Tagged Book Excerpts

How to Promote Your Book: Actually Helpful Advice for Writers


Publishing a book is both the end, and the start, of a long process of bringing your writing into the world and getting your book into the hands of readers. Promoting your book starts long before publication day, or even before the manuscript is finished, and continues long after your book comes out. As a writer, marketer, and community builder, I know that promoting your book can feel intimidating, burdensome, overwhelming, nerve-wracking, and exhilarating all at once. The exercises in this workbook break down the process into manageable, understandable pieces and make it fun along the way. 

The fact of the matter is that whether your book is self-published, published by an independent press, or put out by a major publisher, you as the author are the one who needs to work the hardest to get it out into the world. Whether you are still in the process of writing your book or eagerly waiting for its publication day, working through these exercises will enable you to confidently create a sustainable promotion plan that makes sense for your book, audience, and life. 

No one is born knowing how to promote themselves or their work. Marketing and promotion are skills that are learned. As you practice, you will feel more comfortable putting yourself and your work out into the world and will learn what works for you, your writing, and your community of readers. The exercises in this workbook are ones I’ve used myself to promote my books and honed for over a decade through helping creative people develop the business side of their practice and build support for their projects. I’m excited to share them with you so that you can use them to take concrete steps to create a supportive environment for your book to thrive and succeed. 

How to use this workbook

This workbook is intended to complement my book Promote Your Book. For deeper context, insight, and advice from a wide variety of authors as well as literary, marketing, and community-building professionals, I suggest you read the book alongside this workbook and do the exercises in order. For those doing these exercises in conjunction with reading the book, I’ve noted the chapter that each exercise corresponds to. But whether you are using this workbook as a companion to the book or as a standalone, it is designed to take you step-by-step through the book promotion process so that you gain a holistic understanding of how to reach your readers. If possible, I recommend working through these exercises before your book comes out and using them to create a full book promotion plan, which is outlined in the last section of this workbook.

While there is no one pathway to success for a book and no proven formula to make your book a smash hit, there are concrete actions you can take to support your book and its trajectory in the world. Consider this workbook your starting place.

Chapter One: Building literary community 

While the act of writing is often an isolating one, publishing a book means connecting with the wider world. Being a writer of any kind, whether you are writing in a specific genre or about a specific subject, connects you with a community. The sooner you can start building and deepening connections with communities who can support you as a writer or who would be interested in the subject of your book, the broader the basis of support you will have during and after publication. Community is not a one-way street, but rather an exchange between people with shared interests and values. This is important to keep in mind as you complete the exercises in this section, which will enable you to make a plan to connect with and engage your community. 

These exercises correspond to Chapter One of Promote Your Book.

Identify your community

Reflect and brainstorm. Write down three communities you are already part of:




Now, write down three specific communities your book might speak to:




Reflect: Where is there overlap? If there isn’t overlap, why?

If there’s no overlap between the communities that you are a part of and the communities that your book speaks to, that indicates space to grow and a potential place to prioritize. You may find that you need to focus your energies on building community in places that are interested in what you are writing about. The next set of exercises can help you focus on how to engage, and as you do so, you may find more overlap.

Want to keep reading? Check out Promote Your Book Workbook, along with Eleanor C. Whitney‘s other titles!

The Wild Ride – a Bikes in Space Excerpt

If you love queer, feminist science fiction and fantasy, bicycling, and books about books, The Bicyclist’s Guide to the Galaxy, published by Microcosm in fall, 2023, will check all your boxes. Get a taste of what’s inside with this excerpt is from the story “The Wild Ride” by Shelby Schwietermanand then get a copy of the book!

You can also read an interview with Shelby on our Kickstarter page.

Carly wasn’t upset, and she didn’t care what the other girls thought of her. She simply wanted to read her book more than she wanted to participate in some stupid sleepover, and if that made enemies for her, then so be it. What could a group of sixth grade girls do to her anyway? Gossip about her at school? Ha, like that could harm her. Carly was tough. Carly was a freaking Crystal Warrior, just like Annabeth the Quick, hero of the Shining Realm, protector of the Great Egg of Wisdom.

