SFP 161: Behind-The-Scenes

It’s officially book launch week! In today’s episode I am sharing more about the publishing process behind Simple Happy Parenting, along with my goals and hopes for the book and what exactly I am afraid of.

Thank you for all your support!

Hi there Denaye here. I have a fun and special episode for you today. Today is officially launch day for my book, Simple Happy Parenting. I'm going to be sharing a little bit of the behind the scenes of how this book came to be, what my goals are for the book. And some of the things that I'm finding particularly scary around the whole process.

You are listening to the simple families podcast, the Q and a style show that brings you solutions for living well with family. Here's your host Denaye Barahona.

Hi there. It's Denaye. Thank you for tuning in. And I am so excited about this week. This is officially launch week for my first book. Simple Happy Parenting today. I'm going to give you a behind the scenes. Look at the book back in episode 155. I read the first chapter for UC. If you haven't listened to that yet, go ahead and back up to 155. And you can hear that there, you can find that it's simple families.com/episode155. Before we get into today's episode, here's a quick read from the sponsor. The sponsor for today is Hylands. Earaches are one of the primary causes for doctor visits with over 30 million visits per year. And Highlands can help. If you've been diagnosed with an earache by a physician, you can try a Hyland's homeopathic, earache drops or tablets. I actually know this firsthand. I had an ear infection a couple of years ago, and I forgot how bad they hurt.

And I had some Hylands on hand for my kids and I used it on myself. And I have to say it took the pain down from like a nine, at least to a three or four. I was super impressed. Hylands has been trusted for generations to provide safe homeopathic medicines for all members of the family. Hyland's homeopathic, earache drops and tablets provide natural relief to help you get back to doing what you love. So visit highlands.com, H Y L A N D S to find a retailer near you. That's hylands.com/ear-pain. These claims are based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted by medical evidence, not FDA evaluated. And you must read and follow the label directions before use. Okay, so some behind the scenes on my brand new book, Simple Happy Parenting. I first want to say that I am so, so grateful for this incredibly supportive community that has helped make this book a success already.

It already feels like a success to me. So thanks to you. Thank you for listening to this podcast. Thank you for being a part of Simple Families and thank you for the endless inspiration that you've brought me over the last couple of years. All right. So this is launch week and I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that my eye is definitely twitching a little bit. It's been exciting and scary. And although Oprah hasn't called yet, I mean maybe next week it's still feels like a dream come true. So a little backstory on the book, I've been wanting to write a book for as long as I can remember. I never really the time and energy to put into writing a proposal. I knew that for my first book, that I wanted to go with a traditional publisher rather than self publishing. And to do that, you either have to write a large part of the book for a proposal, or even sometimes the whole book itself.

And you have to find an agent and I've heard that sometimes finding an agent can take, as long as finding a publisher. There are a lot of hoops to jump through. And since I was already running the podcast and the blog, and I didn't have a ton of childcare, this really just wasn't something that was in my wheelhouse. So in December of 2017, right before the holidays, I got an email from a potential publisher Quarto, which is based in the UK and the commissioning editor Philippa messaged me saying, I think that your content would make a great book. Let's talk about it. So we started talking about it and she invited me to put together a table of contents. And I knew that I wanted the book to contain a good amount about simplifying the home, because I think for many of us, that's this place that we begin, but I also wanted to include plenty of simplifying parenting information as well.

So I outlined the book of the things that I wanted to include and up a ticket to her team at quarto and pitched it to them and they accepted it. It took until June. So at that point we'd been sort of in talks for about seven months. It was June before we officially signed the agreement on the contract. Now, after I had submitted that table of contents in February, March, I knew that I was going to need more childcare. If I was going to take on a project like this, that's when we decided to bring an AU pair for a year, I thought it would be a good sort of experiment to have one year of full-time childcare. So our AU pair came from Poland and she arrived on June 2nd, which was just about a week and a half before I was set to start writing my book.

So in June I started writing and it took me five months. And I have to say that it didn't really feel all that hard because it kind of poured out of me. A lot of the content in the book is things that I've been talking about and writing about for several years now. And I was really just working to put it into a format that was readable and understandable for anyone out there who wants to approach simple living and simple parenting. So some of the topics in the book are things that I've written on before. And some of them are new topics that I have not written on before, but I've been thinking a lot about the first half of the book is dedicated to simplifying the home. And the second half is dedicated to simplifying parenting. Now I was particularly excited to work with Quarto because quarto is one of the world's leading illustrated non-fiction publishers.

