With Asses Roundly Kicked
Night of the Meatloaf

So. There's This Book. With the Word "Amalah" On It.

After I got my share of the book advance, I went out and pumped myself a full tank of premium gasoline, and then I stopped at Wendy's for a chocolate Frosty and a small order of fries. 

And that was the end of the book advance money.

sleep is for the weak

Every once in awhile it occurs to me that I will at some point be holding a book in my hands that contains words that I wrote, and the first emotion that sweeps over me is complete and utter terror, because words on paper are very different than words on a computer monitor, and quite honestly I usually feel my words are better suited for the latter.

I don't remember exactly which entries appear in the book -- Rita (who made this whole thing happen, start to finish, I think I signed a piece of paper along the way and then got right back to the vitally important business of wiping a butt) asked if I'd be okay with her submitting a couple entries from Noah's newborn days and I just sort of...waved my hand in the direction of the archives and told her to have at it. Like I've said many times before, re-reading my own writing seriously gives me hives.

I remember going back and expanding on her semi-final picks, rewording some of the more inelegant prose, trying to make them more "stand-alone thoughtful essay" and less "blawg blawggity blawg that I blawgged with one hand while attached to the breast pump."

I remember when I wrote the original entries, though. I remember how shockingly thin-skinned and vulnerable I was, how terrified I was of the depth of emotions I felt towards my new little baby, and how frustrated I was that I couldn't ever seem to find the right words to describe it all.

Thus, if you are so kind as to order yourself a copy of the book, be prepared for some mighty fine hand-wringing and new-mother neuroses and oh! MAH BAYBEEEE! I JUST LOVEHIMSOMUUUUUUCH! The good news is that they applied some professional-type editing, so perhaps my writing will contain a better punctuation-to-word-count ratio.

Then again, Rita never doubted that my words and the words of other bloggers belonged in this book, on paper and everything, and the story of how hard she worked to make this happen is inspiring to me in more ways than one.

I had a literary agent, once. A lovely, patient and experienced agent who wanted nothing more than to help me write and publish my first novel. I had an idea, a plot and an outline. She cheered me on and told me to get up on that bitch and start writing.

And so I did. And then I froze. Not more than 20 pages in. I hated it. I hated everything about it. I went back and rewrote chapter one so many times I'm not sure I ever even made it out of chapter two. The characters were all wrong. The dialogue was stilted and the pacing was atrocious. The story got lost as I skipped ahead to the rejection letters and terrible reviews and ultimate placement in a secondhand store's bargain bin, a pulpy testament to why bloggers shouldn't get book deals. The agent stopped bothering to email me, and I've since lost the early drafts I wrote to a busted hard drive.

When Rita asked for my entries for a book SHE was putting together, that SHE would pitch and sell and bear the brunt of rejection and criticism, I had nothing to lose. Why not? It probably won't happen, anyway, but it's worth a shot, eh. I signed on to contribute but was certainly never a big shiny ray of optimism about it. I am not really a writer. Blogging does not translate. I only have readers because of dumb luck and a lot of workplace boredom. Rar rar rar ur cerebral cortex thinks u suck!

And yet, here we are. Some stuff I wrote made it into a book. Along with the writing of many other bloggers writers from all over the pageview map. It's available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers. Maybe one day I'll stop cringing long enough to actually read it. In the meantime, I guess this means I can stop trying to explain "blogging" to my dad. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go wipe that butt again.

Comments

AmyM

How cool! You're published. Like for real and stuff.

miguelina

Congratulations, all of you.

Lori

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Damn. That title has been used.
Way to go!
Now write more.

Megan

Congratulations! I can't wait to read it.

Jeanelle

Yours was the first blog that I contd to read that wasn't written by someone I directly know. I just couldn't "get into" the other blogs. You write in a way that's very accessible and I love your honesty about who you are. You're engaging and isn't that what's good about every good book you've read??

Cassandra

Way to go!

cagey

You are too modest.

However, you are right on about the advance money. I seem to remember mine going to Costco towards diapers. No one is getting rich off of this book - that is for sure!

RJStewart

That is AWESOME! And stop with the overanalytical nagging self-doubt. YOU CAN WRITE. You write very well. If you didn't I would have stopped reading your blog after an entry or three, cuz I'm picky about how people use language and spell and stuff. (I've edited a lot of things from fiction to legal articles. I used to rewrite John Grisham's sentences in my head because the man can spin a good tale, but he cannot string a decent sentence together to save his life.) So, just write, already, because I need my Amalah fix!

My Buddy Mimi

I love that the suggested reading level for the book is ages 9 through 12.

Laura

Can't wait to own a copy! Congrats!

Rita Arens

I also love the suggested reading level. Especially since there's a lot of adult language in the book. All hail Amazon's parenting skillz!

Amy, your essays are great. And it is precisely that vulnerability that I loved about your posts, especially my favorite one, which I'll let y'all figure out when you read the book.

And hopefully, you'll be able to fill your gas tank at least TWICE when the rest of your share comes in. :)

molly

Wow, congratulations! Can't wait to read this.

