My Journey to Here

Recently, people have been asking about my journey to becoming an author. So, I thought I’d dedicate this post to sharing the rocky but exhilarating road I’ve travelled in order to see a book with my name on the cover distributed all across the country on March 19, 2019.

It took five years (feels more like a lifetime) to strong-arm this crazy dream into reality. However, even in the midst of literary agents ignoring me, publishers rejecting my work and blank pages making me shake in my sleep, I found myself irrationally energized to keep going.

Each time I was defeated, I put that disappointment into a blender and transformed it into motivation. It’s a skillset I developed and honed over time – not because I’m super human, but because I don’t like to lose.

It hurts my fragile ego.

Also, because throughout this process, I believed in my soul that I had a message to share with mothers that would help turn their self-doubt into strength; I would stop at nothing to get this much-needed relief out in the world. Not to shine a spotlight on myself, but to transfer healing to other women.

So, here we go.  Five defining moments on this monumental journey.

From 2011 – 2013, I began flirting with the idea of writing a book. I was already running The Mom Complex and regularly conducting research with mothers, but I wasn’t sure I could do it. It sounded hard, I didn’t see myself as a writer, and I didn’t think I was smart enough to do it.

I can barely spell, for God’s sake.

However, the tides turned in May of 2013, after I made the decision to leave my advertising career, become an entrepreneur and take The Mom Complex out on my own. The belief that I could be a business owner – something I was also terrified of trying  – bolstered my confidence to figure out how to write a book.

A few months later, on a Tuesday afternoon while on board a flight from Richmond to Atlanta, I typed out the cover page and turned my fear and hesitation into momentum.

I only squeezed out three pages of writing, but that didn’t matter. I finally believed I could do it. It was a start and that was enough. 

It took me over a year to craft a book proposal that combined my research on the self-defeating tendencies of mothers with my personal experience of feeling less-than-good-enough for the majority of my life.

The pressure was on because non-fiction titles sell to publishers on 50+ page proposals, not the full manuscript. In other words, the proposal is everything.

It was hard but exciting work. What was even harder, however, was landing a literary agent – a necessity for selling a book proposal to a major publisher.  After getting rejected, dismissed or ignored by every agent I reached out to, I eventually landed a literary agent in LA who was a friend of a friend.

His endorsement was a sign that someone in the industry also thought I could write a book – it was no longer my own blind ambition leading the charge.

We were off to the races, and by races, I mean a fast sprint to lots of rejection. My agent shopped the proposal around to 12 publishers and every single one said no. The proposal wasn’t unique enough in the mom space. They’d heard it all before.

Determined more than ever before, I spent the next six months absorbing feedback, re-working the proposal and submitting the improved version to 11 new publishers. They all said no too. That’s right. Rejected 23 times.

Without direct access to the publishers (to wow them in person), I had to allow the words in my proposal to stand on their own and I was growing concerned that my words weren’t good enough. That I wasn’t good enough.

I’m not going to lie and say I pulled myself out of this pity party alone because I didn’t. I relied on the strength of my team at work who knew the power of this platform, the depths of my disappointment and how to cheer me up.

Just look at this encouraging message they left in my NYC hotel room after a handful of rejections showed up on the same day.

I took six months off from writing, kept working my day job at The Mom Complex and chose to believe that the stars would align at the right time to help me find a different path to getting a new proposal back to the same publishers.

Eventually, I got the break I needed when my friend Kate introduced me to Kristina – a badass mom editor and author in NYC who helped me land an A-list agent who had tons of connections and a track record for taking book proposals to the next level.

New agent. New day. Let’s do this.

But my new path quickly became filled with doubt and fear when during our first meeting, my new agent suggested that maybe my first book should just be an anthology: a collection of essays from other mothers. In other words, I was advised to use the words of other women instead of my own.

Holy shit.

I immediately started sweating. Not sure of what to do next, I excused myself to the bathroom, splashed water on my face (and under my arms), took five deep breaths and returned to his office and stood my ground.

In the middle of a conference room overlooking all of Manhattan, I told him that I had a powerful message to share, much of it personal to my own experience, and I was confident I could turn around a one-page proposal outline that would prove to him I was worthy of writing my own book.

That last part was a lie. Right after the meeting, I boarded a train back to Richmond and cried the entire way home.

