The Big Thing I’ve Been Waiting to Tell You

book contract 2I started writing my book during my MFA program at Hamline University a hundred years ago.

We were freshly home from China, and I was working as a technical writer at a software company. I’d sit in 2pm meetings and create online help modules, and then, after work, I’d drive to school.

Outside of small, lit classrooms, the seasons changed, and so did I. I always thought I would write fiction. Instead, I started writing my story bit by bit, prompt by prompt.

I started writing about faith and passion and being on fire, and I was always surprised by how many people seemed to relate.

Almost no one in those classrooms came from an evangelical background like mine, but everyone had some sort of church baggage. Some well-meant moment gone horribly wrong, some heavy-handed pastor, some overzealous boyfriend.

And then I was deep into my own Mad Season. I was spiraling, and I was writing about it because I had assignments due.

I’ve written before about the ways the writing of this particular book saved me – how God met me there when I couldn’t find him anywhere else. And because of that, this book feels both weighty and delicate.


My agent called to tell me about the book deal when Andrew and I were on our weekend getaway up north this February.

We got to our 1970s-decorated room at the Cascade Lodge, and I sat on the floral bedspread and listened to her voicemail.

It’s a two-book deal with a brand new imprint of Random House called Convergent.

And — here’s the super cool part — they’re fast-tracking my first book so that they can release it with their inaugural line in Fall 2013. This October. Only six months away.

When my hands stopped shaking enough to try to call her back, we realized that the Cascade Lodge has zero cell phone reception. So we got back in the car and drove to the nearest strip-mall coffee shop so that I could make that call.

While I talked to my agent, I watched a man who was waiting for his son to get off the bus. He had a hunting knife attached to his belt via holster. On the wall, there were various paintings of a family of bears engaged in typical “up north” activities – camping, canoeing, hiking.

The snow piled high outside, and the waves crashed in Lake Superior and the bell on the door jangled when knife-wearing man’s son came in from the bus.

“Let’s do it,” I told her. “I’m in.” And that was that.

I thought about getting a bear shirt from the gift shop to commemorate the occasion, but in the end, I decided against it.


I want to tell you that for me, the journey toward publication was long. It was a lot of  almosts and not quites. It was full of try agains and rejection emails and waiting.

I finished the book when Dane was a baby, and now he’s four, and I want to tell you that I felt the wait.

I need to say this because I know some of you are writers. Some of you are waiting for this thing to happen, and it’s not happening, and it feels really hard and tender – a purpling bruise that keeps getting elbowed by other people’s good news.

But I also need to say that I was changed in the waiting, and that these years have been so good for me. I learned things about God and about myself. It has been a softening. It has been a deepening.

I want to tell you that I think Convergent is the exact right publisher for this book. There were a lot of almost-fits along the way, but I feel this deep sense of rightness here. This is where I’m supposed to be.

But it took a while to get here, and I want to tell you who are in the aching, waiting place to take heart. This is just part of it for most of us. You will get there.


book contract 1I signed my book contract yesterday in the middle-flurry of morning activity. It took three or four tries to get this photo because Liam kept try to climb onto my lap to grab my pen.

In the living room, the TV blared – those SuperWhy! kids trying to find their super-letters. Dane kept shouting that he needed the wings reattached to his dragon toy.

I always thought signing a book contract would be a kind of transcendent moment. But in many ways, it was part of the movement of our day.

When I dropped the contract off at the gas station/post office, the boys abandoned me for the toy aisle immediately. I stood there alone, and I finally said to the clerk, “That’s my first book contract you’re holding.”

She looked at me with the dead eyes of an overworked postal/gas station employee, said, “So you want me to track it or something?”

And in many ways, this is a life changing thing. And in so many ways, it is business-as-usual.

In the end, I think that’s exactly, beautifully right.

Thank you so much for being part of my journey. I cannot wait to share this book with you.

  • Brenna D (@chicagomama)


    Eeek!!!! So excited!! Tell us when we can preorder!!

    So proud. So happy. So encouraged!

    Much love!

    • Danielle | from two to one

      SO EXCITED. And I concur: when can we pre-order!?

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much. I promise, you’ll know about the pre-ordering situation as soon as I do!

  • Rachel Held Evans

    Congratulations, Addie! The publishing world is a happier place today because of this! You are an amazing writer, and I CANNOT WAIT to read your book. Hope you find time to celebrate today.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Rachel! It was a terribly snowy day in Minnesota (in April!) but all these comments were a celebration all of their own. Thanks for adding to it!

  • Jan Moyer

    Congratulations! Such exciting news!

  • Shelly Miller

    Congratulations Addie, not surprised a bit. Can’t wait to read your words. Loved this post, the ordinary and extraordinary of it all.

