresh ideas to keep moving forward. Thanks again! Kristy

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 1:05 pm

      Youre welcome!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) December 2, 2010, 12:09 pm

    Wow – so cool to hear everyone’s experiences:) This is very helpful to aspiring writers!

  • Shauna December 2, 2010, 12:17 pm

    Fantastic post Caitlin, thank you for including me! I love how there really is more than one approach to getting published. The one thing they all have in common is a lotta hard graft 🙂

  • Lee December 2, 2010, 12:19 pm

    I work for a children’s book publisher and I like to joke that I’ve written a book because like a sentence that I wrote made it into a rhyme book. Ha! I’m normally a graphic designer for the company though.

    It would be awesome to be a published author!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks December 2, 2010, 12:43 pm

    Thanks for this post. It was really informative and helpful. I’m a writer and have always written. It is my dream to make a living at it, but I think I always get hung up on the “how” and the “how am I going to pay my rent?” parts.

    I hope in the future to have my worries just cut down to the rent part, and reading posts like this are certainly helpful in that journey. 🙂

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 2, 2010, 12:55 pm

    When I was younger I used to always dream of writing a book and getting it published. Now that I’ve finally gotten my writing fever back (after a long hiatus) I think I may someday actually achieve that dream!

  • Lisa December 2, 2010, 12:55 pm

    Thanks for this great information! I’m a writer and I’ve written several fictional novels (unpublished). I quit after getting so many rejections…but now I want to write a book about how I lost my weight. I just don’t know how to start or where to send it to!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss December 2, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Wow, a lot of work goes behind it all!! I’m hoping to write a book as well someday so these are really great tidbits to know. I’m surprised your idea got rejected a lot, though..it was such an amazing concept! It’d seem like people would go for it right away.

    • Caitlin December 2, 2010, 1:07 pm

      Well (maybe I should’ve said this in the post), the point is that not all concepts work for all publishers for whatever reason. It’s like dating – all the men might be perfectly nice, but there is only 1 for you 🙂

  • Faith @ lovelyascharged December 2, 2010, 1:19 pm

    This was an awesome post to read at a perfect time…I just graduated with an English major (that I’m not currently using working with children :/) and I’m trying to work my way into writing, editing, or something along that line. I love my blog but obviously it isn’t a career…however, I’m very interested in figuring out a way to branch it into something that could potentially support me in some way, shape, or form. It seems like it’s just a matter of finding a way to do so and any tips and success stories are what I’m devouring like crazy right now – thank you again for sharing your experience and info! Fingers crossed I can find a job like yours that I’m passionate about 🙂

  • Heather C December 2, 2010, 1:24 pm

    This is Bookmarked and saved for future reference! Huge thanks for all the details and HUGE kudos to you for going through all the hard work it takes to go from Start to Finish. 🙂 The Success of Operation Beautiful knows no bounds…

    I’d love to be a writer, but am among the “where to start” crowd as far as a topic. There are plenty floating around in my mind that involve Sports Nutrition, the Female Athlete Triad (having suffered it myself in college) and how to bounce back! We’ll see where it goes…. 🙂

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 2, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Writing a book is definitely one of my long-term goals. Thank for witing this – it gave me a good idea about what I should be thinking about now.

    I have so much respect for those of you who’ve been through it. Congrats!

  • Marci December 2, 2010, 2:10 pm

    Hi Caitlin, that was a very informative post. I once wrote a manuscript of chick lit fiction during the Spring of 2007, spent a long time writing, pitching, and researching small publishing houses and agents, but it didn’t work out. I got feedback from some places, but then I put the project to bed. It’s still a major life goal and dream but who knows. I think it is every blogger’s dream to turn it into a book. It’s always nice to see the back stories and know that it’s not just magic or luck.

  • Kelly December 2, 2010, 2:15 pm

    Sigh, I would love to write a book one day. Thanks for this post, it at least gives me hope, haha!

