I can officially add “author” to my titles, next to “writer, digital strategist, speaker, professional troublemaker and side-eye sorceress.” Because I wrote a book. I WROTE A FREAKING BOOK, YALL!!! AAAHHHHHHH!!!
My book is called I’M JUDGING YOU: The Do-Better Manual, and it is a series of essays on life, culture, social media and fame. I turn the mirror on all of us and talk about why we’re ridiculous and why I am side-eyeing us continuously as a society. If you love my blog, you’ll love this book. It is me, voice strong, message clear and at my best. It is officially the thing that I am most proud of.
I want to tell y’all the story of my journey to writing it.
I’ve been blogging for over a decade, and the natural next step is writing a book. For years, people have been telling me to write one, and I’ve wanted to write one but I didn’t have a BOOK in me yet. Or I did but it was taking a nap.
I finally got my idea when I had a lightbulb moment in August 2014. Some “journalist” had plagiarized multiple pieces of my work and I was ranting on Twitter. I wondered out loud “Did some of us not get a limited edition manual on how not to suck as human beings?” I literally went “WAIT. THAT’S THE BOOK I SHOULD WRITE.”
I remember that moment so well and my toes tingled. And on that day, the idea jumped into my head and didn’t leave.
For a couple of months, I did nothing else but on October 13, 2014, I posted a status on Facebook saying “I wrote the first 500 words of my book.” TWO days later, I got an email from a literary agent, out of the blue. I wasn’t even at the stage where I was looking for an agent. I just wanted to write this book AND THEN I’d worry about everything else.
We get on the phone, and I ask some questions and he asks some but he is clear that he wants to represent me. I didn’t even tell him what my idea was because I can’t be showing my whole hand like that. Fast forward a month later, I end up signing with him: Michael Harriot of Folio Literary Agency. They also represent Misty Copeland. AW SNAP.
When I signed the dotted line, I finally tell him my idea for a book and he loved it. He tells me to get started on my book proposal. I get a book on how to write book proposals, because I had no clue. I followed it and I finish my proposal in 2 months. It is a 50-page beast. In the middle of February 2015, I turn in my final book proposal.
Are y’all keeping track of the timing? Cool. Keep it in mind. So with my proposal in hand, Mike starts shopping my book around to publishers and towards end of February, we meet with multiple who are interested in this thing I wanna write. HELL YEAH. He warned me that the process might go kinda quick but I didn’t realize HOW fast.
While I was on vacation in Kenya in early March, Mike emails me saying one more editor would like to speak with me. 8-hour time difference and all, we make it work.
I get back from Kenya on March 9. On March 11, 2015, I wake up to an email from Mike telling me that I have an offer (book deal) with Henry Holt & Co. Do I accept? I called one of my mentors, and she yelled “YES, YOU DO.” So I did. And I SCREAMED.
I called my Mom and my sister on 3-way and my Mom goes “MacMillan? They printed my textbooks!” In that moment, I realized how big it was. I only told my close friends and family that I had my deal. I signed the paperwork officially 2 months later on May 10, 2015. That’s when I announced it publicly. Because this real G chooses to move in silence until things are inked.
It was real now. IT WAS REAL. And I had to get to work.
Last year was insane for me, travel-wise. How was I gonna be gallivanting around the world and write a whole book? I was determined to have my manuscript in before the year was over because I wanted to make sure my book would come out in 2016. A Luvvie determined is an unstoppable one.
Between May and October 2015, I was home for maybe 3 weeks TOTAL. I traveled to Morocco, Spain, England, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, British Virgin Islands, Qatar. Domestically, I was probably in a different city every week. #TravelLuvv is real!
It didn’t matter. On October 15, 2015, my editor at Holt, Allison Adler, got my completed manuscript. 75,000 words. 75,000 NEW words. This book is all new content from me. I am not going to be that blogger who gives you half a book of posts you’ve read from me. NAH.
Remember I told you to keep track of dates? It was after I turned in the first draft of my book that I realized that it was exactly a year to the date that my agent contacted me.
I’M JUDGING YOU was written in 8 countries across 4 continents, in hotel rooms, at home, at the beach, on airplanes. I wrote any and everywhere. How did I write this book in less than a year with everything I had on my plate? I can’t even explain it.
Some weeks I wrote zero words, and some days I wrote 5,000 words.
When the words wanted to come, they tumbled out my fingers. When fear got the best of me, I stared at a blank screen for hours. Ultimately, I was clear about what I wanted to say, because me writing almost nonstop for the last 12 years had prepared me for this book.
