From blog to book: The story behind Nerdy Thirty
Wendy Townley. Photo by Chris Machian.
I began blogging in 2003 as a way to have a little fun with my writing. The ability to put fingers to Macintosh and share my thoughts to the world with a few clicks of the keyboard thrilled me to no end. An idea or experience would surface in my head. Within a few brief hours, my prose was published to a global audience for free – no publishing company required.
I wrote about all sorts of topics: failed attempts in the kitchen, unique – OK, just plain weird – experiences as a twenty-something living, working and playing in Omaha. My blog wasn’t wildly successful, but I didn’t care. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing process and was an all-out tech nerd. The marriage of words and the Web was a match made in literary heaven.
As a writer I always dreamt of writing a book, but my private attempts at fiction were highly laughable and excruciatingly embarrassing. Reading through my false starts of short stories and novellas made me cringe, so I shelved (pardon the pun) my literary dreams and kept blogging on a fairly regular basis.
Then Big Omaha 2009 happened. I arrived at the un-conference curious about its content and excited at the possibilities, knowing, at the very least, the experience would yield a blog posting and a few new friends on Twitter and Facebook.
I smiled politely, graciously thanked Cindy for the compliment and didn’t give her suggestion another thought. It was the experience of countless authors to prepare a manuscript, send it to major publishing houses around the country and await the crushing wave of rejection letters. Why would my entrance to the book world be any different?
Then I ran into Cindy a second, third and even fourth time, usually during weekends last summer at my favorite Benson watering holes. Knowing our continual meetings were more than mere coincidence, I emailed Cindy and suggested we grabbed coffee at Caffeine Dreams to discuss her idea in greater detail.
I collected and heavily edited past essays I had posted to my blog, and wrote new essays, all under the auspices of nerdy/awkward/unusual experiences I’ve had as a child and teenager, leading up to turning 30 nearly two years ago.
Now, a year later, I’m celebrating the publication of my first book: Nerdy Thirty (left). If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve noticed my not-so-subtle approach at marketing and promoting the book. Without social media, I highly doubt Nerdy Thirty would have occurred so organically and, as a result, provide such a highly satisfying experience.
Without my blog Cindy wouldn’t have found me. And without Twitter, I wouldn’t have met Eric Downs, my graphic design hero who’s wholly responsible for the clever and creative cover design of Nerdy Thirty. I found Eric on Twitter and met him for coffee. I sent him my manuscript and provided zero design ideas. Eric must possess superpowers, because his cover design is exactly what I hoped for.
WriteLife has been an absolute dream to work with and, quit simply, made my literary dreams come true. I encourage anyone considering dipping their toe in the book world to contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Nerdy Thirty celebrations on Saturday, May 22 at Myth in the Old Market and on Saturday, June 5 at the Omaha Press Club. Visit nerdythirty.com/nerdy-news to learn more.