  • Shar

    HOOOOOOOOOORAY! I am so happy for you! Can’t wait until this comes out–I will buy a copy for myself and one for all my friends. :)

    • Addie Zierman

      You are too sweet. Thanks so much Shar.

  • Katie

    Woohoo!!! Big congrats, Addie. So excited for you!

  • Abby Norman

    “Do you want me to track it or something?” No need, all of your internet friends and fans are tracking it in our hearts! (Also, I needed this so much right now. Got my first rejection from an agent Monday. Onward and upward.)

    • Mark Allman

      Abby you are right we all are tracking it…

    • Addie Zierman

      Oh Abby. BEEN THERE. Hang in there. Take a break. Eat some chocolate. Give yourself space to be disappointed. And then send your letter to three more. (And thank you. So much.)

  • Gillian Marchenko

    WOHOO! Congratulations!! My memoir is coming out around October too! I’ll keep my eye out on what you are doing to launch :).

    • Addie Zierman

      Ugh. Terrified of all things publicity-related. We’ll have to help each other… :)

  • HopefulLeigh


    I’m still incoherent with joy for you, friend. I cannot wait to hold your FIRST book in my hands. The second book will be the icing on the cake. Celebrating with you from afar.

    • Addie Zierman

      I love love love your incoherent response. Thanks friend.

  • Patricia

    I find your writing to be so graceful, honest, and resonant. A book…how wonderful! Congratulations. :) Looking forward to it.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Patricia!

  • grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    VERY excited & happy for you, Addie! Thank you too, for the shout of to those of us still trying to finish projects, and obtain agents & starting this whole mad journey of waiting & rejection. That was super kind of you!

    Can’t wait to read what you’ve got for us!

    • Addie Zierman

      I just KNOW is all. Because it’s just a long road for most of us — a “mad journey” as you put it so well. Beautiful and life-changing, but entirely mad. Thanks for the kind words Grace. Honored to write with you over at DS.

  • Anna Zumbro

    I’ve been waiting for this news! Your writing is so compelling, and I can’t wait to buy your book. Congratulations!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Anna!

  • Mark Allman

    That is awesome! Congratulations. I look forward to ordering it and reading!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks Mark!

  • Matt Appling

    So flipping cool, Addie! Very excited for you.
    I got the call that Moody was picking up my book while on vacation – standing in the middle of a grocery store. :)

    • Addie Zierman

      Love it. It feels sort of apt that stuff like that would happen during the most random moments of your day…just to keep you rooted in the extraordinary ordinariness of the whole wild thing. Thanks for the kind words.

  • Emily

    Congratulations! I look forward to reading your book!

  • Bre


    I was in Carrie Nemzek’s tech writing class last semester, and you came to speak. I followed you on facebook the next day. It’s so encouraging to see you succeed after your trials. Thanks for sharing with our class. I’m glad to have been able to witness this big step in your career, and you life!

    • Addie Zierman

      That makes me so happy, Bre! Thanks so much for reading and following. It means a lot!

  • Alise

    What amazing news! I’m so happy for you! Major, major congratulations to you on this success!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks lovely. :)

  • Paige Tobie

    So incredible happy for you. Congratulations!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks sister. I love you infinitely.

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    i *knew* this was coming for you. a hearty congratulations.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks for *knowing* when I did not. Love you.

  • Kelley Nikondeha

    CONGRATS!!! So excited for you, so excited to hear more about the project(s)!

  • janice

    SO EXCITED! for you and for me becuase I get to read it!


  • Amber Wackford

    Celebrating on the East Coast this morning!! Cannot wait to read your books! Books – plural – that’s so cool! :) Congrats, lady!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks Amber! Books – plural –yes. I totally still can’t believe it.

  • Matt Brown

    Congrats Addie!

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so happy for you and satisfied for you, if that makes sense. You were born to do this, among other things. This is your gift, and we are built up because of it.

    As for the rest: the wait, the journey, the real-life-ness of it all. That’s what it’s all about, yes? We keep hoping to arrive. “What is your will for my life, God?” We want the answers. And he keeps asking questions with a penetrating smile and saying, “I want you to be like my son. That’s all.”

    • Addie Zierman

      “I want you to be like my son. That’s all.” Yes. I’m thankful for the way that God has been working in the real-lifeness and struggle of it all. And thankful that I’ve gotten to know you as well. One of these days, a real life playdate.

  • Hannah Walsh

    Congrats, Addie! I love your writing because I always feel like you’re living my life and reading my mind. :) Can’t wait to read your book!

    • Addie Zierman

      I love that. Thanks so much Hannah.

  • ed cyzewski

    This was a well earned accomplishment. You are such a talented writer. I can’t wait to read your book.

