Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The real post for today

Ah, blogging. So much fun, so easy, so therapeutic—so easy to neglect. It’s not as if nothing has happened, either; as you may gather from the snapshot, my nephew arrived on January 26, making him, today, four days old. I assume he still resembles the picture.

Hi, Mac! I will meet you in March.

He is the first grandchild on both sides, and his parents live far from home base of Utah. So as you can imagine, many, many packages have made their way east. Even I have a package waiting to be sent. One item in the package is an adorable bib, which has been in my closet since September. I’m sending that this weekend, even though that means I don’t get to witness the reactions, which I am assuming will be just like mine, too goopy and shmoopy to describe on a blog. I also bought a tiny Beany Baby stuffed zebra, which I will save until my March Meet the Mac trip, because he’ll be almost 2 months old by then and maybe acknowledge it? I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. I am snookered.

Anyway. Back to book blogging. On January 12, I attended the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference, held in Philadelphia. Specifically, I attended one day of the Midwinter Conference, since the conference itself lasted, like, five or six. Enough to make your head spin. My book was featured in the Combined Book Exhibit because it was chosen as a Publisher’s Choice book, and at my sister’s suggestion I went down to the conference to try to flog it to librarians.

At the conference I met a man named Peter Birch, who was one of the people in charge of the combined exhibit. He was exceptionally kind and helpful and gave me all kinds of tips as to how I could best take advantage of this trip I’d made (a lovely hour and a half on Amtrak. The train is a nice way to travel). He recommended I go to the independent booksellers’ booths to get tips from them on how to sell books; after all, they’re almost in the same situation as I am. They’ve put out books which they feel are quality titles, but don’t have the power of the big houses to back them up. So some of the small publishers weren’t all that friendly, but one in particular was—I wish I remembered the name, but they publish kids’ history books. He suggested all kinds of review sources I could use, mostly for publications that go to libraries. It took a full week after the conference was over for me to follow up on all of these suggestions, getting their addresses and their submission requirements and writing the letters and sending off the books. I did this over Martin Luther King weekend—hooray for holidays!

I also met a lovely writer named Therese Fowler, whose awesome debut novel, Souvenir, comes out February 12. I will blog a bit more about her and her book closer to that time. For right now I will say that she kindly signed an Advanced Reader’s Edition of her book and then, even more kindly, reached out and emailed me the next week, since I had given her my card. Her website is More later.

The other thing I finished, which I am proud of finishing, is writing up my official marketing plan and sending that to iUniverse so we can get it into a brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble store! The one I requested was at the Gateway in Salt Lake City, to coincide with a Salt Lake City media tour (we hope—this could be at the whims and mercy of the local media officials). It should be on the New Release table for eight weeks, and I will take a trip out there to try to hold readings both in homes and at libraries. Dear Readers Based in Utah, if you would like to (or if not “like to,” will “consent to”) hold a reading at your home, I will bring a lot of good food! That’s my solemn promise!

Hey—that applies to any and all New York-based readers, as well. Just a little FYI.

I’ve also been scheduled for my first book group, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. It’s a bit of a hike but my dear friend Colleen got her group to read my book and promised an author’s visit, so an author’s visit they are going to get. I love visiting Colleen, with her spacious New England house and foliage-filled yard (space and yards have become delicacies to me, the New Yorker) and her and her husband’s kindness, and getting to talk with a group is icing on the cake. If anyone else has a book group, I’m more than happy to come speak or talk on the phone; either way is great with me.

Meanwhile, in New York, I got stocked at the Penn Station bookstore! Yay!

I will stop now. There’s more to say, but more entries in which to say it. Until then...


Although I know how to publish graphics on my blog (see the attached)--I don't know how to place them where I want to place them. I've done this about six times now. So rather than put the bibs up top in the last blog, I'm putting them in a separate entry. Here they are. The one I bought is blue, and the baby is obviously not the boy in the picture, but besides that you can get an idea of what I sent. (I got them from Kip's Kids, easily found on the internet at Lots of cute, cute stuff.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Most Definitely "in"

So, apparently I’m “in.”

