People often ask, “Megan? How did you get involved in this whole book thing, anyway?” Upon which I reach into my pocket and pull out this handy timeline (not really, but work with me, people…) For those playing along at home, here’s how the whole thing started and how I’d like ‘er all to play out in the future.
EARLY 2002: Megan answers an on-line ad she feels she’s vaguely qualified for, considering that the job listing is for a book author (“heck, I can write!” she says to herself), and it’s a book about her state (“heck, I live in Oregon!” she declares, feeling even more confident and rubbing her hands together). And it’s a book about hiking (“heck! Um, well, I’ve like hiked before and stuff!” she says slightly less confidently and furrowing her brow.)
LATE 2002: After forgetting all about said on-line ad, Megan receives a call from Avalon Travel. She writes a sample hike listing, they like it, and she gets the job. After the high-fiving, panic ensues.
EARLY 2003: With the book due in September, and with Avalon’s mission being “we’re the bible of the entire state” (and people, look at the map, Oregon is quite massive) this means she needs to get down to bidness. She buys a Subaru, borrows a dog, hires some hikerly friends for research, equips herself with tent and hiking gear, and sets off every weekend in a different direction. She zigs across the state while her trusty researchers zag. It takes a village, a very tired and dirty village, but the book is completed after only one near nervous breakdown, three separate cars being stuck in the middle of nowhere multiple times, sightings of bears and snakes, and 30,000 miles on her brand-new Subaru.
EARLY 2004: The doorbell rings and it’s the UPS man bringing a package with none other than Oregon Hiking inside. She hugs the UPS man (who, while originally startled, laughs and congratulates after she explains, and then says, “hey, my wife wants to get into writing…” upon which she politely shuts the door, claiming the phone is ringing).
EARLY 2004: She holds a book launch party with her friend Paul Gerald (author of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland, www.stumptownscribes.com) and good times were had by all.
LATE 2004: Avalon Travel calls. “hey, you know that book you just did? Well, there’s a bloke named Scott Leonard who is toiling away on the Washington version of your book. We wondered if you’d like to slightly revise your book, write the introduction, and put your books together to create Pacific Northwest Hiking.” Megan weighs this option for a New York Second (which is about 1/16 of a normal second), during which she realizes that it’s kinda like a two-fer in the book world and yes yes, and furthermore yes she’s in. She spends the next several months laughing maniacally at Scott’s travails that are now a thing of her past as she handily revises and writes from the comfort of her home office.
JANUARY 2005: An editor named Jill Rothenberg from Seal Press calls. She’s heard that Megan hiked with her dog while compiling Oregon Hiking. Would she be interested in editing an anthology on women and their dogs? “Do dogs have tails?” Megan responds. Jill is puzzled. “Well, sometimes, but there is that one breed…” Jill replies [Note: this is entirely made up, let’s just go with it though, shall we?] Point being: Megan accepts the offer giddily.
EARLY 2005: The doorbell rings and it’s the UPS man bringing a package with Pacific Northwest Hiking. She smiles but does not divulge the contents. She has learned her lesson.
2005: Megan asks all her writer-friends-with-dogs to contribute, and then asks them to spread the word. She assigns, edits, bargains with, brainstorms, gathers, collects dog pictures, and directs the 26 writers in the book under the tutelage of her fabulous editor Jill Rothenberg.
EARLY 2006: The publicist calls and discusses bookstore events for the dog book that’s about to come out. Megan nods and smiles on the phone and then panics and joins Toastmasters speaking group so she doesn’t keel over while speaking in front of a crowd. The thought of speaking in front of a crowd is not fun at that juncture.
EARLY 2006: The UPS man comes to deliver Woman’s Best Friend: Women Writers on the Dogs in Their Lives. She can’t help herself, high-fiving and shrieking to the guy about the book. He backs away slowly with a pleasant yet determined look on his face to get back to his truck pronto.
EARLY 2006: A book launch party at Lucky Lab Brewery, and bookstore events in San Francisco and New York go off without a hitch, and Megan even finds it hard to tear herself away from the microphone, much to her editor Jill’s amusement as she nearly falls off her chair laughing.
MID 2006: Jill calls again. They love the dog book, and since I cross both lines of the animal fence, would I like to do the cat version? “Do cats have nine lives?” Megan asks. This time, Jill just takes that as a yes.
LATE 2006: Megan spreads the word to every cat-loving writer or anyone who might know a cat-loving writer, and word-wrestles, bargains, edits, and pleads all over again. 29 writers sign on and it’s a beautiful thing.
EARLY 2007: Cat Women: Female Writers on Their Feline Friends makes its debut. UPS guy leaves it on Megan’s porch this time, he’s starting to think Megan is a little batty and needs to get out more, especially since she’s writing about cats now.
MID 2007: Bookstore events in Portland, Chicago, and New York are all a blast, thanks to the wonderful contributors. Jill, still living in San Francisco, cannot guffaw heartily in person at what she’s dubbed Megan At The Mic.
2008: Megan wonders what’s next. So she comes up with an idea about female friendships in an unsent letter format. Seal Press goes for it. Yessssss.
EARLY 2009: Megan repeats steps from previous anthologies, hoping that she’s fooled enough writers into thinking she knows how to put an anthology together. 36 writers sign on.
LATE 2009: The UPS man leaves a box of P.S. What I Didn’t Say: Unsent Letters to Our Female Friends on Megan’s doorstep and hightails it back to his brown truck. Megan hugs her dog and cat, thanking them for getting her where she is today.
LATE 2009: In this episode of Author Gone Wild, we see Megan who has spent too much time in her office, rocking and muttering to herself as she creates ways to get attention for the book. Microphone, schmicrophone, she says, bookstore events are only part of the deal. With a gleam in her eye, she goes on a mission, pitching TV, radio, bloggers, podcasters, neighbors, friends, unsuspecting UPS men, and creates a website (www.psanthology.wordpress.com) and book trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44QxM-za1BA
LATE 2009: Bookstore events in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, and Denver (this time, Jill will be there to not only witness Megan at the Mic but participate, since she’s now a contributor!) are set up with eyes on the East Coast prize for next year.
MURKY FUTURE: Megan hopes to get crackin’ on some other non-fiction and fiction books ideas she has floating in her head, and hopes to get an agent or book publisher in the near future for such pursuits. In the meantime, she’s excited to have signed on as an editor-helper-outer for elite personal trainer and author Tom Holland’s (www.teamholland.com) fantastic new book which will be published by William Morrow (in the WAY early stages right now, so can’t spill many beans yet, but expect much more news in that realm and for it to hit shelves in 2011). Stay tuned…