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April 24, 2007

Follow Up, a.k.a. "I promise I won't talk about this every day for the next seven months."

I do hereby solemnly swear not to blabber on and on about bookjunk until the end of time. I will definitely not abandon the important subjects of this here website such as poop, and cat pictures, and visible panty lines, and why is it that my face sweats? But I'm probably going to talk about bookjunk a little bit from time to time because I'm still so damn excited about it all and can't believe it's happening!

Yesterday was crazy-good. Watching the amazon.com ranking was like watching election results or an IPO on the stock market, I couldn't believe that was the cat hair book!

And most of all, thank you for all the comments! Yes of course I read every one, and I wasn't the only one. My mom called me about eleventeen times to tell me about one comment or another as she and my Dad were reading all day, and my Aunt Pam had everyone at the hospital reading, I thank you for all the awesome comments not just for me but for all my friends and family, Drew, Jennifer, Allison ... everyone who has had to put up with me being crazy about this book for ten solid months. Faith even came over to my house last night and we sat on the patio and drank champagne and turned on the laptop and through the magic of wireless innernet (I will never stop being amazed, I mean really) we read all the comments out loud, and laughed, ya'll are very funny your ownselves!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So now that you know (you know!), I can finally tell you some of the secrets I have held back on for, oh, the past YEAR.

Like how I once laughed and told Jennifer on the telephone that she had to take advice from me because I was about to be a published self-help author.

And she said, "You kind of make me want to smack you upside the head."

And I said, "As a self-help author, I can say with foremost authority that your response is really not very healthy. How was your childhood?"

And she said, "I'm going to hang up on you."

And I said, "Clearly you are not getting the concept of my wisdom."

And she said, "Clearly their was a mix-up in the publishing world."

Ah, I love my friends. They really enjoy having a self-help author in their midst. I am very helpy, if I do say so myself.

* * *

Or there was the time I called up my editor Allison after having not slept for eight days and worked on cutting 100 pages from the final draft and my folks were here and I was in Orange County as much as I could be, and I was working full-time and writing this website and generally going stark raving mad. I had been working on the book for months and I was officially sick of it. So after some wine and maybe crying, I left Allison a voice message that said, "Allison, I don't want to do this book anymore. I don't want to be Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair! I am tired of being that person! I want to be Drunk, On Vacation, and Covered In Raoul The Pool Boy!! Help me. Oh, this is Laurie by the way. Bye."

I am very professional as well as being helpy.

* * *

One day in March I went to see my hairdresser Aharon and I said, "Aharon, are you available to marry me yet? I could be Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Hairdresser! And also, look. I have gone completely grey!"

And I believe I scared him, a little. With the proposal and all.

* * *

But the best part, the very best, was when my parents were in Los Angeles and it was right at the same exact time as my final FINAL book deadline and it felt awesome to have them involved in the process. My mom was the first person to read the manuscript other than Allison, and she gave me lots of input and my folks got to weigh in on the proposed book cover designs. I loved having Dad read the dedication page.

My family is a huge slice of this book. They are in fact a huge slice of the, uh, 280 pages we sort of edited out.

Because as it turns out, I am kind of prolific in the writing department! Who knew! And so when I turned in my book, Allison said, "It's good, but there is just too damn much of it!" And I said, "What! Allison? You don't think people want to read eleventy-nine bazillion pages about my deevorce?"

And she said, "I believe what you have here is the Encyclopedia Brittanica of divorce."

Maybe one day I will release the other 3,428 pages of Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Really Verbose Cat Hair. Until then, I am just waiting on an Encyclopedia Brittanica person to call me back. Factfinding mission, ya'll understand.

Dear Al Gore, sorry about the trees. P.S. You are cute.

So anyway, you ask and I answer, best I can. In one or five or eleventy-hundred words.

Question: What is this damn fool book about, anyway?
It is the true-life (mostly) story of how someone, I cannot imagine who, got dumped and cried and ate cheetos off her chest and somehow, somewhere along the way she actually kind of figured out how to live life. Also, there is knitting. And sex. (!!!) Ok, not much but I do say the word. And there is dating. And hair removal. And made-up words that drove the copyeditor, Meg, insane. Hi Meg!