    Also, I noticed that you spruced up the dining room table for that picture. :)

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks Ed. And your comment made me laugh out loud…yes, I definitely spruced up the table for the picture. And curled my hair. And changed out of my yoga pants. None of these things would usually have been done on a normal day. ;-)

  • Megan at SortaCrunchy

    ADDIE. ADDIE! This is wonderful! Congrats, congrats!!!!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you so much Megan. I know you know the long publishing journey too (found so much hope in your DS post about your book last year. I still remember it and how desperately I needed your words in my quiet middle). So thankful for your voice in my ears.

  • Tanya

    I’m a bit teary. Partly cos I ALWAYS seem to be when I read one of your posts because darn it all, you’re such a great writer that I feel it with you.

    But partly because i feel like I’ve been waiting with you for it to happen – knowing that it would and should, but not knowing why it wasn’t.

    And now it’s here and I am just so excited for you – about the publisher, the two!! books, the timing – everything. And I can’t wait to get ahold of that book. I’m celebrating with you.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Tanya. I so appreciate your support and the way you constantly encourage me. So happy to celebrate with all of you now!

  • Micha Boyett

    You are my favorite wordsmith around. And I mean it. I couldn’t be happier for you today. So deserved. So wonderful. Love you!

    • Addie Zierman

      It’s so mutual friend. Thank you. For everything.

  • Sarah Bessey

    “Congratulations” is too weak of a word for the heart-gladness I feel at this news, Addie. Bless you, sister. You’ve been faithful, and I believe God is so pleased with you. Eshet chayil! woman of valour!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Sarah. Such a powerful, beautiful blessing.

  • Connie

    Congratulations!!! So well deserved. There’s a lot of Christian books I won’t read, most of them in fact. I will definitely read yours. xo

    • Addie Zierman

      Love that. Thanks Connie!

  • Pam Polito


    It has been so lovely to reconnect with the little girl I used to babysit for who is now an amazing young woman about to launch her first book. I am honored to know you and proud of who you have become. You inspire so many and your book will change that exponentially! Here you go! Enjoy the journey despite the lack of enthusiasm from the lady in the gas station/post office.

    • Addie Zierman

      This made me weepy Pam. Thank you.

  • Holly Harris Wood

    Three cheers for the next Anne Lamott!

    • Addie Zierman

      Oh my goodness. Not so much. But thank you anyway!

  • Caris Adel

    This is incredible Addie!!! Finally! So excited for you!!!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you Caris!

  • Debra Eby

    So exciting, Addie! I can’t wait to purchase my copy. Congratulations! Your words are meant to be read in beautiful print. Your gift is inspirational. xo

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks lovely. Wish you could come up and take my bookjacket photo! Your pictures are so dang beautiful!

  • Lori Benton

    Congratulations Addie! Long waits are endemic to this writing gig, aren’t they? I like it that your waiting time was put to such good and fruitful use. I think mine was too. I wouldn’t go back and erase a minute of those twenty years (at least as far as the writing/waiting/writing/waiting is concerned. Other things I might erase!).

    • Addie Zierman

      Yes. Absolutely. The trick of it is that it never actually feels fruitful…but that’s usually when things are growing. Thanks for the kind words and solidarity!

  • Judy S

    This popped thru on email just a couple of minutes after you posted, but I was in the midst of my morning traipse through the woods. So, read it again, and it just makes me grin, what else can I say(except if you had seen the chaos of my life since the day before Easter, you would realize how Totally Awesome it is for me to grin like a kid with a bunch of banoons..) I am just so very deep-to-my-core, pleased for you. You are running the good race, and we do so love to cheer you on.

    • Addie Zierman

      I’ve been thinking about you and your daughter so much, Judy. Thankful this felt like banoons to you! Love and grace and so much peace.

  • Merideth

    So happy for you! I can’t wait to read it!

  • Renee Ronika

    Of all the news books coming out this year, yours is the one I look forward to most. Congratulations, Addie.

    • Addie Zierman

      That is entirely humbling Renee. Thank you

  • Sarah

    Woohoo!!!!! Congratulations, Addie! Well-deserved! I’m so excited for you.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Sarah!

  • Stephanie Friant

    Congrats! So exciting! Two books? Fast Track! Can’t wait!

  • Nancy Beneteau

    Thank you Addie and Congratulations. I am working on a book and hearing your story of the long wait and upsets but the deal in the end, has really inspired me to keep going. I’m not done my book but close. There have been times when I’ve doubted my ability to write this as it is my life story but I”m not giving up.
    Can’t wait to read yours.
    God Bless.

    • Addie Zierman

      I’m so glad you’re inspired. Keep going!

  • Emily B

    Hooooooooooooray! Smiling wide over here.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Emily. Love to you and sweet baby Elliot!

  • Lori Pollard

    Yay! So looking forward to reading it! When can we pre-order!! So happy for you!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Lori. I have no idea, but when I know, you will too!

