I wrote a book!

Well if you haven’t already heard me gushing about it, I officially finished a book! And because I love you most of all you’re getting a sneak peek today of the official cover reveal.

Oh and guess what? It releases on my birthday this year! This is quite honestly the best birthday gift ever but guess what? The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas A Stylish Solution to What Should I Wear? is available for preorder now! Here’s some incentive to order your copy now…the exclusive preorder bonuses are going to blow your mind. Stay tuned!

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“Behind the scenes” has always fascinated me so for a little fun today I’m sharing some of the process of writing this book. It was truly one of the most soul bearing things I’ve done in my life. If you want to learn about all of your fears, insecurities and shortcomings, then I highly recommend opening a Word doc right now and starting your very own manuscript!

I kid, I kid…sort of.

But seriously SO much of the process has been an emotional one and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world.

All of our journeys are not about the end result but who we become along the way.

I thought it would be fun today to share some of that emotional process with you along with some of the nuts and bolts of the process of becoming a published author. But first let’s step into the way back machine…

Fall 1991, I was a freshman at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s branch campus in Bedford, PA (aka the Bedford County Library). This is where my college years began. It was an experimental campus in the rural county where I grew up and most kids didn’t go to college. Our professors made the 90-minute drive from Indiana, PA to teach us. I often wondered what short end of the stick they drew to get that assignment but regardless, I’m eternally grateful they did. The branch campus didn’t last long and if it hadn’t been there, I’m not sure that I would’ve graduated from college. In my two years there before transferring to main campus those professors made some of the biggest impact on my college career.

One in particular was my first college English professor. I always loved writing in high school but this felt very different. We explored more creative writing and it didn’t feel like work. I breezed through her class and easily ended the semester with a high A. During a one-on-one discussion at the end of the semester she asked me if I’d considered being an English major. I answered I wasn’t sure but secretly I felt totally unqualified. She left me with some encouragement to keep writing and advice that I am so grateful I decided to follow and that’s my practice of daily journaling. Her acknowledgment that I had some talent as a writer has stuck with me to this day. (Side note: never underestimate the impact of words of encouragement).

Through the years I realized that I’ve always had a book in my heart. When I’ve done vision exercises to picture where I’d like to be in ten years I always saw myself in a white linen outfit (WHY?, I don’t even wear linen!) at a condo at the beach, writing my book as I watched the waves roll by.

Well, let me tell you this book writing process didn’t look anything like that. At one point early on I was in West Hollywood for a speaking engagement and booked a cute little bungalow in which I fully intended to do some serious work on the book. Guess how many words I wrote? Exactly zero. Most of this book was written while I was juggling ten other commitments, creating seasonal capsule wardrobes, struggling through one of the hardest years of my life with health issues (not to mention Covid!). To top things off we decided to throw in a major move the same week that my manuscript was due. Yes I was purposely trying to make myself crazy. I wrote in spurts and blocks all over the place but never anywhere remotely glamorous.

The most important part of writing was creating the space to do it both personally and professionally. It was a season of life where many things were less than perfect. I learned to prioritize what mattered and developed the essential skill of becoming a delegation ninja.

So no it wasn’t exactly the white linen outfit by the sea! But still I wouldn’t trade it for anything and here are some lessons I learned.

Lesson #1: Feel the doubt but just keep writing.

Throughout the journey I had this nagging feeling that I wasn’t equipped to write a book about style. Or to write a book period. I’m my own worst critic when it comes to the written word (fun fact: I’m sitting here thinking that every word of this blog post is total crap!) But seriously I’m keenly aware of my limitations. Creating a critically acclaimed literary work is probably not in the cards for me.

That’s why in the intro of my book the very first thing I get honest about is my self-doubt. If you’ve followed me for long you already know that I’m not an expert but someone who is just a few steps ahead on the journey. And that’s ok. Often times it’s much more relatable that way.

If you have a book in your heart know that you may never feel fully qualified or confident in your writing. Just sit down and do it anyway.

Lesson #2: Believe in yourself (even when it feels like no one else does).

So this is the opposite of self-doubt, amiright? Sometimes you have to ignore the negative voice in your head and go confidently in the direction of your dream. I saw the success of my two self-published books The Big Book of Outfit Formulas and Get Pretty, Kick Butt! and knew that my next book deserved to be traditionally published.

So I put on my big girl pants and boldly pursued my publisher with this idea. An e-mail later and the dialogue was opened and before I make this look like the easiest thing ever, it took almost a full year from that first email to signing my book deal with Harvest House. It was well worth every minute. It gave me the opportunity to flesh out so many details in advance.  I had a working outline before I even signed on the dotted line. Speaking of signing my book deal, I didn’t have a literary agent but I did hire a really good attorney to review everything.

Lesson #3: Write YOUR truth.

At times the book felt like it was veering in a direction that wasn’t my vision. It felt more clinical and less heart-centered. Sure I understand that some aspects of it were for educational purposes but I also wanted it infused with the GYPO DNA and everything that makes it special.

Working with my amazing publishing team, we overcame this and created a style book that’s inclusive, truly for every body and budget. It’s approachable and not complicated or intimidating.  I wanted women to feel empowered after reading it and most of all I wanted them to feel confident.

Ultimately this book is the DNA of GYPO all wrapped up in one neat little package. I wanted it to be more than just some great Outfit Formulas, but rather a true handbook to make getting dressed easy.

I knew I only got one opportunity to get it right and distill everything into this little dynamo.

Lesson #4: It takes a village!

And thankfully I had one. The book was supposed to be released by now but I got sick and all of my bandwidth got sucked up into that and other spaces. I wasn’t in the headspace to finish the book so my publisher graciously gave me some extra time. Those extra months were critical to creating the book I wanted.

It took a TEAM – my business manager Lauren (whose genius is on almost every single page), my editorial coordinator Jessica (who cleaned up my bad grammar and probably deleted about 900 unnecessary commas), my Brand Builders guide Hilary (who kept me true to the heart of my brand), everyone on the Harvest House team (especially Ruth Samsel) and my uber talented illustrator Lydia were all part of this journey.

The publisher helps the process A LOT. They helped me with the outline; they edited it and polished it and made it SO much better than I ever could have.

So I’ve talked a lot about what the process was like for ME but now it’s time to tell you what the book is about for YOU. Here’s just a smidge of what to expect.

  1. Outfit Formulas, but of course! First and foremost it’s a compilation of my all time favorite easy and classic Outfit Formulas organized by season with seasonal shopping lists for each. There’s also a special section just for work wear formulas.
  2. Body Shape Guide – We had to have a way to find your unique body shape and celebrate it with pieces that fit and flatter you best. There’s a whole chapter that’s a deep dive into this process.
  3. YOUR Personal Style – Here’s something fun and new! I include a detailed framework for discovering your unique style and advice for cultivating it.
  4. Masterclass Advice – There’s also a section devoted to upping your style to the masterclass level with simple tweaks and tricks.
  5. And SO. MUCH. MORE. But I gotta save some for later 🙂

We’ll leave it at this little sampling but I’ll be sharing much more with you in the weeks and months ahead – including some sneak peeks inside.

For now I can’t thank you enough for making this journey possible. If not for the GYPO community I would certainly not have a book deal and be able to bring this into the world so thank YOU from the bottom of my heart! Oh and you know what’s really cool? You get to tell all of your friends you were part of this journey.

The Ultimate Book of Outfit Formulas A Stylish Solution to What Should I Wear? is available for preorder now and I’m forever grateful for your support!

xoxo,

Alison

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