Dreams do come true. I am proof of that. Leah is proof of that….we, are proof of that.
When I quit–what some would call–my very lucrative career during the summer of 2012, some laughed at me. Some, whispered among one another behind my back, anticipating my apparently imminent failure…and fancied it. I couldn’t understand why people would be so unsupportive and unwilling to see my dream, when in fact…I was a dreamer for others. I support and push and help others who have dreams. In my eyes, life is about finding your dreams, and achieving them. I learned through this process that many people are in fact too afraid of following their dreams, and in defense, try to shatter yours. It’s unfortunate, however I believe it’s the fuel that fed my fire to succeed.
Flash back to early 2011. Just as dreams come true in the movies, both by chance and fate, two lives were about to come together and be changed forever. In March of 2011, I met my writing and business partner, Leah Speer. Her mom was my writing instructor and shared with me Leah’s book idea—a collection of essays about motherhood, more realistic than the slappy stew of stories in Chicken Soup…something more in the life of the everyday mom. The modern mom. She urged me to collaborate with Leah and I didn’t hesitate a moment to give her a call. That day, Mommies Need Sleep, Too! was born. We spent the next six months writing and editing. After several more months of contacting agents, having them review, waiting for a response—the whole process that could nearly break down any writer—helped us grow. The book began to develop into something more. We edited, we brainstormed. How could we separate ourselves from all the mommy books out there? What’s one pleasurable pastime many moms have in common? Wine! We love wine! So, the book became Must. Have. Wine. A Toast to Motherhood, and suddenly our book had morphed in something amazing and different.
Once again, we started submitting to agents. We decided after about a month that we were over the process. We didn’t want to wait another year to get this book published. It was nearing Christmastime, and we knew our marketing potential during the holidays was huge. Around the same time, my friend Mandy sent me an article about an author who had self-published and made it big. Self-publishing isn’t a route we’d planned on, but without having any sort of platform or much publishing experience other than freelancing (or Leah’s job at BabyCenter.com), we knew we’d hit a roadblock. And giving up wasn’t an option.
In December of 2012, we published Must. Have. Wine. Almost immediately, the sales soared. We were on the Amazon best seller list more times than we could keep track of, above best-selling authors and celebrities. We had articles published about our book in various newspapers and magazines…and were even trending on Twitter several times. This was big for us! I can’t tell you how many times we heard, “it’s a one in a million chance for an unpublished author without a platform to get picked up by a major house or have any publishing success.” We had yet to get picked up by a publisher, but we were seeing unprecedented sales success…. it was a step in the right direction.
After seeing the small success we’d seen in our sales and interest in our book, we discussed contacting Michele Matrisciani, editor/publisher for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Early in our endeavors to get published, another author recommended we contact her since she had boys around the same age as Leah’s, and it seemed obvious our book would be right up her alley. At that time however, we’d tried to reach her but found out she’d left the publishing house she was at. Not ready to give up on our dreams of having a true brand, we wondered if Michele could help guide us in our publishing future. Must.Have.Wine. wasn’t the end-all, be-all, we had plans for a series, a wine line…the list goes on. We needed guidance.
So, late one afternoon we sent Michele our original proposal. She’d started a consulting company called BookChic. She no longer worked for a publishing house, but rather, freelanced as a consultant, ghostwriter, etc. We knew that we wanted her on our team, one way-or another. It was crazy, but early that next morning, we had a response from late the night prior. Michele loved the idea! It had never been done before…and she wanted to see everything, immediately. I held back from jumping for joy until I sent out the manuscript. I knew from experience at this point that these things take time….excruciating, mind boggling…time. So we waited. And waited.
A few weeks later Michele scheduled a conference call with us. She admitted to being a bit disappointed when she read our book. Not exactly what you want to hear from a publishing genius…but our concerns were soon calmed when she explained her concern. It was the wine. Not enough wine! We only had 6 wine pairings, one for every chapter. She wanted one for every story! The writing was brilliant, the idea…even more savvy as it has not yet been done.
We hung up the phone realizing we had a lot of work to do! It took us several months…but over the course of that time we re-designed our entire proposal…until it was a work of art. I would honestly frame if it weren’t 20+ pages. Michele sent it out to agents and publishers and once again, we were waiting in anticipation for a response after Michele.
Almost immediately, Michele contacted us with interest from publishers. We were so excited when she offered to be our agent, a middle person most authors have. If we were to get an offer from a publisher, as there was plenty of interest, an agent was needed. We’d wanted her as our agent from the very beginning! Suddenly, we found ourselves thrust into the very complicated, yet exciting world of publishing. Even though we’d waited for years at that point for it to happen…it was exciting.
Within a week of sending out our proposal, we had an offer from Changing Lives Press, a publishing company out of New York City that represented authors and celebrities such as Earnest Hemingway’s niece, Mariel Hemingway, and George Foreman’s son. Michele countered her offer for double the advance and royalty percentage, which they accepted. Leah and I had a conference call with Francesca Minerva, our publisher, a week later…and were astonished once again by the brilliance of the team we had on our side…not to mention the excitement everyone had for our project.
Pour Me Some W
hine will be released in early 2015 for a Mother’s Day publishing release campaign. As Leah and I have slowly watched the seeds we planted (so long ago) finally grow, I’ll tell you one thing, and one thing only; never listen to someone tell you that you can’t do something…because we are proof that you can! At all costs, through the ups and downs, never ever give up…stick with it! Give the naysayers the middle finger and follow your dreams. You’re going to hit roadblocks, because if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Stay focused and follow your dreams…because I am (we are!) here to officially tell you, dreams do come true. ~Trina
- See more at: the Must.Have.Wine. website