Press the play button on the photo for a video from Saya.
UPDATE: We did it, we did it! Thank youuuu. To be kept abreast of tour and book happenings, you can head here, sign up for Saya's e-list, and/or follow her on social (Twitter Facebook Instagram). Got a stop suggestion for the Non-Book Tour? Fill this out.
Saya Hillman of Mac & Cheese Productions℠ has shined throughout her life —
- Doing it her own way from the start, she stayed in the womb for ten months, eventually exiting into the apartment's bathtub where Mom, and just Mom, on purpose, greeted her.
- She won THREE cakes in the Washington Elementary Carnival cakewalk. (And was subsequently asked to no longer play. She walked the mile home with her cakes and her head held high.)
- She won WGN-TV's Extra Effort Award for her high school volunteer work as coordinator of a Cabrini-Green afterschool program.
- She won Boston College's Martin Luther King Scholarship for her academic success, leadership, and community service and involvement, which covered 75% of her senior year tuition.
- After being fired, she transformed shame and "Now what?!" fear, with $300 in savings and no clue how to run a business, into blissful, going strong since 2004 self-employment and butterflied from a mute, sad, friendless child into a vocal, ebullient, in demand adult.
Yet Saya cannot get it together when it comes to realizing her dream of penning a book.
Writing without accountability, deadlines, or monetary compensation has proved her albatross. “Just write daily for ten minutes” “It only takes 500 words a day” “Get a writing partner/group” do not work for Saya. What does work is when she is paid for her writing or when she commits to a public engagement where she will share her writing.
Because she doesn’t want to sit around waiting for people to pay her, she has tired of her "When I write a book" voice, and she loves to conjure up innovative, low-risk, why not ways to live her best life, Saya proposes a Non-Book Tour.
What is a Non-Book Tour?
Think of a Book Tour —
- A snaking line of eager fans and a room full of folding chairs
- An entertaining, insightful reading and behind the scenes of an author's book by an author at a bookstore, a theater, a supporter's venue, the author’s alma mater, the author’s hometown library
- An opportunity to buy the author’s book and other merchandise
- An author sitting at a table chatting with and signing books for supporters
A few tiny tweaks = a Non-Book Tour
- A hopeful snaking line of eager fans and a room full of folding chairs
- An entertaining, insightful reading and behind the scenes of a wannabe-author's writing by a wannabe-author at her space and hopefully a bookstore, a theater, a supporter's venue, the wannabe-author’s alma mater, the wannabe-author’s hometown library
- An opportunity to cheerlead and inspire the wannabe-author’s hopeful book and buy merchandise
- A wannabe-author sitting at a table chatting with and signing index cards for supporters
How Will This Work?
Saya will go on a three-stop* non-book tour, spaced out over three months. At each stop, she'll share material, ideally new, entertaining, and inspiring material, that will go into the book. The idea is that with very public accountability, very public deadlines, rooms full of people who'll be very disappointed if Saya No Material shows up, and the tour's resulting motivation to continue word-churning until book completion, Saya will succeed where she has previously failed.
*Maybe more if this goes well and lights a fire you know where.
A how-to self-help memoir about how a sad, silent abnormal girl grew up to be a blissful, vocal abnormal woman as Saya learned to embrace her literal and figurative stretch marks. Her everyday’ness, transparency, and shrugs at embarrassment make for a witty and inspiring reflection that’ll have you nodding throughout. Even though you couldn’t be more different. Bonus: Saya weaves in business, er life, acumen gleaned from her years of accidental and successful entrepreneurism which started when she heard the words, “I need you to pack your stuff and go.”
- Bullied, Dumped, & Fired: I’m OK and You Will Be Too
- Where Do I Sit at Lunch?, Will I Be Picked Last?, Why Hasn’t He Called?, Do You Have a Plunger? and Other Heartbreaking Quandaries You Survive
- The Poor-Rich, Fat-Skinny, Ugly-Pretty, White-Black, Quiet-Loud, Non Jew-Jew Who's Just Like You
- No One Told Me That to Remove Bangs, You Let Them Grow Out, You Don’t Cut Them Off: A memoir about surviving the worst
- Born in A Bathtub (On Purpose), Just Mom and I: One Woman's Journey From Self-Loathing to Self-Love
- 10AM Tuesday Trader Joe’s, Yoga, and Post Office: How to Live a Life of Yes℠
Someone who looks to real people with realistic solutions for inspiration to create an intentional, designed life, despite fear, past icks, and that which makes them different.
People who've Googled –
- “How to make friends as an adult”
- “How to figure out what you want to do in life”
- “How to be happy”
People who have had to mark “other” in demographic fields on forms.
People who had a difficult and/or unconventional childhood.
People who’ve experienced bullying, body image issues, financial angst and envy, or sexual harassment or assault.
