Book Goals, I Has Them

Everything about this commercial is so stupid and offensive, and yet, I think that dude is fucking adorable.

So, here’s where I am with the book thing. Cover illustration is picked. Illustration and cover copy are with the designer. Manuscript is at the typesetter for clean-up. Press release is done. I have some stuff with Amazon to get straight, but I’m not quite ready to do that.

I have my media list pretty much finalized. This is where things really differ between a self-published book and a “real” book. If I had a publisher, I think my media list would easily be 100 places that should at least get a press release. As it is, I have about 20. Folks are very clear that they don’t want to see self-published books.

Which is fine. I just wonder how long they can continue to do so.

But it took a bunch of folks off my list. I kept Chapter 16 on my list, even though everyone says they don’t do self-published crap. What is CPO Publishers if not a front for self-published crap? The writers of Williamson County is somehow a bigger market than ghost stories about Middle Tennessee so some publisher snapped that right up? I’m not buying it. I think Chapter 16 has a way around their “don’t do self-published crap” rule when the need hits. So maybe they won’t review it, but maybe they’ll run a story or interview me or call me up to heckle me in the middle of the night.

That’s my hope, anyway.

That’s really my hope with all my media, that the local angle will trump the “oh, how cute, she did it herself; it must suck” angle.

So, here’s the thing. I asked my trusted book advisor, if she were, say, working marketing for a small, regional publisher and someone had brought my book to her, realistically, unless lightning struck, how many would she say she could sell, don’t worry you won’t hurt my feelings.

She said, “A thousand.”

For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the state of literary fiction, believe me, a thousand seems about right.

Okay, I’m not going to sell a thousand. My press release list is about 1/5 of what it would be.

So, my realistic expectation is to sell 200, that would be a 1/5 of what I might sell with a regular small publisher and a regular small publisher publicity machine.

My goal is to sell 333. That would roughly net me the same royalties as if I’d sold 1,000, and would have covered the production costs, if I’d had to pay full production costs out of pocket and not had some damn fine generous friends. I’m hoping that, with the unique publicity machine of Tiny Cat Pants, I can sell that many.

But let me say, if I can sell more than 333, if I can sell closer to 1,000, just myself, you and I, dear readers, are going to learn something about the future of the publishing industry that… I don’t know… It’s one thing to pontificate about how much the publishing industry is changing. But if one lone person, namely me, can, with the help of her friends, put out a book that sells as well as it would sell if she had a small publisher… I don’t know.

It’s hard to wrap my head around it.

But anyway, that’s my hope–333 copies. Everything on top of that will be “the ground is shifting more rapidly beneath our feet than we knew.”

Also, if you need someone to come read ghost stories to you and your friends in October, I am available. And, yes, I’m still trying to think about how to have a book launch of some sort.

Edited to add: It just occurred to me to reiterate that most places like lots of lead-time on non-news stuff. That’s why I’m getting all this stuff lined up now. I’d like to, if possible, have materials to the media by the end of August, beginning of September.

I Can Never Take Mrs. Wigglebottom to Walgreens Again

I was supposed to pick up my prescriptions yesterday, but I also had to swing over to Germantown on an errand and I just got right on Rosa Parks and headed up home before it dawned on me that I had missed my last stop.

So, this morning, I loaded up Mrs. W. and we headed down to Walgreens.

And the pharmacist asked about her and said how cute she was and then he gave her a treat. If a dog could squeal with fan-girl delight, that dog did.

I also learned something interesting on the way home. I should preface this by explaining that there is this incredible meat and three here in town called Swett’s, which is over by TSU, and it has been a long standing joke among people I know that it is impossible for white people to get to Swett’s directly. Basically, we just get on Charlotte, turn north, and then flail around until we happen upon it. It takes us like an hour to get to Swett’s from Charlotte.

But, after a decade, I have come to learn that, if you get on Charlotte, turn north on 28th Avenue, Swett’s is like five blocks up.  Could not be simpler to get to.

And today? Oh, today I learned that, if I stay on 28th headed north, that road eventually runs me right back into Clarksville Pike. And so this begs the question–why would I ever get on Briley to go any place east of Briley when this is so convenient?


