Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bailouts and Book Buying

Like most folks I am worried about the economy and curious (and slightly annoyed) about the potential...who are we kidding...inevitable bailout of Wall Street (I think the House votes on the plan on Monday).

700 billion dollars! Really?

What is clear is that the bailout will be financed by the taxpayers. There is no magic pot of money sitting somewhere ready to be tapped into to fund this financial catastrophe. Why was this allowed to get so far out of hand? Why does Wall Street believe that the government should help them out of the hole they have dug for themselves? What happened to "the market will correct itself" and personal responsibility? I know all the talking heads are saying we don't have a choice at this point, and the bailout MUST happen or our economy is going to spiral even deeper into chaos. According to the Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, we are moments from a depression. If what they are saying is true, and the mismanagement by the folks on Wall Street is inextricably tied to the financial well-being of the people of America (if not the world), then why weren't they keeping an eye on our financial cousins all along? Aren't there people, paid good ass money, in charge of keeping track of all this. Didn't they see this coming?

Every day there appears to be a new casualty. On Thursday, WaMu Bank (biggest bank to fail in US history) went down the toilet (assets sold to JP Morgan Chase for 1.9 billion dollars). The week before, Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy, and AIG received some sort of "favorite nation" status when they received a $85 billion bailout from the feds. This after we threw out life preservers to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier in the month. And let's not forget that the dollar is as weak as atrophied legs on a coma patient. As the folks on the Hill try and come up with a plan that takes care of "Wall Street and Main Street," I have to ask - why were these banks allowed to dispense all these risky loans to people and businesses that they knew couldn't repay them?

When I was buying my house five years ago, just before the market became so inflated that the same house I purchased for less than $200,000, could be sold "as is" for $350.000; I was informed by my financial officer that according his calculations that I could actually afford to borrow $300,000. On what planet? He informed me that although my house was relatively cheap, I could borrow the rest of the money to make major renovations on the house and increase its value. Okay...but I can't afford a $2,000 house note. Again, he assured me that he could "work a deal" and the note wouldn't be that high - initially. That's right- an ARM. He told me I was smart and talented and he just knew that I would be making an additional $10,000 before the ARM went into affect. Seriously? I told him I worked for a nonprofit. End of story. But clearly a lot of folks let these financial wizards talk them into homes (cars, credit cards, investments) they couldn't afford in the long run, and when the bill came due, they were screwed royally.

So what does the the failing economy and looming bailouts have to do with book buying? Everything. In fact it is impacting every area of our society. When you are paying $4.00 for gas, barely keeping up with your mortgage, and trying to keep food on your family's table, you suddenly have to start making choices, and a book comes off the must have item list, very quickly. Unless of course you are selling how to make money and survive financial meltdowns -then those might be bestsellers.

When I started the production of Just Like A Girl I was unaware, that in a year, we (as in the US) would be in such deep doodie - economically. Now that I am selling and marketing the book it is absolutely apparent. With this new information I've had to make adjustments, rethink how I book readings (especially on the west coast - since the price to fly has doubled),and how many review copies of the anthology I can send out. I've had to step up my marketing of the book with an emphasis on sales through the GirlChild Press website ( makes 55% on each sale of the book through their site) and crunching the numbers on what bulk sales vs individual sales will look like over the next 6 months. Since I know that Uncle Sam will not be coming by GirlChild Press anytime soon, and writing me a bailout check to keep it afloat, I will have to be a good fiscal manager and make realistic and responsible decisions to insure that the Press will be around for many more years. What a novel concept.

Until later!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pacific Northwest. Check.

In a couple hours I'll be boarding a plane back to DC and I can count my trip to Oregon a success. Shaindel (rhymes with candle) and I made the four hour trek to Portland from Pendleton yesterday to read at In Other Words Bookstore. If you are in the Portland area and have never been to the store, please check them out. They are a marvelous, eclectic feminist bookstore, and unfortunately there are very few left in the country.

This was actually a much smaller reading than the first night. I haven't quite figured out the formula for how these things should work. You would think that being in a larger city would yield more people, but Shaindel reminded me that in smaller towns people have far less entertainment choices, so when something different or interesting is an option they will definitely check it out. Good point. For what the reading lacked in size, they made up for it by buying books. Every sale brings the Press closer to meeting the goal of selling 5,000 books in a year.

