If you missed last week's Throwback Thursday about Indie Business Network's first media feature, you can get it here. Today, I'll share about how my book, Making Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions, came to be published back in 2000.
In 1998, I was still toiling away at a “real” job by weekday, but by night and on weekends, I was in my retail shop in Takoma Park, Maryland, teaching “how to” classes and making and selling handmade soaps, candles and aromatherapy products. When I was not in my shop, I was at home on my computer, connecting via online discussion groups with other certified aromatherapy professionals and beauty-preneurs.
Maybe I Should Write a Book!
Then it hit me: I should write a book. Just like that. It was almost like a whim. But it also felt like a calling … like a virus I could not shake. A compulsion I did not fully understand. I was compelled to organize my ideas in a way that people could carry around with them and read whenever they wanted to.
The next thing I knew, I had formatted my recipes and ideas, along with spotlights on other women who were making a living selling handmade bath and body care products, into a collection of 8.5-by-11 pages.
I let people in the discussion group know that the book was available, and after I got my first order, I was in business. It was from a woman named Daniella in Germany.
Suddenly, I was an interntaionlly published author! LOL!
At the time, I only accepted payment via check, so each time a check cleared, I'd head over the the local copy shop to print and spiral bind a copy, then ship it out.
Before I knew it, I had sold hundreds of books!
A “Real” Publisher Contacted Me
One day, I came home from work to find a letter from Story Publishing, asking me if I'd be interested in allowing them to publish my book. After swinging from the chandeliers and screaming for about an hour, I returned their call and calmly told them I was interested and would love to talk.
Not too long after that, I signed a contract, and a few months later, found myself sitting in Story's New England offices, chatting with editors and copy writers, and learning how to give birth to a book. The book was published in June 2000, and the rest is history.
Out of Africa
As an interesting sideline, shortly after I signed the book contract, I moved to South Africa. Before I left, I hired a friend to test and finalize the recipes while I was away.
While in Africa, I saved and edited the book manuscript using an external floppy disc, which I kept inside a pocket in the laptop case. (Yes, it was that long ago.) So guess what happened?
You know …
I put my laptop down in Johannesburg International Airport to get a plane ticket from my purse, and someone stole my laptop.
Laptop case gone. Laptop gone. Floppy disc gone. Manuscript gone.
I am forever thankful to the editorial team at Storey who worked with me to push back the book's publication date from holiday 1999 to spring 2000.
Thr Girl On The Cover
As another interesting sideline, you may recognize the model on the cover of my book from pictures you've come across in magazines or in other books.
Rather than being excited about my first book being published, all my younger brother could say when he saw the book for the first time was, “How can I meet that girl?” LOL!
Thank You Storey Publishing!
In case you are not familiar with Storey Publishing, they publish do-it-yourself lifestyle books that encourage personal independence in harmony with the environment. As a small publisher, they maintain a large backlist. In fact, nearly 15 years after publishing of Making Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions, I continue to receive two royalty checks each year from Storey.
It was a huge pleasure to work with Storey and their team, and I hope to have the opportunity to do so again in the future.
Thank you, Storey!
Thanks also to Daniella in Germany, who, all those years ago, sent a check across an ocean to a person she didn't know. I'm still humbled that you were my very first customer and I think of you often. If you're reading this, I want you to know how much you mean to me.
One more thanks — to that aromatherapy discussion group that helped me learn so much in the early days of my journey as an aromatherapist and entrepreneur. A special hat tip to Marge Clark of Nature's Gift, one of the first Indie Business Network members and one of our biggest cheerleaders.
Visit Storey Publishing here.
1. Have you ever done something on a whim, and it turned out to be so much more than that in hindsight?
2. What is your calling? Do you follow it even when you don't understand it?
3. Yay for no more floppy discs! What's your favorit method of backing up your work so it can't be stolen from you?