  • Stephanie S. Smith

    Addie, conGRATS! I remember this time last year at the FFW you had a few “almosts” but not-quites, and I’m so glad your story has found a home. Can’t wait to read it!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you so much Stephanie! Yes, I was so in flux then. So thankful for where I am now. And thankful to have had the chance to meet you!

  • Skerrib

    Really cool, Addie!!

  • Tara Owens

    I can’t wait to read both!

  • Adele

    Congratulations Addie. Can’t wait to read it!

  • Andrew Gilmore

    Yes! Congrats, and well-deserved I’m sure. I can’t wait.

  • Stacey Olson

    I can’t wait to read it!!

  • Deb Link

    AHHHH!!! This made my whole night. I’ve been holding this in my heart for you and I’m so excited for you!!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Deb.

  • Julie

    huge congratulations to you! i stumbled onto your blog a few months back, i think i’m coming out of my own mad season- and I’ve so appreciated your writing. you manage to be both honest/real and encouraging which is hard…or at least I think it is :) congrats!!

    • Addie Zierman

      I’m so glad, Julie. That is such high praise, and I’m so happy you’re here!

  • themooninautumn

    So very thrilled for you! I know what lots of people are getting for Christmas from me this year. : )

    • Addie Zierman

      So awesome. Thank you friend.

  • Jo

    Well done and congrats.

  • Bernard Shuford

    This. Is. Awesome.

  • Esther Emery

    So excited to have that book in my hands! Love!

  • Jim Fisher

    Addie – You ARE that good! Blessings on all you do and will do ,,, you are truly blessed to be a blessing to all of us. We can’t wait!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Jim. Really. You are a great encouragement to me.

  • Susie Klein

    a hearty congrats to you Addie! Even though it climaxed in a more normal surrounding than expected, I know you must feel pretty great inside. Thank you also for the sweet encouraging words to other writers who are learning of your good news. I have been working on a book for a year and the ups and downs are surprising to me, but you are an inspiration, thank you!

    • Addie Zierman

      I wasn’t prepared for the ups and downs either. Hope your journey with your book is full of grace you never expected and that takes your breath away.

  • Miles O’Neal

    Congratulations! I’m excited and can’t wait to read it.

    Would you blog sometime about the journey from finishing the book til now? I’d love to hear both about the process (how you found an agent or went through publishers, whatever), and the process you went through via that process.

    • Addie Zierman

      That’s a great idea. I’ll have to do that. Thanks Miles!

  • Sue

    Very excited for you and how your story will speak to so many including me. Thanks for writing and sharing. I feel I know you. I plan on getting the book for sure.

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Sue. I’m so glad that you feel that way — it makes me happy. :)

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  • Kari Patterson

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve never even been here before but someone shared this link with me and wow, it’s so perfect. I’ve been on this road for two years now, and yes, the wait wears on us. But you are a phenomenal writer and your words give life and I’m celebrating with you and I thank you for writing the real down here so we can identify with your journey. What a gift. All the best to you and can’t wait to read your book! Love, Kari

    • Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much for stopping by (and commenting and linking) Kari. Kind words from a fellow traveler down this weird, writing road mean so much to me.

  • Keli Gwyn

    Congratulation on your First Sale, Addie! Enjoy the thrill.

  • Sue Harrison

    I’m so excited for you and excited to read the book!!

  • Beth K. Vogt

    Celebrating with you … and enjoyed hearing more of your journey, Addie.

  • kc

    This is a post I’ve been waiting to see since I started reading here a few months ago–I’m really, really, looking forward to reading this. Congratulations!

    • Addie Zierman

      Thank you so much!

  • Barbara Cameron

    Such an awesome story about your path to publication. Congratulations!

    The song from the Superman tv series was playing on the radio the day I drove my first contract to the post office: “Believe it or not, I’m flying on air…”

  • Diana Trautwein

    Well. OF COURSE. Of course, you’re being published. Of course, it’s a two book deal. Of course, you find out about it where there is no cell phone service. What else?? Oh, my, this is such lovely news. On the day you posted this, I was on my way to the Jumping Tandem Retreat, where I had been asked to serve as a sort of Pastor-in-Residence for the weekend. I left home a full day early, hoping to settle in, get a good night’s sleep and be ready to help set things up on Friday, the 19th. Well. . . after going from LAX to O’Hare, my flight to Omaha was cancelled, I was forced to find a hotel for the night, got a flight to Denver in the a.m., then was set to transfer airlines to go to Omaha. Only, after boarding the Denver flight, it was cancelled! I did get a direct flight to Omaha – but had to wait 6 hours at O’Hare, got there as the sun was setting. . . no luggage made it, lost in Denver, I imagine. Walked into the opening session just as it ended, in time to offer the closing prayer. Never did get my bag until two days after I got home. All of that to say, I’m so sorry I didn’t get in here the MOMENT you posted this – but my congratulations are deeply sincere and I am tickled pink. Pink, I tell you. :>)

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