The Family-First Creative: A little thank-you gift from me, to you

March 26, 2014 | 68 comments

Guys! You are NEVER going to believe what I did.

Actually, you’re totally going to believe it. Easily. Okay, it might be the least surprising thing you have heard in weeks. But I’m still delighted to tell you:

I wrote an ebook for you! It’s going to be my gift to anyone who pre-orders my memoir. It’s called The Family-First Creative: 42 Tips for Following Your Dreams While Putting Your Family First, and I am ridiculously excited for you to check it out.

The Family-First Creative


I knew I wanted to offer a free ebook as a gift to folks who pre-ordered Something Other than God, both as a token of my thanks for their support, and to give them something they could have immediately since the memoir won’t be released until the end of April.

I went back through my email archives, and realized that one of the most common questions I get is, “How do you find time to write?”

So I decided to answer that question in a short ebook. I was picturing ten, maybe 15, pages.

But once I began writing, the words started flowing. And it ended up being a 100-page book.

I dug back through every single thing I’ve learned while writing a book and helping Joe study for the CPA exam while homeschooling and having six babies in eight years. I thought through the conversations with wise spiritual directors, the advice whispered to me by mothers with decades of experience, the lessons that came from exhausted, teary moments when I pushed myself too far…and I could not stop writing.

I included the kinds of details that are rarely discussed but are really helpful when you’re trying to get a picture for how to make this kind of advice work in your own life, like:

  • A detailed breakdown of our expenses, including how I fit help into the budget
  • A detailed breakdown of how we arrange the bedrooms in our three-bedroom house to fit everyone in
  • How much money I typically bring in from blogging
  • A template “help wanted” note for finding a mother’s helper
  • A sample hour-by-hour schedule of a typical day (not one of the insane ones)

I pushed the official pre-order announcement date way back because I didn’t want to cut anything helpful from the book, and I needed the time to get it all down. (Without letting my house fall to pieces in the process. Which is totally something I would do: Yell at the half-naked five-year-old to get her sister more Cheetos for lunch because mommy is stressed about writing her book about making family your first priority.)

So this is it: Every single thing I know about trying to do well at a craft you love, while making sure your family still takes the number-one spot in your life.

Beginning this Monday, March 31, The Family-First CreativeΒ ebook will be available as a free gift to anyone who pre-orders Something Other than God.

(And yes, if you have already pre-ordered, of course that counts too!)

If you will indulge my use of all caps for a moment, I just have to say:Β I AM SO, SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU!

I think it’s going to open up a whole new range of discussions for us to have. And it starts Monday.



  1. Meredith


  2. Jen G

    I preordered just a few days ago! Yay!

  3. Nichole

    And this is why your readers love you.

    • Lynne


  4. jeni

    Ooooh fabulous!! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  5. Tracy Bua Smith

    Darn, I wanted to read more and more and more, but then the preview said “this is the end”. OK, you got me hooked and I’m preordering your books so that I can read more and more and more of your ebook! Can’t wait to hear you speak at Ignited By Truth Conference this weekend. There will be several of us NC Catholic Homeschool bloggers at IBT, myself included πŸ™‚ NC Catholic Bloggers Unite! πŸ™‚ God bless!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      That is SO COOL! I can’t wait to meet you. Whoo-hoo!

      • Michelle

        I wish I can get to meet with you also.

        You plan to come Dubai or South Africa?


  6. Micaela@ California to Korea

    Woohoo! Can’t wait to read it! Thanks for dropping some knowledge for our sakes. πŸ™‚

  7. Marilyn Rodrigues

    What a bonus!! Of course I will buy it. Your book will be the best kind of success. Am praying for you – I imagine this is all pretty huge…

  8. Marilyn Rodrigues

    Man, I just read your post properly and see I have to WAIT until MONDAY, to get this thing, which is TUESDAY my time!!! ARGH! πŸ™‚

  9. Amy

    How exciting! I can’t wait to get it. I definitely could use some tips in this area.

  10. Olga Vogel


    I’ve pre-ordered your book yesterday, but since I’m in Russia and they will send it to me via some our resaler…dunno when it comes. =D Probably they’ll make it a gift for my birthday in June…hope so =D

  11. smoochagator


    You are pretty awesome in a bunch of ways.

  12. Moira

    Jen, you are awesome! This is so exciting!

  13. Lucinda

    Just pre-ordered. Planned to read your book anyway — now an added incentive! Thanks.

  14. Sonya

    This is the best pre-order gift ever! I was already planning on it, but this has sealed the deal. Now I’m excited to see your book tour schedule when it comes out…still hoping that MN makes the list. I will have my book!

