Exciting News About My Book

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Yes, iIMG_1239t’s fall … my favorite time of year. The leaves are changing from green to bright yellow, gold, red, and orange, too. Yesterday on my walk, there was a a cool breeze out of the northwest. Leaves were dropping like a steady rain. It was magical.

So it seems appropriate to tell you that during this spectacular time of year, another spectacular event is now officially beginning to happen. My book, Me, Myself, and Mom, is officially on the road to being published and will be on bookshelves next September.

I’m publishing with She Writes Press and I couldn’t be happier.

From my first contact with this fairly young press, I’ve been impressed by the quality of the books they send out into the world, their award winning authors, and the help they provide for those like me who are technical dinosaurs.

One of their developmental editors, Annie Tucker, was a dream to work with. She respected what I was doing and never tried to make my manuscript into something it wasn’t. You don’t have to sign a publishing contract with SWP in order to hire one of their prize editors. The experience of working with a professional like Annie, gave me the confidence I needed to know that my book had a great chance where ever I decided to go with it.

In the beginning, I was thinking of self-publishing. But I’d already self-published one book in 1980, before it became the wave of the future. That book, about a way to use fleece directly from a sheep’s back to make rugs and other gorgeous items, was a huge success. But the end process of being a bookseller and taking care of all sales and shipping, was hard work. I had little time for anything else. When other back-to-the-landers, like myself, started getting older and the market began to cool, I let it go out of print.

I asked myself why I would want to take all that on again.

I figured this new book, a memoir, was something entirely different. I’m in my seventies now, I enjoy tending to all of my interests instead of just one. I want to travel. I want to spend time with my family. I want to work in the garden and cook. I want to make art and write much more than I already have.

I knew it could take the rest of my life to find a traditional agent and publisher that I wanted to work with. So the idea of working with a hybrid press like SWP, sounded just right for me. And my experience with Annie, convinced me that going with them was what I needed to do.

Two years ago, when I was still considering self-publishing, I made contact with a publicist at the Virginia Festival of the Book. She was on a panel with two other publicists giving a run down on what publicists do for writers. Between the three of them, I found, Caitlin Summie Hamilton, to be the most down to earth. She seemed like the real deal … open, honest, and approachable. After the panel discussion, I talked with her and later chatted with her on the phone about what she could do for me and what the costs looked like. I really liked her and promised myself that if I decided I wanted to work with a publicist, she would be the one.

Imagine my delight when I found Caitlin on SWP’s list of recommended publicists. I talked with her again last week, and she’s writing up a proposal for me.

I’ve also sent in material for my book cover and look forward to a chat next month with Brooke Warner and all of the other authors whose books will be published in the fall of 2016. I love the community of writers that SWP has created and look forward to getting to know them all.

To say that I’m excited would be an understatement. There were days when I never believed I’d get this far. There were times when I wanted to shred the manuscript and give up the idea of ever publishing this book.

Reliving what I was writing about was painful. But the idea of giving up and throwing it away wasn’t an option and I focused on the idea that this book just might help someone else going through a critical time in their life. I’d learned too much to just let it go and not share my story.

So I hung on. And look where I am today!

Have there been moments in your life when you wanted to trash an important project you were working on? What kept you moving toward the finish line?


  1. Joan, congratulations! Your excitement is contagious. I cannot wait to read your book!

    Happy, happy autumn!

  2. Joan Rough says:

    Thank you, Saloma! I can’t wait either!!

  3. I am so proud of you, Joan. And I’m so glad you dropped some names to follow up on when my time comes for a developmental editor and publicist. I am familiar with Brooke Warner, who co-taught “Write Your Memoir in Six Months” and helped me get about 1/3 of a first draft down on paper. Great writing coach!

    You know I can definitely relate to this line from your post: “But the idea of giving up and throwing it away wasn’t an option . . . ” Why quit now! At the moment I am awaiting the arrival of an audio file of Mother’s talking to an interviewer about her memories of Bossler Mennonite Church. (I have inquired about the file 3-4 times over several weeks/months, so I’m playing the waiting game.) There is more research involved in memoir than I ever imagined.

    “Legacy for my family is my mantra” these days. Thank you, Joan, for sharing this milestone. I rejoice with you!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Marian, You are a sweet heart! Thanks for your kind words and support. You’ll be out there with your book soon. And we can have one big party!!

  4. My hearty congratulations to you Joan for achieving this monumental milestone. I also appreciate you sharing your experience with She Writes Press.It’s so important to find a partner who cares about our story as much as we do. I’ll be so excited to hold your book in my hands next Fall. This is such an exciting time leading up to launch. Enjoy the ride! You’ve earned it. 🙂

    • Joan Rough says:

      Kathy, Thank you for all of your support over the last few years. Your words were important to me as I struggled through the writing and I’m glad to have you by my side now!!

  5. C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S Joan! You can’t see me, but trust me when I say that I’m standing up, stomping my feet, fist-pumping the air, and Woot-Wooting for YOU!

    Way To Go!

    • Joan Rough says:

      Laurie, I trust you and am imagining your happy dance of support. I so appreciate it, my friend. Thanks so much!

  6. Congratulations, Joan!

  7. So happy for you, Joan. I too am eager to see the finished product.

  8. Joan Rough says:

    Thanks, Janet. I appreciate all of your support.