Liz

I'm not in the agenting business anymore, but I am pregnant. Can't wait to read this :-)

Meghan

More Amalah to read!!

jonniker

Awww, this is so awesome, Amy! I'm very excited for you, and maybe this will be the impetus to get you to act on the next agent? Maybe?

(For the record, been there, done that, have the shitbird on my shoulder to prove it. Writing a novel isn't actually that hard for me. What IS hard is convincing myself to finish it not because I don't think I can, but because WHY BOTHER? Everyone WILL HATE IT. AND HATE ME. AND THE WORLD WILL END THANKS TO AMAZON REVIEWERS. AND I WILL SUCK. THE END.)

ali

Congratulations! Can't wait to order it.

I will make the possibly embarrassing confession that I actually go back and read your Early Noah and pregnancy archives when I'm feeling my newlywed baby fever, and I find them very touching and very emotionally authentic. What with professional editors, who needs non-run-ons? I love run-ons. This is coming from someone who got an 800 on her verbal SATs. Twice. Run-ons are awesome.

Trishy

WOO HOO!! So exciting. Can't wait to read. Congrats to you, Jason, Noah, and Babalah :)

Ashley

that is seriously some awesome stuff. inspiring for bloggers everywhere. congrats!

MMM

How exciting!

earlyduckie

Congrats!

sheilah

hehehe...I also love that the reading level is 9 - 12. Guess all those college years weren't wasted after all.

Joy

How cool!

Peggy

Cool!!!

Katherine

Congratulations!! So happy you'll be in a book (something to hold!!), but don't tell yourself you're not a writer because you write a blog. You are a writer because your words are heartfelt, impactful, laugh-out-loud funny, and read by gazillions of people.

Maria

Congratulations, Amy!

Maria

Amalah, you certainly don't have readers because of luck & workplace boredom. You have readers who love reading these entries; you feel like a close friend (bearing in mind the obvious - that we are total strangers...).

We love reading your "blawg" for what you say & HOW you say it.

So, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Well done! Can't wait to get my little hands on your book.

Jen

Congrats on being published!
Will be looking forward to the book, LOVE the title!

Pam

Congrats! Can't wait to read the thing.

HollowSquirrel

Awesome! I always said I'd buy a menu if you wrote it, but a book will look much better on the shelf. Consider it pre-ordered, read & loved!

Miss Britt

Congratulations.

The validation every "writer" lives for.

Katie Kat

WOW - Congrats Amy! What a great way to get published... you DID write it, but you don't have to do all the icky sticky mucky stuff. And we can all say we knew you WAYYYYYYYY back when.
You should be very proud of yourself - I know all of your fans/readers/family/friends are!

Going to go order mine now...

Ninotchka

Fantastic! Congratulations.

Ramona

Congratulations! That is wonderful. And, please, never doubt that your blawggy blawg cannot be considered "real" or "proper" writing. You truly have a great gift, and I enjoy every new (and old) post. Enjoy that tankful of premium! And I hope, for Wendy's sake, you dipped your fries into the Frosty. That's the only way to go.

Jo

That is so cool. I just have to say that it isn't out of boredom that we read. One of the reasons I (an obviously many others) love your blog is because you have the same insecurities and quirks that I find in myself and my friends. And what's great is that from the point of view of an outsider, you are a fabulous mom/wife/person and a very talented writer--therefore, I must be fabulous and talented too, despite all my insecurities! Right?! Right?!... Uhh, that's my logic. Anyway huge congrats and thank you for sharing many of the intimate details of your life to us crazy internet people, it's great to have so many of my own feelings written by someone far better at it than me!

Colleen

congrats! that's awesome!

Karla

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

Am so very proud and excitd for you. Totally well deserved Amy. Congratulations.

ladybug

That's awesome, congratulations! Thanks for putting the thoughts I think and the feelings I feel to words. You do it a whole lot more eloquently than I ever could.

Cheryl

Congratulations, Amy! You should never doubt for a minute that you a writer. You have a unique "something special" to your style that makes me chase down everything you write. Yours was the first blog I ever read and you've kept me coming back every day since, despite the fact that I don't have kids and never really even liked them very much! I never felt really committed to having kids until I started reading your stories about pregnancy and Noah and saw how exciting and amazing it could be. You are a really cool girl who I can identify with, not the distant stereotype I pictured when I thought of moms...so if you can do it and love it, maybe I can too someday! Anyway, this professional editor thinks you are completely deserving of publication and if I didn't work on textbooks, I would totally sign you in a second!

Christina

I will buy it, too! This looks like the perfect thing to read while nursing! Perfect.
Congrats Amy! I hope the real paycheck is bigger than the advance.

Motherhood Uncensored

Um, I just want to know how you got so much money. Damn. I picked the wrong "option."

Heh.

GraceD

Mani-pedi, a small haul of beauty products from the drugstore and some spare bucks, that's what I spent with my advance.

Am proud to ride your coattails/wings on this flight to fame, limos and papparazzi, o excellent Amy.

xoxox

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