Our next reading is October 5, 2008 @ 2:00pm at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. If you are in the area come by.

Until later!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pendleton. It Kicks!

That's the town motto! I love it! Pendleton is definitely a cowboy town. In fact, I missed the annual "Round-Up" by a week. I'm told the entire social calendar for September factors in the influx of cowboys and rodeo people in to Pendleton. My first impression of the city - it is a beautiful, but eerily quiet, place.

I'm glad folks weren't too worn out from the rodeo to come out and attend the first official reading for the book. I'm sure contributor Shaindel Beers (that's her above) had something to do with that. We had a full house - in library terms - and it was a fun and relaxed reading. Shout out to Mary Finney (librarian extraordinaire) for the juice and cookies, and the very sweet certificate.

We had a robust discussion about women writers, how to encourage young writers, writing and trauma, and what it takes to operate and keep a press on track - while working a "good government job".

What it sometimes takes, is bringing a heavy-ass shipment of anthologies across the country to readings. I had originally booked the Portland reading first, so their books were shipped well in advance. By the time the Pendleton reading was set up, I decided to bring the books with me to make sure they got here on time. I was definitely not looking forward to lugging them back to D.C.

Well, the Pendleton folks did not disappoint. During the book signing portion of the program, they bought everything in sight! It is always great to see the anthologies being purchased in twos and threes and fours! It was also wonderful to hear why folks were purchasing the books: to encourage a young writer in their life, to help someone get through a traumatic period, to introduce themselves to new voices.

I am sort of bummed that I don't have any Growing Up Girl copies left to take to the Portland reading tonight, but it's a nice problem to have.

Shaindel and I head off to Portland later this afternoon - it is about four hours away from Pendleton - and I look forward to a great reading there as well. I'll report back tomorrow.

Until then!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Milestones and High Expectations

As of today, GirlChild Press has sold 2,500 copies of Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces! For an independently published book that is pretty damn good. A lot of hard work has gone into this anthology over the last two years and I am glad folks are still interested in the book. Now with the release of the new anthology Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! I am setting some really high expectations.

Over the next 12 months, my goal is to sell 5,000 copies of Just Like A Girl. Don't make that face. It is totally doable. It is all about getting the word out on this wonderful, funny, and powerful anthology. I'm not overstating when I tell you that the JLAG contributors have put their foot in it (go find a southern friend and ask them what the hell that means). They have crafted some amazing and unique work and you will be blown away by the wonderful and resilient world of GIRL that they have created.

Every day I feel honored that I have been given the resources to create a space where women and girls can construct and tell their stories. The mission is simple and straightforward: publish work that celebrates the triumph and defiance of girls and women, and provide a quality forum to bring their diverse voices to the foreground.

Here is a few ways you can help the press reach the "5,000 copies sold" goal:

1. Buy a copy of the book -

2. Buy your mama a copy of the book -

3. Tell your friends to buy the book -

4. If you work for an organization with a budget, buy a bunch of books (bulk orders of 10 copies or more will receive a discount)

5. Pass the word and encourage everyone you know (and even a couple strangers) to buy the book

6. Set up a Just Like A Girl reading at your school, bookstore, church, office, book club, sorority, or any place you want us to come.

And if you want to meet some of the fabulous writers, in the amazing book you have purchased, check out the tour schedule below and see if we are coming to your neck of the woods.

Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! 2008 Tour Schedule

Friday, December 12, 2008 - 8:00pm
Charis Books
1189 Euclid Avenue
Atlanta, GA

Friday, December 5, 2008 - 6:30pm
A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore
307 W. Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53703

Friday, November 7, 2008 - 7:00pm
Women and Children First
5233 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL

Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 4:00pm
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC

Friday, October 31, 2008 -
Wooden Shoe Books
508 S. 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, October 25, 2008 - 3:00pm
Big Blue Marble Books
551 Carpenter Street
Philadelphia, PA

Friday, October 17, 2008 - 6:00pm
Red Emma's Bookstore
800 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 12:00pm
Antioch University
Keene, NH

Monday, October 13, 2008 -11:00pm
Diana Cage Show
Sirius Radio (channel 109)
New York, NY
*in studio interview

