When Megan Mae Hope was working at her last café job, every now and then when she was struck by a rant or a revelation, she would go into the back and jot it down in her phone.
Soon enough she realized she had three folders full and the makings of her first book on her hands.
“After years and years of being in the coffee service industry – which isn’t a bad job – I just noticed there was the same kind of complaint over and over again, the same kind of request again and again and I was like, ‘You know what? This could be a book,’” she said. “Because a lot of other people are in the coffee customer service industry and they could probably relate. I figured it could be a therapeutic read.”
That book, Confessions of a Tired Barista, contains musings like, “One day a customer came in and he got eight shots of espresso. It was 450 milligrams of caffeine and the FDA says you can only have 400. I haven’t seen him since.”
As someone who’s always loved writing, Hope knew she wanted to publish a book one day. And because she’s impatient, she had to do it all herself.
She described the process as a “painstakingly slow” and “an outlet for sleep [deprivation].” Hope designed every part of the book, from the illustration on the front to the barcode on the back. But that wasn’t even the hardest part.
“Designing it alone was one thing, and then having to pound the pavement and get it into every little shop was another thing, too,” she said. “And you’re faced with so much rejection.”
Eventually she got the book on shelves at the Buzz Coffee Shop, the Hospital Commons Serious Coffee and Best Choice Quality Used Books, but her “big break” came when Chapters recently agreed to stock it.
But she said what impacted her the most was her first sale to someone she didn’t know.
“It was a gift for someone else and that book is going to sit in their home for however long as they’ll have it and my name is going to be in their house and that was so neat,” Hope said.
“It’s like I’ve made a mark on this world somehow and it’s small, but it’s cool.”