Terrified that I couldn’t deliver on my promise, I called friends for reinforcement. Earl, my former boss, reminded me that I’d overcome greater challenges in the past and Lauren, my business partner, pointed out the positive response I’d recently received about my blog. She also reminded me to put on my sunglasses when crying in public. #goodpoint

With my editor Kristina’s help, I put together the one-page outline I’d promised and held my breath as my agent reviewed it.  “Please, God, no anthology,” I begged.

My prayers were answered when he not only liked the themes in the new outline, but matched and raised them by suggesting the dragon slaying theme that changed everything.

It was his idea to personify the self-doubt living inside millions of mothers as a fire-breathing dragon that inhales in everything we do wrong and nothing we do right and blows it back in our faces.  Wow.

And this, my friends, is when the tears really rained down.  I boarded a plane shortly after getting his text about slaying dragons and cried like I’ve never cried before, at 50,000 feet, all the way across the country.

Everything suddenly made sense. I knew how to write the book, who I would dedicate it to and how heroic it would make women feel. It was time to take the struggles of women everywhere from quiet and embarrassing to brave and bold.

During the flight, I drafted the invitation below that now appears in the front of the book.

With new-found wind in my sails, I spent the next six months putting together a stellar book proposal about slaying the self-sabotaging beast (of self-doubt) that lives inside mothers everywhere.

My agent shopped the new proposal around and landed multiple offers for it – putting me in the unbelievably blessed position to choose the publisher I wanted to work with.

To everyone’s surprise, and against the advice of many, I went with the publisher who offered less money but more vision, love and support for my platform.  I left money on the table in favor of girl-power and chemistry.

As many of you know, money is not a motivating force in my life. I’ve never believed that bigger is better. I’ve never believed that more money is better.  This book deal was no different.

Getting a major book deal with a top 10 publisher made my head spin. To be honest, some days it still doesn’t feel real.

But it is real. And it’s the result of fighting against the odds, never giving up and running with any and every opportunity that came my way. And now, it’s no longer a solo mission, there’s an entire company poised to put this book in a position to change peoples lives.

What I have to say is powerful, I know this to be true. I hear it from women all the time. But this message would never have had the opportunity to change the world if it stayed in a word document on my computer.

The actual writing of the book (which only took seven months compared to the four years it took to land a publisher) is a story for another day and also, of course, includes a lot of crying.

But for now, I’ll express my undying gratitude to all the team members, milestones and hard work that helped turn this crazy dream and into greatest reality I’ve ever known.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Darcy Maukereply

Can’t wait to read it!!

Katherine Wintschreply
– In reply to: Darcy Mauke

I can’t wait for you to read it too! So excited to finally get these words out into the world on March 19!


Looking forward to the book and loving being part of the Slay Like a Mother community!

Katherine Wintschreply
– In reply to: Amy

Thanks so much, Amy! Your support means a lot!

Shawn Redwoodreply

Although I am a man, and will never be a mom, I, too, am looking forward to reading your book. I am sure that there are gems and pearls of wisdom in there for everyone. Greetings from Spain. Originally from Richmond, VA.

Katherine Wintschreply
– In reply to: Shawn Redwood

Hi Shawn, thanks so much for your kind words all the way from Spain! I agree that the book has a little wisdom for all audiences, and I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much as the women in your life would. Thanks for your support.

Kristin Switzerreply

I got my book today at the Network of Executive Women’s event you spoke at. WOW!!! You are truly inspiring and I loved reading about your journey. I CANNOT WAIT to read the book!! I have always believed when you share your story you help others. You have shared your story and are also changing the lives of thousands of mothers (aka Slayers!). I have always believed that when you help another mom and she changes her life, you are also changing the lives of every single person in her family. It has this positive ripple effect on the community and the world. Thank you for creating that!!

Katherine Wintschreply
– In reply to: Kristin Switzer

Hi Kristin –
Thank you SO MUCH for this lovely note. I hope you’re enjoying the book (sorry for the delayed response!). I too agree that when we help women, they end up helping so many others. It’s a beautiful thing! Thanks for coming out to the event and for taking the time to send such kind words. I really appreciate it. SLAY ON, my friend!

Veronica Blountreply

I purchased your book on Audible and it’s like you were reading my life thank you for writing this book I met you about 4 years ago at Unbound RVA I am so glad to have the opportunity to read this book and tell other moms about it and I’m excited to get an opportunity to work with you I wish you much success with this endeavor and all of your future endeavors

Katherine Wintschreply
– In reply to: Veronica Blount

Wow — I love hearing this. My story is not original, it is the same thing countless mothers experience every day. Thank you for being so excited to share this message with other women. It brings me so much joy to think of how many dragons we are able to slay together.

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