When I was younger, being a “writer” was one of the 108 things I thought I wanted to do when I grew up. I always liked writing but didn’t ever pursue it as a main focus in college or as my main career. However, writing ended up becoming such a big part of my job—here on this blog for almost 17 years, as a freelancer for multiple publications, on my social media posts, and in the now 7 books I have written and had published over the last decade.
I wanted to take a walk back and share my book writing history with you and a bit about how the variety of books I have written came about. This is not only to encourage you if your have your own dreams of writing a book but also to show you that you don’t have to major in writing or have had any formal training to make it all possible. Take a look…
2010: Creative, Inc.
My first book ever was co-written with my dear friend, Meg Mateo Ilasco. At this point, I had been freelancing for a handful of years and started to give advice to others who wanted to learn how to go about it, too. Meg had an existing series of art business books (like Craft, Inc.), and so we joined forces to add to the series. Co-authoring my first book was an incredible way to dive in as I had Meg (along with our book editor, Kate, at Chronicle) as a resource as I found my voice. I also designed the cover and interior of the book (while Meg illustrated it) so it was a full-on labor of love with our talents.
2012: Blog, Inc.
Thanks to the success of the first book and my now honed book-writing skills, I approached the next one solo (Meg was my editor this time!). I have always been passionate about sharing my knowledge and this book allowed me to give advice and help to so many to learn how to start and grow a blog (the first type of social media as I like to say!). I wrote this book in 2011 while pregnant with my first daughter and was able to take her along on my book tour in 2012 as an infant! Since I was writing the book fully on my own this time, I passed on designing it (my former co-author Meg designed it) while we hired a freelance illustrator for all the interior spot drawings.
2015: Oh Joy!
By 2015, The Oh Joy! blog became known for so many wonderful things, including amazing DIYs and crafting projects. While I had never intended to write this kind of book, I jumped at the opportunity to make a beautiful and useful book with my newly growing team in our brand new first studio. We worked together to pull our favorite projects – make, style, and photograph them. And then we designed the full book. My OG team—Casey (photographed), Julia (crafted and styled), and Angie (designed the book)—really helped me pull it all together while I was pregnant with my 2nd kid! I realized a trend that I liked to write books while pregnant! 😛
2020: Be Curious!
We first started talking about this next set of books in 2018. I was now a Mom of two girls, so kids were part of my daily life and it only felt natural to write for them. We signed on for a series of three books—an Oh Joy! Story Book series—written by me and illustrated by Angie Stalker. These books were written to convey qualities that I felt were important for children to recognize and cultivate. The first one was curiosity and looking for wonder in the world. This was a fun one to write and so, so different than the three adult-focused books I had previously written. While shorter and quicker in some senses, figuring out the tone of how to write for young kids while getting a message across was something new I had to exercise in my writer’s brain. Also, I turned to Angie (who was our in-house designer) to illustrate the characters. It was another baby of ours that I’m so so proud of.
2020: You’re Okay!
The second installment of the Oh Joy! Story books (with Angie Stalker illustrating), came out a few months later into the pandemic. It was a weird time to be promoting a book but also the topic felt so relevant as we all struggled with LOTS of feelings at that time.
2020: Oh So Kind!
The final Oh Joy! Story book in our series (illustrated by Angie Stalker) launched at the end of that year reminding us all that no matter where we are or who we’re with, kindness is always the better choice. With three books launching in 2020, it was a weird year for sure. It was the first time I wasn’t able to do a book signing to promote the books and to meet all of you in real life. But it was also a year that we all needed as many great books as possible to keep ourselves and our kids busy while safe at home.
2022: A Kids Book About Confidence
Here we are in the current year (and two years into a pandemic!) with my most recent book launch. After having written the last series for very little kids, I was ready to talk to a slightly older kid audience (ages 5-10) where we could get more in-depth into our feelings. I have loved this series by A Kids Co. and am thrilled to be a part of it. Confidence is something I’m passionate about for adults and kids. Knowing what’s right for you (and not someone else) isn’t easy, but we chat about ways to do it in this book!
As I write this post, I’m currently in the process of pitching my 8th book (which will be another kids’ book). As I continue to expand the books I write about, for me, they are always about making the world better and making ourselves more confident and empowered in how we go about our daily lives. Remember, if you want to write a book, focus on the things you know about, can speak to, and would enjoy writing about.
P.S. If you want my tips and advice for you to get your own book published, you can purchase my workbook ($10) on How to Pitch a Book in the Oh Joy! Academy.