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So, no response is now more polite than a no, thanks?

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Maybe I’m officially the old lady playing by outdated rules of etiquette and this is the new normal, or maybe (and I may be biased but I’m leaning this direction) they were the assholes in this situation, not me.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.

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Book launch party is ON!

When I signed my contract for Community Klepto in September 2020, I said to my publisher “surely we’ll be able to have an in-person book launch in June 2022”. Well, it was close, but it’s happening! I’ll be at BookWoman Austin on 5501 N Lamar Blvd on Monday, July 11 at 7 P.M. There’ll be more in person and online events to come, so stay tuned!

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I’m featured in Moms Don’t Have Time to Write (again!)

I recently went through some unpleasant shit with my lady doctor’s office and it brought up a lot of equally unpleasant and shitty feelings about my long and complicated history with lady doctors over the years, to the point that I felt compelled to sit down and write about it.

And now it’s an essay on Moms Don’t Have Time to Write! Go check out my 3-minute read when you have 3 minutes to spare. Cheers.

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COVER REVEAL for Community Klepto!

How beautiful is this cover?

OMG y’all my cover is here and shit is getting real. Unlike my first two novels, I really didn’t have a concrete picture in mind about what the cover of this book might look like, but the designers over at She Writes Press really nailed it and I can’t stop looking at it.

In other big Community Klepto news, the book hit the data feed for all major and most independent bookseller’s websites this week so you can now find it EVERYWHERE for preorder: BookPeople, Barnes & Noble, Rainy Day Books, (and of course Amazon, too). It is available for preorder now, and I won’t stop you if you do, but it doesn’t come out ’til June so you can slow your roll a bit (unless you just really want to give yourself a nice surprise in June 2022 because you will undoubtedly have forgotten about it by then).

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The Rastaman is out!

I was randomly scrolling through my Tweetdeck when I ran across an open submission call for poems and art about Bob Marley. I don’t often hop on these types of calls unless I have something on theme already in the hopper, but this immediately brought to mind my time at home on maternity leave with my twins, when I would play Bob Marley when I was at the end of my rope with two crying babies.

I wrote the poem one night, edited it the next, and sent it out before the submission deadline the day after that, and it was almost immediately accepted! I’ve been so busy this summer that I admit I completely missed the publication announcement, but the anthology is out now, and my poem Alexa, Play Bob Marley is the last poem in the book. Check it out and support an independent press in the process.

Get yourself a copy on Amazon.

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I got featured again!

I had a lot of complicated thoughts of fever-induced mom guilt after COVID hit our house, and threw some of them into an essay that I put together hoping to get picked up by Working Mother magazine or something.

I never heard from them, but it was accepted by Moms Don’t Have Time to Write and the post is now live on Medium! This is my second essay to be accepted by them, so I hope that this means I could end up becoming a regular contributor as the one-year countdown to Community Klepto’s release begins.

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I’m featured in Moms Don’t Have Time to Write

I recently had an essay get accepted to Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, a new website brainchild of award-winning book podcaster Zibby Owens. A fellow author clued me into their call for submissions, and though I was nervous about submitting since I have never written anything expressly through the lens of being a mom before, I was pleased when they accepted my submission the very next today.

It was published today, and I hope you enjoy it! My Less-Than-Triumphant Return to the Barre

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The paradox of perfect pandemic parenting

Is today the day that I infect everyone in my life because I dared to leave my own house,
Or is today the day that I lose my job because my children interrupted me every 5 minutes?

Maybe you shouldn’t have had kids if you weren’t prepared to take care of them 24/7,
But you also definitely shouldn’t have kids if you can’t provide for them financially.

Of course our first solution to this crisis shouldn’t be for all female parents to just stop working,
But we can’t really expect both parents to exit the workforce for 18 years, now can we?

You’re selfish if you don’t put the health, safety, and needs of your children first,
But you’re also selfish if you expect your work colleagues to pick up your slack.

If you go get your hair done, then everyone around you will die,
But you’re on camera a lot more these days, so you should really fix your hair.

Restaurants aren’t safe right now – even if you’re out on a patio, even if you’re getting takeout,
But if you don’t support your local restaurants then only Applebee’s will survive.

No one should set foot inside a school building until everyone has had a vaccine,
But the first vaccines to reach the market were rushed through trials and can’t be trusted.

A learning pod with people you trust is a great way educate your kids and get social interaction,
But these pods are also tools of the elite that only serve to deepen inequality.

Wearing a face mask isn’t political and everyone should just do the right thing for the public’s health,
But it’s critical that you vote for someone who’ll mandate masks, or everyone will die.

If you need one hour of quiet just to get through an important meeting, Moana’s got your back,
But just remember that the only kids who really thrive are those who never have screen time.

You and your kids can’t wait for all of this to be over so things can get back to normal,
But normal was over-scheduled weekends and letting someone else raise them during the week.

Fully vaccinated adults can gather together safely without masking,
But your children can’t get vaccinated yet so you better keep them away from unsuspecting adults.

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Let the publizity begin!

With my first two books, marketing and publicity was hands-down the thing I hated doing the most and also was the worst at. On the other hand, I had a lot more time to devote to things like querying book bloggers and doing guest interviews back then, too. This time around I was not only resolved to let a professional handle all that stuff I suck at for me, I also had a nice list of referrals for good publicists from my publisher.

I queried four of them and had phone meetings with two of them. I would have had three meetings, but they all fell during the week of the freak winter storm we had down here in Austin. I dismissed one of them almost immediately because they put off a very “Publizity” from Kroll Show vibe. What stuck out to me, and ultimately solidified my decision to go with the publicist I did, was that only one of the companies asked to see my manuscript. I know a lot of busy marketing people don’t have time to read everything that comes across their desk, but how do you know if you’re the right person to market the book if you don’t know the book? How do you know who you’re going to sell it to?

After reading horror stories of authors hiring multiple publicists to do multiple things, I was really resolved to only do this once and find someone who really wanted to work with me and wanted to represent my work. And I didn’t want a Liz. So when I talked to potential publicists to represent me, these were the 3 most important questions I asked, and made my decision easier (taken from the larger list from BookBub):

  1. What kind of experience do you have marketing books like mine? This not only leaves room to answer the obvious question, but also lets you know how much effort they put into learning about your book before talking to you.
  2. What kind of promotions would you envision running for my book? This gives you an opportunity to make sure you’re not going to get cookie-cutter promos that don’t fit your book well.
  3. What media contacts do you have that would be interested in my book? One, you get to know what kind of media contacts they have and how many, and two, you can get a good feel of how comfortable they feel about promoting your book where it fits.

Of course the hope is that by June of 2022 I can have a real in-person book launch and sign books face to face after poorly reading from my own novel. But more than anything I am happy that I have someone to handle all the promotional logistics of it for me! Looking forward to a long relationship with Caitlin Hamilton Marketing.

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