The message came in with the subject line “Grateful.” Then, her words continued:
I just completed my first read of The Slaves Have Names and I wanted to say thank you. Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for your dedication, passion, and love for my ancestors. I truly appreciate you.
One of the descendants of people in the book sent me this message, which continued with kind, thoughtful words for several sentences that included a mention of how her niece told her teacher about the book and he wanted to use it to talk about slavery in his class.
That expression about a heart overflowing . . . that was me when I read this kind note.
I’ve gotten several notes like this over the past few weeks, thanks from the descendants of Ben and Lucy. One person told me the book renewed her desire to find her own family’s lineage, and I’ve gotten several requests to help people find their family lines in our home county. I’m honored and humbled by each of these messages.
Self-publishing – any publishing – can be hard. It requires a bent toward sales that many writers don’t naturally have, and the path can feel lonely and isolating – as much of writing can.
But messages like these . . . they make those sales pitches and press releases seem so important . . . because someone reads my words. And in this case, most importantly, people are finding their family stories . . . to have even a small part in that story, well, I’m honored beyond words.
What kind words have you received about your writing? How do you treasure those things?
On Saturday at 3pm at the Historic Courthouse in Palmyra, VA, I will be giving a talk about The Slaves Have Names. I’d love to see you there, and I’d be thrilled if we filled that beautiful old building – built by the hands of enslaved people from Bremo – with people who want to remember these remarkable individuals. You can find more about the talk here – https://www.facebook.com/events/1441725136047172/. The event is free and open to the public.