Tag Archives: advice

So You Want to Write a Book..?

I got my book deal in April 2018. It was a big moment of celebration for me as it’s something I’d been thinking about wanting to do for over five years. I caution my use of words here – THINKING ABOUT – because that’s really all I’d been doing. I hadn’t actively been working towards getting a deal or writing a book at all. Because of this my experience of this whole process is probably quite different to that of someone ardently pursuing it. However, I hope sharing the things I’ve learnt throughout the process will still be interesting and useful to some of you.

Did you have a literary agent? How do you go about getting an agent? What does an agent do?

I started working with my manager, Sharon, in June 2017. She approached me (we already knew each other because of her background in PR) and I signed with her to have her manage my bigger brand projects and collaborations. As soon as we started working together, she mentioned how she’d love for me to write a book. I told her it’s something I’d been thinking about but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. We had a lot of other projects on the go back then so we put the idea on the back-burner for a while.

Although not solely a literary agent, Sharon acts as the middle (wo)man between me and whichever business or brand I’m working with. In other words, she does all the negotiations/ deals with the contracts etc and SHE IS A GODSEND. Of course, I check everything over myself too, but it is fantastic having someone who can speak on my behalf and who understands more about that stuff than I do. Also, let’s be honest, it’s much easier for someone else to sell you than for you to sell yourself and for them to ask for more money or a better percentage because you’re British and a creative and generally very awkward about that stuff.

So, when Ryland, Peters and Small approached me at the end of 2017, Sharon was involved in every step. She was in every email chain, at every meeting, and she was the one that checked and double checked the contract, renegotiating parts if necessary and making sure everything was in order.

What was your initial pitch/ meeting with the publishers like? Did you have to go in with sample chapters and all your ideas laid out?

Because my publisher approached me, our first meeting was quite casual. I went in with some copies of our magazine but they already had a pretty good idea of who I was and what they wanted the book to be about.

I’d jotted down a few sample chapter ideas to present them with and I mentioned some things I thought wouldn’t work and why. Luckily, we were completely on the same page and they loved all my ideas! After this, I started working with my editor, Alice, and we came up with the chapter outline, word count and flatplan.

How did you get from having an idea for a book to knowing where to start with writing it?

The flatplan was invaluable and is something we use for the magazine too. It’s basically a document that lays out every page and shows where each chapter will go and in what order (and in the case of the magazine, where the adverts will be). Once we had this decided we were able to work out how many words each chapter had to be based on how many pages it had been assigned and how many images we’d need to source or shoot to fill the allocated space.

Having this break down made the whole process much less scary. I was basically working chapter by chapter rather than trying to think of the book as a whole. Unlike fiction, each chapter was a self-contained entity, and from my point of view they were like writing individual blog posts or long magazine articles. The whole process then felt much less overwhelming because I’d basically be practising doing that for the past decade!

Publisher vs self-publishing – how did you decide?

As someone who self-publishes a magazine you might have been surprised to find out that I went with a publisher for my first book. I’ve also have friends who have self-published books with massive success, so I guess I always thought this might be the route I’d take one day too.

However, the thing that put me off and ultimately made me procrastinate on writing a book for so long was just how much extra STUFF I’d have to do (on top of actually writing it) in order to self-publish. Things such as hiring an editor, hiring my own designer to put it together, researching printers, working out what kind of print stock to use, paying for the books to be printed, figuring out how to get the book on Amazon as well as all the costs involved in producing the photo shoot!

In the end, it actually felt like a huge relief to be working with a publisher who not only took care of all of those things but already had the expertise. If I’ve learnt one thing throughout this process it’s that publishing a book is VERY different to publishing a magazine!

Also, let’s not forget, I got paid upfront too by way of my advance. If I was entirely self-publishing, I’d effectively had been working for nothing until the book was released. I’m so happy I decided to work with Ryland, Peters and Small on this book. They were fantastic from start to finish.

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Welcome to 2019: An Introduction for New Readers & Wedding Planning Tips from our Awesome Community!

Welcome to 2019!! At the start of a new year it’s customary around these parts for me to take a moment to introduce myself and the Rock n Roll Bride brand to our newly minted brides-to-be. If that’s you then WELCOME!

Hi, I’m Kat. I’m the editor of this here blog and our utterly lovely print magazine. I live in Reading (UK) with my husband, Gareth, and our two enormous Maine Coons, Henry and Rachel. I started this blog when we were engaged as a way to document our wedding plans. Fast forward nearly 12 years and we now both work full time on the business.

