The Biggest News Since the Birth of Our Kids

peguins-cant-fly-cover

As of today, Kim and I have been married for 14 years. So it seems like a good time to share some super exciting news with you guys…

We recently finalized a book deal with a major New York publisher!!!

flatiron_buildingSt. Martin’s Press, which is owned by Macmillan Publishers, is headquartered in the Flatiron Building in New York City and is considered one of the largest English-language publishers. They loved the concept for my next book, “Penguins Can’t Fly and 39 Other Adultitis-Ridden Rules That Don’t Exist” (tentative cover above), and so we’ll be working together to bring it to life!

An Itty Bitty Background on Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

For the most part, almost every single book we’ve published has been self-published. Meaning that we write, print, distribute, and sell our books on our own. Compared to traditional publishing, this is a very good way to go for making money, because even though you have to foot the whole bill yourself, all of the profits go back to you. We have been very happy with this route, and have been able to move a lot of books over the years. On the flip side, a traditional publisher usually gives you more street cred and has wider distribution channels that individuals and small publishers just don’t have.

The trick is getting them to pick you.

An Unlikely Unfolding of Events

A little over a year ago, a friend of mine emailed me a link to a an article in Writer’s Digest that gave a rundown of what big publishers look for in authors. I was surprised to see that the numbers for our email list and the number of speaking engagements were considered very favorable. I started to wonder if the time was right for us to pursue a traditional publisher.

A week later, out of the blue, a literary agent emailed me. I did not know at the time that she is the coolest literary agent in the history of ever. She said she’d seen one of my pieces of art on Facebook via a share from one of her friends, went to our website, and fell in love with our message. She told me about her roller coaster experience of clicking through our site, praying that we didn’t have any books, being crushed when she found them, and then rejoicing upon discovering that they were all self-published. She sent off an email wondering if I had ever considered traditional publishing and hoped to set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of working together.

I met Michelle at Panera, and was instantly impressed by not only how enthused she was, but how much she “got” what we were trying to do, and how the art and writing and speaking all worked together. It was a magical connection with no small amount of goosebumps.

We spent months working together crafting a proposal. At the end of April, Michelle planned to fly to New York to pitch all of the big publishers. A week before the trip, she sent an informal email to the contacts she was scheduled to meet with. We were thrilled that St. Martin’s expressed immediate interest. Michelle ended up getting a great response from a number of publishers, but in the end, it was St. Martin’s that proved to be the most enthusiastic and seemed the best fit. Rose Hilliard is the all-star editor I will be working with and I am humbled that she is such a champion for this book.

Here is the coolest news: This book is going to be 100% full-color and feature my artwork throughout all 200 pages. This is a huge financial commitment for them! Even more exciting is that I will not only be writing the book and creating all the illustrations, but I will be doing the full layout of the book as well. From what I know of the book industry, this is a super rare privilege!!!

I cannot explain how overjoyed I am about this opportunity; it truly is a dream come true.

A Long History of Spaghetti Throwing

cheese-days-kj

Kim and I hawking our wares at Cheese Days in Monroe Wisconsin, way back in 2002.

As I mentioned, Kim and I have been married for 14 years. Every day of our marriage has been spent working on this mission to help people rekindle their childlike spirit and create lives with less stress and more fun. There was a bunch of throwing spaghetti against the wall, trying to see what would stick. Most of it didn’t. There were many years of living on a kindergarten teacher’s salary with a grocery budget of $100 a month. There was mounting debt as we struggled to find our way, countless crushing disappointments, and tear-filled nights wondering if we (and the close friends and family who believed in us) were in fact, certifiably insane.

We persisted because there was no Plan B. We knew we were put on this Earth to use our combined talents to fight what we now know as Adultitis. Slowly but surely, things began to work out. There were no big breaks, just a steady stream of small ones, spaced out in agonizing intervals. We were fueled by every email, every blog comment, every encouraging word from someone who thanked us for what we were doing.

And now this.

This is as close to a big break as we’ve ever seen. But there is much work to be done and no guarantee of success.

So What’s Next?

I have a book to write. Art to make. And I feel a lot of pressure to knock it out of the park.

Never before have we had such an opportunity to spread the word about Adultitis and its evil intent. The potential is huge. Now, although my wildest dreams imagine this book landing on the New York Times bestseller list (boy, would that get Adultitis’ panties in a bunch!), the truth is that the odds are not in our favor. We are not celebrities. We do not have a millions of Twitter followers or Facebook fans. We do not have the publicity machine of a Stephen King or J.K Rowling.

But we do have you.

Whether you’ve been around since the beginning or stumbled upon us recently, you know the vileness of Adultitis and the value of the childlike spirit. You can make a big difference.