People who grew up in unconventional homes and families.
People with complicated family relationships.
Entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs especially DIYers, those who want to succeed with what they already possess, and those afraid to take the leap.
People who’ve experienced loneliness.
People searching for authentic community.
People searching for a fulfilling career.
People who are tired of low self-worth but aren’t sure how to lift themselves up.
Saya will show up at the specified time, date, and location with her material. She will wear dark-rimmed author-like glasses (unless she’s feeling contacts that day).
Beyond Saya-entertainment, there may also be Opening Acts whom Saya has hired to bring you additional goodness. Because entertainment heaped upon entertainment is delightful and because we all deserve to be paid for our craft [insert rant on being asked for her services for free].
Readings will be free and open to all.*
*Unless a stop is a private residence; then it'll be open to the host's guests. Or the venue has a "payment required" policy.
No one will pledge. No one will come. Mean commenters. Unflattering photos. Forgetting to shave her neck-beard before a reading. This doesn’t manifest itself into a book.
Reason for Doing the Tour Anyway
Movement, forwards or backwards, is better than stasis. Saya has a knack for turning “failure” into good.
Saya is confirmed as a Mac & Cheese Productions' Featured Author! Which happens to be her own space. So that's not really much of a get.
She certainly would welcome being on the Events page of:
- Chicago’s Women & Children First and Open Books and Volumes Cafe and Book Cellar
- Portland’s Powell’s Books
- NYC’s Strand Bookstore
- Denver’s Tattered Cover
- Boston’s Brookline Booksmith
She’s also very open to traveling to (anywhere warm during Chicago winter) and (your neck of the woods). Of course that openness is asterisk’ed with “How can we make travel work financially/make it so minimal funds are spent here? An airline partnership? You signing up for Airbnb via her referral link so she can rack up lodging credit? A Subaru-sponsored tour?”
Interested in being a stop on the Non-Book Tour? Fill this out.
Perhaps her alma maters — Cornflakes Preschool, Chiaravalle Montessori, King Lab, Evanston Township High School, and Boston College — or her hometown libraries — Evanston Public Library & Chicago Public Library — will host a Distinguished Alumni/Resident Reading.
- Opening Acts
- Copy Editor
- Index cards and a sharpie 😄
If you want to know why Saya is a book publisher's dream despite not having a book, head here. If you’d like to see Saya in video action, head here. They always say that dogs can sniff out the trustworthy; perhaps this will convince you Saya is someone worth backing.
Desired Praisers for Saya’s Book
- Barack and Michelle
- Samantha Irby
- Lin Manuel Miranda
- Anne Lamott
- Phoebe Robinson
- Idris Elba
- Roxane Gay
- John Green
- Brené Brown
- Maya Angelou — In Memoriam wish as she's Saya's namesake and obvs, a prolific author. One of the highlights of Saya's life was being unable to get into Maya's Boston University book signing, hanging out in the store's alley, and making friends with Ken her limo driver who let Saya take photos inside the limo which she then developed herself back on BC's campus in her first darkroom experience.
Real Praise for Saya’s Book from Real Non-Readers
The use of “Sayabook” is due to repeated Saya references of the same name; fans have adopted her lexicon. Some praisers mention pre-ordering; you can’t pre-order but you CAN pledge.
“So many people I know have been anticipating Saya's book. We just can't wait to have all of her wonderful quirky unique powerful seeds of wisdom all in one place. Saya has inspired so many people to be brave, free, and happy. That message needs to circle the globe!” - Carolyn Breit
“Honestly, if I could buy and go to everything Saya Hillman does, I would. When I first met her, I liked how she did networking type of events but in fun ways so you didn’t feel you were “networking” which is often very cringey. Since then, I see her and her events/posts/everything-else as a way to fill up my cup with goodness and find ways to spread that around to help fill up the cups of others. Can’t wait to read and share the Sayabook!” - Jessica Williams
"Why Sayabook? Because if you are living a Life of Yes, then the only logical answer to Sayabook is YES. A pioneer in entertaining and engaging folks from all over Chicago, and from all walks of life, Saya turned a simple, well-known Improv rule into a lifestyle. She encourages fearlessness daily, and shows others how easy it is, and how much more fun it is, when we laugh at ourselves - primarily by laughing at herself first. One of the most well-connected people in the city, she’s been called “Accessible Oprah”, but I prefer to think of her as The Next Lois Weisberg. And who wouldn't want to read what someone that accomplished and interesting has to say?" - Leslie Engel
“Saya's career is beyond admirable. Over the years I've witnessed countless people (myself included) grow and transform into the best version of themselves, thanks to her events and experiences. I'm thrilled that she is finally sharing her wisdom with the world through her book.” - Ryan Lazarus
