“I Think of You on Your Birthday” will be a collection of writings from birthparents to the children they placed for adoption.
It’s a recurring question among adoptees: Does she think of me on my birthday? And it’s a recurring post among birthmoms: It’s his birthday and there’s so much I want to say but cannot.
This book will collect the messages birthparents wish they could say to their children on their birthdays.
Deadline: July 31, 2020.
Length: 50 – 5000 words per submission.
Format: Write in second-person (e.g., It’s your 8th birthday). The format can be a letter, story, or poetry. Include the age of your child when the piece was written.
Feel free to conceal personal details, names, and locations.
Feel free to submit letters you wrote in the past.
Eligibility: You must be a birthparent to submit. Birthparents include anyone who has placed a child for adoption, regardless of the child’s age at placement, siblings, adoption arrangement, or level of openness.
There may be additional opportunities for other members of the adoption triad and their supporters, but not in this book.
You do not need to be an accomplished writer or published author to submit. If your piece is selected for inclusion in the anthology, I will work with you to polish and edit it. To improve your chances of being included, please send your highest quality work.
Anonymity: I’ll plan to include your full name with your submission unless you prefer anonymity. I recognize there are reasons to mask your name in the published version, and I’m happy to accommodate. I will need to know your name and address so I can put together a rights contract, but we do not need to publish or disclose any personal information in the book. We also do not need to publish any details about your child or their parents.
Publication timeline: I will target a launch date of January 2021.
Payment: Three free contributor copies of the paperback book, or codes for three free eBooks or audiobooks.
How to submit: Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the subject “Birthparent submission.” For each submission, include:
- Your name
- Child’s age at the time of writing
- Your email address and phone number
You may submit up to three pieces.
You can paste your submission text directly in an email or attach it as a word document (.rtf, .doc, .docx). Please do not send it as PDF or as an image (.png, .jpg, .gif).
Birthparents, as a whole, rarely have a voice. Some of us are careful never to offend or disrupt for fear of the adoption being closed. Some never have the opportunity and have no contact. Some are bursting with words but swim in guilt and shame and cannot get the words out.
At the same time, adoptees crave information from birthparents who they may never meet. Maybe they have contact but never ask the real questions. Maybe they don’t reconnect for fear of hurting their adoptive parents, but they still long for the connection. Maybe they swim in guilt and shame and cannot reach out.
My goal is to share the universal themes and the unique challenges that unite us. My hope is that adoptees will find the words they need to hear in in this book, and that birthparents will feel heard and connected.
It’s not possible to include every submission, and I’m sorry that I can’t include them all. The best advice for being selected is to write honestly, write from your heart, and share all that you wish you could say to your child on their birthday.
With that in mind, here’s a bit more about how I envision the anthology so you know what I’m looking for.
Ideally, I’d like to put together the collection by age, starting with a letter written right after the child is born, and then one piece for every year.
The selection process will be subjective. I’m looking for:
- Clarity in writing and emotion
- Universal themes in what birthparents wish to convey
- Unique challenges and perspectives specific to individual experiences
- Diversity across the adoption experience (open, closed, kinship, age at placement, sibling groups, etc.)
- Diversity across demographic voice
The book will ultimately be hopeful and love-focused. Please write honestly. There is room for pain, grief, and heartbreak and it’s essential for authenticity. But ultimately, I don’t want to create an anthology that is all desperation. I lean toward hope and will work for an end result that is comforting and inspiring.
Most of the adoption-related books I find have a strong Christian influence and I am not a religious person. I am likely to select pieces that are not overwhelmingly religious.
One of the goals is for each adoptee to receive these words as though they were written specifically for them. Therefore, letters that are emotionally specific but vague in name and place details are preferred.
The pieces that resonate with me, that fill in a part of the story that have not been filled yet, and that add a unique and compelling emotional voice will be the ones I include.
I’m an indie author and just published my first book, Redefining Family: A Birthmother’s Path to Wholeness. I created a small publishing company, Wandering River Press. I’m a one-woman-shop and I’m still learning. This will be my first anthology.
There are costs associated with every step of this. I’ll cover the editing, professional cover, book layout and formatting. If we do an audiobook, I’ll pull together the recordings and will likely use local talent as narrators. (If you have an excellent audio setup and would like to record your own piece, let me know.) I’ll launch the book under my name as editor, and will include all contributor names with your pieces unless you choose anonymity.
I admit, marketing is not my strongest skill yet. I’m learning.
Before we launch, I will put together a marketing plan and request your help in getting the word out. I don’t know what it looks like yet, though, and it will likely be a DIY-style word-of-mouth campaign.
Any birthparent marketing gurus want to help out with this aspect? I’m open to ideas and help.
For my first book, I leveraged a small book launch team. Feel free to read up on what we did. My next book will use more affiliate channels. This will be my third book launch, so hopefully I’ll have more skills by then. 🙂
What other questions do you have? Contact me at email@example.com.