Two weeks from today, on Tuesday, October 4, I’ll be reading at Radio Coffee and Beer in Austin, TX at the One Page Salon, a program where authors read one page from a current work in progress. I’ll be reading from the novel I’ve been working on for the better part of a year along with authors Stacey Swann (author of Olympus, Texas) and Carlisha Bell, as well as musician Bob Schneider.
It’s a free show and Radio serves both coffee and beer, as the title suggests, so come out and see me and the other performers!
Maybe it’s just the geriatric millennial in me, but the concept of ghosting someone has always bothered the hell out of me. I’ve been on the receiving end of it from jobs, friends, romantic interests, and more publishers and literary agents than I can count.
And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t guilty of it, too, though I try not to make a habit of it. But of course, there are those you’re better off not even trying to engage with for your own sake, like people who sell Mary Kay for a living.
Every now and then, I’ll get a string of book bloggers on Instagram wanting to review my book for a modest fee. I got a ton of these right after my book came out, and I recently got several more. Right now I am still riding on the new-ness of my book’s release, so I’m not ready to shell out for a paid book review at the moment, but I thought I’d file them away for later, so I replied to each one with a polite “What is your review policy?” which is a polite way of asking “What will you do for me, and what will it cost me?”
After the first one replied, with a predictable call to action “how does that sound to you?”, I replied honestly, saying I wasn’t interested at this time, but would consider it in the future. Back in my day, this was how we told people “this isn’t no; this is ‘not right now’.”
So imagine my surprise when the book blogger replied with an emoji (okay that wasn’t the surprising part… it is Instagram after all) – the one with the angry red face spouting expletives. It was immediately followed with a message: “No need to respond if you no intrest”
Tenuous grasp of spelling and grammar notwithstanding, I was taken aback, but when I talked to some of my younger author friends, they all said essentially the same thing – that if I wasn’t interested, I should have just not responded instead of saying thanks, but no thanks. That responding at all in a negative manner, even a polite one, was more rude than just saying nothing at all and leaving them in the lurch (after all, they’re the ones who cold called me).
Maybe I’m officially the old lady playing by outdated rules of etiquette and this is the new normal, or maybe (and I may be biased but I’m leaning this direction) they were the assholes in this situation, not me. Maybe I should put this on r/AITA and get an official judgment like the proper geriatric millennial I am. Or maybe I should just move on and not let it bother me so much; it’s not like I’m committing an unforgivable offense like putting two spaces between sentences.
Oh, hey! You came to find me, but I’m technically on vacation and my essay about my dog’s prolonged walk toward death is over on Moms Don’t Have Time To. They recently launched a new website and all the content I’ve written for them before will be migrating over there soon.
It was a long, slow road from manuscript to shelf, but my publication day finally arrived on June 21, just 6 days after my 40th birthday.
I took the day off my day job to celebrate because, let’s face it, it’s not like I was going to get any actual work done… and if you can’t take a day off to celebrate when you release a book into the world, when can you?! Here’s how I spent my pub day…
I laugh in the face of people who say authors should spend 2-3 hours a day on social media, cause ain’t nobody got time for that, but I definitely spent the first 3 hours of my pub day on social media. I was sharing pub day Instagram posts to my stories, interacting with post comments, posting myself to let people know the book was available, etc. I also started recording clips for a pub day reel, after I googled how to do it because I’m 40 and don’t understand reels.
Most of my book takes place in a gym, so of course I had to take advantage of a weekday off to go to one of the classes typically reserved for stay-at-home-moms. I honestly can’t remember the last time I took a gym class at 10 AM on a weekday (before pub day, I mean). Of course, I recorded video clips (before and after – I’m not one of those assholes who pulls out their phone mid-class) for my pub day reel.
I wrote a post for my blog to announce my pub day. I also had 3 other blogs I had written guest posts for months earlier hit on pub day (thanks, but y’all could have spaced that out and done me a favor), so I wrote blog posts to share those as well.
Drinking in a pub
If there’s ever a day to go day drinking in a pub, it’s your pub day. I chose the Mean Eyed Cat in west downtown Austin because it’s one of my favorites, I knew it wouldn’t be busy on a Tuesday afternoon, and because I know they have Electric Jellyfish on tap.
Of course, I recorded more clips for my pub day reel and made a TikTok video because I’m still trying to figure out that platform.
Visiting a bookstore
The Mean Eyed Cat was conveniently on the way to BookPeople – Austin’s largest independent bookstore. I knew they had purchased some copies of the book because I had a preorder campaign with them, but I wasn’t sure how many, and if they would be shelved yet.
Imagine my surprise when I strolled over to the fiction section and saw the cover of my own book staring back at me, shelved cover out! I was so excited (and feeling slightly buzzed from the pub) I asked the BookPeople staff to snap a picture of me… which I didn’t like. So I took this one, wrinkles and all. Obviously I was still excited. And yes, then I recorded more reel footage.
After the kids were in bed on the longest day of the year, I capped off the day’s celebration with some wine and finished up my pub day reel, which I thought turned out pretty good. Certainly not a bad way to spend a Tuesday.
Today is pub day for my second book this summer… sort of. I didn’t plan on this coming out just a week after my novel, but it happened just that way. Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis is an anthology about just that, how we create art and deal in the midst of a crisis. Some people chose, naturally, to write about COVID, social justice issues, or climate change. My piece is about our experience in the 2021 Texas winter storm (it’s toward the end of the book).
It’s probably the most political thing I’ve written publicly, but it’s not about politics (and neither am I). It’s about being decent to people in the face of political differences. It applied to the situation then, and it still applies in light of recent political developments, which I need not enumerate here. We are all better when we greet each other with empathy and acknowledge that everyone’s just an imperfect human trying to do their best. The internet has made it too easy to forget the humanity of those we disagree with.
She Writes Press will donate all royalties earned on this book to World Central Kitchens, a non-profit that feeds victims of natural disaster and war (most recently in Ukraine). The book is available for purchase everywhere books are sold, but I of course recommend getting it on Bookshop where you can support your local independent bookstore!
Oh, hey! You came to find me but today I’m on Dialogue: Between the Lines with Susan Wingate talking about writing flawed (and even unlikable at times) characters like Ann Josephson in Community Klepto.
Oh, hey! You came here to find me to say HUZZAH on my pub day but I’m over on Dear Reader talking about my love/hate relationship with running to commemorate the release of Community Klepto. There’s also a chance to win one of 5 advance review copies of Community Klepto at the bottom of the article if you read carefully and follow directions.