    • Sonya

      OK- So after reading the tweets from last night I am going to add that #1, I think we were separated at birth. #2 MN is a convenient hop up I35 from Austin!

  15. Jenny

    One-click ordered my way to Fulwiler happiness. Woo!

  16. Lisa-Jo

    Total genius – just read the whole preview- totally hooked. GENIUS.

  17. Agnes @ Restless Until I Rest in Thee

    I am even more excited!!!!! I PRE ORDERED YOUR BOOK ALMOST AS SOON AS YOU ANNOUNCED IT!!! And now I’m waiting for this awesomeness to arrive…but meanwhile….excited for your e-book. I really want to know HOW you DO IT with all the kids etc. I think you have super powers. BTW, I do miss your show…those two episdodes I watched last year were so hilarious and interesting!! Any more coming out?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      THANK YOU! And I wish we could do more episodes of the show, but there aren’t enough hours in the day. Maybe one day!

  18. Calee

    Jen- I seriously started crying when I read your post. At our messy breakfast table.
    For years, I’ve tried to articulate what I do (run a children’s publishing company where dozens of people depend on me) but my reasons for doing it in a way that doesn’t have us growing as fast as anyone would like or why I feel like I’m barely accomplishing (at work) what I’d like to see done–all in the time my 2 kids are in school (and one is only in preschool from 8-11). Family-first creative. Great title. Great idea. I’m so excited to read both books. THANK YOU!

  19. Kris

    If we’ve already pre-ordered, how do we get the e-book?! So awesome!

  20. Jane Hartman

    Hi Jennifer, I ordered it through our Marian Center bookstore. I told them I thought it was going to be a big hit, so they probably could consider ordering several. I really can’t wait to read “Something Other Than God!” And I know I will be giving a few away as there are a few atheists in my family. God bless…..

  21. Janet

    I got my Liturgical Press catalog yesterday…and your book was advertised on the front cover!

    I’ve also pre-ordered it awhile go, so like Kris says…how do we get the e-book? Thank you so much for this gift!

  22. Gina

    Well, then, if that doesn’t get me to preorder right now… nothing does!! Both these sound so fabulous. Thanks!!

    Cannot WAIT to get into the e-book, and then dive into your memoir when it arrives on my doorstep when it is released. Maybe I’ll share it with fallen-away family. πŸ™‚ -Gina

  23. Sarah H

    Ooh, want!

    What if I pre-order through UK-Amazon? I’ve been waiting to see if the paperback version becomes available over here, I prefer paperbacks to Kindle, and at the moment only the Kindle version is available on UK-amazon.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Yes, any and all pre-orders count! And that’s strange about the print version. Hmm. I’ll ask about that.

      • Sarah H

        Thank you. I really would prefer a print version. πŸ™‚

        • nancyo

          I don’t know if this would be helpful, but I’m in the US and I’ve ordered British-published books from Amazon-UK and found that the shipping cost was actually pretty reasonable.

          • Sarah H

            Ah, so you think I might be able to order direct from the US amazon? I’ll look into that thanks.

  24. Annie

    This is really exciting, Jen! I am very much in need of the advice in your e-book (I am currently taking a break from writing my dissertation to nurse my son). I can’t wait to start reading!

  25. Monica

    Girl, I cannot WAIT to read Something Other than God and The Family-First Creative! Thank you very much!!

  26. Colleen

    I’d like to preorder but I want the kindle version of your book instead of the hardcover. Can we get this same deal when the kindle version comes available? Thanks! I’m so excited to read this new ebook!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      The Kindle version is available now! They just put it up. And yes, pre-ordering that absolutely counts.

  27. Hevel

    I was just wondering if you plan to sell it independently from your other book?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Not right now, but I’ll think about it for the future. Thanks for the suggestion!

      • Ann

        Yes, I second that, sell it! πŸ™‚

  28. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    So, I have the same question that everyone else has:

    Do we get your second awesome book if we preorder the ebook? Also, can we preorder the ebook?

    I’m not saying hardcover books aren’t in vogue or anything, but backlit kindles are so much easier to read at 3am when you’re nursing a baby. So ebook I go.

    I can’t wait for both of these!!!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Yes, one copy of the ebook per pre-order, and e-versions absolutely count!

  29. Rosemary

    Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you! I am so excited for this! You are awesome. πŸ™‚

  30. Lindsey @ Running in Circles

    I was going to pre-order anyway, but I’m super excited for the bonus book also!