And what I turned in was something I was incredibly proud of. It was good. My book is good. When Allison got her edits back to me, she affirmed that. The first sentence she sent me was “First, foremost, forever: I love this book.”
I was in tears. It is her job to tell me when shit sucks and to hear that was the stamp I needed. Writing a book is hard because you are in a vacuum, not getting constant feedback. But Allison’s note was the confirmation that I created something I should be proud of.
Last Sunday, I turned in the FINAL FINAL FINAL manuscript (after a couple of drafts and a copyeditor ran through it with a fine tooth comb. Editing takes time) and I jumped for joy. I felt like I for real climbed a mountain.
On March 11, 2016, I was finishing a meeting in the Henry Holt offices when I informed them that it was exactly a year to the date when I found out about my book deal. PERFECT ANNIVERSARY MEETING. Again, see how the dates match up so right.
This book I wrote and my journey to get to it? It was meant for me at the time it happened. It was the anointed and appointed time because the way things fell into place was so right. My agent appearing like a Fairy Godfather. My editor, who is the most awesome person to work with. My publisher, which is an imprint of MacMillan, oldest publishing company in the world. It all just fit together.
August 2014, I got my book idea. October 2015, I turn in a full draft 1. March 2016, my book is done. HOLY SMOKES. It was a perfect example of “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
I’M JUDGING YOU will be released on September 13, 2016 and I can finally tell you that it is available for pre-order!!!
LOOK AT IT. JUST LOOK AT IT. This cover. It is my favorite thing. It is perfectly me in every way and every time I look at it, I get giddy. I LOVE IT SO FREAKING MUCH!
Fun fact: that lollipop emoji was custom-designed for me. Its’ side-eye is uniquely MINE. Also, the lollipop will be a real thing. Coming soon, y’all.
This feels SUPER real now. My book is available for ordering where books are sold (Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, IndieBooks, iBooks).I have an Amazon author page (EEEEEE!!!) and a GoodReads author page (AAAAAAHHHH!!). AND ImJudgingYouBook.com is up. It’s the page for all things BOOK. You can visit, learn more about it and all’at jazz.
I am here to ask for your help, folks. I want this book to do AMAZINGLY WELL. If it does, hopefully, someone else like me will have an easier path to getting published. I need you to buy this book and support me on this journey. How can you help right now?
Pre-order my book!
* Tell people you know and love to pre-order my book! Download and share the graphic below on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc.
And you might have some questions for me. Here are some answers:
When is this book coming out again?
It will be released on September 13, 2016. Put that on your calendar. We might have to make it a national holiday. Who do I petition to make that happen?
Will there be a book tour and book signings?
Yes, there will be, starting in September, when the book drops officially. I’ll announce the tour dates when they’re finalized, but that probably won’t be til Summer. Although, I might do some pre-events where advance copies will be available. I’ll keep folks updated.
Will there be an audiobook?
Yes there will be, and I will be reading it myself.
Will it be available on Kindle and Nook?
I don’t live in the United States. Will I be able to get a physical copy?
I have a large international readership so I’m working on a definitive answer for this! But some of the bookstores that carry it ship internationally, like Barnes & Nobles. Amazon also does. Canadians, you’re all good too. You can buy the Kindle or Nook version too!
That lollipop is adorable. Can it be on a tshirt?
Yes. That is definitely happening. It will be on many types of products. I’m especially excited about the mug you’ll be able to put on your desk, to side-eye folks who wanna talk to you before you have your morning coffee.
Whew! This little Naija girl who thought she was going to be a Psychologist one day because “I want to help people” is about to drop a book. GOD DEY. And thank YOU all for being the best village EVER and celebrating with me. Y’all really do make a girl feel special and loved.
This is a dream come true, and for me, it is a testament to the power of having the courage to ask. This is my way of saying that what you want might seem too far to reach but then a step stool might come outta nowhere. TADA! It’s yours. Write your vision. Make it plain. Tell the universe/God/Buddha what you want. The moment I said that I was doing this book, things fell at my feet.
And where we are.
On the low low tip, my book has actually been available for pre-order for a month, but I wanted to wait a bit to announce it publicly. And after I dropped the cover on social media on Friday, y’all went and Googled it. I know this because you’ve been ordering it and sending me screenshots of your confirmation. I LOVE Y’ALL SO MUCH!!!
LET’S DO THIS, YALL!!!