Carly paused under a street lamp to adjust the straps of her backpack. She had perfected the art of reading while walking back in, like, fourth grade, but doing it at night really upped the difficulty level. Her right hand ached from holding the book open and turning pages with her thumb; her left hand was slippery with sweat where it gripped the cell phone she used as a reading light. She longed for the return of her actual reading light, which had been taken away after she’d been caught too many times reading under her covers while she should have been sleeping. 

The night was hot and humid for this time of year. Crickets chirped happily while toads croaked and sang, trying to outdo the little insects. Carly had been a sixth grader for almost two months now—the very least the weather could do would be to reward her with a cool, breezy night in which to walk home. It was the time of year for ghost stories and black cats and strange whispers on the wind, not for sweating through your pajamas and daydreaming about snow. 

“Ugh,” Carly said to the undesirable weather. She balanced the phone on the book, wiped her sweaty palm, shook out her other hand, and then continued on.

Most people walking home from an abandoned sleepover at sometime after midnight would stick to the sidewalk. Not Carly. The empty street provided a wider, clearer path for her feet to follow while her eyes were busy finishing chapter twelve so she could get to chapter thirteen in which Annabeth breaks the other Crystal Warriors out of the dungeon so they can help her find the Great Egg, which has been stolen by the evil emperor’s dark forces. 

Some people would be worried about being hit by cars, but this scene was one of Carly’s favorites, and she hadn’t seen or heard any cars since she started her walk home ten minutes ago. Some people, in Carly’s opinion, were just too cautious. How could anyone enjoy the book they were reading if they were constantly worrying about what was going on around them while they read?

Except for the occasional runaway or missing person, Carly’s town was quiet and boring. Just like Carly, according to the girls at the sleepover. Carly didn’t take it to heart. Those girls simply could not stand that they were less interesting than a book she had read a dozen times already. Her copy of The Crystal Warriors was beginning to look like it had been through as many battles as the Crystal Warriors themselves. The paperback cover was chipped and bent from being shoved into and ripped out of a backpack, a bookshelf, a desk, and a hiding place behind a different book so her teachers wouldn’t know she was reading it again instead of “expanding her horizons.” The pages were soft and feathery from dirt and oils they’d collected with each turn. Pages thirteen, eighty-six, and one hundred eighty-four were marked with fingerprints of cheese dust from Carly’s careless snacking while reading. An unfortunate blotch of spaghetti sauce graced page ninety-two, not to be confused with the actual bloodstain on page ninety-three, the result of a sudden but minor nosebleed. It was as if she had left almost as much of herself in the book as the book had left in her. Almost.

As Carly’s feet slapped the pavement, she turned the page. Chapter thirteen. Yes! Carly’s pace quickened as she followed Annabeth sneaking into Fort Marion’s hidden underground prison, subduing guards before they even realize they’re not alone. She was called Annabeth the Quick not because of her fast feet, but because of her fast thinking. She could talk her way out of trouble and talk others into trouble with fluid reasoning and endless charm. Of any character in the book, Annabeth had the best insults and the best comebacks. She was about to deliver one of her wittiest to a prison guard when—

The phone light flickered, then died, plunging Carly and her book into the thick dark of the night. Carly wiped sweat off her forehead with the back of her arm. After a few misses, she managed to tuck her phone into a pocket of her backpack. Something about the night felt wrong. Carly turned slowly in the street, searching for whatever felt so off about the darkness. She squinted, but couldn’t see the streetlight she’d passed just moments before. The only light came from the moon and stars above. Definitely too little to read by.

“Ugh,” she said to the darkness. She’d have to walk the rest of the way without reading. Doable, but not preferable. Even the toads and crickets were mad about it. She could tell because they were unusually silent, except for a strange whirring whine from somewhere back the way she came.

As Carly stood there, perplexed, the darkness at the end of the street transitioned to a milky green glow that moved quickly toward her. The long, whining sound grew louder. Sudden wind whipped her hair around her face, obscuring her vision, making her doubt that what she was seeing was real: Within the pale green light were cyclists. Dozens of them, maybe a hundred. They moved as a unit as they sped closer. Heads down, feet pumping, wheels spinning, frames rattling, they headed right for her. Carly couldn’t tell where the riders ended and their bikes began. One figure led the pack, with the rest following in a swarm. She blinked, and they were yards away. She blinked again and they were upon her.

