As many of you know, in June 2022, I received notice that my travel memoir, Happy Iceland, was a finalist for the inaugural Wanderlust Travel Book Award through Wild Dog Press.
After six years of writing and revising this book myself, hiring a book coach, feeling overwhelmed and abandoning it for a year and a half, then lots of crying, a nonfiction workshop with Florence Williams, more revisions, more crying, a professional editor, and more revisions and even more crying, this felt like my big break. I had sent this book to over 150 agents and indie presses who all said “No.” Then in August 2022, I received my big, “Yes!”
The original launch date was going to be December 2022, which I had doubts about from my own experience in book production. I had been in the midst of shopping out my full-length poetry collection while watching my other writer friends earn book contracts. No one produced a book that fast.
Sarah, the mastermind behind Wild Dog Press, provided editorial feedback to my book, laying out valuable insights as to what amateur-ish writing mistakes I was making. I learned what all the agents and indie presses were seeing in my work that told them “this book isn’t ready yet.”
I was overwhelmed but also invigorated. It felt great to have clear ideas of what needed to be different, but my book is also 300+ pages long and I was working a full-time job in addition to side gigs in addition to my poetry collection coming out in addition to pursuing parenthood with my partner. I had a lot going on, and couldn’t prioritize the time needed to dedicate to the revision process. The December deadline came and went, then the March one, then the June one.
Finally, in October 2023, I completed my revision process and sent my work to a friend of mine who creates incredible layout designs and contacted another friend who is a talented book cover designer.
Yes, normally a press does the cover and layout design themselves, but Sarah is a one-woman-show, and the cover designs for the anthologies Wild Dog Press produced left a lot to be desired. I wanted to make sure that my book was something I felt truly proud of, and not something that looked more like someone’s craft project.