*Need a little relationship advice? Engaged with cold feet? Check out this exclusive interview with Co-authors Anne Milford and Jennifer Gauvain. Come back next week for a chance to enter a TEN book giveaway and win an copy of their book, How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy!
Years ago, Anne Milford called off her wedding five months before the big day and walked away from the man she knew was wrong for her. Today, Anne has over twenty years of experience as a freelance writer and editor and has been happily married for fifteen years. Anne teamed up with Jennifer Gauvin to find out why women traipse through unhappy relationships despite big red flags. Jennifer is a licensed clinical social worker whose primary focus is working with couples and families and has over 13 years experience in private practice.
While there are tons of book out there on how to find Mr. Right, there are virtually no books out there on what to do with Mr. Wrong. Their debut novel, How Not to Marry The Wrong Guy, would have provided Cinderella with running shoes instead of glass slippers in case Prince Charming ended up being a big no-no.
In addition, it was originally self-published and then picked up by a major publishing house…illustrating to all the self-published authors out there that dreams do really come true. The Write Stuff just loves happy endings…
1) What was involved in getting it self-published?
We formed our own publishing company called Cold Feet Press. We bought the ISBN number, registered our own copyright, and handled all of writing, editing, layout, cover design and printing ourselves. I (Anne) spent much of my career in the marketing field so I was able to take everything I had learned about design and production to create our little pink “baby.” This cost both of us several thousand dollars once we factored in the cost of building a website with a shopping cart, printing, videography for a book trailer, media training etc. Everything kept adding up—luckily we are both married to nice, supportive husbands who encouraged us to pursue this dream. As Jennifer says, this is an example of why it is so important to marry the right guy!
2) Once your book was out there, what did you do to make it stand out?
We were relentless about self-promotion. You have to be. Neither of us wants to think about the hundreds of hours we spent trying to get attention for our book. While we had a lot of fun, we probably made just pennies an hour if we calculated what we made vs. the time spent! However, it wasn’t about making money. It was about fulfilling our dream of writing a book that would help women have happier, healthier relationships. We networked, we “facebooked,” we “tweeted” and we sought out media and speaking opportunities wherever we went. Fortunately, the topic resonated with women across the country and we were able to spend some time chatting about the book on radio stations around the country.
3) What are the best and worst parts of self-publishing?
The best part of self-publishing is there is no waiting. You don’t have to wait to find an agent. You don’t have to wait for requests for your manuscript. You don’t have to wait for a publisher. You are in charge. The worst part for us, without a doubt, was the challenge of distribution. It is very difficult and time-consuming to get into the big chains. We worked with a book distributor in St. Louis and he was able to get us into a lot of stores. A huge source of frustration (and no fault of our book distributor) was when we would hear from women in states outside of Missouri. While our book was “in the system” of the larger book chains, the computer indicated it was out of print. So the stores couldn’t order the book for anyone. Even though this was false, we didn’t have the ability to correct this. So women who wanted or NEEDED the book right away would have to wait for us to ship it to them. It was out of our control and extremely frustrating. The most ironic part of all was that we couldn’t get the old book out of stores when our new edition hit the shelves!
4) How did your book go from being self-published to a major publishing house?
A fairy godmother (we are sworn to secrecy) saw our book and was impressed. She had been in the publishing industry and saw potential in our book. She put us in touch with a friend of hers (now our agent.) He liked it too. He asked us if we would be interested in going with a bigger publisher. Believe it or not, at first we were kind of resistant to going the traditional route. But after several exhausting months of bookkeeping, shipping, begging and standing in line at the post office we thought…let’s give it a try. Based on how our book sold, he felt it had potential with a traditional publisher. Sooo…he very tactfully suggested changes to the original manuscript and helped us write a proposal for a revised edition. We signed with Random/House Broadway Books in October 2007—just 5 months after our self-published edition rolled off the presses!
5) What has been your best author experience so far?
Without a doubt, it has been the letters and emails we have receive from women who have read our book and found it a source of help and comfort. We both cry tears of joy every time we get them.
6) What do you when you’re not writing?
Jennifer: I just moved to Colorado with my husband and kids and I am looking forward to exploring the mountains towns and trails of this incredible state. I love the outdoors, Yoga, Zumba, and Geo-caching with my family.
Anne: I love to read, try new restaurants, ride my bike and hang out with my kids. I like Zumba too and I am so sad that Jennifer has moved away—our whole Zumba class misses her! Between the right guy, the dog, and the three kids, I am pretty busy.
7) Who are your favorite authors?
Jennifer: I love female voices. My two favorite books I have read recently are (like everyone) Eat, Pray Love and The Help.
Anne: It is hard to narrow down my favorite authors—there are so many. I love any novel with funny, quirky, characters in it, especially quirky Southerners! I lived in the South for a while and I appreciate everything about that part of the country. I think my favorite book of all time is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. I went to college in New Orleans and that book captures the New Orleans accent and quirky “Quarter characters” like no other. It was amazing. People either love that book or they hate it. I just finished reading One Day by David Nicholls. That was a great book, too. I am back to novels after a two year binge on memoirs.
8 ) Tell me about your book How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy:
There are plenty of books that tell you how to find the right guy but this is the only one that we know of that helps you let go of the wrong one. So many women walk down the marriage aisle knowing that they are making a mistake. They say “I Do” when they really want to shout “I Don’t.” How Not to Marry the Wrong Guy answers the question, “Why do smart, talented, successful, worthy women consciously get engaged to the wrong guy?” and offers advice for letting go.
The book shares the real-life stories of these women who made the mistake of walking down the aisle as well as those who called off their nuptials. It is focused on helping women recognize why so many of them stay in poor relationships. It also helps them figure out what they want and need from their significant others.
9) Why do think so many women do marry the wrong guy? Even if they are unhappy or have doubts?
While the women we interviewed were very different, their reasons for staying with the wrong guys were surprisingly similar. After talking to hundreds of women, here are a few of the reasons they said “I do” in spite of their reservations:
- I’ve put in too much time to quit now
- He’ll change once we are married
- I don’t want to be alone
- All my friends are married
- It’s too late to call it off
The list goes on….it really boils down to women ignoring their gut feelings. Every woman we talked to said she ignored her gut feelings—and every one of them regretted it.
10) You’re both happily married. What made your man stand out as The Right Guy to marry?
Anne: After calling off my first wedding, I learned a lot about what I wanted and DID NOT want in a relationship. I met my husband for the very first time when I was a freshman in high school. I always had a “little thing” for him…but we both went our separate ways. He resurfaced in my life just a few months after my near-miss at the altar. I loved his humor, his honesty and his integrity. When he showed up on my doorstep to take me out on a date, I had a feeling that we would end up together. And I was right!
Jen: I met my husband when I was just 15 years old. He was kind, funny, and charming. I could just tell what a good person he was. As the youngest of seven kids, I was really struck by how wonderful he was with all of his nieces and nephews. I knew he would make a really great dad—and he is.
11) What are two things on your Bucket List?
Anne: I want to spend 6 months in Argentina with my family. Our whole family is going to spend a semester abroad—not just one of the kids. I also want to go on an extended barefoot cruise. Note: I have already accomplished one of my items on the list—writing a book has been officially accomplished. (Although I’d love to write another one!)
Jennifer: Ditto on the writing of a book. I would love to travel extensively throughout Europe someday. Another dream was to live in Colorado and that wish just came true!