July Theme: My Yes! Moment (Stephanie Burgis)

I've talked before about the incredible, heart-stopping moments when I got Those Calls from my agent (first, to offer representation; second, to tell me that there'd been an offer for my book). I've even talked about the way that that sale, and the books themselves, saved me and my family in a moment of true crisis.

But here's my true Yes! moment as a writer:

It was early 2010, still months before my book was due to be published (and, as it turned out, over a year before it would be published). It wasn't even close enough that I was expecting big review publications to start reviewing it yet. I turned on my computer just to check my email quickly before my morning writing session.

There was an email in the box with the title of my book as its subject line. I opened it up.

The email was written by a twelve-year-old girl who had read an ARC of my book and loved it. Loved it. My book! My book, which I'd written in the solitude of my own house, writing it specifically for the kind of twelve-year-old girl I used to be. Now here one was and she genuinely loved the humor, she loved the emotions, she loved the characters. My book was really real, it was out there, and it had spoken to exactly the audience I'd always dreamed about.

I read the email over and over again. Tears formed in my eyes. I read it again.

No other review has ever meant more to me than that first email out of the blue.


  1. That is wonderful.

    One of my "yes!" moments as a writer was when I was participating in a specfic reading in Manhattan with my writing group, as part of a (usually) literary fiction series. After I read my story, a gentleman in the audience introduced himself, complimented the story, and said he'd just read another story of mine in a magazine. When he looked me up online, he learned I was doing a reading that night and decided to attend.

    I was so flattered that someone had liked my writing enough to come and hear me read! And it was a great reminder of one of the reasons I write in the first place.

  2. Oh, that is an amazing "yes!" story!

  3. How lovely! I received a similar kind of email from a sixth grader, who had also read my ARC. It's so unexpected hearing from someone at that stage, when you don't even think anyone could possibly be reading your work yet, much less an actual kid -- the real audience -- after sharing it with all the adult readers in your life: agent, editor, critique partners, etc.

    I love that your yes moment was about your first young reader...it'd definitely an email to save forever.

  4. Isn't that just THE BEST kind of email to get? :) It's such a gift - and so validating, especially to get right out of the blue like that. It makes it all feel worthwhile!


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