10 Years Ago ♥

Ten years ago, I stood in my friend’s apartment and excitedly told everyone in the room that I was writing a book. My (then) boyfriend rolled his eyes and snickered.

It felt like a punch to the gut. Here I was, so proud of myself and my big idea, and the one person who was supposed to support me was mocking me.

That moment stayed with me, long past our breakup, and as I kept blogging at The Champagne Diet. I used that frustration to fuel me. I made a promise to myself that I would write that book, no matter what. For me, and for every other girl who had ever felt diminished.

I began obsessively researching the publishing world and learned that I needed a literary agent in order to get a traditional book deal with a major publisher. I spent months perfecting my query letter and cold-emailing and stalking every single agent I could find on the internet. I got a few responses, and wound up connecting with one, in particular, who wanted to represent me.

To make a very long story short, we worked on the proposal for nearly a year, and then began shopping the idea around to publishers. (In most cases for non-fiction, you don’t actually sell the finished manuscript, you sell a detailed synopsis, outline, and plan for the book and then you write it).

That proposal was rejected. 19 times. By 19 different editors at 19 different publishers.

There was that punch to the gut again.

After my little pity party (where I quickly realized they did not serve champagne), I decided it was time to surrender my dream of working with a major publisher – at least temporarily. Much of the feedback was the same: I didn’t have a big enough platform, I was a new author, and they were nervous to take a chance on me. I got the message loud and clear. And decided it was time to take a chance on myself.

I regrouped and got to work. I self-published a new idea, a book called Sparkle. Seeing my words in print for the very first time was an incredible feeling. All of those years of rejection and anxiety finally started making sense to me. There was a different path for me. I was figuring it all out.

Next came The Champagne Diet. Then Fearless & Fabulous. And then, Girl Code.

By Girl Code, I felt like I had this self-publishing thing down. I understood the importance of building a strong community of readers. I spent hours each day responding to comments, emails, and messages from women who had read the book and loved it. I posted quotes, excerpts, and blogs all around the ideas and topics I wrote about and believed in. You ladies shared those quotes, created book clubs, and preached those ideas to everyone. I am still in awe over the support you have all given me. I began to realize that Girl Code was more than just a self-published book. It was becoming a movement.

Two days before Thanksgiving of last year, I got an email from an editor at Penguin Random House. She worked for their imprint, Portfolio, which published #GirlBoss, along with books by Seth Godin and Simon Sinek. She asked if I’d ever consider working with them.

You guys, the feeling that came over me in that very moment is indescribable. I ran into my mom’s apartment (who lives next door) and burst into tears. I had waited so long for this. I couldn’t believe it.

Over the course of the next few months, I began meeting with the team at Porfolio. They offered me a double book deal (!!!), which includes my new book (more on that soon!), titled Like She Owns The Place, due out next summer. And they are re-releasing a revamped version of Girl Code next month!

I have truly done everything in my own power, as a one-woman show, to spread the message of Girl Code to the world. You guys have been such an instrumental part of this journey! We have come so far together. And to now have a dedicated team to help me touch even more women, finally get the book onto actual bookshelves, and stand behind me is amazing.

The new version of Girl Code features two brand new never-before-seen interviews from legendary singer Shirley Manson of the band Garbage, and groundbreaking entrepreneur and PR extraordinaire, Gwen Wunderlich. I also wrote a brand new introduction that chronicles the past two years and how Girl Code has grown into what it is now.

The book will be out July 4, but you can pre-order your copy here, and also in bookstores. Do you know what its like to finally have bookstores take my book!? I used to beg the people at Barnes & Noble, and they always said no! Well you better clear some room on those shelves now, boo, LOL.

So here’s what I am doing for you: I wanted to thank everyone for their support, and I realize you may feel like, Well, I have this book already, why would I re-buy it just for a few new interviews? My amazing team at Portfolio has created a pre-order incentive campaign, where you will get a special gift package including custom Girl Code mantra cards and temporary tattoos (that match mine!) when you pre-order the book between now and July 4. And when you buy yourself the new version, I thought it would be so cool if you gifted your old version to a woman you love. You can even write her a little inspirational note in the front of the book for her! Make sure you go here to enter your information to claim your gifts as soon as you pre-order.

And if your friends have already read Girl Code, why not leave it in a women’s restroom or in a common space at your office and let someone find a copy with a special note inside? Last summer during my book tour, I’d leave extra copies on the airplane and hoped that a woman who needed it would find it. I just love the idea of a #PayItForward initiative so I thought this would be really special.

I know this post is super long, so thank you if you’re still reading! But I really wanted to tell my story because if I know one thing, it’s that the universe is working on some really amazing stuff for all of us. Ten years ago, I had no idea any of this was in my future. None of us no for sure what lies ahead, but I do know one thing: if you work your ass off, create things that matter, and do it with love, you will be WOWED. Like, really wowed…

Thank you ladies from the bottom of my wordy little heart. I could not do any of this without you.

More soon.

With so much gratitude,


Please take a moment to read the official rules for claiming your pre-order incentives:

To participate in this bonus offering, enter your name, email address, mailing address, and the order confirmation number from your order receipt for Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba here. Must be 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. No groups, club, or organizations may participate. Limited to one request per IP address. Incomplete forms will not be eligible. Multiple entries from the same email address will be automatically disqualified. US mailing address required. Please allow 5 weeks for delivery to arrive by mail. Offer valid between June 9, 2017 and July 4, 2017

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