Question: Is it just the blog but put in a book?

Oh, no. No siree bob. I am a very frugal minded person, you see, and I thought it would be a crying shame to pay some outrageous amount for a book you could just print up your own damn self. So you will get to read the stuff I never, ever publish on this here website. The parts of my marriage I skirt around, stuff I don't feel okay putting up for comment. The whole first 5 chapters are the things I never told anyone, really. Then there is the entire part of my life we call "Dating." I don't talk about it online because I just cannot take that amount of advice in one sitting. Ya'll are in fact very self-helpy your own darn selves! No wonder we get along so well!

There is definitely content from the website in the book. But it's all kind of novel-ish, so it even seems different to me and I wrote the thing. I would say it is 30% blog, 70% new.

Question: Is it all true, true, TRUE?

It is, indeed. Although some names had to be changes to protect... you know. Some people. But keep in mind it is also a story. I stayed true to the facts and only tinkered with the timeline. Since the material for the book stretched over a two-year period, obviously you would have had to plod through the War & Peace of my bellyaching and carrying on, and as it turns out "Self Help" books are not supposed to make the reader want to kill themselves. Funny how that works! So the timeline is not a perfect 100% documentation of 867 days as the crow flies, and I shortened the crazy.

Here is a funny story:
Allison sends me edit version #682. The note she attaches says, "We need to trim this, there is about 30 pages too much crazy."

So I call up Faith, and in the most pathetic sad-sack voice you ever heard I say, "Faith! Allison is a very good editor, you know I love her, but... but... she says I have 30 pages too much crazy."

Faith pauses, realizing with one misstep I will be bawling and carrying on about how I do not know why I thought I could write a book, I am a failure, I cannot write for a cereal box, etcetera. Boy, aren't I fun to be around!

Anyway, Faith just takes a deep breath and says, "Well... you know what? We are all about thirty pages too much crazy. It's fine."

And then we laughed and I told her I had to go right then because in the next four hours I had to pull thirty pages of happy out of my butt. Nice!

Question: So, are you going to quit your job? Are you RICH now??
This is the very first question people ask when they find out about the book. And the answers are no, I am not rich and No, I can't quit my job.

I know some first-time authors probably get giant advances and huge amounts of money and just spend all day rolling nekkid in cash. But that is not the norm. Since I began working on this thing, I have made a sum total of Not Very Much. If you divide it up by the time I spent on it over the past ten months, I've made about thirty cents an hour.

Having said that, if the book sells okay, I will make some money. And if the book sells a lot of copies I will be able to write a NEXT book, and that is where I will roll naked, etc. But right now I still work every day, and I love my job. It's given me stability when I most needed it, my boss is awesome, and I have managed to pay down a lot of my debt and still put Meow Mix on the table. I also need my job because I cannot live on $3 a day.

And having said all of that, I didn't write this for the money (obviously, at thirty cents an hour.) I wrote it because I got the opportunity to tell this story, and because I had wished desperately when I was puddled up on the floor heartbroken and smelly that someone, anyone, could tell me I wasn't alone. So maybe another woman out there going through a crappy breakup will read it and feel less crazy, less fogged-up with despair. That is why I wrote this book.

(But if I make some money, I won't be sad about it. Party at my house, ya'll!)

Question: Do you have an agent?

Nope. Me = "Flying By Seat Of Pants." Scary!!!

Question: Will you quit doing the blog?
I don't know why I would quit. I like writing stuff down. Do you know something I don't know?

Question: Will you have abook tour?

I hope so! This is all up to the book company.

Question: Is Sobakowa mad about not being on the cover?

I don't think so... unless, does "REDRUM" mean anything? She has been spelling that out on the kitchen floor with Meow Mix every morning. I thought maybe she wants to take up drinking?

Question: Where can I buy this book?

Oh, I am so glad you asked, Mrs. PersonWho IMadeUp, you can pre-order it right here.. I really hope you like it. If not, I will give you a copy of the sequel "Drunk, Apologetic & Covered In An Ugly Sweater" for free!

Posted by laurie at April 24, 2007 9:38 AM