An actual email I sent to Jim Ridley today:

When I go to log in, it tells me it can’t find the server. People I have to post half-naked pictures of Mike Rowe!!!

Followed shortly by:

Did I say “half-naked pictures of Mike Rowe”? I meant “astute political commentary about Roy Herron.”



You can’t say they didn’t have fair warning.

Lord almighty, I have a lot of random things to share

1. Everything about this is awesome. But most especially I love that, even though it’s Cincinnati, I feel like it gives me an idea of what Nashville would have looked like.

2. Folks, this is what happens when you leave us Midwesterners unsupervised.

3. Ron Ramsey made The Onion.

4. GoldnI makes some salient points.

5. <small voice of awe and delight>This is the cover illustration.</small voice of awe and delight>

One Advantage to Kids over Cats

Kids outgrow pooping in the tub. Also, eventually, you can ask a kid “How would you like it if I pooped in the tub?”

Yes, a kid might answer, “That would be hilarious.”

But at least s/he’d understand the question.

Scam or Not?

A website asks for free books from publishers. They then review those books, but all of the reviews are along the lines of “here’s what this book’s about,” not critical in any way. The book titles are linked to Amazon, where the website is an affiliate, so, they get money if you buy books they never negatively review.

Scam or not?

I thought nothing of it, but when I was trying to explain it, it started to sound scammy to me.

So Digging This

After I got off the phone with one of my oldest friends (I have known him my whole damn life or at least his whole damn life. I don’t remember any time before he was born, anyway), I spent some time working on a media list for the book. I have to impose on my expert again to figure out what to do about the whole “Reading” situation. Lord, all I want is a place I can read a story or two and we can have some drinks and celebrate that the book is done. Or, fuck, we won’t even drink.

But anyway, all week, one of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s guest bloggers is doing a small mix at lunch. Today’s, especially, is awesome.

Walking with Mrs. Wigglebottom

The other day we were yet again talking about the difference, broadly speaking, between the position straight men are in when they first meet a woman and the position women are in when they first meet a man. Most women, when we first meet a man, start a running tab of “Things he does or doesn’t do that might indicate whether he’s going to fuck me up and/or kill me.” Most women I know talk about how difficult it is, when that’s what’s going on in the back of your mind, to be at ease around a guy you’ve just met and not come off just a hair stand-off-ish.

My straight guy friends, needless to say, don’t meet new women and start thinking “What are the chances this woman will fuck me up and/or kill me?”

Anyway, one of the things that I love about my dog is that I feel like she changes the equation. I notice this a lot when we’re out walking in the morning, because it’s imperative for me to check the faces of the people in the passing cars to make sure that they see me and are going to get over.

And I would say that 80% of the men that pass us either make little acknowledgment of us or they wave because they see us every day. And of the 20% who seem to register “Oh, that’s a woman,” half of them smile nicely or look a little sheepish and that’s it. But on our walks, there’s always at least one jackass who slows way down, as if to sum up the situation.

Yesterday, there was a Jeep full and they all slowed down and stared and then, after the passed, they all war-whooped. Now, clearly, this isn’t about how hot I look at 6:30 in the morning. It’s about them needing to feel a little rush at being a jackass. Fine. But then I have to judge the chances of that escalating into something that’s going to go unpleasantly for me.

And the thing is, with these types of guys, if you seem too “please don’t fuck with me,” that encourages them and if you seem too “don’t even try to fuck with me” that encourages them–I should stop this sentence now just to point out that there is no right way for a woman to navigate these situations. You never know what’s going to come across as daring them more than dissuading. I don’t need guidance in how to better judge fuckers; those fuckers need to behave.–you need to strike the right note of “it’s not worth the effort to fuck with me.”

I believe it’s very hard for a woman alone to carry herself in such a way that strikes that note. But a woman with a pit bull?

We strike that note, I think.

I was thinking about that this morning, as Mrs. Wigglebottom and I were headed out, because I needed to clear the rattle the guys in the Jeep had put in me.

And today, for the first time in ages, we saw someone else on our walk–a woman, jogging, carrying a large, narrow, wooden club.

