UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed and I will be contacting the winner directly. Congrats Laura!
“Books are a bad idea. You aren’t making any money. You should get a real job.”
That’s what my husband told me when I published my first book and has repeated a variation of these words over the years as I diligently worked on building a career as an author and illustrator, fueled by copious amounts of hope and coffee. I’ve wanted to make books since I was a wee girl. I used to inhale Japanese comic books ever since I could read, and by the time I was 12, I’d checked out and finished every book in the kid’s and “Youth” sections of my tiny local library (YA wasn’t a thing in 1980s Los Angeles). Multiple times. I am always, always reading a book, even if it’s half a paragraph at the end of a long day. Books taught my daughter to read and write and introduced her to a vast universe of imaginary and real wonders. I understand the magic of books. The importance of them. Books have saved my life on more than one occasion.
My husband’s words — uttered from a place of concern and love, to be sure — were a blow, and I did want to give up on many occasions. Even my editors told me how rare it is for authors to make a living, especially if none of the books ever hit the New York Times bestseller chart. I tell you this because I have found that if you have big, audacious dreams, the people closest to you will often discourage you. It’s surprising, but it’s partly to protect everyone involved from too much disappointment and partly because making dreams come true is not actually supposed to happen when you’re “realistic.”
Despite his words, I kept going. I keep going and keep seeking the alchemy that words and images can create in the human soul. Today, on August 23rd, 2022, my wonderful publisher Sasquatch Books is releasing my eighth book, Sewing Love: Handmade Clothes for Any Body.
I have dedicated this book to my dear, dear friend Annelieke, who has continually filled my doubt-ridden brain with words of encouragement.
For every 10 discouraging comments, I have received perhaps one word of support. I don’t rely on other people to hoist me up at all, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s nice to hear, “You can do this! I believe in you!” What makes Annelieke particularly special is that we’ve never met nor have we spoken to each other. She has quietly and staunchly supported me through many of my side projects, and over the years we’ve exchanged innumerable emails. We are penpals of the modern era and our friendship is proof that genuine connections can be forged through the internet. I love her so much and can’t put into words how much I appreciate her. I have turned to her to share some of my lowest moments and my biggest celebrations, and she has been a font of wisdom and an everlasting encourager. I wish for everyone to have an Annelieke in their life.
I would be remiss not to mention that the husband has given up on me ever getting a “real job.” He now says (with a resigned sigh), “maybe your books will work?” He says that I’m talented and tenacious and that though I’m terrible at making money, I have other wonderful qualities. I’ll take it. On my end, I have no intention of giving up on becoming a book-maker and beautiful-things-creator that also earns what is considered a “real” living (what is that anyway?) — I keep going.
Anyway! To celebrate this book that I am so, so proud to have co-created with many magical folks, let’s do a giveaway, shall we? You will discover that I have subtly woven the theme of not giving up into this book about accepting our amazing bodies as is. Although “self -love” is very much a buzz word these days, I believe it’s at the heart of a well-lived life and is quite possibly the hardest thing to do. Tenacity is required. And I am hoping that through the book, I can be the Annelieke-like figure to encourage you to create slopers and gorgeous clothes that delight you.
As a bonus, I’ve created a measurement form PDF to make the process easier. Worksheets and sections that can be filled in are avoided if possible in books, because libraries don’t like them (borrowers end up marking up pages), which is why this form is not included in the book. You can download the PDF here or in the sidebar. Keep in mind that this is an evolving document and my goal is to keep improving it to make it as effective as possible.
I will be offering up one copy of Sewing Love for this giveaway and to enter….hmmm. Any comment will do, but I’d love to know if there’s something you’ve not given up on, something that you keep being/doing because it’s important and meaningful to you. International entries are welcome as always, and the giveaway will be open until next Friday, September 2nd! Good luck, good luck!
P.S. I’ll be doing a separate giveaway on Instagram, and you can also see some behind-the-scenes posts there!