Cyclists zipped past, grazing her elbows and knocking her left and right. She caught a flash of yellow eyes, a glint of white teeth, an otherworldly grin. The din of at least a hundred wheels flying past was accented with manic, frenzied laughter and the smell of hot rubber. 

Carly dropped to the ground in a crouch, her arms curling over her head for protection. She expected to be run over. She was faced with the entirely new reality that she might die at any time. And that time might be after midnight, in the dark, as strange glowing cyclists ran her over in the middle of the road.

This is not, she thought, how a Crystal Warrior would get killed! Her scream vibrated in her throat, more like a growl of frustration than an expression of terror. But before her growl ended, space opened up around her. The sound of bikes whizzed away down the road. She jumped to her feet and watched the herd of cyclists move farther and farther down the street, taking their glowing light with them.

For a moment, Carly was frozen with awe. Just for a moment. Soon, though, she realized something very important was missing. It wasn’t in her hands, and it wasn’t on the ground. Not even a scrap of paper or a chunk of cover remained. She checked her backpack, just to be sure. But no, it was gone.

Carly turned back toward the direction in which the herd had disappeared and shouted, “Give me back my book, you bicycle freaks!”

Want to find out what happens next? Get the book!

Here-And-Now, Short-Term, Instant-Gratification Coping Skills

This list of skills originally appeared in Coping Skills and is also featured in Unfuck Your Stress, out in paperback October 2023.

The more coping skills you have in your back pocket, the better. If you have an array of stuff to draw from, you are far less likely to fall apart. Consider it a toolbox. You may have a really fantastic screwdriver. Passed down for generations. Your grandpa used it to fix the bathtub 60 years ago. That’s all well and good, except maybe it’s a flat head and today is the day you need a Phillips head. My suggestion? Try any of the following skills that sound vaguely interesting, useful, or intriguing. There is nothing wrong with having a huge, rolling cart of tools on hand at all times. And these are the types of skills that you can use in the moment when you are about to lose your shit.