"At a time in my life when I had lost my own sense of direction and spark, Saya offered me a way to get back to Me, through sharing her own struggles and triumphs and inviting me to challenge myself to face my fears. In the same way that Gloria Steinem taught me that "the personal is political," Saya showed me that Art and Life and Work are not separate but work synergistically to help me build and grow within each aspect of my life. Her story is her Work and her Art and I am grateful that she has the willingness to share it with all of us." - Nick Heap
“Saya's enthusiasm is contagious; whether it's for life in general, getting yourself organized, setting/attaining your goals, basically anything in your life. She is everyone's biggest cheerleader, even if you only met her 5 minutes ago! We all need some Saya in our lives. I can't wait to read her book. It's sure to be filled with inspiring stories that are both insightful and humorous.” - Dan Delbridge
“Saya has forged a path for herself in this world that so many of us dream of. After being fired for her job, she turned what many of us would have taken as a setback as an opportunity and now empowers and engages her corner of the world one person at a time, which has allowed that corner to keep growing and growing and growing. Saya is dynamic, thoughtful, humorous, and savvy. A book that imparts her wisdom and life lessons to us would be invaluable. Her messages are universal and would resound with those of us who are working towards becoming the best versions of ourselves. I wholeheartedly support Saya in her pursuit in writing and publishing a book, which I know will be first of many.” - Stefania Rudd
“One of Saya's most admirable qualities is her commitment to seeing her biggest & most challenging dreams through. I can't wait to see her land a book deal and then teach the rest of us how to pursue our scariest dreams, too. I trust Saya implicitly, both personally and professionally. Her encouragement, advice, and professional offerings have changed my life. I can't wait for her book to inspire even more change both in my life and so many others.” - Elyse Brendlen
“I would pre-order and read Saya's book because all of my interactions and experiences with her have been wonderful and highly impactful. I joined her Life of Yes Meetup while feeling down after a lay-off and then participated in Fear Experiment℠ in a time of my life where I needed some more fun and creativity. I made some amazing new friends. She's crushing her goals but also down to the earth and authentic, such a refreshing combination. Following her advice always improved my life tremendously so I'd love to read her book and recommend it to others!” - Erin Wike
“I cannot wait to read the Sayabook. I’ve been listening to and reading Saya’s stories for over half my life (!!), starting our freshman year at Boston College. She’s got a natural, hysterical, compassionate, and carefree style about her and she truly embodies the #LifeofYes mentality she speaks and writes about. Her tips and tricks are realistic and presented in such a way that empower you to feel and BE GREAT. I consider her to be my Life Coach, living her best life and providing others with the tools to do so for themselves as well. I cannot wait to read the Sayabook!” - Jasara Peskie
“I will get Saya's book because I know it will be honest, genuine writing that can help others. Saya has lots of stories from her childhood, college days, business and more that many can relate to and shows how you can turn bad times into good ones and live a life you want.” - Wilfred Mejia
“I look forward to reading Saya’s book in the same fashion I long for a delicious piece of chocolate or a vacation in a sunny destination; both awaken my soul. I long for Saya’s book to provide me a calorie free path to finding the encouragement and support to rekindle the fire in my soul. A consistent theme to what has hindered me from accomplishing my dreams in the past is lack of support and encouragement. Let’s face it, not everyone in our lives supports our ideas and/or dreams and if you’re lucky enough to find someone who understands, they often don’t have any solid advice on how to go about accomplishing the next step. Saya’s book is like having your own personal cheerleader on your bookshelf that you can open whenever you are experiencing self-doubt, in need of some encouragement, or looking for advice to make dreams a reality. The difference between being stuck and taking action is having a little Saya pixie dust so you too can experience the magic life has to offer. I trust Saya’s voice because she has been in our shoes and she can show us the path to achieve the life we want. She has mastered the art of achieving her goals and living a life of Yes, therefore, without a doubt, I will be one of the first people in line to get her book.” - Jennifer Fleming
“Why would I pre-order the Sayabook? Similarly to yoga, the gym, a salad, I never do something Saya-related and afterwards wish I hadn’t. Now that I’m not in the Chicago area, what better way to get a hit of Life of Yes than in handy book form I can pick up anytime I need inspiration? Looking forward to my copy (and hope she signs it so I can say I ‘knew her when’!)” - Keri Christensen
Risks and challenges
No Pledge risks. Saya only offered that which she can do easily, now, that doesn't hinge on anything else. That's the Life of Yes℠ way.
Saya is pretty adept at taking big risks that won't result in big catastrophes, such as losing her home, shuttering her business, or death.
Non-Book Tour risks?
☆ Saya's feelings will be hurt — If you make a mean comment. If there are empty seats. If no one pledges.
☆ Saya will feel that she let herself down
☆ Saya will question listening to her gut and just how "great" her great ideas are
- (30 days)