Getting Naked for Money: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All

cover with pyramid

Here at last: The title of my memoir. The mock up book cover. The Kickstarter opening shot.

Can the finished book be far behind?

I certainly hope not.

A bit of background

People have known me in various incarnations: Ph.D. in literature from New York University. Editor of The Collected Poems of Paul Blackburn. Dog blogger and dog book author.  Blogger about Freud, family, and meat.

But for a good chunk of time — some 25 years, to be precise — I was a guidebook editor in New York (Random House, Simon & Schuster) and London (Rough Guides) and then a Tucson-based freelance travel writer. I wrote three of my own guidebooks, updated many others, and contributed travel stories to a lot of hooh hah magazines.

Though my career was far from as glamorous as those on the outside tend to think, I accumulated lots of exotic adventures, not to mention lots of travel publishing dirt.

I thought I could write a book that would fit nicely into — or possibly create — the humorous-travel-memoirs-by-women niche. I put together a proposal and wrote some sample chapters.

Over several years…

  • One agent made me jump through various hoops — pay for a “book doctor,” rewrite the proposal and outline — and then decided at the last minute that she didn’t like the memoir’s persona. Um, that would be me.
  • Another agent took the book on and then disappeared. He sent it out to seven editors and when they didn’t bite, he stopped taking my phone calls and returning my emails. I was convinced there must be a better reason for his lack of responsiveness than sheer rudeness. I sent my friend Martha, who lived near him on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, to his building to ask his doorman whether he had died or suffered a debilitating illness. He hadn’t.
  • I brooded and sulked.
  •  I revived the project and got such a nice rejection from another agent — “not a topic we want to take on but I love your voice” — that I decided to write another book entirely, one about dogs. I pitched it directly to an editor I’d met at a travel writer’s conference and he said yes.

Thus my extended detour into the world of dog book writing and blogging, which slowed down as my dog did.

The genealogy/Freud book that wasn’t

That period also overlapped with the inception of my genealogy blog, Freud’s Butcher.

It was a bit of a fluke. I’d always known that one of my great uncles had sold meat to the Freud family. Until a friend googled the phrase “Freud’s butcher,” however, I didn’t realize that this great uncle’s butcher shop and the Freuds shared an address in Vienna, 19 Berggasse, for some 44 years.

That spurred me to take a fascinating — if often disturbing — journey into my family’s past, with the goal of writing a book about it. After several years of blogging and a trip to Vienna, I realized what I really wanted to do was re-create the butcher shop in situ — at the site that is now the Freud Museum and where the shop now serves as an art gallery. That project showed great promise for a bit, but fell apart for reasons I still don’t fully understand. I suspect I got caught up in Viennese Jewish — and museum — politics. If you’ve seen the film Woman in Gold, you know what I’m talking about; just substitute cold cuts for Klimt.

Which brought me back to my memoir.

What goes around…

It’s said you should let your writing sit for a while to get some distance from it. I don’t generally recommend a five-year breather. Nevertheless, when I reread the chapters I’d submitted to various agents over the past decade, I didn’t hate them. (The chapters, that is. I hated the agents. Except the one who inspired me to write a dog book.) And I realized that I had gained a perspective on the travel writing/publishing world that I couldn’t have achieved while I was still in it — not to mention a freedom to write what I liked without fear of repercussions. The industry has changed to the point that the world I set out to document is almost unrecognizable.

Last August I started writing the memoir in earnest — and in sequence. And last winter I decided I wanted to publish it myself, to have control over both the format and the profits. That would require a cash outlay, however, and I was already struggling to find the time and energy to write a book in between working on articles to pay the bills.

Hmmm… maybe I could crowdfund the project…

So here we are.

I’ll be detailing the process, including how the title and the cover design evolved and what it’s like to create a Kickstarter campaign (aside from terrifying). Stay tuned.

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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

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  1. A New Journey | Freud’s Butcher | April 29, 2015
  1. Leo says:

    I am looking forward to follow you on this journey from idea to book. Your choice of title and cover already have one thing written all over it: bestseller!
    Best of luck!
    P.S. Maybe when you revisit FB in a couple of years … who knows
    P.S. 2: and thanks for the “Woman in Gold” tip, have to see that movie, now that I watched the trailer.

  2. Catherine Harris says:

    I’d like to know how your adventure goes and be glad to kick in a little something when the time comes. My brother is a haiku poet. A wonderful poet,one of the best writing today. His experiences in getting published will also make him interested to follow what happens as well.
    Great sense of humour! And good luck to you.

  3. Kate Kaemerle says:

    A new adventure!

  4. Jules Brown says:

    I knew those long dark nights of the soul in dodgy backstreet London pubs would come in useful one day! Oh how we argued over the correct spelling of traveler – hm, still doesn’t look right – and wondered which of our authors had acually been to the countries they professed to be writing about. I’m so looking forward to it!

    • Edie says:

      Thanks for coming by, Jules. I think you will probably consider yourself lucky *not* to be in the Rough Guides chapter! On the other hand, one of your co-authors who never left your shared hotel room is mentioned in another context: as the long distance caller of a cat psychic from London to LA. His full name is not mentioned in the book itself, but I trust you know who I mean.

  5. Lydia says:

    Felicidades, amiga! I can’t wait to read this – I’ve always enjoyed your writing (and your company!) so I know this will be a treat. In abrazo!

    • Edie says:

      I’m not sure the dancing horses near Puerto Vallarta — what was the name of that resort?? — will make it into the book but we’ve definitely shared some fun adventures, Lydia! Thank you for your support.

  6. Kath Usitalo says:

    And which actress have you cast to play you in the movie version?

  7. Laurie McAndish King says:

    I self-published my travel memoir book last year, after being told by several agents that no agent or publisher would be interested in travel memoir unless A) I was famous, or B) I had already published a novel. Glad to hear you’re moving forward with your book, and wishing you the best of luck.

    • Edie says:

      Thanks so much for coming by, Laurie. Your Lost, Kidnapped, and Eaten Alive sounds terrific. If you’re ever inspired to blog about your self-publishing experience here, you’d be very welcome. I can’t promise much traffic (yet) but I’ll promote the heck out of it on social media. Much easier to do for someone else than for oneself, right?

  8. Anna Redsand says:

    Great start, Edie. I love your detailing of this book’s journey, and I empathize completely, as you probably already know.

  9. Dr V says:

    I’m such a long-time fan of your voice, your humor, your wit- so I can’t wait to finally get to hear this story!

  10. Best of luck Edie. I had a similar journey from agents to self-publishing my memoir, “Reunion, La Réunion, Finding Gilbert,” and I wish you well as you travel this road. I’ve now written two memoirs in two years and am on my third!
    Keep us posted!

    • Edie says:

      Thanks very much, Diane. And congratulations to you too on your three (!) memoirs. Clearly, self-publishing turned out to be the right path, one I’m excited to follow.

    • Nearly 20 years ago, I wrote a book called “shopAerobics”
      I had a group of interns in those days and had them send out the book proposal to any and every publisher they thought might use it
      Within 3 days I had nearly 2 dozen bites from agents.

      I thought to myself, “This must be a good idea”
      So I decided to self-publish.

      That was way before the popularity of ebooks.

      SOMEWHAT HAPPY ENDING. I sold most of them.
      I only found a few in the garage when I moved.

  11. Hilary says:

    I enjoyed reading about your journey to now! I love your voice, your humor, and I can’t wait to read your travel stories. The cover is such a great gateway into your adventures!

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