Before we get to anything else I’d like to congratulate you on your excellent blog finding skills (ha!) Rock n Roll Bride is the ONLY wedding blog and magazine in the world that is wholly dedicated to alternative weddings. If you’d like to find out more about me, this website and our magazine (which FYI you totes need to subscribe to – you can also pick it up in WhSmiths, Sainsburys or selected local newsagents) then check out the below posts:

About Rock n Roll Bride
A welcome to new readers
How to start planning your wedding 

Oh I also wrote a book which comes out NEXT WEEK. Holy shit, I might explode before then.

Photo by Lisa Jane Photography

As a newly engaged babe you’re probably feeling a lot of FEELINGS right now: Excitement, anticipation, overwhelm (is that a word?) panic… !? But fret not, Rock n Roll Bride will see you through.

First up you absolutely MUST join our private Facebook group. There are nearly 14,000 of us in there and, I swear to God, its THE friendliest most non-judgemental wedding space on the internet. I’m not even exaggerating. No-one will shame you, no-one will call your ideas weird or stupid and everyone goes above and beyond to help and advise each other. We’re all in this together! I can’t wait to chat with you in there.

Talking of the Facebook group, and to PROVE their awesomeness, I recently asked our members what would be their one piece of advice for someone who’s just got engaged. This advice is golden! But it’s also just for starters, you can see the entire thread here.

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Surviving Your Wedding When You Don’t Feel Beautiful

you are beautiful

I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve cried too many tears over my weight. I had an eating disorder for ten years and although I was technically recovered by the time I came to walk down the aisle, it was still at the forefront of my mind when planning the wedding.

My thoughts of self-loathing reared their ugliest head when it came to choosing my dress of course. I was worried that I’d never find one that I felt good in. I was worried that I’d be uncomfortable all day. I was worried that I’d look back at my wedding photos and cry because I looked so enormous.

There seems to be two main schools of thought when it comes to body image, weight and weddings. There are those, like me now, that believe you should focus on being healthy and not stress yourself out by trying to lose weight before the wedding. Then there are others that go on a diet or sign up to some kind of sadistic bridal bootcamp torture as soon as that sparkler is slipped onto their finger.

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5 Things You Must Do To Ensure Your Wedding Goes Off Without a Hitch

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It’s not something we ever want to think about, but the likelihood is that everything won’t go perfectly to plan on your wedding day. A couple of weeks ago I actually asked via my Facebook page if anyone had anything go wrong and I was blown away by the response. I even had people emailing me separately to tell me their stories of woe! While I was at first a little nervous that all those comments would be scaring the bejebus out of you brides-to-be, I think it is important to realise that while things may not always go to plan, it will all be OK in the end. Whatever happens your wedding will still be awesome. Pinky swear.

Some of these hiccups will be minor, others could be quite major, but instead of trying to second-guess the future and stressing yourself out about it, here are five tips on how to handle anything that might go a little pear shaped.

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1. Accept that things might go wrong… and be OK with it

If I learnt anything from reading all those Facebook comments it was that more often than not something does goes wrong. Accepting that fact and being OK with it is ultimately going to be a lot less stressful than worrying about something you can’t control the whole time. Realise that for most people (well, maybe except Bridezillas but I haven’t got any of those reading my blog do I?!) it’s the little hiccups actually end up making for a great story after the wedding.

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The Name Game: Should you Take your Husband’s Surname When you Marry?

Kathryn Underwood was always last to be called in the school register. I’m not sure why it bothered me so much that I was stuck on the end every time, but it did. I felt like an outsider and I longed to be all snuggy in the middle with the Matthews’ and the Smiths’ and the Jones’. “It’s OK though”, I justified to myself, “when I get married I’ll never have to be at the end of a register ever again…”

And then I married a Williams.

When I married, keeping my maiden name was something I never even considered. I’m actually a little surprised with myself that this was one of the few traditions that I never thought to rebel against! I’ve personally never felt that taking my husband’s name had anything to do with me being an oppressed woman, and I certainly never felt it was an archaic tradition that made me somehow become my husband’s possession (just as I didn’t even consider that my father wouldn’t walk me down the aisle. I actually felt this was a really special part of our wedding). I know many people do feel this, but me? Nah not so much…

I love that we have the same name and we often joke about being ‘Team Williams’. I never felt particularly tied to my old surname. I didn’t dislike it but it didn’t define me. I defined me. However I think deciding people should call me Kat instead of Kathryn (when I was about 16) was empowering. I chose to be Kat, just as I chose to be a Williams.

