From Blog to Book

I’m going through a bout of writer’s block.

Coupled with the fact that Andrea and I just returned from France, part Deux (ohh, the stories we have to tell!), I haven’t been able to really sit down and focus.

Perhaps the ailment is a bit psychological, too.  The pressure is on now, to build readership and market myself and my book — oh, wait, did I say MY BOOK?!?!?

It’s official:  I have signed a publishing contract with Burnside Books.  They announced it on their website this week.  What perfect timing, too: I signed the contract the day before I jetted off to France.

I’m an AUTHOR!

But the journey from blog to book was a bit of a bumpy one, at first.

Back in March, I was minding my own business at my favorite coffee shop, writing about bigamy (as people can casually do).

Between editing my post, sips of my lovely latte and distracting myself with my blog’s Facebook page, I noticed a new message in my inbox.

It was from a publisher named Jordan Green.  Our mutual friend, Carlos, had recommended he read my blog.  Jordan perused the first couple of chapters, and wanted to talk to me about turning it into a book.

I straightened up on the hard, wooden bench, glanced at my surroundings and scratched at the back of my neck.  I leaned back into my computer screen and placed my fingers over my mouth (which was agape), furrowed my brow, and shook my head.

Really!?!?!

I immediately wrote him back, gave him my phone number, and we ended up chatting the next day. Within a few minutes of our phone conversation, I had a publishing contract in my hands.

I will be the first to admit that I am new to this whole business (I know, fellow writers.  Please don’t hate me!).  I have spent years of my life dreaming for and working towards a career on Broadway.  I made it (kind of) off-Broadway, and have been struggling in my acting career ever since my marriage imploded.  I never, ever thought I’d be an author.  Okay, yes, I have been writing since I was a kid, and my degree is in Journalism.  I’ve always been a fan of my writing and crack myself up – I just never thought that I would have a voice beyond my actual voice.

So, after I “Facebooked” the exciting news that I had my first publishing offer, my friend Ken contacted me.  I have known Ken since I was a happy, dorky, rotund senior in college with a bad haircut.  He and his gorgeous wife attended my wedding, and I actually hadn’t seen them since.  Having had experience in contract negotiation, Ken offered to look over mine and help me however possible, pro bono.

This is another testament to the amazing people who God has allowed in my life, and brings up at the most perfect moments.

Yet, I still needed to do “due diligence”.  So, I flailed around, freaked out and tried to get a few agents, but ultimately was – kindly – rejected.

One agent told me I had a long shot on my hands, especially with the topic of divorce.

“Retail hasn’t always been favorable, sad to say,” he graciously replied.

Sigh.

I get it.  I do.  Nobody wants to read yet another “guidebook” about divorce.  Christian divorce.  Except that my blog-turned-book isn’t just about that.  It’s about the journey; the process; the feelings.  And, really, there’s nothing out there in Christian literature that even begins to deal with the epidemic and reality of divorce.  It’s what I wish I could have read when I was going through it, just to know that I wasn’t alone, “motherfuckery” and all.

I’m so glad someone picked up on that.

Still, it took several weeks of negotiating, praying, wondering, hoping.  I lost faith a few times that it would actually happen, but decided I’d be okay with it.  I’d continue writing, anyway.

Old, familiar fears crept in, too.

What is X going to think or do?!
I’ll just say it (because you’re all thinking it):  X was the writer.

I actually think Sister Wife will be much angrier about the whole thing.  Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.  She married a guy who just had “an affairs”, still loved his first wife, and wasn’t even divorced.  Enough said.

But this isn’t about revenge.  Truly.  When I started this blog eight months ago, I had no idea the scope and impact that it would have.  I just sat down and started writing about my journey.  I have said it before: my intention is not to defame or hurt anyone.

I just want people to know that they aren’t alone.  More importantly, I want people to know how amazing, wonderful, good, faithful and awesome God is.

He is the ultimate Healer.

Who is going to want to date the “Christian Girl” with a “Guide to Divorce”?!
It’s going to take a special somebody, that’s who.  A godly, hunky, delicious man with a great sense of humor and understanding of grace who is not threatened by —  well —  me.

I’m really excited to meet him, by the way.

One friend of mine (whose similar divorce was recently made final) wrote in response to my encouragement:

You need to have some crazy, whirlwind, divinely appointed courtship that can be turned into a sequel to your book.

To that, I say: AMEN, brother, and BRING HIM ON!

And so, a couple of months later, the “deal” is in place.  The book will be coming out soon.  I’ll keep writing, don’t you worry.  The blog isn’t going anywhere.  And you, dear ones – keep reading and passing it along.

Finally, please buy the book!  It will make an excellent stocking stuffer.

Thank you, Renee, for asking me to write about “overcoming”.  That one post I wrote for your blog started it all.  Thank you, Carlos, for reading, responding to and recommending me.  Thank you, Ken, for all your help and encouragement.  Thank you, Jordan and Caleb, for the opportunity to become a published author.  Thank you for recognizing the need for a “guide” (ha!) to divorce.

Thank you, faithful — and new! — readers, for laughing and crying with me, and for graciously embracing this journey.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for using me and my story to bring YOU glory.

I am so excited to see what You are going to do next!

14 thoughts on “From Blog to Book

  1. Carlotta Jo Anderson Malone says:

    Don’t change a word……I love every bit of it……..I am really allergic to profanity until I need it myself and then I can let it rip…..followed by prayers for forgiveness. Sometimes it is the only way to release honest, gut wrenching feelings. Love you, Carlotta

    • Carlotta!
      Quote of the day: “I am really allergic to profanity until I need it myself, and then I can let it RIP!” YEEEAAAHHH!
      You are awesome.
      Love YOU! And that awesomely talented daughter of yours! You are both such a blessing!

  2. fsfar says:

    i think it needs more curse words.
    xoxoxo

    congratulations!!!!!!
    f

  3. Casey Barker says:

    I hope you take all the curse words out. Seriously, congratulations on your book deal.

  4. Jill Freeman says:

    oh hell yes! I am so reading it. A little bummed that you got to it before me, but mine will follow ten years from now when my children are on their way to grown and everyone has read yours! lol 🙂 It is wonderful to see how the Lord has worked in your life, He is a great and mighty God. I second the fact that there just wasn’t anything out there for a Christian woman unless it was how to try and work it out even though there wasn’t anything to fix or work out anymore.
    Love you and what you have done!

  5. Bets says:

    Oh Leslie!
    I’m just so excited for you! amazing!

  6. Beth Schreiber says:

    Love you Les!!!

  7. Maria Lee says:

    My favorite line of this post: “It’s what I wish I could have read when I was going through it, just to know that I wasn’t alone, “motherfuckery” and all.” Love you, lady!

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