Right. So where do I start with all this. By the Old Gods and the New, this is one of the weirdest, awkward and serious posts I’m going to write this year but hey ho. So, Guess who’s walked away from their book deal? Oh that would be me - Lily Melrose. So yeah, my Book (Just Blog It) isn’t going to be a thing. Well not for now anyway.
You may or may not have noticed that I've sort of kept quiet on the subject for a few weeks while we worked out the terms of ending the contract. And while I can’t go into the full details as to why I made the decision I have done fully, I can explain a bit of it. Some of it for professional reasons and I just don’t want to be a dick, you know? But I’ll try and talk about it as well as I can before y’all call me crazy, silly and petty for blowing off a sweet book advance and the “glory” of being an “author”.
A bit of background about my book. I was pitched by a publisher an idea in around April/May about doing a book of some kind. Agreeing to it sometime in the early summer. I made a sly reference to my book in a video (and even mentioned in the comments at the time) to the fact I was writing a book which was taken as shade towards Zoella. It wasn’t intended as shade I was just being cryptic but it’s a perfect example of how things can be misconstrued on the Internet. Once I’d announced my book people were quick to pull me up on my apparent shade even though it was nothing at all. The idea of doing a book was bought to me way before it became a running joke that “all" Youtubers/Bloggers release books. At the time I thought it was a cool, original idea and I’d seen a few bloggers do something similar and I was feeling super inspired. People like the girls at ABM, Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere and Adorn by Shini and Kit.
We went back and forth a few times before I firmly stated I didn’t want to do an “About Me” book. I knew I wanted to use the opportunity to share my thoughts on something I feel fairly knowledgable about - Blogging. I've been blogging for over 6 years now and as my full time job for almost 4, and I felt like it was something I had a valid and solid opinion on.
I never set out with the intention of wanting to be a published author, and while that might make it sound like I’m poo-pooing on talented people out there who DO want to be published writers - I really hope it doesn’t come across like that. A lot of people throw shade saying that "we" are hindering others from breaking into the market. Which in some ways is true, it has become a bit of a thing and oversaturated market to boot. It often feels contrived and some are going ahead with books dubious intentions. But on the whole most people are doing it from a pure, exciting and career moving forward place. I don’t believe blog books are bad for the industry at all. Clearly publishers see a ready formed market for it and in most cases they know books by bloggers/vloggers will sell. It's less risky for them. Plus I think it gives the world of blogging and vlogging a well needed boost of legitimacy in a medium that thinks we’re all idiots that sit on our computers all day. Bloggers/Vloggers are incredibly discredited and disrespected by "old" media and it's still an area that people just dont get.
I kept saying to everyone who gave me crap about being “Another Youtuber who wants to be writer” that I’m STILL a blogger, I will always be a blogger - I write stuff and put it on the internet. It’s like how a few years ago most people assumed all bloggers wanted to be journalists. Blogging is about sharing your thoughts on whatever subject your knowledgeable about on the world wide web. If that be beauty, fishing, pro wrestling, fire eating or sword fighting whatever, you can write about whatever you want. I looked at writing a book as commenting on a subject about something I felt like I had some insider information on. Surely thats how any book about a specialist subject is created?
Anyway back to me. One reason I felt hugely unhappy was the creative part of the book. I didn’t feel like the book was coming together in the way I’d imagined when I’d got pitched the idea. I come from a graphic design and art background - it’s kinda my thing. I went to Art School and have a Degree in Graphic Design. For me the visuals in a book/magazine/blog are probably just as important to me as the actual text. I’d envisioned this awesome pretty coffee table book with a mixture of sweet typography and cool photos… and to be frank it just wasn’t anywhere near that. As it wasn’t my responsibility to design the book and I was putting it in someone else’s hands and it was quite nerve wracking. Now my book obviously wasn’t being rushed to print (as I’ve been working on it for a year), but it was drawing closer and closer to this cut off date and I was still nowhere near being happy. I would never EVER put something out into the world without being 110% pleased with it. And I felt like if that project went any further without me liking it then I’d be incredibly disappointed with myself.
When I went on my Trek America trip I spoke with Emma Blackery, who is honestly one of my favourite people I’ve ever met. Girl doesn’t mince her words and will 100% tell you what she thinks. We spoke about my book and her feelings on Youtuber books and I think that was the moment I felt like I had to either walk away or change things dramatically.
Other things that added to this decision was how I felt like because I was putting all my effort into this book my blog and channel completely slipped. As I said I want to blog, that is my thing. I was spending so much time thinking about blogging and writing about blogging I wasn’t doing the thing I actually enjoyed the most - the actual blogging. I don’t have a 5 year plan about where I want to be in life. And honestly my previous 5 year plan of doing this full time blogging thing has come to it’s fruition and I part of me craves something new. I’d have to commit to this book for goodness knows how long when Im at a point where I don’t know if I want to travel the world or settle down.
There was a lot of aspects of the project I was unhappy about also but I can’t go into detail regarding those. The reality is I should have walked away when I started feeling those gut feelings of doubt. I think part of it was the fear of failing, part of it was the fact I’d spent so long on it and part of it was just stepping into the unknown. Like everything in life trust your gut instinct. My ex boyfriend broke up with me right after I called him out about a girl who his now his current girlfriend. I think my gut was right there and I (hope) Im right here.
So what am I doing now? Im really not sure. I have this 32,483 word manuscript on my computer that I’ve put my soul and thoughts into for the majority of a year and a bit and at a loss what to do with it all. I may re-purpose some of it as blog posts, I might just sit on it till I feel like the time is right. But for now it’s firmly being put on the back burner while I focus on the things that are important to me - Myself and my Blog/Channel. Part of me feels like I wasted a bunch of time on this thing and walking away is one of the silliest things I’ve ever done. But my gut feeling is to walk away and try again at a point where I feel more comfortable and Im going to release something that will blow everyone away and I'll be proud of.
Some might call me dumb for walking away from a solid publishing deal, guaranteed money and ton of mainstream exposure. Some might call me a coward for fearing the unknown, some might just think that it’s all really ridiculous. Some might think I’ve done the right thing. Im generally a very noncommittal person, I do what I want to to do when I want to do it. Im stubborn as an ox and will always do things in my own time and maybe this book has made me understand that part personality better than I had before.
For those that preordered my book, you will get a full refund from the Publishing House within the next few days and I really sincerely apologise for any disappointment I might have caused. I hope my reasoning and thought process behind my decision makes sense. I honestly have 10000 thoughts running through my head from feelings of shame to relief, fresh starts and motivation. I no longer have this huge thing looming over me which I struggled to keep engaged with which Im now turning into something positive and I can work on in my own time if I see fit.
I hope you all continue to stick around while I work on refocusing and sorting things out. I will share some of my most helpful chapters and pages with you guys as I do want to get some of it out there into the blogosphere! Feels weird to have done so much yet not shown anyone when I share things almost everyday! I love you all and thank you so much for all your support and understanding. You're all awesome and I dont deserve it.