Today is the day!! My book is officially OUT THERE in the world.
It actually had an early US/Kindle release which makes this day feel slightly anti-climactic but never the less, it’s here and there are no more book countdowns for me.
I’m writing this on Sunday. I spent the morning filming a Q&A for YouTube to try and get across the general vibe of the book and answer the more frequent queries. This afternoon I hopped on the Amazon page to get the link and spotted.. MY FIRST REVIEW. how exciting! ..not so much. The review wasn’t really a review of the book so much as an attack on my own personal style. If the reviewer had read the book she would have known that that wasn’t really relevant to the content.. and so this post was born.
I wanted to put together a succint (this is me – impossible!) description with some bullet points which will hopefully clear up any confusion over what the book actually is.
- Is it just for Mums?
I am a Mum and I do talk about how being a mother has affected my life, my confidence and how it stunted my style and sense of self but it’s not the theme of the book. I wanted to write for someone rather than everyone and so I wrote for me: A woman in her 30s juggling kids and work and relationships. It’s not to say you wont enjoy it if you don’t tick all of those boxes but it is to explain why the book was marketed at ‘Mums’
To those of you who find the tag off-putting I will say this.. I am not a Mummy Mum. I write for Mums who want lives of their own, not those who are happy living for their children. There’s nothing wrong with that but I’m not for them and they’re not for me.
- Is it just about style?
50% of the book is in some way linked to finding your style or editing your wardrobe – I cover how to pack more effectively and try capsule dressing without throwing everything away and how to keep track of what you have so you’re not wasting money on items that don’t ‘go’ or that you already have 3 times over.
I think style is so intimidating because we all have an idea of what style looks like and just as you can’t take a photo of Jennifer Aniston to the salon and walk out looking like the lady herself, you can’t force yourself in to an instagram box and expect to suddenly be ‘stylish’. I wanted to put together some steps to help you (me) recognise what you need from your wardrobe, identify the colour palette and silouhettes that will be most flattering and then choose what you want to do with that information. If you live in leggings and hoodies and you know you’ll be miserable in jeans then why do you keep buying them?
I also wrote about beauty (obviously), self help, marriage, divorce, all kinds of jazz! I’ve had contributors telling stories about hair loss and plastic surgery and different voices from women in different stages of life are scattered throughout to add balance to these subjects. It’s much more about learning to understand (and hopefully love) yourself but; much like with Narnia, the journey begins in your wardrobe.
- Why Life Styling?
The name ‘Life Styling’ came to me partly because I cant resist a good pun – and every blogger and her wife is a ‘lifestyle’ blogger in 2019 – but also because personal style is an evolution. Not just because of the ever-changing trends but also because your life changes massively every 5-10 years and what worked for you at 20 is unlikely to still be working at 30. It’s about recognising the life you actually live right now and styling it. I would love to be super glam every day and I’m sure plenty of people think I’m the least qualified person to be giving ‘style advice’ because I’m not but it just doesn’t make sense for this phase in my life. I am either working in a smart/casual office envirnoment or I’m working from home.. comfort is king and; once I accepted that, I started filling my wardrobe with clothing that worked for my actual life, not the instagram life I wish I had.
- How long did it take to write?
From the first pen to paper to the very end it was around 9 months but I’d guess only 6 of those I was really writing. My deadline fell right at the end of the summer holidays so that 6 week stint was rough and there were multiple occasions where I worked through the night and didn’t sleep at all. It was tough to find uninterrupted quiet time and I was hugely envious of people writing books with no other commitments but I also wonder if I’d ever have written it had you given me unlimited hours to do so. I work best when I have to struggle.
I did write it myself (completely) which is bizarrely a question I’m asked a lot (in real life more than online and almost always from men) but I had an editor who looked over it and pointed out where I should elaborate etc – oh and try to teach me how to use a comma; which anyone who’s read this far will realise, I did not grasp.
- How did you get the opportunity?
The publisher contacted me asking if I’d considered writing a book and gave me the opportunity to pitch a concept. I put together a table of contents, a little blurb about me and the would-be book and then waited. It was approved and I started writing about a month later. I didn’t receive any advance and until the physical book arrived in my hands I did worry it had all been some elaborate scam. Even when it appeared on Amazon I wasn’t sold.
- How much control did you have?
More than I expected. the title is mine; after MUCH back and forth, the cover is also mine (designed on PicMonkey) and the illustrations inside are mine too. They were happy to let me run with it and being the control freak that I am, I found the process all the easier for it. The only issue we did have was there was a moment where the book was going to carry the label ‘MOM’ rather than ‘Mum’ and I thought I’d lost that battle until about a week before it went to print when it reverted to Mum. I don’t think there were any concessions I had to make in the end. It’s exactly as I wanted.
- What was the hardest part?
Funnily enough, the hardest part for me was getting over the ‘YouTuber book’ stigma that kind of hovered over me the entire time I was writing. That first review did sting a little more because of that. I’m not sure I even referenced YouTube (possibly my blog) in the book and I think anyone could pick it up and enjoy it; whether you know me or not, but I knew that it would be received as ‘a YouTuber book’ and that really did marr the process for me. I can’t pretend that it’s not why I got the gig and I’m at a huge advantage because I effectively have a ready made audience.. but that’s a double edged sword.
Where as some people are incredibly supportive and would be super positive regardless of content, others will be ready and waiting to do the opposite. This isn’t a ghost written influencer memoir, I worked really hard to put together a book that I thought someone like me would have found useful and made me feel less alone and knowing (even as I wrote it) that it would be torn apart just because I wrote it sucked. It’s the nature of the beast and I know lots of people will enjoy it but that was probably the hardest part.
That and knowing that everything I’ve written is now in print and can’t be amended or retracted. I’ve written about some personal moments and about relationships and motherhood and those topics are sensitive. I wanted to include them but as I sent off my final draft I winced at the idea that one day I may wish I hadn’t and there’d be nothing I could do about it.
These are the most frequently asked questions (in however many words) but if there are more I may add to this at a later date. For now I thought I’d put out a (somewhat) comprehensive answer post for anyone wondering anything about how this book came to be and what you can expect if you’re planning on picking it up.
Because the publisher is almost exclusively online I’m don’t have any special launch planned but I may do a meet up in the next month or so. I’ve never done one before but this feels as good a time as any to have a little celebration of something I never in my life imagined I’d achieve and to take the time to thank the very supportive lot of you who helped to make it happen.
edit: since I wrote this I had a handful of LOVELY reviews that completely restored my confidence in the content and the original mean spirited review was removed! It’s a pub-week miracle!