  1. Chew on something. Gum. Beef jerky. Pop Rocks. Something that you can focus your attention on.
  2. Find something to keep your hands busy. Stuff like Play-Doh or Silly Putty is less distracting than fidget spinners, Slinkys, fidget cubes, etc. But dude, use whatever works for ya.
  3. Blink. It interrupts the brain’s perception of time (according to research, it may function as a way of slowing down our neural metabolism). It’s essentially a system reboot/mini-nap that we do throughout our waking hours unconsciously and that we can also do consciously when stressed.
  4. Attach a specific scent to feeling calm, happy, and relaxed (lavender can be a good one to use since it has calming properties in its own right). You do this by intentionally smelling a certain scent when you feel safe and relaxed. Like after meditation or guided imagery or exercising. Then carry a drop of that scent on a cotton ball in a ziplock baggie or small container. When feeling stressed, open it and inhale the scent and reconnect to the calm feeling.
  5. When you find yourself thinking in negative terms of “I can’ts” (such as “I can’t deal with large crowds” or “I can’t run a 10K”) add the word “ . . . yet” to the end of the thought. That opens you up to the possibility of working towards being able to do it later, rather than getting stuck in a cycle of negativity.
  6. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts for a detox. If you don’t have access to a tub, at least soak your feet.
  7. Go ahead and cry. Sad tears release chemicals that other tears do not.
  8. Create a list, either in your head or written down, of five things you are grateful for. (My mom made me do this when I was little and I hated her for it . . . but it so worked.)
  9. Take off your shoes and socks and connect to the ground beneath you. (It’s called “earthing”—the idea is connecting to the earth more than your own body, which is grounding.)
  10. Hold a piece of ice in your hand. It won’t actually hurt you, but the sensation will disrupt the other distress signals in your body. This is an especially good coping skill if you struggle with thoughts of self-injury.
  11. Count backwards from 100 by threes. Trust me, you won’t be able to focus on anything but keeping those numbers organized in your mind.
  12. Look at cat videos online. Or pygmy goat videos. Or panda bears. Or puppy dogs. Embrace whatever your cuteness kryptonite is for a defined break, like five minutes.
  13. Identify whatever muscles are tense in your body and intentionally relax them one by one.
  14. Visualize a stop sign in your head. And tell yourself “STOP.”
  15. Picture an ideal moment in your life. Put yourself back in that experience and connect to the positive feelings you associate with that time period.
  16. Blow bubbles. It’s damn impossible to have panic-attack-inducing breathing and control your breath enough to blow a bubble at the same time.
  17. Get under something heavy. Weighted blankets are great, but whatever blankets you have will also do, so pile them on you. Or crawl between the mattress and the box spring of your bed, if that won’t induce any claustrophobic feelings. As a general rule, you want a weighted blanket to be 10% of your body weight if you are an adult for maximum effect. For kiddos, it’s about 10% of their current body weight plus a pound or two.
  18. Sit in the sun. Vitamin D helps depression symptoms and reduces systemic inflammation in the body.
  19. Do some gentle yoga poses (also known as forms, or by their Sanskrit word, asanas). These facilitate body awareness.
  20. Drink something warm and soothing. Coffee or tea with honey and lemon. Do caffeine-free if caffeine makes you edgy (my personal favorite comfort tea is Good Earth Sweet & Spicy, and it is available with caffeine and without).
  21. Take a picture of a living thing that you love. Your boo. Your kiddo (human or fur baby). Your bestie. A gorgeous flower. Your own damn rock-star survivor self. Take pictures of all of them. Remind yourself that there is love and beauty living out in the world.
  22. Create a tiny treats budget and hit the thrift or dollar store. When I was raising my daughter on 18k a year and living off my WIC groceries, one of my favorite treat activities was to buy a dollar bottle of nail polish and give myself a pedi at home. Create a tiny fun budget for yourself. Something in the one-to-five-dollar range maybe? Hit the dollar store or resale shop and treat yourself to something that’s purely for fun. A bubble bath. A cheesy book. A new mug for your Sweet & Spicy tea.
  23. Write a letter to someone you love or appreciate. Tell them what makes them so special to you. You can send it or not, but sending it might turn out to be the boost THEY need.
  24. Write a letter to yourself. Your past self, your future self, your current self. Who could use some support and words of wisdom?
  25. Take one toxic (or suspicious) thing out of your life for 21 days. A food, a substance, a shitty human being. How do you feel? Any better? What happens when you allow it (or them) back in three weeks later? Does your body say no?
  26. Drink some water. Drink A LOT of water. I don’t wanna see one bit of yellow in that pee, OK? Water is as vital to the brain as it is to the body. It improves our memory and our concentration. You NEED those brain cells well lubricated, am I right?
  27. Reflect on something you do hella well. How’d you get so good at it? How might those skills translate to this situation?
  28. Make a list of things that DON’T need to be changed in your life. What works just fucking fine?
