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I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Sure to give you anxiety at your 1st book signing

Published 2 months ago • 4 min read

KAT VANCIL

THE STORYTELLER'S SAGA

QUEST 55

Well hello there, Reader,

Earlier this week over on threads a soon-to-be author asked:

When you sign copies of your books, what do you write on the title page?

It’s the sort of thing to at least give you one sleepless night.

Should I just sign my name?

Should I pick my favorite quote from the book?

Maybe something inspiring?

What should it be?!!!😰

How I chose mine is a bit of a long story.

It all started on a rainy spring day in 1997…

I was home sick from school and lying miserably on the couch in the home my parents still live in today. We’d been assigned Karen Cushman’s The Midwife’s Apprentice for English, but I…wasn’t reading it. Because…well…

Reading for me at the time was still about as arduous as a trek up Mount Everest. Doable, but not without the potential of losing a limb. Or at the very least a finger in the process.

So I was just lying there watching the rain out the big front windows until my mom picked up the book and started reading to me.

Now if you’ve never read The Midwife’s Apprentice, I won’t ruin it for you. But I will say that there’s one part where someone gives the poor beaten-down heroine a gift. And it was at that moment that my mom burst into tears at this fictional act of kindness.

She was inconsolable. Beyond devastated. And I just sat there awkwardly, because seriously—what do you do when you’re 12 and your mom starts sobbing?

It’s like that scene in the Sense and Sensibility movie when Emma Thompson starts sobbing and Kate Winslet and the other 2 Dashwoods just stand and immediately make a speedy exit.

And so that book just sat there unread for hours. And then days until I just couldn’t bear it anymore. I just had to know what happened next. And so I picked up that book and began to read.

And it was a hard, grueling struggle for me at first, but I didn’t care. I was going to finish reading that book even if it killed me.

And you know what? I’m still not a speed reader, but it did get a little easier with each page.

It all started on a warm May afternoon in 1997…

I checked out Karen Cushman’s Catherine, Called Birdy from the public library in my hometown. The first book I ever read in my life that was by choice instead of something I was made to read in school.

(In 2022, Amazon turned this into a film starring Bella Ramsey and Billie Piper 😻 and it’s fantastic!)

I read a little each night before I went to sleep. And to this day, half a chapter or more before bedtime is still a must-have part of my nighttime routine.

It all started in a crowded Hollywood ballroom on the Avenue of Stars in 2009…

12 years after her books changed my life—and my relationship with reading forever—I meet Karen Cushman at a publishing conference back when I worked in children’s publishing.

And that conversation with her and a few kind words of encouragement scrawled on the title page of her book changed it even more…

May all your dreams come true.’

Because a little over a year later I wrote a novel on the simple premise:

“What if a boy’s greatest dream really did come true?’

That simple idea spawned a 325K word urban fantasy trilogy set in the SF Bay Area. The Marked Ones. Which released between 2011-2014.

During that time I also pitched an article to Writer’s Digest. And it was selected to be featured on the cover of a guide that went out to every major bookstore in the country.

The next article I pitched to a publisher for a guide won an Ippy award.

Which leads me to the question posed by that new author…what do I write to readers when I sign books for them?

Dream big!

Because it’s positive and inspiring. And though it may seem simple, dreaming big is exactly how this autistic/dyslexic girl went from being someone who couldn’t read or write at age 8 to being a professional storyteller today.

So what do I write to readers when I sign books for them? Something that might just inspire that next new storyteller to take hold of their dreams and make them real. Who knows, you could be the very reason a fantastic story exists in the world one day.

So DREAM BIG, Reader. Dream that seemingly impossible dream. Because the only person who’s allowed to say it’s impossible is you.

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil

🐱

PS 👉 I’m curious Reader, what would you write when you sign your books? Hit reply and share with me.

PSS 👉 Does the idea of trying to summarize your 100K fantasy tome make you cringe, Reader? Maybe fill you will dread? Or even make you consider writing a whole new book to avoid writing marketing copy for the one you just finished?

You’re in luck! I’m putting together an easy-to-follow mini-course to take the pain out of writing those book descriptions for your sales page and website.

Did your friend, co-worker, or some rando you met at a con forward this email to you?

First off, they have good taste.

Secondly, you can join the Storyteller's Saga too and get edutaining emails delivered to your inbox every Wednesday by clicking the golden button below.


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I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Here to help you vanquish those story construction obstacles, slay that imposter syndrome clawing at the back of your brain & stomp boredom flat with heart-pounding Boys Love fiction. Join the Saga and choose your inbox obsession, whether it’s helpful advice to get your writing unstuck or an episode of my weekly Boys Love Fantasy series to devour during your coffee break.

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