In which I tell you about my two (yes, two) book deal

I spent the morning working, like every Tuesday. In the afternoon, the house was full of children. My friend had a few errands to run, so I offered to watch her three little ones, my three were thrilled by their addition to the mix here. The six-under-seven all played while I cut up apples for a snack, poured water into plastic cups, made sure that every one was being included in hide and seek. I quickly checked my email in the kitchen, and there it was: the long awaited official book contract from the big city lawyers, sent out to the Canadian west, on a regular Tuesday afternoon in August, while tinies shrieked and ran about the house. “You forgot 14!”

I didn’t have time to read through it, so I emailed it to Brian, he printed it off, brought it home. I sat at the kitchen table, it’s a cheap white Ikea table, covered in gouges, stained with paint from art sessions, and the chairs are a little filthier than I would like them to be. After I had cleaned up the supper dishes, we read through it carefully, Anne standing waiting in her soccer uniform for a ride, there was rice stuck to the floor.

I touched the thick white paper with my finger tips, let my eyes rest on the first page for a long while, the address in New York, the Big 6 name, the whole thing. This is as good as it gets, my wonderful agent tells me, and she’s right, so I savoured.

There weren’t words for this moment, I sat in silence, my husband was watching me carefully, no doubt gauging his reaction to mine. I whispered something about how I couldn’t imagine how this had happened, how I wasn’t really worthy of this, how this all feels so much bigger than me, and, like, whoa, and I felt the weight of responsibility, the weight of my humanity and mistakes and my own flawed voice, I felt the weight of glory, too.

Back when I signed the agreement with Rachelle for her representation, I laughed with joy, and pounded steering wheels, and danced. But this?

No jumping up and down or shrieking. I felt hushed, thankful for my bare feet, every centimetre of my skin. I turned through the pages, reading legal clauses and addendum, I sat for a while, just looking at my name, Sarah Bessey, it said, Author.

Then I signed the contract for a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books.

Jesus Feminist: Life on the Other Side of our Church’s Gender Debates will be published by Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, in 2013.  I’m so thrilled to be working with this team, I feel like this is a God-connection somehow, and I’m right where I was meant to be, this work is right where it is meant to be, and we’re in it together.

Here’s the little intro video that I made for it, back in April.

And then, you’ll have to hold my hand, I’ll be writing the tentatively titled, Recovering Know-It-All: How a Cynical Follower of Jesus Fell Back in Love with the Church. I’ve quietly worked out this second book, based on my own experiences over the past ten years of my struggle and restoration with the beautiful Bride, and I am so excited about it, so hopeful, I can hardly stand.

So there’s my news.

This morning, I stood at the post office, filling out paperwork, surrounded by my little family. The postal worker was so excited for me when she saw the contracts, we took pictures, my hand shook writing out the addresses, Brian was adamant for Priority Post with tracking numbers and then, away it went.

Here we go.

(fearless…deep breath….fearless…deep breath)

I would appreciate your prayers, if you would come alongside of me, friends? This will be quite a journey, and I feel it swirling. My friend Amber said that it will be a whirlwind, and I believe her.

And thank you, again, always, for doing life with me.


  • Preston Yancey


  • Michelle DeRusha

    Excited to be the first to comment! A big congratulations, Sarah. This is huge. And well-deserved.

    • Michelle DeRusha

      Ok, clearly Preston beat me to the punch – but still excited for you!!

  • Hannah

    I’m SO excited for you, Sarah!

  • Alise Wright

    What amazing news, dear one! I’m so happy for you!!!

  • Cara Sexton

    Praying, definitely, and rejoicing with you, Sweet Sarah. Celebrate these happy moments. Your words belong in the world. We need them, desperately. Big, big congratulations to beautiful you.

  • Michelle Martini

    Tears of joy are filling my eyes on your behalf! You have already reached so many; the hearts and souls you will touch as your audience grows make me want to dance for you and the God whom you serve. I’ll be praying for you and eagerly anticipating your artful prose in book form!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you, Michelle! You made me tear up.

  • HopefulLeigh

    Rejoicing with you, my friend, and most definitely praying for you. For such a time as this.

    • Sarah Bessey

      That’s the same phrase my husband has said, Leigh!

  • sarah

    simply thrilled for you! so eager to read all about the journey here, and to someday hold your bound and published book in my own two hands.

  • Ann

    SO THRILLED for you! That is amazing. Will be keeping you in thought and prayer as you move forward–cannot wait to watch this unforld, and can’t wait to ultimately hold your words in hand.

