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You only need to take one step.

Two books by author Mandy Kubicek
Mandy Kubicek books, My TLC Journal and I Killed My Mom and Other Lies

We are constantly in awe of the graduates from The Tiny Book Course. Seeing so many beautiful books being born is one of our very favorite things ever.

Today, we want to share an interview we had with one of those grads, Mandy Kubicek, whose newest book will be available at the beginning of October, just in time for those fall reading vibes.

You wrote your first book in The Tiny Book Course. Please tell us about that experience and how it affected the writing of your second.

I’m so grateful for The Tiny Book Course! I was confident in my writing ability, but everything around the writing felt so time-consuming to learn and execute. I most appreciated that all of those details (where to buy an ISBN, how to distribute, interior templates, promotion ideas) were covered for me.

Then, when it came time to bring my memoir into the world, I realized how much I’d learned that could make this a more successful launch. For example, I had already braved asking bookstore owners to carry my book, so I had less fear and knew the math of consignment agreements. I knew how many books I could sell by promoting online to my network, so it was easy to commit to additional fun live events and partnerships to extend this book’s reach. I also feel like I’ll be taken more seriously. Or perhaps I’m taking myself more seriously? This shows up in little ways, like having a page in my second book for other titles by this author and being confident listing author in my bio before my memoir launches.

I think everyone should write and publish a tiny book before publishing the book of their dreams.

Every author has a different writing process. Some people need to get away and check themselves into a hotel or cabin in the woods, in order to focus. Some write first thing in the morning, others are night owls. What was your writing process for your new book?

Unlike my first (tiny) book, which I mostly wrote in an afternoon, I’ve been writing this memoir for nearly 8 years. I frequently updated my process, but it usually looked like focused time in the mornings and on weekends. I found that it had to be a side gig, or else the pressure I put on the writing became too much. Plus, memoir poses a unique challenge: writing about my mother’s early death could be very emotionally taxing. For many months, I committed to 30+ minutes every morning before going to my full-time job. That worked great, until it didn’t. Once or twice I rented a cabin to focus. There were several seasons where I didn’t touch [my manuscript], others where I logged dozens of hours in a bullet journal, driving toward a milestone. Overall, I found that balancing my mental goals with my physical intuitions worked best. I wrote more about it here.

Imagine you are speaking to someone who dreams about writing a book, but they feel like they aren't a good writer or that the process is too intimidating. What would you say to them?

It is intimidating! The good news is, you can’t climb the mountain from here anyway. You only need to take one step in that general direction. I’d encourage you to just start writing—with low expectations. For example, I like to free write in a physical notebook first thing in the morning. It’s mostly whiny, repetitive, messy, and boring. And I certainly don’t want anyone else to read it. But it’s a valuable step in my journey.

Once a book is released into the world, it creates a ripple effect. It can lead to speaking engagements, new clients, or something unexpected. We call this "Book Magic." What changes have you noticed since your books have come out? Do you feel inspired to keep writing and creating even more?

The biggest magic, beyond a doubt, is what a college friend shared after reading an early copy of [my upcoming memoir] I Killed Mom and Other Lies. His dad died when he was 16, something we’d barely talked about. He’s a very stoic guy. In his Goodreads review, he says, “For anyone who's experienced the loss of a loved one as a child, this is a must-read. I felt so validated in seeing my feelings and experiences echoed in Mandy's. The ending line floored me. I read it over and over. When I finished, tears welled up.” We later had an 80-minute conversation about grieving our parents.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this single experience made me feel like the entire 8-year project was worth it.


Mandy’s memoir is available in paperback and ebook on October 3. You can pre-order it now.


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