Want To Ruin Your Ex’s Life?
How To Book Shows Step By Step
When a couple walks down the aisle, they never expect to get divorced. They also never expect to recover from the breakup by writing a book about the split that makes its way into the gift bag at the Emmys. Angela Martin has done just that.
Martin fashions herself as a modern cave-woman who has emerged from the cave of marriage to redefine her life. As a mother and physician’s assistant, it was quite a step for Martin to quit her job so she could spend 12 hours a day writing her story. “How To Ruin Your Ex-Husband’s Life One Day At A Time” has now been available for four months.
Self-published by Martin, she promotes the book in her wedding dress and bearing a cave-woman club. The book has put a unique spin on divorce, which is why it ended up in the Emmy’s gift bag. “It was kind of like a serendipity thing,” Martin said. “That was just the icing on the cake. Just amazing.”
Wevorce recently spoke with Martin about her journey from the end of her marriage to the red carpet at the Emmys. Read on for our Q and A discussion with Martin.
Q: What’s with the get-up you wear for book promotions?
A: One of the things that I say in my book is “Who made it the law that you have to have a wedding dress?” One of the things I’ve done is gone out and gotten several different wedding dresses. They say things like “bride not to be”. I will wear those for my book signings.
Q: How did you get the Emmy’s gig?
A: A girl that I meant randomly in Atlanta had done this last year. We exchanged email addresses and I had just been keeping in touch with her via e-mail. But I didn’t know anything about the Emmy thing. She just e-mailed me in May and she said that she had developed a game and it had been used at the Emmys. So she said that she wanted to nominate my book for the Emmy’s gift bag. I said “yes” and within 48 hours they had called me. They really liked my book. It was kind of like a serendipity thing.
Q: What was it like to be at the Emmy’s — highlight of the trip?
A: The highlight of the trip was actually the two days before the Emmys. The celebrities come through. They actually rate the gifts in the Emmy bag, and we won. They have a two-day expo where the celebrities come through and you get to meet them. I had a book with extra pages made and we asked the celebrities to add their own best-relation advice in it and we’re going to auction that off and give the donations to charity. That was really fun — to see what people would write.
Q: How does your divorce book differ from any other book out there?
A: I think other books are directly about recovery from divorce. Mine comes from a stand of directing women about creative things they can do to redefine their lives. My book is very humorous even though most people do not find divorce to be humorous.
It also empowers women and there’s a lot of substance in the book. It’s introduced in a way that’s comical and grabbing. I think it talks a lot of things that other things do not talk about. When you’re a little girl, what’s the first toy they receive? A baby doll or Barbie? So what’s the first thing we are taught? That we are supposed to be mommies and wives. When you see the toy isle, that’s all we see.
I think our society is way too focused on that. We’re bringing up our little girls to believe above anything else that’s what they should be. We give them the baby, the princess dress and we ask them who their boyfriend is. I bring it up in a humorous way — but when you really get married — it’s not the fairy-tale it’s supposed to be. I think I bring up a lot of points that have not been brought up. It does it in a very humorous way.
Q: Where is your book sold and how much does it cost?
A: Currently, since I have self-published, it’s $13.95 on my Web site. A few small boutiques carry it too. Since I picked up the Emmy thing so quick, I’ve been selling books really well, now I’m talking to agents to see if I can get it into stores. Now that the Emmy’s are over, that’s kind of my next step. I’d really like to get it out there to the world. So that’s on my list as the next step “ to decide of I’m going to do an agent or get it out there myself.
Q: What do you think of Hollywood’s focus on saving your marriage, infidelity, divorce, and remarriage right now? (For example, “The Women” movie, “Nights in Rodanthe,” and the independent “Fireproof” movie.)
A: I don’t know if I can speak to where “Hollywood” per se stands on it. But I think our society as a whole — because such a high percentage of people experience either infidelity or separation, divorce, second marriage — I think our society as a whole is accepting it more. I’m not saying that’s my belief necessarily, but I think society is accepting it more. My faults are that the way to approach it is to educate people not to get married so early. Not specifically Hollywood, but people in general. It takes more than a wedding to make a marriage.
Q: What first inspired you to take your experiences and write a book?
A: Divorce is a very devastating thing, and there are several stages of healing. I found that I had to stop crying and I had to start being proactive. I had to stop surviving and start living. Laughter was the best way for me. I thought: “I have a lot of good ideas and I’m going to see what happens.” I’ve always enjoyed writing so I sat down with my financial planner and showed my manuscripts of what I thought the book would be and said, “Can I quit my job?” and he said, “I don’t think you can afford not to.”