  • Diana Trautwein

    Sarah, I am in tears. Oh, my. This is a moment of anointing, my friend. Savor it, rest in it. Wish I could be there to stroke your forehead with the sweet-scented oil, in the sign of the cross we live by. I would say, “Sweet Sarah, the God who created you, who called you, who gifted you – that Very God – is closer to you than this oil is to your skin. And I anoint you in the Holy Name of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. for the work you are chosen and appointed to do. Go forward in grace, in trust, in love. For it is love that casts out fear. Amen and AMEN.” Love you.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Diana, we were at my parents’ house tonight and this, yours, is the comment that we talked about to the most. It meant so much to me, but also to my entire family. I receive, I receive, I receive.

      • Diana Trautwein

        Life is holy. But there are these moments, now and again, when we really know that truth, right down to the marrow. This is one of those for you and for those of us who ‘know’ you through this medium. So grateful!

        (Why does the new Disqus not allow subscription to comments?!? I almost missed this lovely word from you because I can’t figure it out. This post just dropped into my inbox today – always a day late, which is why I’m glad when folks post on FB – so I clicked through, just in case you’d had time to reply to ALL THESE COMMENTS. And sure enough, you’ve been hard at work. Which is, of course, one of the reasons you have such loyal and loving followers. Pace yourself, dear friend, because with a friggin’ TWO BOOK DEAL and 3 tinies and a marriage to nurture, you will have to make some hard choices ahead. And commenting might be one of those at times…)

  • Ed_Cyzewski

    Congratulations Sarah. Anne looks particularly pumped for you. Ha! When I mailed my book contract out this morning Ethan sort of just stared at the ceiling…

    In my experience, I think there are plenty of whirlwinds, but there are also grinds, those slow moving moments when you need to just put your head down and keep pushing. I’ll be praying for patience and endurance for both!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Congratulations, Ed! That’s wonderful news! and yes, Anne was very excited (so was Joe….Evelynn rewarded me by pooping in the tub so that was a crash back to earth). And yes to the grind – I know it and I’ll lean on your wisdom then, too, as I have already.

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    woohoo! enjoy it:)

  • Tara M. Owens

    I am so, so, so, so, so thrilled for you!

  • Katherine Willis Pershey

    Congratulations, Sarah. What wonderful news!

  • SortaCrunchy

    You’ll forgive me while I sob.

    Sarah. Friend. I just can’t even … I don’t know what to say. My heart is full to overflowing with the joy and anticipation of it all. Glory to God for this message, for pressing THIS message into YOUR heart. I simply cannot wait. Glory. Glory!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Glory! Yes! So thankful for you, heart-friend. You have such a big role in my life.

  • Kitty

    I can’t wait to read this book! This is so exciting!!!

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    I’m barefoot, which is fitting for holy ground.


  • Christie Purifoy

    Congrats! So exciting! Can’t wait to read both.

  • Tara Porter-Livesay

    So cool! Huge congratulations coming your way from the Caribbean. Way to go … our prayers are with you.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you so much, Tara! Means the world to me, love you guys.

  • Sam

    This is amazing, amazing news! I am so very excited for you. These are deeply needed books – and I can’t wait to pre-order them. I know I don’t comment much, but everything you share is like oxygen to my soul. Really.

  • Caris Adel

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to read both beautiful books. How amazing and exciting!!

  • Marla Taviano

    My last book was with Howard. I really, really like them a lot. Congrats, Sarah! Two books I can’t wait to read!!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Very cool! I’m excited to work with them.

  • from two to one

    WOO HOO!!! So, so, many congratulations and prayers for you, friend. I cannot wait for BOTH of these books (2!!), and know already that Jesus Feminist will touch a place of my heart that’s only recently, and ever so slowly, been unveiling.

  • Kathy Callahan

    Dear Sarah, you don’t know me, I can’t recall how I originally found your blog, and I know this will get lost in all the loving congratulations, but I wanted to say it, too. Your writing has moved me so many times. I admire your writing, your spirituality, your concern for and faith in humanity, and your mothering. I know God will be with you on this journey. Savor it!

    • Sarah Bessey

      You didn’t get lost at all, Kathy. I’m here, reading, like always, and THANK YOU. xo

  • Corrie Aw.

    Oh wow. I so want to read these books.

  • Rebekah Sanders

    I’m so proud of you, my dear friend. So very proud. All of the struggles of the past years, all of the working out of the faith? I feel the Holy Spirit whispering to me about you saying, “For such a time as this.” Love you!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Love you, too, Bek! Thank you.

  • Jess

    So thrilling! Congrats! I look forward to reading them both!

