Shannon Brescher Shea: Growing Sustainable Together




Shannon Brescher Shea
North Atlantic Books; June 16, 2020; $16.95
ISBN-10: 1623174716; ISBN-13: 9781623174712

Shea reports:

I dreamed I would publish a book since I was a kid. I never expected it to happen through Twitter.

Growing Sustainable Together started when I fell in love with manatees at age 10.

Fast forward 20 years. When I became a mom, I struggled to balance my love for environmental action with my desire to spend as much time as possible with my kids. When I talked to other environmentalist moms, almost none reported the same dilemma. I wondered, “What did they have that I didn’t?” My first book proposal, a set of profiles of “green moms,” revolved around that question. When I received a rejection that said, “Nice idea, but no one is going to buy it,” I realized I was the only one asking this question!

Shannon Brescher Shea

Shannon Brescher Shea

Sitting in my basement, I had a lightbulb moment. What if there was no conflict between being an environmentalist and a good parent? Propelled by the idea that environmental activities could help you raise your kids to be good people, I put together a new proposal.

In the midst of shopping my book to agents, I posted a summary to Twitter as part of Pitch Madness, which I had heard about through the Twitter writing community. In this quarterly event, editors and agents invite you to send them your proposal or manuscript by liking a tweet describing your book.

Much to my surprise, an editor liked one of my tweets! In a few weeks, I had an offer. There was a catch: I had to write the book in six months or less. The publisher needed to fill its Summer 2020 catalogue quickly.

Thankfully, I had already compiled much the research in preparation for my proposal. My advice to aspiring authors: work through most of your book's structural and thematic issues while writing your proposal.

While chucking my first proposal was frustrating, I’m glad I did. Moving beyond my personal insecurities resulted not only in a book deal, but a book I hope will prove useful to parents who want to raise kids to be sustainable world citizens.

Contact info:

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Jun. 17, 2020

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit to submit your report.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

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