Sarah Solomon on Writing Her Debut Book: "Guac Is Extra, But So Am I"

Sarah Solomon and I met at my first job in media, a financial news website called TheStreet that went through a series of strategy changes and layoffs during the time we worked there.

Since leaving the company, Solomon has gone on to write and illustrate a book called Guac Is Extra But So Am I, a handbook for millennials in their 20s. The book includes advice on everything from how to respond to a wedding invite when you don’t want to attend to how to buy a home.

I may be biased because I’m quoted in it, but I really think the book is a fun read (especially because of Solomon’s trademark sarcasm).

I talked with Solomon about her book, her career and her future goals. What follows is our conversation.

How did you get started in media?
When I was graduating college I started the UrbanJAP twitter account because I was bored and I wanted a platform where I could test content. Twitter was still a space where it wasn’t that negative. You could still gain a following quickly if you had a good handle. There were a lot of WASP accounts that didn’t pertain to religion, so I thought that would be a good way in.

I met all my friends through Twitter. My entire network is through Twitter. I owe my entire career to Twitter.

I went to Drexel for graphic design. I started out working in advertising as a copywriter for Club Monaco. I did editorial at Brooks Brothers for a few years, and then I worked in the copy department at Aeropostale. Then I moved into traditional media, working for TheStreet. Now I’m back at an ad agency. My favorite was editorial and social at Brooks Brothers. Getting to deal with influencers was really fun. I live for preppy crap.

So where does the book come in?
TheStreet had announced a round of layoffs, and I was included in them. I had just gotten out of the car TheStreet had sent me home in, and I looked at my phone. Amid all these texts from people checking in on me,I saw of emails from Powerhouse, my publisher. That was the moment when I found out that they had picked up my book.

I had a long and weird career, people in their 20s are treated like expendable crew members. I had to move jobs and apartments so many times, I was like, you know what, I wish I had something to look to when I was 24. I wanted to write a handbook for your 20s that was useful. I wanted to include a lot of voices of people I respected.

You pitch with three chapters with nonfiction. I had to rewrite them all. I had like four months in my contract to write it. I would do research at night and I would leave all the tabs open and during the day I would go to the park and write it.

There’s a whole chapter on weddings. How to turn down an invitation and a breakdown of what to wear to them based on the dress code. That’s really important for our age group. I really hammer down that if you don’t want to go, don’t go. It’ll be a lot of money. Just say no and send a small gift, it’s fine.

The other thing that I really enjoyed writing was the bare minimum cheat sheet covers, which include everything from how to move to expiration dates for food, plants that are hard to kill, stuff to look for in an apartment and hangover cures.

What has the response been like so far?
It’s been incredible. I was not expecting this big of a response. I keep getting messages from anyone and everyone. It’s made me the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s wild. I had severe imposter syndrome. Before every event, I freak out.

What advice do you have to our readers?
I’m a huge supporter of the fuck off fund. It was what I lived off of. I don’t have student loans and I don’t think this would have been possible if I didn’t have them. I don’t ask my family for money, I have enough. Living off of savings was terrifying. When you’re a contract worker, no one cares about you.

Make sure you always have a contract with a client, because they will run. If they don’t have a contract they won’t pay you. Avoid writing tests. They can use that for free content.

What are you working on now?
I’m back with an ad agency. I’m also working on more freelance stuff. I’m going to try to start my second book toward the latter part of the summer. I just think the cool thing about our industry is that you never know what’s around the corner.