  • Joy in this Journey

    I’ll dance and twirl and pound steering wheels and squee for you. 😀

    • Sarah Bessey

      We’ll raise a glass, shall we?!

  • Kalibhakta

    Congratulations! Yours is a voice the wider world needs to hear!

  • D.L. Mayfield

    boy howdy i am excited for you (and for all of us readers as well). you deserve this level of fabulousness.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I love that word “fabulousness” – and thank you, D. Love your influence in my life.

  • karen huber

    brilliant! fantastic! slainte!

  • Sarah Caldwell

    I am so excited for you!! I feel privileged to have discovered your blog this summer, and I can’t wait to read your books!! Thank you for your words – they speak life and healing into my days :)

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    This makes me SOOOOOO excited! I can’t wait to read BOTH of those books!

  • Wendy Paine Miller

    Congratulations! What a high high! You’ve worked hard for it!
    ~ Wendy

  • Lore Ferguson

    Congrats you lovely lady!

  • Heather Deeming

    Oh Sarah, I’m so happy for you! Weirdly, what struck me when I saw the picture of you with the contract was a sense of symmetry – that this is the year that Brian handed in the thesis he’d poured himself into over years…and then months later you sign a contract to pour out your heart and mind. I don’t know, but I just love the sense of passing batons between you here. Congratulations, and I very much look forward to reading both books!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, that just gave me chills, Heather! Yes! I see that, too, now. Thank you.

  • brenda shaw

    no, thank you for letting me be along for the ride…WHOO HOO !! now i will stop crying excited for you !!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thanks, Brenda!

  • Melissa Hartwick

    Oh, Sarah, this is so wonderful!!! Congrats, and I will definitely be praying for you.

  • Katie @ ktmade

    So very excited for you (and for me, since I’ll get to read it when it comes out). I feel you are a close friend even though I only visit you in the blog posts, and I am so happy to share in this joyousness with you.

  • Laura_InTheBackyard

    Oh, SARAH! I’m just speechless with awe of God and excitement for you! How absolutely wonderful and incredibly deserved. I cannot wait to follow along as you walk this journey!

  • Megan (FriedOkra)

    Calmly and quietly excited for you, dear sweet, smart Sarah. I am excited to be among your cheering section as you do this amazing thing. xo

  • JillRosalie

    Anne’s expression is EXACTLY what my inner child is feeling about this!!! ABOUT TO BURST!!! SO happy with you and proud of you!!!

    • Sarah Bessey

      I felt like every now and then today, too! So you aren’t alone, Jillsa.

  • Katie Noah Gibson

    Welling up and wanting to cheer aloud and clap with joy for you. SO excited!!!

  • Richard Mabry

    Sarah, Thrilled for you. Our mutual agent, Rachelle, calls this announcement “beautifully written,” and I have to agree. Hope you savored the moment. It doesn’t get any better than that first one–but I’m sure there will be many more to come.

  • Melissa

    sarah my heart dances with yours! congratulations friend. i cannot wait to read your words.

  • Beth Anne

    I truly feel breathless over this. Cannot wait to keep reading your words.

  • wendy klassen

    Double happiness!!! Oh so wonderful! I’m so glad for you, Sarah!!!

  • Mark Allman

    Congratulations !!

  • Ashlee Gadd

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so, so excited to read this book. Thank you for challenging me, inspiring me, and encouraging me through your words. Praying that God speaks directly through you into the hearts of many, believers and nonbelievers alike.

  • Marina Lehman


  • Keli Gwyn

    Congratulations!!! Enjoy the thrill.

  • Tanya Marlow

    Oh wow – and double wow! Feeling with you the enormity of the moment and the excitement and the awesomeness of it all – to be signing as author! And I’m a bit teary as I read it, because it is so exciting and red lipstick-worthy and I would definitely feel decidedly epochy, but also it feels really God-y to me and healing-y. I am praying that writing these two books will be a pathway into healing and wholeness -not just for you but for many others, and that these words would impact many lives and bind up many hearts. With much love.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Yes to all of this, Tanya! It’s all those “-y” things for me. Thank you.

  • Abbie Kampman

    I knew it. It was always just THERE, bound to happen, only a matter of time. I will pray, most certainly. All I ask is that you don’t forget the less famous little ones who gaze after you adoringly (me…). :)

    • Sarah Bessey

      Oh, you. xo

  • Gemma Hartley

    You can have my prayers always. So overjoyed for you!

  • Tiffany Norris

    Hooray! Will be praying and can’t wait to be reading. (And that last picture of y’all is fabulous.)

  • Leanne Penny

    Congratulations friend! Wow and Wow!!!

