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Seeing them all together feels like getting an A+ report card.
The cute little promo cards I got from the publisher. Happy to share if you see me!
Something special happened today. My publisher sent an email with the subject line, “Praise in place.” Opening the attachment, I saw a document that contained all of my upcoming book’s endorsements, or “blurbs,” as they’re called—the praise offered by advance readers, shown as it will appear in the final printed edition.
The publisher had some questions about layout, explaining the (good) problem of having too many blurbs and not being able to fit them onto the allotted pages. “Which ones can we cut?” they asked me.
I didn’t answer right away. Instead, I sat and read every single letter and syllable of those blurbs—and reveled in them. It felt like a momentous occasion, not only to know that these people, whom the publisher and I had carefully selected as auspicious, respected, well-known, and smart authors and researchers themselves, had taken the time to read my book, but also that they offered incredibly positive, encouraging, and enthusiastic endorsements after doing so.
In other words, they liked my book! Some said they loved it. Several people thanked me privately for writing it, saying it’s just what the world (and parents) need right now.
I felt emotional as I absorbed their feedback—the first feedback I’ve received from anyone outside the very small circle of editors at the publishing house—and detected a sense of overwhelming relief. I thought about how writing a book requires you to suspend your inner critic and simply trust that you’re on the right path with a project, while pouring everything you’ve got into developing it—your entire heart and brain and soul, not to mention countless hours. And all you can do is hope it will be well received in the end.
That’s an awfully big gamble to make. It’s scary.
There are relatively few things in life that require so much up-front investment with next to no feedback along the way to indicate whether you’re doing something great or are completely out to lunch. Obviously, my editors were supportive, having accepted the proposal and reviewed a few initial chapters, but then it was just me, my ideas, and a laptop, plugging away for months on end, alone.
This whole process reminds me a bit of having a baby, where you embark on a prolonged adventure that demands everything of you, long before there is any reward to be had. You put yourself through discomfort and challenge because you believe it will pay off in the future and that someday you’ll look back and say, “Yes, I did the right thing.”
So, the positive blurbs feel like a really great report card. I know they’re not official reviews—and I’m enough of a realist to know that those will be mixed, that the book has yet to prove itself in the “real” world, that some critics will take issue with my stance on digital media and kids—but it does feel like my book has passed its first big test.
It’s not over yet. I’m still deep in book production land, 2.5 months out from launch day (July 11!!!) and swamped with publicity planning, but reading those endorsements this morning felt like a welcome pause and a reassuring pat on the back. It motivates me to keep going, not to mention gives me an excuse to do a little bit of book promo. (Pre-orders help a lot!)
Here are just a few of the comments that made me so happy today:
...real-world tools for parents to declutter their minds and set up safe- guards to put themselves in control of digital technology. A digital minimalist’s must-have guide to launching your kids into a life of real connectedness and authenticity.
—Joshua Becker, #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Things That Matter
Katherine Martinko has written a treatise no parent should miss. How do we protect and enhance the humanity of our children in an age where they’ve been so recklessly bombarded with unfettered technology? This is a must-read book for parents in our time.
—Loreena McKennitt, Founder, Stolen Child Project
In an age defined by hyper-digitalization and screen-time overload, Katherine Martinko offers a radical alternative by ditching the electronic devices and giving her children a play-filled, outdoorsy, analog childhood. [This] is the rallying cry we have been waiting for.
—Linda Åkeson McGurk, author, There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather and The Open-Air Life
Katherine Martinko makes the case that not only is a screen-free child- hood possible, but reducing our children’s time on screen is essential for their happiness, sanity, and health. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, it should be mandatory reading for all parents.
—Catherine Price, founder, ScreenLifeBalance.com, author, How to Break Up With Your Phone
The passionate, clear-eyed, and thoroughly practical guide every parent needs to fight the good fight against the excesses of digital today.
—David Sax, bestselling author, The Revenge of Analog and The Future is Analog
It takes an enormous effort to show our kids the world beyond their screens, but Katherine Martinko teaches us how to get it done in this practical, empathetic, and fascinating new guide.
—Michael Harris, author, Solitude and The End of Absence
As for my response to the publisher’s email, I asked if we could just shrink the font size so as not to cut a single endorsement, but I suspect that’s not going to fly! I suppose the most important thing is that I’ve seen them and know what they say, and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
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