And I smiled when I saw her, because I recognized that club for what it was, a signal that it’s not worth it to fuck with her.

Excited Work

So, I finished up work early and came home to work on book stuff. I emailed the folks at to make sure I could hype my own book on my own blog without violating the TOS and they said, “Go ahead!” so I spent all afternoon (after work) putting up my press release and my Q&A and videos to musicians and songwriters mentioned in the book. I even included my author photo, since y’all made me feel like it wasn’t completely ridiculous.

And I found a video so delightful I am going to share it with you now, even though I’m not posting my page until I have a book jacket.

You all remember at the beginning of “All the Same Old Haunts,” there was mention of the guitar battle between Johnny Jones and Jimi Hendrix at the Club Baron, which was, apparently really called the Baron Club. Like as in “Bare-on”. In my head, I had been saying it “The Club Bare-oan” which I think has a nice ring to it. Oh well, it’s fiction. Some things are not like they were in real life.

Ha, no matter how much you think you’ve got something down, you just never do, you know?

Anyway, here’s Johnny Jones talking about that very battle.

A Country Lunch

Good lord, can we all just agree that Marty Robbins is the most talented, depressing singer in the history of the universe? People, if you are anywhere and a Marty Robbins song breaks out, run, because your ass is about to get shot or hanged or trampled by phantom cows. He has a body count rivaled only by Jessica Fletcher. Shoot, I was going to post a song of his here, but it was making me depressed just trying to pick on.

As a pick-me-up, I had to switch to the Statler Brothers.

The best part of this song, really, is how much it illuminates the spot-on genius of Ray Stevens’ “Do-right Family.”

This is my favorite Statler Brothers’ song:

But check out Elvis doing “Susan When She Tried.”

I’m sorry, I just love how you can tell Elvis loves the songs he sings.

And I’m sure some of y’all have heard this. But, if not, just wait. It will tickle you. I promise.

More Book Minutia

Just to follow up from yesterday, I had my trusted book publicity person look at the back cover copy, the press release, and the author Q&A. She was bowled over by how great the cover copy was. I told her it was because I had help refining it from y’all.

Anyway, so that’s all cleaned up and in a simple but nice Word format.

So, things that are under my control are under control. My next step will be making up my media list. I’ll be trying to conserve as many review copies as possible, since I have to pay for them, but I have a few big fish I want to send actual books to.

I’m being realistic with myself. Self-publishing pretty much guarantees that mainstream media folks won’t review it. But I’m hoping that, I can give them something else to talk about–like ghost stories in October or “local blogger continues her DIY efforts”–that will give them a way to talk about the project, even if they don’t review it.

But I’m hoping I can get a little local media coverage.

The other thing I’m thinking about is some type of event in October–a book launch or a reading or something, but I’m having trouble coming up with some place sufficiently spooky. And I don’t want to have to sell books, because I don’t want to deal with the taxes and such.

So, I don’t know. That’s what I’m mulling over now.

Any thoughts?

The New Kitty is Going to Take Some Getting Used To

Oh, Mrs. Wigglebottom. She’s got a bug up her butt this week that she wants to sleep with me. And you can try to ignore her, but she just paces back and forth around the bed, her nails clicking on the wooded floor in a manner that makes it impossible to sleep and then, when the clicking stops, it’s because she’s just standing at the edge of the bed, staring at you.

So, fine, I lift her into the bed.

This morning, I am sleeping with my head on Mrs. Wigglebottom’s belly, all nestled in the curve of her side, as is one of the great pleasures of owning a big dog when I wake up just enough to notice that I hear snoring. I check. It’s not me. And it’s coming from the foot of the bed!

I sit bolt upright in bed. I don’t know what I thought, that there was going to be, somehow, another dog at the bottom of the bed or something. But I was freaked out.

And Mrs. Wigglebottom looks at me from her spot at the foot of the bed all “Why are you waking me up so early?”

And I look over and the new kitty is sprawled out right where my head was, giving me this look like “What? You don’t like cuddling with me?”

I mean, I knew they’d settled some of their differences, but I didn’t know they were sleeping together.

Whew, scared the crap out of me.