  • Anne Bogel

    So exciting! So hurry and finish so we can all read them BOTH!

  • Elizabeth Marshall

    Congrats. I share in your joy and I celebrate with you. YAY. Cannot wait to read these two. Love In Christ, Elizabeth May God bless your journey, every page of the way.

  • Caitlin

    I’ve been a regular follower and reader of yours, for probably about the last year or so. Probably since last October. I’m a twenty year old female feeling stuck in the midst of everyday life in my church, the ever-so smalllll Presbyterian church in Manitoba, Canada. This is my first time commenting, and I am so overjoyed to hear that is happening for you. You have changed the way I think about my church for the better, my faith, and my boyfriend and I’s relationship. I thank you for that, and cannot wait to read your books. They will have a place on my white bookshelf for a long time!

    • Sarah Bessey

      Thank you so much, Caitlin!

  • Tamára Lunardo

    Tears of joy for you, my precious friend. xo

  • Kim Van Brunt

    This is wonderful, and both books will go in my library immediately upon their release. So, so happy for you friend!

  • donnapyle

    Sarah, congratulations! I love the way you weave a story and cannot wait to see what God works through your beautiful swirling. WOO HOO!!!

  • Bill Kinnon


  • Lindsay

    Oh, Sarah, such wonderful wonderful news. Congratulations!!!

  • JohnBlase

    Nice, very nice!

  • KathleenBasi

    Congratulations, Sarah! It couldn’t happen to a better person!

  • Abby

    Yeah!!!!!!!!! So well deserved! CANNOT wait to read these books!

  • Charlotte

    THIS IS SO EXCITING!!!! I love you and I’m so happy for you and I can’t wait to see what fruit these books produce!!!

  • kathyescobar

    so excited for you and can’t wait to read them both!

  • Sue Harrison

    What a privilege to pray for you, Sarah! I will.

  • Holly

    Thank you for walking us through your every moment with this. I read your blog faithfully and drink up your words with joy and, as a result, I feel like I “know” you. But this. I felt like we were at the kitchen table with you. At the post office with you. Rejoicing WITH YOU. And it just makes you so real…more real than ever and I can’t wait to hear how this all turns out. Did you feel all of our eyes peering over your shoulder as you signed those papers? Did you smell my breath as I peeped out loud, trying to be quiet but not being able to contain my excitement for you, for your family, for the world? Thank you, Sarah. We are SO rooting for you.

    • Sarah Bessey

      I totally felt that, Holly! I didn’t want to say much about it in the post above, but I do! I do feel this community, and so many others, almost like that “great cloud of witnesses” and it makes me feel like we’re all doing this together, making space for God, together! Holy thing, indeed.

  • kim

    So excited for you and for me – I get to read your books and share them with my world of readers!

  • Erin

    LOVE this. I loved your video and the book sounds SO fantastic. Can’t wait to read it!

  • Lindsay Privette

    Oh, I’m so happy for you! And also divinely, selfishly happy for myself to have found you. I can remember so many times googling “Christian feminism” or “feminist Christianity” and coming up with abysmal results. How many Sundays did I ride home from church in tears because I felt like there were no others who contemplated thing things I did, who loved God but found it painfully difficult to find her place in the family of God. Hiding my copies of Marcus J. Borg books and books with titles like The Goddess Revival under my front seat when I parked at church so no one would figure out I might not be just like them… I actually wrote you a much longer comment just a few minutes ago, but somehow lost it when I tried to log in and post. It was so much more well-written and eloquent than this one. Oh, well, the muse is gone, but again, I’m so happy for you. God is so good.

    • Sarah Bessey

      Well, this was plenty eloquent, Lindsay! Thank you so much!

  • Tashia

    So proud of you and for you Sarah. You have no idea how your journey has inspired me. Haven’t ever left a comment on a blog before, but I have read yours for a little under a year now. Very encouraging! From one mother of 3 to another…thanks for sharing.

  • Linda Stoll

    wow! what a joy, opportunity, privilege, responsibility! may you hear Him well as you put pen to paper …

  • J.R. Goudeau

    I’m so very excited for you. Annie’s face says it all in that last picture. Congratulations–can’t wait to curl up with those books soon!

  • hart_larissa

    Oh yay Sarah!!! That’s FANTASTIC!!!! … I will be looking out for your books when you let us know they’re available!! I’m sure they will be just as amazing to read as this wonderful blog!!! Congratulations!!!! … May God bless you and your family through this journey and new season of faithfulness & promises!!! Hugs!! Yay!!

