Columnist’s book on grandparenting now available

Anything goes at grandma’s house. Well, almost anything.

Lori Borgman never realized how different the dynamic was between being a parent and being a grandparent. But from the birth of her first grandchild, and with each of the subsequent 10 that were born, she has reveled in the joys, innocent questions, not-so-innocent questions and precious moments of spending time with the kids.

“Being a grandparent is totally different than being a parent,” she said. “We’re not crazy-indulgent or anything, but you have more time. The worries aren’t yours, the doctor’s appointments aren’t yours, the dental appointments, the bug bites, the poison ivy — there’s none of that stress. You have more time to savor it and enjoy the wonder of watching these small minds and bodies grow.”

That concept is the tie that winds throughout Borgman’s most recent book. “What Happens at Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s” is a collection of vignettes and stories recounting life with “the grands,” as she calls them. After initially self-publishing the book in 2019, demand and renewed interest in it led to a new national distribution deal with Harvest House Publishing.

To be able to share her life and her writing with such a wide audience has been wonderful, Borgman said. She hopes that her writing allows readers to appreciate the important people in the lives, discover the importance of the little things and find happiness in silly situations.

“I’m finding the book is well received by all ages — anybody who likes a fun story,” she said. I’ve heard from readers who have said they’ve heard their kids laughing, and after going in to investigate, they were reading the book.”

Borgman is an Indianapolis resident who splits her time between writing a weekly newspaper column, penning multiple books and giving speeches and presentations. Her column appears in more than 400 newspapers and media outlets, and she has written seven humor books dealing with such relatable subjects as the challenges of parenting, everyday life, the mayhem and magic of Christmas and being a grandmother.

The last subject is one that has been so enjoyable to document over the years. The grands are regular features in her columns, and those writings don’t begin to encapsulate the amusing and lovely stories she has accumulated over the years.

That was what inspired Borgman to compile a book about being a grandparent.

“My goal with writing the column has always been twofold: demonstrating a family that works reasonably well is a great blessing, but that same blessing can drive you straight up the wall,” she said. “Trying to find universal stories that other people can slide into is the goal.”

At the time Borgman wrote “What Happens at Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s,” she did not have a literary agent. So she self-published the book and promoted it at speaking engagements, on social media and at other events.

The book was popular among her audience, so much so that she received an email two months after it was released from representatives at Ingram Content Group, one of the largest distributors in the country. They had received multiple requests for the book, and were interested in learning more about it.

“They wanted to know if I could prove I’d had $25,000 in book sales, which I did not. And if I had large warehouse storage, which I did not; I have an upstairs bedroom closet,” she said. “But I had heard stories of people getting in the back door at (publishing) houses. It was rare, but it happened.”

So Borgman chose four different publishing houses to send a query about distributing the book, using the email by Ingram as proof that there was interest in it. Almost immediately, it was snatched up by Harvest House Publishers, a national company that publishes more than 150 new books each year.

The speed at which it was accepted was surprising, Borgman said.

“When you’re self-employed, self-publishing and trying to get a book, prepare for rejection, and remember it only takes one yes,” she said. “I got my one yes.”

“What Happens at Grandmas Stays at Grandmas” was released on March 16, and is available anywhere that sells online: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook, Books-A-Million, Walmart and Target. People can link to those sellers through Borgman’s website. Harvest House Publishers is also testing to see if the book would be a good fit to be available in Cracker Barrel and Hobby Lobby locations.

To see it spread so far, and to so may people, has been entirely unexpected but also wonderful, Borgman said.

“It’s humbling,” she said. “It’s an extremely competitive field, so it’s really, really nice that somebody thought something I wrote might be enjoyable to read.”

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“What Happens at Grandma’s Stays at Grandma’s”

What: A newly nationally released book detailing the joys and absurdities of being a grandparent

Who: Lori Borgman, an Indianapolis columnist, author and public speaker

How to get it: The book is available at all major online retailers, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbooks, Books-A-Million, Walmart and Target. Links to those retailers are available on Borgman’s website.