On Disappointment

(I am aware I have been quiet for some time. I went to Stonecoast, graduated with my MFA, then had to record the audiobook for Ghost Train to New Orleans for six days straight, so I’m pretty beat. I’ll have a podcast update soon.)

I’m going to be careful with the details here, but I try to be honest about my career, even when there are downturns. So I’m not going to name names. People who know me can probably figure things out, but don’t guess in the comments. You can ask me privately if you like. But bad/annoying/disappointing stuff happens and we need to talk about it.

It’s said time and again, that you don’t Arrive when you get that agent, or when you get that book deal, or when the book comes out, or even when you win an award. You’re always fighting upstream, and whenever something great happens, like winning an award or gearing up for your second book launch, life will tend to try to knock you out of your groove with something shitty.

Anyway, I – through the proper channels, namely Orbit’s awesome publicist – tried to get a book event at a non-local indie book store that I like very much. They agreed, sent me possible dates, I chose one, and made my plan to drive to [REDACTED.] Today I found out that, hm, no, wait, they don’t want to do it anymore. They’ve pulled out. Canceled. GO AWAY MUR.

They are worried I won’t draw enough local interest.

The punchline is that this book store is probably the best indie bookstore that is closest to my hometown.* Local interest, indeed.

I don’t know if they know I’m from a town nearby. I am not sure if the publicist knows this. I probably should have told her; I didn’t even think to. But she told me they’re firm. No book event.

(This store recently hosted an old college buddy of mine who turned out to be an author too. But he writes literary fiction. Out of respect for my Stonecoast friends, I will refrain from any rude comments here. I didn’t even italicize literary. I feel like I’m growing as a person here.)

It’s not the end of the world, of course. I do have a reading at Boskone in 3 weeks, and I’m having a book launch in March at the awesome Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, and am planning at least one other local event. I’m going to be around, in public. It’s cool. Also I’ve had other authors commiserate with me that this has happened to them too, and it does indeed suck. So I’m not alone in the “HAHA JUST KIDDING NO BOOK EVENT FOR YOUUUUUU” situation.

But damn. This is my second (pro) book. It got a good review from Publishers Weekly. I won the Campbell last year. I’m not about to drunkenly stumble up to them and scream “Don’t you know WHO I AM?” but it’s times like this that make me realize that there will be times in my life, over and over again, where I feel like that newbie writer who can’t get a break.** It’s depressing. And humbling. But what can I do except do the usual rejection treatment***, and get back to writing?


*¬†Granted, it’s still a bit of a drive from my town to said store. I’m from a VERY small town in the mountains. Everything is a bit of a drive.
** People told me I had to stop saying that I was a “wannabe writer” in my podcast. Times like this put me right back into that feeling.
*** Red wine. Blanket. Feeling sorry for self. Tomorrow morning, we’re done, and we’re acting like a pro again, what with the writing and the podcasting and stuff. But for tonight, well, poop.

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