  29. Have sex, cuddle with someone, get a light touch massage, or just think about someone you feel close to. These are all activities that release oxytocin (deep tissue massage decreases cortisol, but light touch massage releases far more oxytocin). Oxytocin is a peptide hormone that facilitates connection and empathy. Interesting thing? While cis women are the people scientists have said have more access to (and therefore more) oxytocin (thanks to childbirth, nursing, and a higher likelihood of being relational in general), cis men are far more sensitive to oxytocin than cis women. We all need it to keep our parasympathetic nervous system online!
  30. Touch not an option? Nurture relationships in other ways. Send someone a text or email thanking them or telling them how much you appreciate them. Deepening our connection with people has a stronger positive correlation to our health than smoking has to cancer!
  31. Strike a (power) pose. Tons of research shows that when we stand like superheroes (legs apart, hands on hips) we feel more powerful. Standing like this for two minutes decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) and increases testosterone (our engaged-to-win hormone). Channel your inner Wonder Woman or Black Panther, y’all.
  32. Take a tech break (and can I just say I initially typed this as “brake,” which is equally appropriate). Set up a schedule for checking your messages and social media rather than being on the obsessive constant tech check. Some people have gone so far as to gray out their phone screens (without the bright colors to entice us, we are far less likely to fall back into the rabbit hole of mindless scrolling).
  33. Picture someone or something that represents loving-kindness and compassion to you. It could be a person, a spiritual figure, or maybe an aspect of nature that resonates with you. Picture yourself in the presence of this compassion and loving-kindness and feel these things towards yourself. What would you hear? How would these experiences feel to you?
  34. Try a Tibetan singing bowl. The concentration it takes to make it hum is sort of like blowing bubbles. You have to focus so much on that, you can’t focus on other stuff. (I have a friend with a neurological tremor who can focus in well enough to hold his fingers still with the bowl, and that’s AMAZING. It’s the only time I’ve seen him not shake!)
  35. Do something slowly. Like, slow way down and be mindful. Or pick a task that requires time and mindful attention (making risotto works, trust me on this one!).
  36. Plan a dream trip. Is it a vacation or a learning experience? Where will you go? What will you do? Most importantly, what amazing foods will you try? Plan out all the details . . . you’ve now got an amazing goal to work toward!
  37. Pick an anthem song. Play that shit when you need a pick-me-up. Sing along LOUD. (Mine is “Sunflowers” by the Velvet Janes.)
  38. Smudge that shit. Seriously, the research shows that burning sage and other herbs kills toxins in the air and improves brain functions. Obvs, burning and producing smoke is better (and that’s what I do at home), but at work I use a sage spray so I don’t set off the smoke detectors in the building (everyone there already has enough to put up with having me around!).
  39. Set your intention by saying it out loud, not just thinking it. It adds an auditory cue, making it more likely to stick.
  40. Do 5-7-8 breathing. You are essentially breathing in for five counts, holding for seven, exhaling for eight. The longer exhale engages the parasympathetic response.
  41. Take a break from your comfort zone. Take a different route, even if just to your mailbox. Chew your food on the other side of your mouth (you have no IDEA how weird that will feel to do intentionally if you are a creature of habit!). Pay attention to how these changes affect you; it gives you something new to focus on.
  42. Make a list of things you look forward to. If the list seems small, create new things to look forward to, like a cupcake date with yourself at the end of the week. Anticipation produces dopamine before you even get the reward!
  43. Are you really furious about something? Try the 60-minute “anger package” from Julia Samuel’s book Grief Works. Do 10 minutes of journaling, 20 minutes of running (or some other cardio exercise), 10 minutes of meditating, and 20 minutes of watching or reading something funny.
  44. Shift your language. Say “I don’t” instead of “I can’t.” Instead of making demands of others, state your preference to them and label it as such. These language shifts add ownership to your experience and decrease the power struggle.
  45. Make one small but healthy change for 21 days and see how you feel after. Not a huge diet shift, but maybe switch out dairy milk for almond milk. Maybe do five minutes of stretching in the morning before going to work. Maybe switch to half-caff instead of fully caffeinated coffee. Something that can have a huge impact without a ton of extra stress and planning.
  46. Try a cue-controlled relaxation technique. Just tense and then relax certain muscles in your body at a time, so you can connect and feel the difference. When we are upset, we tense our muscles in certain patterns as part of our fight-flight-freeze response. By connecting back to our bodies, we can start to unpack these patterns so when they occur we know where to focus our relaxation efforts.
  47. Channel your inner Dr. Phil. Step outside what’s going on mentally for a moment and ask yourself, booming Texas drawl included, “How’s that workin’ for ya?” This isn’t intended as a mechanism of self-shaming for whatever response you are having. Remember, responses aren’t good or bad, they are all adaptive. But this does let you step out of the cycle of response for a minute and judge whether it’s an adaptation that is helping you through the current situation in the healthiest way possible. So you can adjust as need be.

