How Hustle Can Get You A Book Deal

My friend Sarah Kovac has her first book, In Capable Arms, coming out this fall!

Sometimes I see authors releasing first books, and I wonder how much luck or the right connections had to do with the publishing deal. Having been privileged to watch Sarah’s story develop since we met in high school, I can tell you that her success is due to a lot of hustle on her part.

Sarah’s book is about dealing with AMC, which makes her arms mostly unusable, so she performs many daily tasks with her feet. Her journey to publication began in 2010 when she saw CNN requesting iReport stories from parents with disabilities. She had studied journalism at school, but was scared to report about herself. After wrestling with insecurity over her appearance, she decided, “My arms are my arms, whether I like them or not, and hiding them is just ridiculous. They’re attached. They’re not going to go away. And if my story can encourage somebody, then I’m going to tell it, even if it makes me uncomfortable.”

So she created a short video of herself doing daily parenting tasks, like diapering and feeding her then-8-month-old son — with her feet. She uploaded the report before she could second-guess herself.

The next day, she checked the news on CNN, and found herself on the home page! This quickly led to interview requests from local media outlets.

But it wasn’t this 15-minutes-of-fame situation that created a book offer for her. Sarah started to really hustle on telling her story. She made more videos of herself: driving, putting on makeup, crocheting… She blogged about her day-to-day life. She researched how to write a book proposal then wrote a great one. She went to a writing conference. She contacted agents. After landing an agent, she revised her proposal based on feedback from publishers.

She finally got offers from publishers, analyzed them with her agent, and was delighted to sign with Abingdon Press. And THEN. She had to actually write the book. Which she did, typing with her feet while caring for her now-3-year-old son, then making edits while bending around her pregnant belly. Her second child will be born just about the time the book releases in September.

Sarah is going to write a guest post for me soon to share more about the process of writing a book with a busy toddler around. I can’t wait to read it, and I can’t wait to read her book, which is available for pre-order now: In Capable Arms by Sarah Kovac.

The next time you see someone’s success and are tempted to be jealous of their “overnight” triumph, or dismiss it as a lucky break, remember that you haven’t seen their backstory and the hustle that got them where they are.

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  • Sarah Kovac

    Thanks, Becky! I’m excited to hang out with your readers!


    Love it! I think of the years of DREAMING to get to that place…and the journaling ideas. None of that propels you there. Hustle does :-) Looking forward to her post on multi-tasking too!

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