Good news! I got word last Wednesday that my book is off to the printer! The day was so busy when I received that email in between meetings, but I couldn’t help but stop and pray, “God, did that really just happen? After all the little steps of working on this project for the last year and a half, and now it’s actually going to happen!”
Right now we’re looking at May 17 as my book’s release date!
I wanted to celebrate, so today I’m making the first chapter of She Won’t Shrink Back available as a free download! You can sign up to receive the first chapter in the pop-up on my site. Or if you subscribe to my email group, I can email you the chapter.
There are 26 chapters in my book, and Chapter 1, “The Trail of My Twenties” is especially meaningful to me. I rewrote this chapter probably more than any other chapter because I wanted it to be just right since it starts my book.
I wrote a draft of this chapter last spring, showed it to some of my friends, fixed a few paragraphs, sent it to my editor, and then thought I was satisfied with it. In August, I took it with me to the writer’s conference I went to in Nashville. I showed it to my revision group, and they told me that it sounded more like a college essay than the first chapter of a memoir.
At first, I was surprised by their feedback, but then I could see what they meant. So I started chipping away at the statistics here and adding a little more of my feelings there. Then I decided—“I’ve got to stop tweaking and just start from scratch.” So I just started over (which felt like a big step at the time) and then over the next month, I came back to the chapter every few days…trying to remold it.
For several weeks, my friends and I prayed about this. Then one day I was sitting on my couch, next to my window, and I was working on the conclusion for this chapter. I looked out the window at the same tree line that I walked along on the day when I wanted to shrink back from the challenge of building my house—and any other risky thing God might ask me to do!
I remembered how I felt that day, and in hindsight, how I think God viewed me, and then I wrote the conclusion to that chapter. I was crying as I wrote it. I knew then that the chapter was finally complete. I showed it to my friend Sarah later that day, and she also teared up as she read it. That was an affirmation to me that some people will really be able to connect with this feeling.
My goal is not for you to cry as you read this. There’s nothing tragic in the chapter, so don’t avoid it for that reason. :) But my hope is that you will connect with the story and remember your own moments of when you’ve been faced with the option of shrinking back.
A Little Book Business
My book will be released May 17, and my goal is to sell 1,500 copies. As a self-publishing author, I’m doing this book launch all on my own, so I’m relying on my family and friends to help me spread the word.
My goal is to sell 1,500 copies of my book for 2 reasons:
What can I do to help with your book launch?
The biggest thing you can do right now is to select about 5 friends who you think might be encouraged by my writing. Email them the link to my website to download my first chapter and also share with them how you know me and/or what you’ve enjoyed about my writing thus far. That personal invitation is usually the best way to get our friends’ attention.
It would also be helpful for you to post the link to my website to download my first chapter on your social media. As you share the link, just give your friends a little context of your connection with me.
I can't launch this book successfully without your help, so I appreciate everything you can do to support me in this! #WeWontShrinkBack
Mary works at Brookville Road Community Church, where she leads children's ministry and women's ministry. She is the author of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.