However I really started to think about this topic when I received the following email last week. Charlotte has, without a doubt, the coolest surname ever and is unsure of what to do with it when she marries her boy…

Hello Kat

Firstly may I say precisely how much I love your blog! Barely a day goes by when I’m not pawing over its beautifully designed pages. Thank you for existing!

Now on to my question. I want to make it clear that I’m not expecting a conclusive answer but I want to discuss this issue with someone objective who will share their opinion without rolling their eyes at me and telling me “that’s just the way it is – get over it!”

My fiancé and I planning to get married in 2014. We already have distinct plans and ideas for the day and wanted to get everything sorted as far in advance as possible so we can use our outstanding creativity to DIY the hell out of many many things. However, one detail we’re still confused about is our names. I have a pretty wonderful surname. My surname is Cloud. It makes me smile every time someone tells me how nice a name that is and it’s always bothered me that I’d have to drop it. I decided I didn’t want to drop it a while ago, but my fiancé won’t take mine. Although his argument isn’t that “it’s not the man’s job to take another name” (I have heard this opinion a lot recently!) it still leaves me wondering what on earth we’re to do. His surname (Fleming) is just a general English surname that a good few people will have. It’s not offensive, but it does become so when coupled with Cloud, so double barrelled is right out.

I then thought about each of us keeping our own surnames. I really don’t like this idea. I do feel that sharing surnames is an important part of being a married couple, and if we don’t share surnames then I won’t feel as married as I could. If we have children, I don’t want them to have a different surname to either of us; I want people to know that they’re ours, not just mine or just his.

I have heard of couples inventing their own surnames in situations like this but I’m quite lost now. I’m not really sure what I want to do and the easiest thing may well be to suck it up and drop my surname. Our families will be expecting it and if he drops his in any way they may feel betrayed. This does remind me though that many marriage traditions exist because a woman was property to be traded, and I don’t want to be branded as the property of his family name. I know that attitude might not fit in nicely within the ideals of someone who values marriage, but I’m full of contradictions!

Is this a situation you’ve come across before? I would appreciate some words of wisdom.

Many thanks

Charlotte Cloud

Charlotte Cloud! Yes, she’s right, that is the coolest name ever. It certainly made me smile as I saw it sat there, looking all cute and pretty on the page. Honestly though, I don’t feel well equiped enough to answer her dilemma on my own. My one tiny piece of advice would be that you have to do what’s right for you. In your gut you probably know what the right choice is and just because there are pressures from both camps (to change or not to change) you are the only person who can say what is right or wrong for you. After all it’s no-one’s name but your own!

To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives. – Erica Jong

Anyway, in order to get a more rounded idea of opinions on this subject, I took to twitter and facebook and asked my wonderful followers to help me out. And oh boy did you! In droves! I had literally hundreds of messages from you all (you can see the ones that were posted directly to facebook here). I wish I could post them all but alas it would equate to the worlds longest blog post so here are just a few of my favourites…

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Are Babies the Next Logical Step?

EAK Photography

I’ve never been particularly maternal. It’s not that I don’t like children, but in all honestly I wouldn’t ever choose to be in a room with a load of them. In fact at my parent’s Jubilee party which was frequented by rather a lot of screeching neighbourhood rugrats, I spent then entire time cowered in the corner staring at my lap/my glass of champagne/the dry sausage rolls and hoping none of them would try to talk to me. It’s ironic really, I’m pretty outgoing with adults, but anyone under 12 and I don’t know what to do. I guess I’m scared I’ll make them cry… or I’ll accidentally drop the f-bomb and scar them for life or something.

Sure, there are some kids I like, I have a few friends who are fantastic Mothers and have gorgeous children who are actually pretty fun to hang out with (they also find me fascinating which is quite hilarious. I’m pretty sure they think I’m actually a real life My Little Pony). But as nice as it is to be adored by these select few, it’s also really nice when they go to bed and we can have a drink and talk about things that don’t involve CBeebies’ characters. On the flipside I have had friends who have swiftly become ex-friends once they started popping out sprogs. I don’t know if that’s my fault…or theirs… or a combination of the two… but either way it’s happened.

Gareth and I were out to dinner the other night as we started chatting about children. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that he always said he wanted children, although recently he’s started to change his mind. As he’s got older and our life has got more comfortable, he’s ended up pretty happy with our little child-free set up. I wonder if he, like I, always assumed that we would have kids, because you know, that’s what married people do.

I’ve always been on the fence. I’m not saying no way not ever… but I’d be alright with it if we didn’t end up having them.

Lemons with a pea via Etsy

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