There’s no market for a book like this. Sorry, it’s not a fit for our list. Sarah is compelling, but we’re not convinced anyone would buy this book. We did a book on sexual violence a year ago, so we’re all set.
In 2016, I received over a dozen rejections from publishers for the first iteration of Breaking the Silence Habit: A Practical Guide to Uncomfortable Conversations in the #MeToo Workplace. The first idea was to write a modern man’s guide to uncomfortable conversations about sexual violence. I knew from talking to hundreds of people about sexual harassment and violence is that there was a deep hunger to engage in more productive conversations about supporting survivors, healthy relationships and intervening on troubling behavior. I knew people wanted to talk about sexual harassment and violence but just weren’t sure how. I knew these publishers were WRONG, and eventually they’d realize why.
Rejections make you feel, well, rejected. But I wasn’t going to give up on the idea of finding new ways to engage men – and others – in conversations about sexual violence. I took what I learned and turned it into a talk for TEDxBeaconStreet called, An Uncomfortable Conversation Worth Having. The talk, which has now been viewed more than 15,000 times, generated discussion and dialogue with new groups and audiences.
The talk – and the response to it – sparked off an idea. What if a book wasn’t the way to reach young male audiences? Maybe the publishers were right. Young men don’t read books. But they DO watch YouTube videos. About gaming. About making things. Maybe they would watch videos about uncomfortable conversations. It seemed worth a shot, so Russ and I got together and founded The Uncomfortable Conversation. To date, we’ve produced more than 100 videos and partnered with many really cool organizations like Calling All Crows, One Love Foundation and Beauty for Freedom.
Yesterday, I asked the core group of people who have supported this journey since the very beginning to pre-order the book. And you know what? Breaking the Silence Habit is now the #1 New Release in Human Resources & Personnel Management on Amazon, and spent the afternoon in the top 100 new releases for Business. Writing the book took me approximately five months, 150 cups of tea and the support of coffee shop baristas and early risers at my gym. But it also took holding on to the belief that this book was needed and worth writing, even when the world told me it wasn’t. When the mission is worth it, the universe makes a way. But it takes faith, commitment, effort and a little bit of grace to make it all happen.
Thank you for being on this journey with me!