“We are like Hansel and Gretel, leaving bread crumbs of our personal information everywhere we travel through the digital woods.”…Gary Kovacs
We’re now up to 17 language editions (!) and I thought I just spotted a Ukrainian version recently on Instagram? I still haven’t found the right words to express the gratitude I feel for catching this wave at the right moment when it crested.
But I digress…
The number one question I get surrounding the book is how I got a major publisher.
People are curious about my proposal and pitching process. How did I land that specific publisher? Do I have an agent? (No, by the way). How did I get on their radar? Especially people who are coming across my work for the first time, or have lived in Sweden much longer than my eight years here.
Why did I get to write about Lagom?
This got me thinking about Hansel and Gretel and their trail of breadcrumbs which they left so they could be found. And more importantly, to be found by the right person.
You see, I didn’t do any of the traditional things when it came to publishing. The pitching, the book proposal, the chasing this time around.
The publisher found me because I had left them virtual breadcrumbs.
My beat is exploring culture through food, tradition and lifestyle. I have been writing about Sweden for over a decade for several high-profile publications. I contribute to Sweden’s official website and have written some of their most viral stories to date on Swedish culture. I contribute images to Sweden’s official image bank and was their photoblogger for many years, crisscrossing the country. I’ve written deep reflective pieces on Swedish culture and I’ve written more light-hearted pieces as well. I also happen to run an editorial site dedicated to exploring my stunning city called Slow Travel Stockholm.
Plus, my signature piece on Lagom for Roads & Kingdoms/Slate called “The Silence of the Swedes” which I wrote 4-5 years ago before it ever became a trend has been quoted in several articles this year.
That was the final breadcrumb that led the publisher to me.
And the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
My relationship with Sweden is deep, raw and complex. Like lovers who throw things at each other only to find themselves in each other’s heated embrace the very next second.
You see, what we deem as success never happens overnight. There are often decades of preparation, daily toil, and unrelenting passion that go into doing what we love and potentially making it our career as well. We never go it alone either as we often have friends and family members who fully believe in us and support us beyond words but with tangible actions that make a huge difference too.
We have those special contacts who say our names in important rooms when we’re not physically there.
Like an artist working fervently on a piece, leaving dabs of paint here and there, splashing paint in their wake, on their clothes, on their walls. Those are their own breadcrumbs. Those symbols and signs that let us know a passionate artist resides there.
In essence, my whole writing career, one in which I proactively advocate having a clear niche too, has been a virtual book proposal strewn all across the internet as breadcrumbs.
The publisher only had to follow those breadcrumbs… pages in my virtual proposal… to find me.
So, my advice would be to leave a trail of work you love and are proud of. In small corners and in unlikely places. Leave specific breadcrumbs, not generic ones because it will lead the right relationships to you.
Thank you to my friends, family, and community who are firmly in my corner and have supported me all along the way. I feel your love every single day.