Please Let Me Help, Out Today!

Last month Jordan took on the giggle-filled task of reading and reviewing our latest hilarious book, available in a bookstore near you this month, Please Let Me Help. This unique book of letters may be too wild to be explained, but Jordan did a pretty good job. 

Book cover showing a leaking pipe fixed with band-aids

Starting my internship here only two weeks ago, I immediately started hearing perplexing comments on our new book Please Let Me Help. One coworker enthusiastically encouraging me to read it, referencing a multitude of tiny, hand-drawn vampires. From another, an elusive comment of, “It’s weird…” And a lot of conversations about who the heck our target market is.

So I committed a couple hours to sitting down and reading through it.

I’m not sure where to start.

But I’m a feelings person, and  Please Let Me Help: “Helpful” Letters to The World’s Most Wonderful Brands. makes me feel snarky, slightly rebellious, and like I’m “in” on inside joke with Zach Sternwalker at the companies’ expense.

Reading Please Let Me Help put me in that beautifully drifting and nonsensical mindset one has when musing on something absolutely ridiculous that also makes an element of sense. Like a modern epistolary Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where Port-O-Potties all have flowers and Christian Slater stars as Princess Diana. A place where the brief and formal rejections of Zach’s ludicrous suggestions become that which is laughable. Go fuck yourself, Taco Bell legal department. You obviously don’t get humor.

A strange and humorous letter to Michael Jordan

And that is the real value in the book, I think. Perhaps it was because I read it straight-through in one sitting, but Zach Sternwalker sucks you into this realm of nonsense, until you stand there with him looking across at the rest of the world with altered eyes. And we see its prude stuffiness. Please Let Me Help defamiliarizes us from our world’s business and consumer norms, showing its puffed-up silliness in an ironic, counter-silly way.

But the book doesn’t have to be all this. It stands on its own as just a gosh-darned funny read. It has that unadulterated silliness that reminds me of being deliriously tired, laughing over ridiculous ideas with an equally loopy friend. Who cares if none of it is realistic? For a moment, that which is realistic means nothing. And scheming up Dunkin’ Donuts’ marketing plan for toast is the most logical thing one can do. Like a much-needed breath of fresh air.

So I’d recommend Please Let Me Help to anyone who could use a break from the no-nonsense, logical professional environment we’ve become so accustomed to. Because you know what’s more fun than that? A teeny vampire in a pear suit. Or imagining how to pitch a post-workout human refrigerator to General Electric.


Thank you to Jordan Ellis, our Fall intern, for writing up this review. Get a copy of the book for yourself at Microcosm.Pub

Talking With Faith & How to Be Adultier

This past summer, intern Hanna B. took an interest in Dr. Faith’s books, and asked our favorite foul-mouthed doc a few questions about her work. Then, check out an exclusive excerpt from Dr. Faith’s next book in stores this month: Unfuck Your Adulting.

Everybody struggles at points in their lives. It’s inevitable! Nothing is ever perfect, and there will be times when you will need someone to help you get through the inevitable bumps in the road.
And while often times good friends and a strong optimism can get you through most things, sometimes more professional help is warranted. However, this can be a huge struggle, if not impossible for many, and so we can offer you the next-best-thing: Dr. Faith G. Harper.

Dr. Faith G Harper is a hilarious women with a PhD, who has written multiple zines and books for Microcosm, all about dealing with issues in our own lives, from Unfuck your Brain to her “Five Minute Therapy” zines, she gives you the honest facts on how to deal with whatever you’re dealing with, how it affects your body/brain, and even gives you the tough-love you didn’t know you needed. Her next book, Unfuck Your Adulting, hits stores this month. Filled with humor, science, and damn good advice her writing has the ability to enact positive change within each of us. A woman with a confident smile leans on a brick wall.

I recently had the chance to connect with Dr. Faith and ask her some questions about her books and zines, her practice, and her writing! For those of you who already know Dr. Faith and are dying to hear more or for those who are just interested in this kick-ass women, here are some words of wisdom from the woman herself.

What drove you to initially take your knowledge/practice and develop them into books?
Faith: Frustration! I write the books I want to read. They didn’t exist and I could bitch about it or write them myself! My first book with Microcosm “Unfuck Your Brain” started with the five minutes of brain science psycho-ed that all my clients get at some point that I had entitled “Brains are Assholes.”

What effect do you see from your writing that differs from your in-person practice?
The most obvious answer is that I get to connect with people in a different way…and connect with people I wouldn’t have come in contact with otherwise, just sitting in my office seeing clients who live in Texas. The more interesting answer that is, in terms of the meta-message of my books, there isn’t much difference. My private practice clients who have read my books say they sound EXACTLY like in-session me. I don’t write any differently from how I talk. I’m not trying to sound hip when I write (because trust, I figured out by age 11 that I am deeply uncool and have made my peace with it). If I say “Dude, that’s fucked up” in my writing, those same words in that same order probably came out of mouth at least three times in the past week with clients. No-one needs me to put on my white coat of expert doctorness, they need me to be authentic and present with them in their experience. The expertise may be the backseat navigator, but they aren’t in charge.

