Well, I guess I just gave it away now, didn’t I. Forgive me for being a little excited.
Ever since I started this blog and began adding how-to articles for the beginning rinkbuilder, I had my eyes set on some sort of book. Up until this past spring, I always figured it would be some sort of homegrown e-book, something that would incorporate all of our articles into one tidy package, which we could sell on the site for a small fee. Like many of my ideas, I sat on it and never really acted on the idea.
Then an unsolicited email I received in February reignited those plans and then some. The email was from a conceptual book agent at Hollan Publishing, a MA-based company who circumvents the standard publishing process by coming up with book ideas first and then soliciting writers to execute them. The idea they pitched to me, as you can imagine, was a book about building a backyard ice rink. After visiting the site and seeing some of the content we’d already created, they reached out to me to see if I’d be interested.
I can’t recall if I simply replied “OH MY GOD HELL YES!”, but I might as well have.
What followed was a bit of a back and forth about content, and layout, and photography, and the all-important proposal. Hollan’s model is to work with potential authors to put together a proposal, which is then listed for sale. We solidified the proposal in late April, and waited. Fortunately, we didn’t wait long. In June, Countryman Press (VT, USA) offered to buy the proposal and work with me on the production of the book. By July 4th, the contract was signed. We’re writing a book, currently titled ‘BUILD A BACKYARD ICE RINK’.
I’m equal parts tickled and terrified. At this point, aside from the incredible Jack Falla books we’ve all read and cherished, there is no current book in existence that teaches folks how to build a backyard rink. So while the spotlight is narrow, I still feel its burn and want to make sure I do the genre justice and give folks the information they need to experience a successful rink season (or 20). But I’m also excited to have the opportunity to expand our reach from the web to the print universe, where we can hopefully turn more families on to the awesomeness of the backyard rink lifestyle.
This isn’t just about me or this site. Not by a long shot. I started writing for a nonexistent audience, but we’ve built a wonderful readership here on the blog, and also on our social networks and Backyard-Hockey.com Forums. Every email I get, every picture of a smiling kid, every “thanks for the instructions” post on our Facebook page fuels this site and helps affirm that we’re making a difference and helping people out. So I want to share this experience with you, every step of the way. We’ll be sharing excerpts of the book along the way, as well as showing exclusive images as we work through the process.
In addition (and I’m super excited about this part) we’ll be including an entire gallery devoted to YOUR rinks in the book. This site wouldn’t be here without you (and if the site wasn’t here, this book deal wouldn’t have been possible), so I want to give you all a chance to share your work of art with the world. I can’t promise we’ll be able to include all of them, but I’d love to be able to share as many of your creations as possible, giving potential readers of the book the idea that while we’re going to include step-by-step instructions, there are an infinite number of ways a rink can end up. So stay tuned for all of that.
Right now, my first manuscript is due to the publisher by March. So if the content on this site is a bit slow (as it has been), you’ll know why. The eventual target release date is around this time next year. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then, and I’m going to need help from many of you along the way. And, of course, I’ll need each of you to buy 25 copies when it goes live next year :). But until then, share this post, spread the word, let your local cold-weather small bookseller know, and keep coming back to this site for updates.
You guys are all awesome. I’m looking forward to sharing our lifestyle, our genre, our passion with a greater audience, next year and beyond.
Founder, Backyard-Hockey.com and (omg) Author-In-Training