But first, the stories worth reading this week:
How To Win With Your First Book: Podcast (Michael Hyatt): “Whether you’re an entrepreneur, counselor, pastor, or pundit, writing a book is one of those bucket-list items, isn’t it? But navigating the publishing world is like exploring a new country.”
Bill Gates on Books and Blogging (Katherine Rosman for The New York Times): “Bill Gates, the co-founder ofMicrosoft, has emerged as a force in the publishing industry, thanks to the book reviews he posts on his blog, Gates Notes. Mr. Gates, who says he reads about 50 books a year, discussed his love of reading, how he makes his selections and what book Warren Buffett recommended.”
5 Steps for Setting Writing Goals You’ll Actually Keep (Kristen Pope on The Write Life): “Taking the time to step back from your immediate deadlines and projects allows you to think about where you’d like to be—and chart a path to get there.”
The Complete Guide to Query Letters: Nonfiction Books (Jane Friedman): “It’s also important that prospective authors give some thought to their author platform, or their ability to market and promote their book to an existing audience they can reach, without the publisher’s help, through online or offline activities.”
Why Designers Love The Ampersand: A Romance That Dates Back to Pompeii (John Brownlee for Fast Company): “Cheerily nuzzled above the ‘7’ key like a pear-shaped pill bug, the ampersand is perhaps the most intriguing character on the keyboard.”
Book Deal News: The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
I have a book deal that I am so excited to share with you today! (I hope you can hear the sing-songy excitement in my voice!) Finally, I can tell everyone about The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Jay, who’s the Founder of MissMinimalist.com. Here’s the official deal listing:
Publisher’s Weekly also wrote up a nice little feature on the book deal–read it here!
I am extra excited about this book, because my own personal history with it goes way back. (I’ll tell you that story in a second.) Francine originally self-published The Joy of Less, and it already had a tremendous cult following and over 70,000 copies sold before we started working together. But Francine was ready to get the book into bookstores and spread the message of minimalism to a wider audience. And we were lucky to find the perfect partner to make that happen: Chronicle Books. They’ll be releasing a gorgeous, completely redesigned and revised print edition on April 26th, and yes, you can already preorder your copy now! Francine also has such an interesting story and perspective as an author who started out self-publishing before moving to traditional publishing–you can read why she made the leap to getting a traditional book deal here.
We’ve also been lucky to have so many foreign publishers fall in love with this book, and we’ve now sold translation rights to publishers in 17 (!!) countries: Bompiani will publish in Italy, Paralela in Brazil, Planeta in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries worldwide, Mosaik Verlag in Germany, Editions First in France, Book21 Publishing Group in Korea, Eksmo Publishers in Russia, Prometheus in Holland, Beijin Han Tang Yang Guang Media in Mainland China, PT Gramedia in Indonesia, TYTO ALBA in Lithuania, Muza in Poland, Objectiva in Portugal, and As If Books in Taiwan, Post Books in Thailand, Notos Kitap in Turkey, and ANAG in the Czech Republic. Brilliance Audio will also be producing an audiobook, which will be released at the same time as the print book.
This is a book that changed my life when I first read it, and it’s a book I feel honored to be able to bring to a worldwide audience.
I first heard about the self-published edition of The Joy of Less when I was an editorial assistant, working at a publishing house in New York. It was just about the financially toughest time in my life—editorial assistants always start out in the industry working long hours for tiny salaries and being surrounded by higher-up editors who are much more well-dressed and sophisticated. (Although, really, it doesn’t take much with me–ha!) When you work in New York as an editorial assistant, you quickly realize that nearly everyone in the city has much nicer shoes, clothes, jewelry, apartments, and restaurant reservations than you. You’re at the bottom of the ladder, and you’ll be there for awhile.
But the funny thing is that, even at the top of the ladder at a publisher, most salaries can never rival the millions being tossed around by the finance types down on Wall Street. And most dyed-in-the-wool publishing people know that. We’re not lawyers or doctors or hedge fund managers. We’re book people. We know we can cobble things together so long as we have a good book to read and a comfy spot to sit.
Yet here I was, a brand-obsessed girl from the suburbs, finally realizing that I was a very long way from being able to buy for myself the things that I’d been so lucky to grow up with: designer purses, expensive clothes, the new trendy brand of shoes. I was living out in Hoboken in an old apartment with two roommates and two cats, one bathroom, and a slapped-together kitchen. Really, I was lucky. I had my dream job, great friends, and enough income to fully support myself. But I didn’t feel lucky. All I could see was the things I couldn’t afford to buy.
So, reading The Joy of Less was a huge mindset shift for me—I finally realized that I didn’t need to have this, that, or the other in order to be happy. It sounds obvious, but every ad, catalog, and commercial tells us hundreds of times a day that we’re not there yet—we need more. But what we actually need is a few simple things: a place to come home to, healthy food to eat, a job that fulfills us, and time to spend with our loved ones.
When I realized that what I truly wanted was not stuff, but time–time to unwind and talk to Jarrett at the end of the day, time to cook a homemade meal, time to just sit and be with my family and friends–I finally made peace with the realities of a life in publishing. Because you know what? Those Wall Street types may have nicer kitchens than me, but they sure don’t have time to cook in them.
In case you’re also feeling a little cluttered up after the holidays, or maybe just tired and worn out by the busyness of life, here are a few of my favorite quotes from Francine’s book:
5 Inspirational Quotes to Help You Declutter and Simplify Your Life, From The Joy of Less by Francine Jay
“Most people hear the word ‘minimalism’ and think ’empty.’ Unfortunately, ’empty’ isn’t altogether appealing; it’s usually associated with loss, deprivation, and scarcity. But look at ’empty’ from another angle—think about what it is instead of what it isn’t—and now you have ‘space.’ Space! That’s something we could all use more of! Space in our closets, space in our garages, space in our schedules, space to think, play, create, and have fun with our families…now that’s the beauty of minimalism.”
“Aesthetic appreciation is an important part of our identities, and should not be denied. The brilliant glaze on a beautiful vase or the sleek lines of a modernist chair may brig a deep and joyful satisfaction to our souls; therefore such items have every right to be part of our lives. The caveat: they must be respected and honored with a prominent place in our homes.”
“Contrary to what marketers would have you believe, you are not what you own. You are you, and things are things; no physical or mathematical alchemy can alter those boundaries, despite what that full-page magazine ad or clever commercial tries to tell you.”
“We never seem to have enough time in our days—perhaps our stuff is what’s to blame. How many precious hours have we wasted running to the dry cleaners, how many Saturdays have been sacrificed to oil changes or car repairs, how many days off have been spent fixing or maintaining our things (or waiting for a technician to make a service call)? How often have we agonized (or scolded our children) over a broken vase, chipped plate, or mud stains on our area rugs? How much time have we spent shopping for cleaners, parts, and accessories for the stuff we already have?”
“The same thing happens when our lives are too full. We don’t have room for new experiences and miss out on chances to develop ourselves and deepen our relationships. Becoming minimalists helps us remedy this. By purging the excess from our homes, our schedules, and our minds, we empty our cups—giving us infinite capacity for life, love, hopes, dreams, and copious amounts of joy.”
If you’d like to read more from Francine’s book, you can preorder it here–I know I’m biased, but I think it’s an object worth treasuring!