Also, the tiny cat situation has really gotten me down. I feel like I keep hearing her meowing and then I realize it’s just one of the other cats. It breaks my heart.

Remnants of Bonnie

The remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie are overhead. I wish you could see it. The sky is black. And the thunder is so loud and close it sounds like it’s practically knocking on the door. But, of course, the sun has not set, so at the horizon, you can see some light. And that light is making all the rain this beautiful silver.

It’s thrilling in a scary way, but also really cool.

Edited to add: Apparently we’re having tornadoes. Scary, scary.

Could the Republicans Try to Field One Unsketchy Gubernatorial Candidate Next Time?

Ramsey doesn’t know if Islam is a religion. And yet, he thinks he’s qualified to run the state. Worse, he seems slightly more sane than the guy who randomly shouts “I love you.” Seriously, at this point, I think Haslam could stand at the entrance to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park naked, tossing crude oil onto tourists as some kind of political performance art and he will still seem like a more viable candidate than these other two yahoos.

I mean, the scandal Haslam would have to have to out crazy these two… I can’t even imagine.

Is It Just Me?

Every time I hear John Mayer’s “Half of My Heart” I wonder if there’s a masked track in which Mayer cackles evilly and croons “These dumbass women will buy anything as long as I sing it like I mean it.” I swear, something about that song just strikes me as so damn condescending, like he thinks we’re too stupid to not like it. It’s not the words or the music, though, so that’s what makes me think it must be a masked track.

Book Things

I am not a very organized person, so I’m having a lot of needless fretting about the book. But here’s where things stand.

The page proofs are back with the typesetter and now include an author’s note and a slight tweak on one story. I am the queen of commas, but many of the needless ones have been removed. This means, obviously, that the book is back from the copyeditor.

I have a headshot or two and some back cover copy. I know how thick the book is going to be and what my ISBN is. The cover art has been decided on, so I’m just waiting for the weather to cooperate with the photographer and then I can get that off to the designer.

Meanwhile, I have a press release draft and some author Q & As done. I’m going to ask a friend to look over them and give me some guidance. Hopefully, she’ll also tell me about the exciting world of the one-sheet and whether I need it.

Since I have to pay for my review copies myself, I’m really hoping to limit them to just a dozen or so.

But the thing that weighs heavy on me is that this book’s hook is that it’s something interesting for media folks to talk about in October–it’s obviously got that ghostly hook. And they’ll start thinking about how October shapes up at the end of August, beginning of September. So, I’m hoping the actual physical making of the book goes quickly (I know once they get it set up, it happens pretty much overnight, but I’m worried about that set-up time).

Anyway, it’s making my stomach upset, but in good ways. I think it’s coming along.

True Blood, True Brain Matter

Lord almighty, I could have lived happily never seeing Tara’s face splattered with brains. But bless Sookie’s heart, I think Tara and Alcede had more chemistry in their tiny interaction than he and Sookie had all along.

And, of course, I loved that Jesus knew who all the gods on Lafayette’s altar were.

Whew, I meant to type as I watched, but I got all caught up in it.

The Headshot

I have to tell you that I am apparently the kind of person who gets drunk and raves about how much she loves and does not deserve her back yard. I don’t know when I became that kind of drunk. I had no idea it was a kind of drunk, but there you are. All night, though, I had a dream that our house was flooding and I had to get my mom to safety but she refused to believe it was as bad as it was.

Anyway, Mary and Samantha came over and hung in the hammocks and we talked and then, once I was tipsy enough to not feel self-conscious, I asked them to help me get a good headshot to use with the book

After a series of experiments against different backdrops in the house, Mary took this photo without quite realizing how it would turn out.

Obviously, it accidentally looked really, really cool, like I was haunting the mirror in my dining room. We then spent the next little bit trying to replicate the photo, but with less glare and less dorky smile on my part. Both were very difficult. One, because I squint my eyes when I smile.

But two because the mirror is, you know, a hundred years old, at least, and it was hand-painted and all the silver brushstrokes are now showing through on the surface. It’s hard not to get some glare.

But then, after they made me fluff my hair, we got this. I think it’s the one. At the least, at least my boobs showed up for duty.