Saturday, October 11, 2008 - 7:00pm
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street
(between Stanton and Rivington)
New York, NY

Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 2:00pm
Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 6:30pm
In Other Words Books
8 NE Killingsworth Street
Portland, OR

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 7:00pm
Pendleton Library
502 S.W. Dorion Ave.
Pendleton, OR

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears

Besides battling this heinous, unexpected summer cold, I’ve found myself oddly fixated on the Republicans this morning. Sarah Palin made her VP nomination acceptance speech last night. I didn’t watch (couldn’t keep my head up). I am sure I can catch it on youtube before the day is out. I did read about it this morning and like most folks this week I am fascinated by this “gun tottin’, hottie, hockey mom.” Of course I am wondering how is she qualified to be the VP with such limited experience, but more so I am wondering how she and her family are holding up under the glare and public scrutiny. How is she reconciling her feelings around her pregnant daughter with her abstinence-only and no sex education in schools stance? Does it hold up under this unexpected life situation? Should we judge her because her daughter did what thousands of teens do every day? Is the bar higher because Sarah Palin is a Christian, or anti-choice, or pro-guns, or the governor of Alaska – that she should have had her daughter “under control.” Is she any different from any parent that is trying to do their best, but can’t control every second that their child is out of their sight? I guess it is easy to judge her because she’s taken on such an absolute stance on some vital women’s issues. Maybe, like a few blogger have pointed out, it’s karma. So busy trying to police everyone else’s life, you’re not policing your own – sort of thing. I think it’s more ironic. Or maybe it’s just life.

Does any of this seem weird to all the folks who were cheering her on last night?

I don’t know if I would advise (or pressure) my 17 year old daughter to marry her 18 year old boyfriend. Having that baby is going to be hard enough without the added stress of a marriage under ill-timed circumstances, played out in front of the country. I saw a picture of Bristol Palin’s boyfriend Levi in the receiving line at some Republican event and he looked like a deer in headlights. I wonder what his parents think of all this? At 18, he has to be fighting the urge to bolt. Especially now that his “manning up” is being played out for the Republican Party and the rest of us. What pressure.

I do find it interesting, besides the “leave our children out of this campaign” stance that both sides have endorsed but the kids are in every family photo-op, that when you try to compare Bristol Palin with Jamie Lynn Spears folks bristle up. How are they different? I remember when it came out that Jamie Lynn was preggers folks really tried to come for her mother Lynn Spears. She had allowed Hollywood to corrupt her child and Jamie Lynn’s teen pregnancy was a result of her careless parenting. For Bristol we have heard that no one is perfect. That in the face of a difficult situation Bristol (and her mother) had stuck to her faith and belief that each child deserves life and she was keeping her baby. And best yet, she was marrying the soon-to-be baby daddy.

Line them up side by side and both these young women sound very much a like. They were both having unprotected sex. They both chose to keep their babies (Jamie Lynn clearly has enough money that she could have had an abortion and no one would have had a clue), both their families have professed their love and support for their daughters, and both their baby daddies have promised to marry them (and no I don’t think either one of them has any business rushing into to a marriage to placate anyone who is judging them for getting pregnant, either).

How are they different? I guess because some people sees Bristol’s mom as an upstanding governor with aspirations of the White House, while Jamie Lynn’s mom is a Louisiana hillbilly stage mother.

I’m going to go blow my nose and take some Robitussin.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just Like A Girl is Officially on Tour!

Check out our current readings and keep checking back here or on the website for more dates. If you don't see your city on the list let us know what bookstore, university, or book club we should contact and we'll make it happen. There are a lot of exciting things in store for this book! Our goal is to make Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! a bestseller. You can help us by telling everyone you know about the anthology and coming out to see us at the various readings. We are looking forward to meeting you all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 12:00pm
Antioche University
Keene, NH

Saturday, October 11, 2008 - 7:00pm
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street
(between Stanton and Rivington)
New York, NY

October 5, 2008 - 2:00pm
Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 7:00pm
Pendleton Library
502 S.W. Dorion Ave.
Pendleton, OR

Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 6:00pm
UNOBSTRUCTED radio interview
(click link to listen)