A season of creating and sharing

Something extraordinary happened this week for an author I worked with this year. Her novel was released and Reese Witherspoon selected this book as her December book club pick. I mean, just imagine this happening to what you created, an image of Reese holding your work and sharing it with her 25 million Instagram followers:


The author is KJ Dell’Antonia, who you may remember from my podcast, who is the co-host of the amazing #amwriting podcast, and an author.

Her new book, The Chicken Sisters, represents her shift from writing nonfiction to novels. She and I worked together on the book launch earlier in 2020. Originally scheduled to be released in the summer, the publication date was moved to Dec 1, and she adjusted.

In some ways, this is the dream for an author: to be selected. To have someone with authority and influence choose your work. And it is a truly an amazing thing. But what I never want to lose from this narrative is just how hard KJ worked, and continues to work. She wrote an incredible book. She has also spent years showing up to the community of readers and writers, and many months ensuring that this book would connect with them.

Being selected is not the end of the work she does to support her creative work. She is continuing to send out email newsletters, asking people to buy the book and post reviews of it online, and encouraging people to show up at her events.

When she did a takeover of Reese’s Book Club Instagram account, she created a wonderful set behind here that included a big chalkboard promotion of her Instagram handle:


She baked cookies in the shape of chickens:


She has drawn hundreds of chickens when signing her books:


And she made sure to include kitties in her promotion of a book about chickens, because the internet loves cats!


I always worry that someone will read KJ’s story and think, “Well sure, I would do all of that work too if I was chosen for a major award or achievement.” But KJ was doing this work day by day for years. She continues it now because she has developed a true connection to readers and those in the writing community. I’ll try to work on a full case study of her book launch to share next year, but for now, congratulations KJ!

Another author I have been working with had her book released this week, Sarah Hays Coomer’s The Habit Trip: A Fill-In-The-Blank Journey to a Life on Purpose. Here is her book on my shelf at the studio:


This is Sarah’s third book, and here she is preparing signed copies to send out:


Sarah has worked so hard in not just preparing for the book launch, but doing so in a manner that feels authentic to who she is. We have had so many conversations not just about strategies and tactics of marketing, but how to promote a book while feeling great about how you do it. Her work with this book extends to not only what she writes, but her speaking and coaching.

This work is holistic to who you are. It is how you are evolving as a creator and a person. It is setting an intention of the experiences you want to create, the ways you want to connect, and the impact you have in the lives of others.

The Habit Trip is an incredible resource, I highly recommend it! Congrats to Sarah on the launch!

Earlier this Fall, another writer I worked with released her book, and her story has endlessly inspired me. When Nicky Mendenhall was 65 she embraced the idea of going to psychoanalysis. This turned into an incredible intellectual and personal journey that was challenging and fulfilling.

Then she decides to write about the experience, which is her memoir Fear, Folly and Freud: A Psychotherapist in Psychoanalysis. The date of publication? Her birthday, a decade later when she turned 75.


For the launch, she created a Zoom event where her readers, friends, and family attended. I mean, just look at this photo, people celebrating what Nicky has created:


It was such a lovely conversation, filled with laughter, questions, and insights. At this culmination of an amazing process, Nicky talked about the next book she is excited to write. It was a reminder that this work of creating and sharing is a process that follows us through life.

Her spirit throughout all of this has been incredible, truly embracing what it means to grow and create. To fill her life with possibility. Congratulations on everything Nicky!

This week another writer I have worked with sent out her newsletter, thanking everyone supporting her book. That author is Leigh Stein (I’ve done multiple case studies on the launch of her novel, Self Care.) In the newsletter she talked about how to support an author and the profound impact this has on their life, saying:

“The sales of this book will be one of the things that determines whether my next novel sells to a publisher—so when you buy a copy of Self Care you are actually supporting my ability to work in the future. You are saying, with your 16 bucks, We think this lady should write another book.”

This is the power we have as readers. To support the work of writers. To buy their books, post reviews of them online, and share with a friend. To talk about their books online, and connect with the authors through social media.

Above are examples of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir writers who launched their books this year. Amidst a pandemic, and sweeping changes in our world.

This is work. But the work is about growing who you are, what you can create, and how you can connect with others around things you love. Thank you for doing that work.