28 Comments

Thank you for this Sara!!!

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May 26, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

Oh my god. This is all so... accurate. I cried. Seriously, it’s amazing and it’s fucking hell and I don’t know how else to describe it.

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heart emojiiiiiiii

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May 26, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

I’m proud of you for your perseverance (can I be proud of an internet stranger?) I don’t know if I would have stuck it out. Congratulations.

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You can 100% be a proud internet stranger - thank you Annette!

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Me taking copious notes to remember for when my book comes out this summer. Thank you so much for sharing!

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Excited for you!!

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May 26, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

I just shared this with my dear friend who published her first (incredible!!) book last year. From the snippets she’s shared with me of her journey, it sounds like she might relate to this!

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May 26, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

Thank you so much for sharing all of this. FWIW, I loved the book a lot and am hoping to talk my book club into it as an option for later this summer (we've never done a non-fiction book before but I feel like yours would be perfect for us!).

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Aw THANK YOU Wendy!

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May 26, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

A lot of this all tracks for me too with having a first book come out and honestly glad to see some of my same feelings reflected in the ups and downs other authors go through too.

Also I saw they were selling your book at the Mom 2.0 conference and meant to take a picture of it and failed but it was there in case you did not already know :)

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Aw yay! Thanks for letting me know :)

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May 30, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

Whew, this was a gift to read. Thank you!!

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May 26, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

Hugs and yes and hard relate!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Oct 24, 2023Liked by Sara Petersen

Ugh. Sara. Thank you!! My first book published in June (three months after my first kid was born—do not recommend this schedule) and I cannot tell you how many times I exclaimed while reading this. Thinking about My Book as Just A Book is actually the best I've felt about it since asking for my first sales report and immediately wondering whether I should quit writing entirely. Thank you for articulating this so well and here's to doing work that allows you to be in conversation with the world, whatever that may look like.

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Oh my gosh I asked for my first sales report and then immediately resolved to never ask for another lol.

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The process is overwhelming!!! I just submitted a manuscript in January for a regional nonfiction book I co-wrote with another local author. This will be my first book through a traditional publisher. The whole process is daunting!!! My co-writer already had an established relationship with the publisher, which made that part of it fairly easy.

I identified with so much of what you have written here!!

I am horrible at self promotion, but I’m so excited about this book and I feel comfortable promoting it because it doesn’t feel like I’m promoting myself! I’m hoping this experience will help me do better with promoting my own solo work in the future.

I’m so proud of you!!! ❤️❤️❤️

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Congratulations on submitting your manuscript! That's huge!

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Honey, promote yourself. You accomplished something big. You deserve this.

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Just reread this and plan to every morning before pub day

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An excellent plan lol

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As I read your column, I am in the middle of negotiations for a book contract for my memoir, “Saving Ellen.” But before this moment - the moment that I dreamed of - I spent two years writing the book (my covid lockdown project) and rewriting it three times. It took me 34 “nos” to find an agent. Despite having a good marketing plan and glowing recommendations from five nationally known, NYT bestselling authors who were kind enough to read the book, about 35 publishers turned it down. The current contract is not great. The advance is minuscule, the terms I consider to be, shall we say, lopsided in favor of the publisher. My agent and I have until Wednesday to say yes or no.

I understand that publishing is a business. I was told, over and over, that memoir doesn’t sell unless you are a celeb. I also know that half of all books sell less than 1,000 copies and 2 million books are published every year. In contrast, in 1990, just 50,000 books were published. The field is crowded.

We are accustomed in this uber-capitalist society, to measure too many things in dollars and cents. But what is joy worth? The sight of the fog rolling over the fields of our farm this morning lifted my heart. I felt such joy in writing my book, checking facts, and interviewing people I hadn’t talked to since I was a kid, including Mary Hawking, Stephen Hawking’s sister, who was my sister Ellen’s doctor. She loved the book and told me that reconnecting with me helped her get thru covid. I said the same to her.

That said, what is self-respect worth? I have to figure out what my bottom line is with a contract I don’t feel great about. No matter what, I’m proud of my book. And no matter what, you should be proud of yours. It’s a big, big deal. I’m going to buy it and give it to my daughter, who has a 4-year-old and a 6-month old. I think you two would get along just fine! You’ve made the world better, and no amount of money can match that reward (although, more money would be nice!)

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Aw Maura THANK YOU for this. And you raise so many important points about who we're writing books for (and why). Best of luck with your contract - no matter what you decide!

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OMG, the honesty and clarity of this! Thank you for sharing all the ups and downs, of which there are so many, and letting us into the world you live with your writing.

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Thank you so much Mary - glad it resonated!

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Thank you for speaking the truth and sharing all the emotional complexities that we experience as humans! Your writing and your voice is so real and so refreshing- and helpful as someone who dreams of someday writing more!!

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Thank you so much Cara!

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