Sarah, Beth, and Sarahbeth: excerpt from my new book

The following is an excerpt from my new book, an essay collection called Things You Can’t Un-see, which releases this week! Pre-order your copy here.

My husband makes fun of me for my obsession with monograms. After he caught me looking at a rotating display case of silver letter charms at a local boutique, I told him, “If you had the opportunity to name yourself, you’d be obsessed with them, too.”


First day of fourth grade, circa 1997: the teacher takes attendance with strict efficiency. Since my last name begins with C, I am the fifth student called. “Sarah Caplin?” she calls. I raise my hand. By the time she gets to the end of the list, it is apparent that “Sarah” is the female name of choice: there are four Sarahs in our class of a dozen students, which Mrs. F thinks is hilarious. She places us all at the same table: Sarah K, Sarah M, Sarah W, and myself. It was not the first time I had to be differentiated by my last initial, and it wouldn’t be the last.

I was nine; I was already tired of it.

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Join my launch team!

13312626_10206290134638527_2260368297611592327_nI’m so pleased to announce that the process of publishing my next book, THINGS YOU CAN’T UN-SEE, is under way! A big part of being an independent author means doing the bulk of the marketing myself. It’s a lot of work, on top of writing the book itself — and that is where you guys come in.

What is a launch team, exactly?

A launch team is a group of people dedicated to getting the word out about my new book. This is completely free — you won’t even have to purchase the book, because as a team member, you will receive a free ebook version to read and review on major retailer sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, as well as reader sites like Goodreads.

Early reviews are crucial for the success of a new release, because if you’re anything like me, you like to read them to help make up your mind about ordering it.

What will I have to do as a team member?

If you use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or have a personal blog, all you have to do is talk about my book. Why are you looking forward to reading it? Why should other people read it? You will also be provided with graphics and other visual aids to share.

And that’s it! You can do all this from your computer or smart phone without leaving home or spending any money.

Interested in being part of my team? Click here to fill out a sign-up sheet!

Thank you in advance. I’m eternally grateful.

“The faith of Sarahbeth”: an interview with author Morgan Guyton

This was a fun interview with Morgan Guyton, author of How Jesus Saves the World From Us (which I highly recommend) about what motivated me to write Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter. I just love how important he makes me sound with a title like “The faith of Sarahbeth Caplin,” as if it’s a historic documentary and not just a conversation with a little indie writer who desperately wants to believe she’s a bigger deal than she actually is 🙂

Fun fact: Morgan’s cousin, Mary, played an integral role in leading me to the Christian faith.


MG: So tell me about your book.

SC: Basically I got asked so many times in college what motivates a secular Jew to become a Christian, I started joking about writing a book…and eventually I did just that.

You could say the start of my conversion was with books. The market for Jewish books for teens was practically nonexistent. There was one Judaica shop that had lots more Jewish books you couldn’t find at Barnes and Noble, and before the internet my mom would drive me there, 45 minutes away. It closed when I was in high school.

MG: Wow. So what was in your mind as you were devouring these books? What did you think you were looking for?

SC: I wanted to be like the people I was reading about: Cassie Bernall, Rachel Scott, Joan of Arc. I wanted the Jewish equivalent of what they had and eventually just hit a wall.

Read the rest here.

Update on my next book!


Dear readers,

The process of publishing next book begins this week! My cover artist will start designing tomorrow, and this cover is different (in a good way!) from my others. The first thing you’ll notice is that there isn’t a person on it, because finding an image to encompass an essay collection on a multitude of subjects was just too dang hard.

This collection is based on my thesis, but I won’t be marketing it as such, because, well, who honestly would want to read somebody’s graduate thesis? It also includes a few pieces written after my defense, spanning the topics of religious identity (and doubt), political awakening, mental illness, and more.

I wasn’t satisfied with the title I hastily chose the week before I had to present. I knew I could come up with something better if I had a bit more time. And the new title is…


From Amazon bestselling author Sarahbeth Caplin comes a collection of her best essays from all over the internet, including the Huffington Post, about things you can’t un-know, un-hear, or un-see once they happen: be it feminist awakenings, spiritual doubt, the effects of living with mental illness, and the normalcy of rape culture in Hollywood as well as in real life.

Funny, heartbreaking, and insightful, Caplin never minces words — or opinions.

For those who want an EXCLUSIVE sneak peak at the cover before it’s officially revealed, please SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter. I promise you won’t get any spam. Updates only go out once a month, though lately I’ve been slacking on even getting them out that often, because grad school. Subscribers to the newsletter will get first dibs on ARCs (advanced reading copies) for the purpose of early reviews.

Finally, if you are able to donate to the publishing costs of this book, since I’m once again doing it independently, please do so here.

An official release date will be coming soon, so stay tuned!

Staying motivated when working from home


How many of you work from home? How many find it especially difficult to focus and get back into “work mode” after the holiday season?

It’s a little ironic that I type this while I still have two freelance articles and some editing to complete, but clearly I need the reminders. Here are some things I do to help stay motivated while working from home:

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A year in review (of books): 2017


It’s time for my annual Year in Review (of books), which is not technically over yet – there are a few books I hope to finish before January 1st rolls in. You can often infer a lot about how a year went based on some of my favorite titles, which means I must start with the year’s favorite memoir.

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A few changes and developments


Hello, readers. If you’ve kept up with me for a few years, or even just a few months, you may have noticed some changes in the blog content. That is, many posts lately are cross-posts with other places I write for, such as Patheos, Off the Page, and Huffington Post.

There’s a reason for this, and it’s not just because I’m lazy (although sometimes that’s true). It’s also not just because, for the last several months, I’ve been feverishly working on completing my thesis so I can graduate with my master’s by the end of this year (although that is also true).

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Your worth doesn’t come from a paycheck


I turned 29 last week. It wasn’t the happiest of birthdays, for a number of reasons.

Aside from dealing with a family crisis (which I’m not at liberty to go into detail about just yet), there’s also a personal, somewhat existential struggle that’s been bringing me down for a while: am I where I thought I would be as a writer? How do I measure whether or not I’m successful?

And then this crushing moment: my dream job isn’t enough to pay the bills, and I’m going to need a day job. Which may not be in the field I went to school for, but I can still call myself a writer first, right?

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Why I prefer nonfiction over fiction

35244821086_e8236a33a9_z1-300x200Since I was a child, I’ve dreamed of becoming the next great American novelist. I have published a few novels, and yet none of them are quite as dear to my heart as my two memoirs. I realized something critical about myself the more I’ve devoted myself to nonfiction writing (mostly about the intersection of faith and politics): I’m not very good at making things up.

If there’s anything I’ve learned during my time as a graduate student of creative nonfiction, it’s that memoir writing, and even literary essays, can follow a story arc similar to what you’ll find in fiction: there is a beginning, a development of conflict, a set of characters (even if the only character is the writer herself), a middle, and a resolution. Like fiction, nonfiction doesn’t require a neat, tidy ending. But a decisive finishing point is required just the same.

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I confronted my rapist via Facebook

Two years ago today, I had my first paid freelance piece published on xoJane. Two years later, with an unrepentant rapist as president, and allegations of abuse against film executive Harvey Weinstein, this piece is still relevant.

There are real consequences women face when they come forward, which is why many choose to stay silent. It doesn’t mean the abuse didn’t happen – it means that the innate sense of self-preservation outweighs the benefits of pressing charges. Statistically, less than 3% of rapists ever spend time in prison. And if they do, it’s often a shortened sentence, as was the case with Stanford rapist Brock Turner.

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