And that means they do non-fiction books that are illustrated. And so my book has illustrations and it has photographs. And for whatever reason, this is what I always pictured. I always wanted it to be a very visual book and that it is another thing that was really important to me when we were settling on the details of the book, was that it wasn't super long. I did not want this to be something that was going to sit by your bedside for six months unread. I really feel like as parents, we have enough things that we're constantly fighting off the feeling of failure. I did not want my half red book to be one more thing that you felt like you were failing at. So I wanted it to be a relatively quick read. And I also wanted to include a lot of personal stories while at the same time, making sure that I was including strategy and how to methods.

So you can be the judge as to how well all that balanced out. So I finished writing at the end of October and did a lot of edits rounds and rounds of edits with Philippa and my other editor, Charlotte, who are both based in London. And we wrapped up editing. I want to say around February, the following February, February of 2019 and I at the same time was doing a lot of photo shoots here in New York with my photographer, Amy Drucker, who is local here in Westchester and simultaneously my illustrator [inaudible] who's located in Amsterdam was also working on illustrations. And she is so talented. I was so excited to see her work. I wasn't sure how the illustrations and photography were all going to come together. I was a little nervous about it. It seemed a little busy for a book about simple living, but I have to say the final product was really beautiful.

Amy's photographs are always stunning and the illustrations were so awesome to see. And the final product is really a dream come true. Have I already said that? Have I said that this is a dream come true because if I haven't then there, I'm going to say it again. So after finished the editing and the proofreading and the photographs and the illustration, then the design people at Corso worked their magic and brought it all together. And around March, I started working with some PR people both here and in the UK. And I had been told by a lot of friends who are also new authors who have written books recently that usually publishers don't do a whole lot to help promote your books. So you really are in charge of making sure that it's successful. So I've worked really hard to get the word out and to let as many people know about it over the past couple of months.

And you all know this clearly because I haven't really shut up about it. So the months and weeks leading up to the book are really important because the number of pre-orders impacts how widely the book is available. So if there aren't very many pre-orders than Amazon doesn't stock, very many of the bookstores won't stock it. So with all of the support from you all, it's been fabulous and we've gotten about a thousand pre-orders in which means that Amazon is going to be stocking plenty. So they're available whenever you need them. And Barnes and noble will be stocking the book across the country here in the us, not at every single store. So if you want to go buy it in the store, make sure you check online. I'd say they're probably carrying it about half of the stores. And as we speak, I know a lot of the stores in the Southern us are still getting their shipments.

So they might not be available quite yet. And because my publisher is based in the UK, a lot of the UK bookstores should be stocking the book as well. And they're also our distribution channels in Australia and New Zealand. So you should be able to find the book or rather readily there too, but let me know. I'm excited to hear if you find it, but if you're in any other country and you can't find the book in a bookstore, you should be able to get it online through your major book retailers. Overall, this has definitely been a team effort. There is a whole lot of manpower that went into it, not just my writing, but with the photography and the illustrations and the design and the editing and the distribution. The whole process is expensive and complicated and definitely labor intensive. And overall, I absolutely loved my experience.

Working with cortex. It has been overwhelmingly positive and I would say 99% of the time, they listened to every suggestion or change that I wanted to make about the book. Um, it was funny when Charlotte, my editor pitched the cover to me. She didn't say, what do you think about the cover? Or do you want to make any changes on the cover? She sent me two copies, one with the title and blue and one with the title in yellow. And she said, which one do you like the blue one or the yellow one? And I actually laughed out loud because I'm like, this is basically a, how I get my toddler dressed in the morning. Do you want the yellow shirt or the blue shirt? Which actually turned out to be a good thing, because I wasn't super crazy about the cover the first time that I saw it, but it has totally grown on me.

And now I think it's lovely. And I couldn't imagine it any other way. So I'm so thankful that I had other people in the process who had a beautiful, amazing vision for the book that helped to make it come together. All right. So since I'm being fully transparent here, I'm going to talk about what terrifies me. And here's the shortlist of what scares me is Amazon reviews. People are brutal in book reviews on Amazon. I've actually been reading the reviews of my favorite authors, very, very talented writers to get an idea of the varied types of reviews that people leave on books. And I'll tell you that they're mean and vicious. So I feel like it's been good for me to see this, to know that even really great experienced best-selling writers still get a lot of negative, fairly kind of nasty reviews too. Honestly, I'm not really used to negative reviews because the only place that I've really dealt with reviews are on the podcast and those tend to be positive.