Which of your zines/books have you enjoyed writing the most, and why?
I don’t like rehashing topics that have already been covered. In fact, there are plenty of topics that have been suggested in which my response has been “so and so already wrote that book, wrote it better than I ever could, and I have nothing to add.” So any writing (and research process) in which I end up conceptualizing something in a new way ends up being the most enjoyable (even if it’s harder work in the process). For example, in the Coping Skills book I ended up creating a new category system for types of coping skills. It gave me structure for the book, and I think lends a better understanding to how coping skills can be operationalized. I want mental health strategies to just fucking WORK better. So when I think I hit on something that will make that happen I get all the excites.
(FWIW, I am working on something now, where I ended up changing the model of a psychological concept that has never been fucked with in the past. I may end up in academic purgatory, but I was really struggling with making it more accessible, and the only way I could figure out how to make it work was to add to it!)

What do you hope to do in the future with your writing?
World domination!
Or better yet, creating equal access for mental and emotional health for folx. It shouldn’t be the domain of the elite. If we reduce shame and stigma, and make quality tools that support people’s recovery journeys available for the cost of a paper and cardboard zine we’ve done good in the world.



Want to know more about Dr. Faith?

Check out her books here, and learn a thing or two about being a decent grown-up with this excerpt from Unfuck Your Adulting: Give Yourself Permission, Carry Your Own Baggage, Don’t Be a Dick, Make Decisions, & Other Life Skills:A book cover with a punk cat trimming its nails and adulting

How To Be An Adultier Adult:


Growing up, my kids had two household rules: “Don’t be a dick” and “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.”

(And honestly the second rule is really covered by the first, but a couple people I gave birth to had some struggles with the “stop fucking with other
people’s stuff” portion of the program, so we had Rule Two. But I digress.)

This rule was so well known that everyone who was invested in the welfare of my kids (teachers, counselors, etc.) would invoke it: “Well, are you being a dick right now?”

Thank you, Wil Wheaton, for adding “Don’t be a dick” to our common vernacular. Because, seriously, if you are only going to have one life rule, have it be this one. You don’t need an explanation on this one. You know when you are being a dick. Don’t.

When this now-book was first released as a zine, I wondered if “Don’t be a dick” would resonate and make sense with the people who read it. Or would there be a bunch of “Dude, what the fuck do you mean by that?” going on. Not once has that happened. This is a rule that everyone totally intuits immediately. We know
what dickitude looks like in all its shapes and forms. If we call it out in ourselves and refuse to tolerate it in others, we are already acting way more grown than most motherfuckers out there.


OK, you aren’t being a dick. Badass. Next step? Push yourself to put a little more good into the world than you are required to by the situation present. Say please and thank you. Use markers of respect (ma’am, sir, or whatever is appropriate). Be kind. Tip extra. Hold the door open. Smile sympathetically at the parent with the screaming child. Be engaged, present, and just a little bit more awesome.

Recently, someone kept breaking into our neighborhood mailboxes (because some people haven’t read Rule Number One). This meant the mailman couldn’t leave our mail and it had to be brought back to the post office for pickup. My Boo saw his truck one day and asked him if we could get the mail from him and skip the drive. Mailman said, “I’m totally not supposed to do that, but for you I will. Your wife is always soooo nice to me.”

All I had ever done was to smile and wave when I saw the postman in the neighborhood (you know, like Mr. Rogers taught me to), thank him when he brought me packages, and if I saw him in front of the house, walk out to his truck so he didn’t have to get out. This is small, small stuff. And it’s stuff that most people just
don’t do anymore. We aren’t talking about working in a soup kitchen every Saturday (though that is pretty badass, too). We are just talking about taking the time to recognize and respect other human beings on the planet.

Think about all the times someone being nice to you made your day bearable. Things that were pretty small for them were huge for you in that moment. We can put the same goodwill out into the world. Hell, even if it doesn’t work you totally earn serious karmic power-ups for trying harder than you have to.



This interview was conducted and written by summer intern Hanna B. and the excerpt taken from chapters one and two of  Unfuck Your Adulting: Give Yourself Permission, Carry Your Own Baggage, Don’t Be a Dick, Make Decisions, & Other Life Skills by Dr. Faith G. Harper