The Joy Plan: A Birth Story


I wasn’t planning to write a book. It was only meant to be a blog post. But it kept going and going and was simply too long. Thus, The Joy Plan was born. I didn’t know what to call it, so I asked my daughter Kira, who was 9 years old at the time, for her advice.

“What’s the book about?” she asked.

“It’s about how I made a plan to find joy for 30 days and what I did during that month and the things that happened afterward. Plus a bunch of science and stuff,” I answered.

“So you made a plan to find joy…why don’t you call it The Joy Plan?” she said. (Kira is a marketing genius.)

But I wasn’t planning for that many people to read it. I mostly wrote it for myself, and for Niko and a few other people that lived through the story with me. Plus I wanted my Dad to read it and be proud of me.

I was going to self-publish it, keep it simple. Maybe some of you even helped me when I was designing my cover. Remember that first design with the papaya?

Well, I had actually already put down my deposit with Amazon’s self-publishing company, Createspace, when I decided, on a whim, to query a few agents and see if traditional publishing was an option. I didn’t really think it was, but something compelled me to give it a try.

Every author I had talked to and blogs and books I had read about publishing warned me against this. It’s nearly impossible to get a big-time NYC agent to respond to you, they told me. If you aren’t already famous, they don’t want to hear from you. You’ll be lucky if you even get a nice rejection letter, and that will probably take 5 months.

But I figured I had nothing to lose. I was already on the way to self-publishing, I wasn’t counting on that many people ever reading it anyway, and I had next to zero expectations.

So I researched the top agents in NYC who represent self-help memoirs (that’s the box they put The Joy Plan in) and on a Tuesday, I sent a query letter and sample chapter to 20 of them. By Friday, I had offers of representation from 7 agents, and asked Createspace to give me my deposit back.

The Joy Plan came to be because I followed The Joy Plan! I listened to my whims, I steered clear of expectations, and I did it because it felt good. And apparently, I did something right. I signed with a fabulous agent who connected me with a wonderful publisher and their editors and designers made the book much better than it would have been if I had self-published it.

And now, we get to see what you think.

Watch the Official Book Trailer on YouTube!

Read Publisher’s Weekly’s review of The Joy Plan here.