  • Ashley December 2, 2010, 3:00 pm

    I saw Operation Beautiful featured on the Nate Berkus show this morning! 🙂

  • Christina December 2, 2010, 4:07 pm

    I’ve always wanted to write a book and I think I tend to talk myself out of things. Thanks for the great post! Gives a gal a little hope 🙂

  • Anon December 2, 2010, 4:18 pm

    Natalie Whipple has a blog where she discussed her rejections and hardships for the past year. She is a dedicated writer , but yet to be published. She discussed in a recent blog post that she is realizing she has to do it because that is all she wants to do. Like breathing.
    She writes fiction.
    I suspect nonfiction and fiction are 2 entirely different things.
    I think most people suffer from what genre to choose, fiction or nonfiction, target audience, and how the hell to start. If there is a process to the actual generation of an idea and organizing yourself to actually do it, that would be a blessing. I fear that there is no “how-to” like that. It comes down to trial and error, hair-pulling, absolutely no method or way to it at all.
    Don’t disregard that you actually have to want to write. Not want to be published. Or perhaps a viewpoint from fiction and nonfiction are different.
    Secretly, I wish I knew how to approach it and how to even generate a basic idea. Whether to pose fiction or nonfiction. But there is no absolute manual guide. Ironically, it is a completely uncertain thing. I think each person first needs to be okay with not being published at all and not feel chained to something and instead live their life and let things fall into place just a little.

  • Anon December 2, 2010, 4:23 pm

    I have to say that your productivity and accomplishemts astound me. I tend to occupy my mind and day with so much “daily necessities of work and living and headache” that I fail to even think about what I possibly might hope to do one day. Too many dreams of what I might like to do in future..so many questions of how I can ever even get to those points when they seem impossible. Just trying to relax in my life now. Trying to get my focus sharp enough so that I can at least put on my underwear and pants the right way in the morning! (yes…that is how nuts I am).

  • Ash December 2, 2010, 5:02 pm

    Love this post. Very informative. I’ve always wanted to be an author…but in truth I’m a terrible storyteller. I always want to get to the “good part” and end up forgetting important parts that are crucial to the end. Oh well! I still love reading.

  • Lauren December 2, 2010, 5:39 pm

    I totally just participated in Nation Novel Writing Month as well! It was so hard to type out 50,000 words in the month of November when I have never been seriously into writing. Now everyone wants to read my book, and some say that I should pursue a writing career. Thanks for the info, Caitlin!

  • kelsey December 2, 2010, 7:55 pm

    I had no idea there was frost in charlotte this morning!! [totally must have slept too late] and lovvvve your christmas tree!!

  • Rachel December 2, 2010, 8:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Publishing a book is definitely a huge accomplishment that I can maybe see myself pursuing someday.
    The process reminds me a lot of academic publication, which I’ve had enough experience with to know how brutal it is. Peer review=bad reviews that people tell you are good. I don’t get it.

  • claire December 2, 2010, 8:51 pm

    Ummmmm SUPER CUTE outfit with your agent 🙂

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous December 2, 2010, 9:06 pm

    Thanks so much for these tips! They are amazing resources. I had no idea that non-fiction books need proposals and fiction books need to be fully written out.

  • Sarah December 3, 2010, 7:40 am

    This is a really great post! I think it’s great that you are willing to share the wealth of knowledge you’ve attained rather than keep your secrets to yourself. That is a sign of someone who truly wants to help others. You are awesome!

  • Tara December 3, 2010, 6:50 pm

    I was so excited to see this because one of my best friends is the editor at Seal and the 2 books from Rosie. She is actually amazing at helping people get their books written and guides people on getting books published. She has a webinar coming up: http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/she-writes-live-virtual-event
    Anyone interested in getting published should check it out!

  • Julia @ Brides Up North December 30, 2010, 6:30 am

    Great post Caitlin x

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