And I think that's because with podcasts, you, if you tune in to a podcast and you like it, then you keep listening to it. And if you don't like it, then you just turn it off and find something else. You generally don't feel compelled to leave negative reviews for podcasts. As much as you do books, when you have a book, it's something that you paid money for and you invested your time in. If you don't have a good experience reading it, then you feel more compelled to leave a review for it. Now that's not to say I've never had a negative podcast review because I have, and for every hundred positive reviews, if you get a negative one, they still tend to stick in your mind. There was one that kind of makes me laugh now, but it really kind of bothered me and hurt me a little bit at the time. Um, there was someone who left, I think it was a one-star review and said, this is a good podcast, but a terrible host. And she went on to say that she had listened to every single episode. So she could truly attest to the fact that the host was terrible.

I'm like, lady, why are you listening? Why did you listen to every single episode? If you think I'm terrible? So I've had a few of those trolley type people and I am somewhat prepared for it, but I still think that Amazon reviews are going to be scary. And my just sort of word of advice, whenever you're leaving book reviews is that 99% of the time the author is going to read it. And if you could find a way to be honest and to be kind at the same time, please do it. I've seen book reviews that say, Oh, this book wasn't worth the paper that it was printed on, or just rude, things like that. And I think mostly at least in my experience that when you read a book and you don't like it, it might just not have been written for you. And I definitely see that potential with my book is that I don't think this book is the right book for everyone.

I don't think every person on earth can read this book and love it and benefit from it. I think most of the people that listen to this podcast will read it and like it and appreciate it. But in general, it's just, it's not the right fit for everyone. And I think that if it gets into the hands of someone that it's not a good fit for, they're probably not going to enjoy it and they're not going to appreciate it. And they might not even really understand it. And those are the people that make me a little nervous. So the moral of this story is be kind, but be honest when you're leaving reviews for anyone, for me included. So to answer a few questions I've had about the book. So I've had a couple of people say to me, I've listened to every podcast. I've read every article that you've written.

I've done all of your classes. Am I going to learn anything from your book? So if this is you and I know there, aren't very many of you that have done all these things, but if this is you, I would say that a lot of this book is going to be concepts that you're familiar with. I took a lot of the things that I've been writing about and put them into a more organized format and all of the content and the writing is original, but some of the concepts you're going to have heard before. But to add to that, I will say that even my husband said, after he read it, that he learned some new things and had read some things that I've never talked about before. And he does read and listen to everything that I put out there. So if you feel like, you know, all things, so both family and you've read all things and you've heard all things and you've done the classes, I think you're still going to appreciate the book.

It's really beautiful. I brought a lot of new stories to it, but there might be some review content in there. So how does this book relate to the online programs and courses that I teach? So I have three main online programs. I have the master class, the mental unload and simplifying child behavior. And this book actually inspired the masterclass because after I wrote this book, I realized there was so much more that I wanted to say. And I wanted to offer a venue to give you the support to move through the simplification of your home and Parenthood. So the masterclass was born straight out of this book. So a lot of the same concepts are covered as we cover in the masterclass. But if you read the book and you decide, Hey, this really inspires me, I want to take it to the next level. The masterclass is what is going to get you there. And we will launch that again, enrollment will open in mid August and we'll start right around back to school, time in early September.

So my other two programs Are the mental unload and simplifying child behavior. So the mental unload really focuses on your individual wellbeing and on partnership. And those are two things that really aren't covered in the book and could potentially be something that I do another book on in the future. Something that I've thought about. Um, and the other program that I do is simplifying child behavior. And that's really focused on managing behaviors positively in the home. And that's also not something that I talk about in this book. There's a little bit on behavior management in this book, but overall not a ton.

So the program that most relates is the masterclass. So like I said, if you read this and you find you want to take it the next step further, or you want to implement it within a community and some live coaching sessions that I'd love to have you join us in the next round of the masterclass. So that's all I have to say. I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes. Look at Simple Happy Parenting and just some of my thoughts and concerns and hopes and goals for the book as well. Again, I want to say thank you so much for supporting me through this process and simple families. It just wouldn't be the same without all of the families out there. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I look forward to chatting with you next week. Have a good one.

You can still claim the pre-order bonus during launch week!

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.