In the days and months ahead, I am going to be sharing the process with you as it unfolds. I’ll be giving you opportunities to get involved and help us spread the word. Right now, the best thing you can do, if you haven’t already, is sign up for our newsletter and like us on Facebook. Apparently, when the time comes for the publisher to decide how many books to print, the number of newsletter subscribers and Facebook fans can be a BIG factor. Also, if you’re the praying type, we’ll take prayers as well. I am convinced that this whole opportunity is largely the work of Mary. Yes, that Mary. (More on that story later, if you’re interested.)

I’m excited to see where this road leads, and I’m excited to share the journey with you. I hope you’re as inspired as I am by Margaret Mead, who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Let’s do this!

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Comments

  1. So excited for the book!! I have been with you guys since the beginning (even before Lucy was born) and I still believe in living an adultitis-free lifestyle! I can’t wait for the many more followers that are bound to come after the book is released.

    Oh and Happy Anniversary too!!

  2. There is no one more deserving. I will be telling anyone who will listen about your efforts to fight adultitis! Congrats to you both.

  3. Soooo excited for all of you AND to read the book!!! Coolest news of the day!! And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

  4. Congratulations! How exciting! :D

  5. Jennifer Koel says:

    Yay!!! So happy for you guys!!! The “world” needs more play! I’m always having fun!!! Thanks to lots of your ideas! Happy A!

  6. Missy Brown says:

    Congrats guys….you so deserve this. Can’t wait to buy the book!

  7. Congrats!

  8. CONGRATULATIONS!!! And Happy Anniversary!

  9. Kathy Mancini says:

    You guys rock! So happy for you and excited to see where the road goes from here!

  10. Kristina Pasma says:

    So proud of you both. I can truly say I knew you “way back when.” Both of you have always been an inspiration to me. Your faith and perseverance are admirable. Congratulations.

  11. Katie Bee says:

    Congratulations!! I am so happy for you! What an amazing opportunity, and hopefully one that will lead to many more like it. :) We’ll have to work on having you do an author visit at the library too.

  12. Great news — congratulations!
    Do you still have a link to that Publishers Weekly article?

  13. Diana says:

    What a wonderful anniversary present!! I am so very proud of you Jason and wish you and Kim the very best on this next chapter of your life( and everyfuture chapter- for that matter! But I hope you know that!)

  14. Fantastic news and looking forward to seeing the process of putting the book together.

  15. Congrats!

  16. This is HUGE! I have tears of joy welling up for you two. SOOOO excited and am cheering you every step of the way. You have built it, and now they (agents, publishers, and why not NY Times list) come. Your words, your art, your heart, your mission – it’s time. Good things come to those who play.

  17. Patty Borkowski says:

    It is definitely better that you got the book deal before the movie deal – the book coming out first will make the movie even more exciting!!!! :oD So happy for you guys!!

    And… Happy anniversary, happy anniversary, happy anniversary, HAAAAAAAPPY anniversary!!!!

  18. Ellen says:

    Congrats to both of you-on the anniversary and the book!

  19. Congratulations! I am also a writer who has been self publishing for the past decade. I’ve been considering searching for an agent for my next project but have been nervous about the entire process. Your story has re-energized me! Good luck. I hope you do “hit it out of the park” and receive much success.

  20. Bonniejean Alford Hinde says:

    Way to go man… I always new you had it in you… This year I plan to do the same….

  21. Marci says:

    Yup, we go “way back then”……what a blessing to share more than 12 years of friendship and to see God’s work in your lives together! A big congrats on your book…..I’ll be happy to support in any way……and always with prayers, of course! Yay Mary!

    Superfan 4ever!! : D

  22. Janet Mincks says:

    WOO HOO !!!!!
    Way to go…. so excited about purchasing your new published book. You both deserve this opportunity to spread the “word”.
    Oh by the way, Happy Anniversary !!

  23. My cousin and her husband used their experience and research they had done for years about food and nutrition to write a book that was released a few years ago. It had a good following, but nowhere near as popular as it has recently become, specifically because of social media. This new-found resurgence of the book has led to recent appearances on Good Morning America and Nightline and a climb on the bestseller lists. I firmly believe that by standing behind your strong message, you will have the same experience that they had. Congratulations, and I look forward to purchasing a copy of your book!

  24. Rhonda says:

    Congratulations Jim and Kason (ha – word check has no sense of humor)
    The family that plays together stays together! Congrats on 14 years.

  25. Kitty says:

    Jason and Kim
    Happy anniversary and soooo glad and excited to hear your news!!! I have been spreading the news and tips on adultitis since I heard Jason speak in Duluth three years ago!
    I love your message and are behind your mission.. Will do whatever I can to help!

Trackbacks

  1. […] The biggest news since the birth of our kids • The biggest regret of parenthood (and how to avoid it.) • 10 campfire games you have to […]

  2. […] you may have heard, we have a new book in the works with St. Martin’s Press about the “Rules That Don’t Exist.” There are approximately 1,385,984 of these […]

  3. […] you may have heard, we recently got a book deal with a major New York publisher. It’s all about the rules that don’t exist. I have been busy putting it together, and I thought […]

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