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It Takes a Village to Raise a Mom. And a Book.

posted Thursday June 2nd, 2016


I’m going to begin this blog post the way I’ve started countless blog posts before. I’m going to to tell you a secret.

Book publishing is hard.

Okay, that might not be much of a surprise, but it bears mention. It’s really fucking hard. You spend a hunk of your life writing this thing (in my case, about a hunk of my life) and then you send it off into a world packed tight with so much media there’s just about no hope anyone will see it.

I worked so long and so hard on “My Heart Can’t Even Believe It” – and I’m so superstitious — that it didn’t really occur to me for a really long time that one day I might actually hold it in my hand. And have to try to get people to buy and read it.

Before the book was released, I solicited advice from two dear, trusted friends, both of whom have published books.

One said:

“Emotionally, you have to pull off the trick of simultaneously not caring, while caring intensely….You have to have febrile faith in the book while accepting the hard fact that most people aren’t going to be interested. It is not fun. But you will get through it.”

(I thought that was very good advice, even though I had to look up the word febrile.)

The other said:

 “You WILL need to go guerrilla.”

And so I girded my loins, ready to enter the ugly world of book marketing. I prepared myself for unanswered emails, books sent to black holes, the cold shoulder from some corners of the disability community, since my book and I are neither reverent nor academic. I’m glad I was ready for it, because that part has not been fun.

But the rest has more than made up for it. I was so ready for the bad that I never stopped to contemplate the good.

I showed up at my all-time favorite bookstore, Changing Hands, on the first of May, with the goal of a. finding a margarita at the bar next door and b. not bursting into tears when I got up to read for the first time. I figured a few people would come (since I’d begged them). I was blown away. There, sitting before me, was my world. Ray, Annabelle and Sophie. My parents. The guy who married us. My best friends, early readers and late cheerleaders and people who have listened to me whine ad nauseum. People with kids with Down syndrome I knew; people I didn’t. Co-workers, co-writers, co-conspirators. Teachers, therapists. More family. One of Ray’s oldest friends. The love in that room, that day, was not like anything I’d ever felt.

And yet, I realized, as I stood there, that I’ve felt it all this time. These are the people, the community, the village, that raised us as Ray and I raised our girls.

I’ll never forget the beautiful, emotional introduction by one of my dearest friends, Cindy Dach, who once stood in the same spot and handed David Sedaris an ashtray (it was that long ago — he was still appearing in bookstores, one could still smoke indoors) and told him to go right ahead.

Later, Ray described it as one of the best days of his life. I agree. A month later, I still can’t believe it wasn’t a dream. May was packed with more amazing days — friends came from as far as San Francisco and San Diego to my Los Angeles reading, which was a wonderful reunion of old friends and a chance to make new ones. Antigone Books in Tucson was equally amazing. Just about every day of the month, it seems, there was a reading, a media interview, an event. And so much love on Facebook it was like having a month-long birthday but not getting older. (Or, as I have said more than once, like going to your own funeral.)

Hearing from people who have read the book has also been incredibly gratifying and humbling.

I am so spoiled. And so so so incredibly lucky. I’m also still working really hard to get the word out on the book. This month I’ll travel to New York City, Washington, D.C. and Denver. I’m bugging editors and reporters and folks who run Down syndrome groups, and I have a lot of newfound respect for anyone who works in public relations.

But mostly, as I head into June and beyond, I’ll be thinking about May.

Amy’s book, “My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome,” was published by Woodbine House this spring and is available through Amazon and Changing Hands Bookstore. For information about tour dates and other events visit and here’s a book trailer.

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Tags: Filed under: Down syndrome by Amysilverman

One Response to “It Takes a Village to Raise a Mom. And a Book.”

  1. Amy, “My Heart…” is a wonderful read. Thank you for sharing your moving, informative, insightful, inspiring stories. You, Ray, Annabelle and Sophie are fortunate to have one another.

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My Heart Can't Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome is available from Amazon and 
Changing Hands Bookstore
. For information about readings and other events, click here.


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