There’s a new piece in the UK Guardian about “book doulas.” Is this a thing or is a marketing gimmick, the piece asks, and the internet being what it is, the skeptics are out in force.
Ten years ago I left my day-job as a Communications Director for non-profits and dove into the challenge of supporting Van Jones to create The Green Collar Economy. It came out with Harper One, got then-Presidential hopeful Barack Obama publicly talking about green-collar jobs, and when Obama took office, got Van into the White House as a special advisor on Green Jobs. The book became a NYTimes bestseller too.
As the book went to press 9-ish months later, it occurred to me to make my brand The Book Doula. When I researched it nothing else came up; thebookdoula.com was unclaimed and I bought it. I spent a while creating my logo and first website. By the time I launched, there was another woman calling herself the Book Doula; she’d snagged some of the related prime social media real estate.
In the past 5 years, every month I’ve had to turn away people wanting to hire me, for lack of capacity. As a result, I launched the Storia Summit, a nonfiction book development retreat. I’ve also begun seeking out and training Associates, two of whom are currently active, supporting books that will appear in 2018. There’s definitely room for more of us.
As for the maligned “warm and fuzzy” tone on my website describing the partnership and the work.. I stand by it. There are aspects of birthing anything, organic or creative, that defy the rational, that often defy language, mysterious and unmeasurable.
I think of the whole-body listening that I appreciate so much in one of my new associates, G. A stance of curiosity and humility is more important to me than writing and editorial credentials.
I myself don’t have any degrees from writing schools. The closest I got was an undergrad Creative Writing Minor, focused on poetry. My credentials are a decade plus of nonprofit strategic communications, the final four years at a philanthropic institution that gave me a great vantage over the whole NGO /Third Sector landscape.
Also: I’ve birthed a dozen books in the last decade, three of which have been NYTimes bestsellers, one of which was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, several of which have catapulted the author near the White House, and pretty much all of which brought the book’s theme into popular discourse: to watercooler- and dinnertable- conversations.
So is it a thing? I think it’s safe to call it a thing.