  31. Teresa Grodi

    I cannot wait to read BOTH of these!!!

  32. Eva

    As a sign of my great excitement about your book, I’m going to get an actual, really truly holding in my hands copy. Not kindle.
    THAT, my friend, is commitment.
    And the postage to Australia is roughly 39 times the cost of the book, so again, commitment.
    Seriously, I’m coming over all ‘Misery’ here πŸ˜‰

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      WOW, Eva, I am super honored by that! Thank you!

  33. Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose

    I read the preview of the e-book, and I loved the idea of creating a vision for your family. Any well run company would have a long term vision, why shouldn’t a family? I can’t wait to read the rest! So mean of you to make us wait until next week! πŸ˜‰

  34. Julie

    So exciting! I have two questions and I apologize if I’ve somehow missed their answers elsewhere on this post.

    1) If we’ve already pre-ordered the book (I pre-ordered the hard copy on Amazon), how do we access The Family First Creative?

    2) If we don’t have an e-book reader, is there another way we can access the book — perhaps via a smartphone app? I just… don’t have an e-book reader and I honestly don’t understand how it all works.

    Thanks! I hope to get the chance to read it!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      All the details for how to get the ebook are coming on Monday, and the file format is a standard PDF, so it’s easy to read on your computer or print if you don’t use e-readers! You can just open the PDF directly on your smartphone and read it there.

      • Julie

        Wonderful! Thank you!

  35. Lynn

    Sounds like a really good e-book that I could definitely use. I am now working on writing a work of fiction. Have pre-ordered your memoir also and am so looking forward to reading it! πŸ™‚
    God Bless you and yours

  36. Peggy

    I pre-ordered on Not sure how to let you know that I have. Is this the way to get the ebook? Just telling you that I ordered it? And giving you my email.address? The honor system?

    Thanks for an intriguing duo of books! Very anxious to read both of them.

    • MarLee

      I wondered the same thing.

  37. Angela M

    Just forwarded this along to my husband…my birthday is coming up in April!! Can’t wait for both of these books! Thank you πŸ™‚

  38. LPS

    Hi! I’m… frugal. πŸ˜‰ If we pre-order the e-book, will we also get the free gift? Trying to stretch my dollars. Thanks!

  39. Anne


  40. Catherine

    Yay! I’ve had it preordered forever! That’s so cool of you! Looks like a really useful ebook…

  41. Deanna

    My first time commenting although I’ve been a loyal fan for 2 years! Just want to thank you so much for your generosity. I pre-ordered your book ages ago and am really looking forward to reading them both! Pretty amazing you popped out a second little book so quick after the toil of your first. πŸ™‚

  42. Elizabeth

    You are amazing!!! :o)

  43. Kara

    YAY! Gonna order Monday, then! I’ve been meaning to preorder, anyway!

  44. Adrian Gallacher

    Hi Jen, greetings from Scotland! You’re speaking at this weekend’s conference with my cousin’s wife, Brenda Cerkez. When I found out, and I follow your blog every week, I thought hey! The world really is small. Hopefully, in heaven one day, travelling needs will be severely reduced and we can all meet up. In the meantime, say ‘hello’ to her from me please.

  45. Ingrid

    Now that you have published your first E-Book; I look forward to your publishing an E-Book regarding your weight loss journey! I recall you mentioning in one of your earlier posts that you would like to do that someday. I would be on the top of the list to purchase that one as well!

  46. Andrea Burkly @ The Me in Motherhood

    I am so thrilled! I was planning on pre-ordering the book but now I get the bonus of having you answer my most pressing questions, as I’m starting to write right now. Hooray!

  47. Nancy

    Like so many of the others that have already posted here, this is very timely. Thanks for writing and sharing this!

  48. Sarah

    Ok, this may put me over the edge on deciding to pre-order. I am really excited to read your book, but your eBook totally speaks to what I’m dealing with right now. I’m a creative who has a lot of dreams and not a lot of time which means I end up discouraged a lot of the time. I’ve been feeling like I need to go on a retreat to just talk to God about it. Maybe I’ll do that and take this book too.

  49. Cindi


    I’m really excited about your memoir and have been talking about it with a group of friends in a bible study. We want to pre-order 7 books and we usually order from our local Catholic bookstore, On This Rock, in Oshkosh, WI. If we order from the book store, will we still be able to get access to the e-book?

    Thanks so much!

  50. Molly

    I almost never pre-order books, but I just pre-ordered yours! Ever since your story about climbing out of the van window, I’ve known you were my type of woman! Lol!

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