Several different people read the manuscript and, encouraged me by saying I had something special going on. Seeing them laughing and reading the manuscript – it gave me the fuel to write this.
Q: Has writing this book helped you personally, post-divorce?
A: Yes, definitely. It’s helped me from my personal standpoint. I had to relive my divorce and work through issues that I hadn’t worked through prior the time of the divorce. Now on the professional level — if you go on my website — the response has been overwhelming. It has been very positive. That has helped me to feel like I have helped other people. It’s been rewarding in that sense as well.
Q: What would you say is the message you want to convey with this book?
A: “If this has made you smile, when you thought it was impossible, then it has served its purpose.”
I think the one thing I would mostly want to convey is to help women move out of survival mode and into living what is their new life after divorce, because divorce is just one chapter in the book that is your life. I thought it was the end of my life. Then I thought, wait a minute — I’ve got a redo. I can do what I want now. I get to choose now. I think when you can get to that step in your divorce, when you can realize it’s not the end of your life. There are so many people in that same situation. You can start to live again. I mean, that is freeing. When you can pick up that paint brush and put that first stroke on a new canvas. That’s what it’s all about.
Q: What were your expectations in writing this book?
A: When I was writing the book, the way that I had planned on marketing it was to send out like 20 copies and market it locally. Then send out like 20 copies a week to different talk shows and magazines — stuff like that. Initially, I thought I would do that and see what happens and then I would go back to my regular job. I had a whole business plan set out for how to do it. When I got the Emmys thing it changed everything — it was above and beyond anything I had expected.
Q: If you could offer a piece of advice for women currently going through a divorce or beginning their new life in as a single, what would it be?
A: “Heal yourself first — before you get into a new relationship.”
Q: When you first began writing this book, did you ever foresee yourself at the Emmy’s or signing autographed copies in a penthouse?
A: I did not have any expectations except to write the book — to try to get it out to the world in the best way and any way I could think possible and to help myself heal. It wasn’t a goal of mine — it was something that fell into my lap. Then when I sent the book, they immediately wanted it. That was just a blessing. Just the icing on the cake. Just amazing.
My expectation was just that I was going to write this book and slowly get it out to the world and slowly get on some talk-shows. At this point, I want to make this my life. I want to go out and do seminars for women. I have much higher goals for it now. Even the feedback I have gotten from the people who got it from the Emmys — I have much higher expectations.
Q: Self-publishing and promoting your book must’ve been very difficult. What was the secret to your success?
A: I don’t know if I have success yet. I don’t how you define success. I just think that I sat down, made a plan, and stuck to it. I was true to myself and true to the book. I talked about some difficult issues. I talked about true issues that you face in this world – starting to re-date. Determination and hard-work. Being bold. Some of my friends would go with me when I went to different places to pitch the book. They were amazed that I would walk in with confidence and talk about the book. I think confidence, determination and believing in it. I really believe in this. I believe it says something in a way that the world hasn’t heard it before. So my goal is for the world to hear it — and to do it in a funny way that is true to the book.
Q: You’ve received quite a response to your book! What kinds of feedback have you gotten?
A: One of the ones that made me cry the most was a lady who was 53 years old. She was planning to commit suicide. She had a plan. She was going to carry it out. She saw me on the morning show, ordered the book and she literally said that it saved her life. I emailed her back and forth every day to see if she was okay.
Another lady who had been married 44 years, her quote was, “After 6 months of counseling, she did not heal as much as she did with one weekend with my book.”
A: This book really isn’t for boys. What’s really interesting to me is that I had a guy who wrote me and said, “I disagree with the author; I think every man should read this book.” It’s amazing how many responses I’ve gotten that have been that way. Most everybody says they laughed out loud.
Q: Your book tackles almost every topic in the divorce and marriage world. Did you have any reservations in writing it?
A: No, I don’t have any reservations about writing those things. I talk openly about masturbation. I talk openly about sex toys. I talk openly about my own embarrassing experiences. It’s just a part of it. As women, we have sex for the man. So one of the things in the book is, “I’ve got to get mine.” And I talk about ways you can go about that. If you don’t know what pleases yourself, then you’re not going to know how for your partner to please you.
Q: What are your plans for the future? Do you intend to continue writing?
A: Right now I do have a few other ideas for books. Right now I still want to focus on this book. It’s only been out for four months. I really would like to kind of start up to continue promoting this book. Anywhere I’m invited to speak, do book signings, talk shows. I do have a few ideas up my sleeve for other books. I have a great career to fall back on if this doesn’t pan out. So my focus is to go full force on this and see about agents exploring this route.