  • Annie |

    Oh, Sarah Bessey! So happy for you, looking forward to holding those words in my hands!

  • Sillydoodah (Dawn)

    Oh, yay! First time at the computer today. Important Books you will be writing, Ms Bessey. The world needs these words. (Yay.)

  • ChrisAnn and Kristin

    You know we’re jumping for joy for you and in your corner!
    Kristin & Chris Ann

  • michaboyett

    We can’t stand how much we LOVE you and we are so PROUD of you!

    Your Adoring Fans

  • lindsholifield

    SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! Not surprised one bit :) Your words are beautiful and powerful and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to see this!

  • Callie Raykhonov

    So very happy for you and I really can’t wait to read these 2 books! And share them with others the way I share this blog. :)

  • Deborah Beddoe

    This is so exciting! I love the look on your daughter’s face! Definitely will pray for you as you write and edit. You are a great encouragement in so many ways. Congratulations!!

  • Heather

    Congratulations! This is wonderful news. I’m excited to follow your journey and read your forthcoming two (!!!) books. Bask in this moment.

  • Miss Frangipani

    Congratulations! So happy for you!

  • Sarah Silvester

    Wow, yay! That is so so so SO great. Can’t wait to read both books :)

  • KimberlyCoyle

    De-lurking to say well done you! I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of both (both!) of your books:) You have a tremendous gift and I will be watching with bated breath to see how the Lord uses it for His glory.

  • Ann

    Hi there from Australia. I have come to love your blog. Its like sitting with a friend who always has something real and interesting to say. Im thrilled to hear of the books and can’t wait to read what you have to say. Blessings and Peace.

  • alina

    God has blessed you with the gift of words, and the rest of us are extatic for you and can’t wait to read these books. Go in His glory <3

  • Kari


  • Amanda Peterson

    Simply wonderful. Congratulations

  • Erin Adams

    Many congratulations to you Sarah!!!

  • Heather Kopp

    Sarah–Congratulation! Yipppeeee. I am so happy for you, but I’m even more happy for the wider world which will get to know you and be blessed by your wisdom and words. Way to go!! H

  • Melissa

    I’m a day late to this, but oh, congratulations. I can’t wait to read your books.

    The first especially excites because I am in the midst of tearfully, painfully leaving a church because they kicked me out for egalitarian nonsense. I’m so sad.

    But then I read that you are writing a book called Jesus Feminist. And another about being restored to the church. I am grateful and a little more hopeful that there will be a light at the end of this darkness.

  • Louise

    This made me well up…how exciting and just perfectly worked out by God!

  • Anastasia @ eco-babyz

    Awesome, congrats! Fearless :)

  • Annie

    Reading you from Australia as always. Your words again, reach me where I am. Congratulations! You are such an inspiration!

  • Shawn Smucker

    I am so happy for you, Sarah. This is only the beginning.

  • Jennifer@GDWJ

    So thrilled for you Sarah. I am often here, but don’t comment very regularly. I just couldn’t keep my cheering silent today! Rah! Rah! Rah! <—– Outburst of cheers.

    Yes, it's an amazing feeling. I signed a contract with my agent on my 40th birthday in February, then signed the contract with Tyndale a couple months ago. Then, I freaked out: "Holy crap! I have to write all the words!" I'm sure that you have a much more eloquent, reasoned response to your good news.

    Be well. Praying for you on this journey, Sarah. May you know that He is not only beside you, but very much IN you through the power of His Spirit.

    – Jennifer Dukes Lee

  • Stephanie

    I couldn’t be happier for you, Sarah Bessey. Congratulations!

    I am particularly excited about your second title.

    Can’t wait to see both titles in print at my nearest bookstore.

  • Wendy

    Congratulations, Sarah!

  • Lizz Porter

    This is incredible, and thank you for sharing the moment with us.
    I’ll tell you now, I’m anxiously awaiting your second book already, because that’s a journey I’m just starting out on, I think.

  • Christie

    Wow, oh wow. You are literally living my dream. I have written a religious memoir on finding an authentic faith and the role of progressive religion that I am desperately trying to get published. I am sure that you are overwhelmed right now with more pressing obligations and tasks, but when you have a chance, I would LOVE any advice or feedback you can provide. Although my book does not focus on Christianity, it sounds like we might be in the same target markets. Any info would be much, much appreciated. Many blessings and congratulations to you.

  • Amanda Hill

    Oh my goodness! I am just reading your blog for the first time but I’m so excited for you! That must be a thrilling feeling to know that all the work you put in (thank God for giving you the time and passion) is paying off. Good luck in your future!

    Amanda over at hillpen

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