Book Deal News: The Joy of Less by Francine Jay

The joy of less by francine jay book cover

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

Minimalist Flowers

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 Here’s the official deal listing:

the joy of less francine jay book deal

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.

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Read, Eat, Drink–Weekend Roundup


We have our Friendsgiving weekend in the hills of Virginia coming up, so here’s some light and fun reading looking. I so enjoyed this visual essay Medium published this week on How to Sell a Book–you can find it here. It’s by Sarah Lazavoric, who herself just released a book called A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy. I absolutely love the premise of her book–here’s a snippet from the back cover copy: “Like most people, Sarah Lazarovic covets beautiful things. But rather than give in to her impulse to spend and acquire, Sarah spent a year painting the objects she wanted to buy instead.” 

I really admire this idea of enjoying beautiful objects without having to purchase them, maintain them, and store them. I just wish I could paint at all, so I’d be able to do what Sarah did!

And here’s my favorite graphic she drew for the Medium essay. I want to deny this and pretend that I’m more multifaceted, but…it sounds about right.


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Zen Habits–How To Make Yourself Work

how to write more and be prolific

One of my all-time favorite blogs is Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. It’s amazing because it’s different–just look at the main page, and you’re instantly struck by how it looks nothing like anything else on the internet. No ads, no images, no lists of posts, very few links, and no social media icons. It’s just one post on a blank page, with a few links that lead you to years and years of archived posts. It’s quiet in a noisy world. As much as I always tell my authors about the importance of design, this is the perfect example that website design doesn’t have to be cookie cutter–it just has to be impactful.

Lucky for us, the writing on Zen Habits is just as impactful. Leo’s such a master of condensing so much knowledge and inspiration into just a few short sentences. Makes my long-winded self jealous! And I also think his approach to writing as a profession, particularly writing on the internet, is incredible. He went the traditional route for a while, running a blog with ads and writing a book with a traditional publisher, then decided the whole thing just wasn’t jibing with his minimalist values. So he uncopyrighted his blog posts (more on this here), pulled all his ads, and refocused on helping his readers in a more direct way. He moved his business model to one of building value with his readers, so that now they directly support his business by signing up for his great e-courses and buying his ebooks, instead of having third parties, like advertisers, support the business. It’s both a radical idea and a simple idea–not too different from a business model like that of NPR, where the emphasis is on serving the public, and then inspiring the public to support you back.

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