All right, that’s a gross personalization (as opposed to generalization) of a trend, but I’m applying it to myself.

I am an avid reader of Entertainment Weekly. I subscribe to two magazines, the other being Newsweek, in order to feel connected with my world and surroundings. My job also has a nice program where they order magazines and circulate them through interested personnel; through this, I am “subscribed” to Time, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, but with a bizarre irregularity. (I often get 3 copies of each at the same time and am not able to read any of any of them. Therefore I read the short stories in The New Yorker, look through Time for anything interesting, and completely disregard The Atlantic and send them all on to their other waiting readers.) I say this so that, even though I do love my Entertainment Weekly, you will know I am not just a pop-culture moron whose only worldly concern is whether Britney has yet gone the way of Anna Nicole. I will take this down if she does.

So Entertainment Weekly, for those not in the know, has a feature called The Shaw Report which labels trends In, Five Minutes Ago, and Out. One of her recent trend successions goes: “In, Widow Lit; Five Minutes Ago, Mommy Lit; Out, Chick Lit.”

My book definitely falls into the category of Widow Lit. Hooray! I’m “in”!

I have never been “in” in my life.

When I was a teenager I decided to buy those incredibly trendy Minute glasses, with the oversized round frames. Unfortunately the pictures I had seen of those very cute Minute glasses had very thin lenses in them. My lenses were...not thin. In fact, for anyone in the know, my prescription in high school went from -7 to -9. this is not on the 20/20 or 20/whatever scale, because it’s a comparison of what people can see at 20 feet; I saw zero at 20 feet. I literally could not see one foot (my own, or distance) or more than three inches. (This is not legally blind, because the definition of legally blind is that you can’t see 20/20, or anything close to it, even with correction. With correction, I had 20/20 vision, at least until I changed another whole diopter, which happened with frightening regularity.) So those adorable Minute frames were the diameter of Coke bottle bottoms, lending an awful literalness to the term “Coke bottle glasses.” My head and eyes were distorted and shrunken, and the lenses (Featherweights!) stuck out of those cute Minute frames by about half an inch. In my next pair of glasses, we decided “smaller is better,” especially since, by then, my prescription had gone to -11, topping out at -12.

I had Lasik surgery at age 23, which was before it was officially “in.” Maybe this made me avant garde, but I was not “in.” My prescription has edged up a little since the Lasik, and now I own a pair of trendy Tina Fey glasses (or as my brother calls them, “smart girl glasses,”) but I don’t wear them because most of my day is spent at a computer screen and I only need them for long distance. I wear them to drive, which I do about twice a year. I’m not “in.”

I don’t like diets, so I refuse to try anything that’s “in,” like Atkins or Zone or Marilu Henner’s plan. I won’t do Jenny Craig. So not in. (Then again, the celebs who pitch Jenny Craig are even farther from “in” than I am...because they were “in” at one time, and I wasn’t, so while I’m still just “not in,” they’re “out.” Hmm.)

I don’t buy trendy clothes, because quality trendy clothes are expensive, and if I sucked it up and bought the quality trendy clothes they’d be out within a year and I’d have to revamp my entire wardrobe once again. I could shop at H&M, but the few items I’ve bought from them (bordering dangerously on “in”) start unraveling on the second wearing.

I don’t have trendy hair. In fact, after my last haircut, I looked into the mirror and thought, “My goodness. My hair is now ‘The Rachel.’” “The Rachel” was 1995. Then again, when it dries naturally, it goes into “The Hillary.” This will never, ever be “in.” (I am temporarily solving this problem with copious amounts of gel.)

I don’t wear trendy makeup. Makeup tends to go in fads, like sparkly one year and matte the next...but all in various shades of pink. I can’t wear pink; I look like an old lady who buys Wet ‘n’ Wild on sale.

(So maybe I’m not “in”...but I did just get an email that said I have won the European lottery! I’m not in but I’m rich! don’t need to enter contests to win them, do you?)

All of these reasons why I am not “in.” But...I am the author of the book that, for whatever it’s worth, has been classified by Entertainment Weekly, as “in.” Line up! Get ‘em while they’re hot! Because in five minutes, they’ll be “five minutes ago.”