Wednesday, December 17, 2008


The recent economic crisis has been tough on a lot of individuals and businesses, but is seems that independent bookstores are especially vulnerable at this time. A couple weeks ago I received an email from the folks over at Robin's Bookstore (Philadelphia) saying they were closing at the end of this month. Now this morning, I received an email from In Other Words Books (Portland) asking for help. They need to raise $11,000.00 by the end of the month or they will have to close their doors. I am sending off a donation now. Please read below and do what you can.

We can't afford to lose another independent bookstore!

From the In Other Words Board

Please help us save In Other Words: Women's Books & Resources, the last
remaining non-profit feminist bookstore in the country!

In Other Words, like so many bookstores, has fallen upon incredibly hard
financial times. With the decline in our current economy, we have
experienced severely decreased revenue. *If we are unable to raise
$11,000 by the end of December, In Other Words will have to close its

We desperately need your help. *We are confident that if everyone who
cares about In Other Words makes a contribution, large or small, we will
meet our goal. * Please give as generously as you can to save the last
remaining non-profit, feminist bookstore in the country: the place where
so many Portland artists, activists, organizers, readers, writers,
political thinkers, musicians and poets find their voice, their power,
their community, and their political home.

*Our community cannot afford to lose In Other Words, please help us save
You can make your tax-deductible donations on the In Other Words website
or by stopping into the store (8 NE Killingsworth). To donate on our
secure donation page on the website:
and then click on ?Support In Other Words?

*Please forward this widely to your community, we need all the help we
can get!*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Charis Books: Last Stop on the Tour Train

That's it! Last night was the final Just Like A Girl reading for 2008. Charis Books and Zami(in the ATL) were our hosts for the evening. Contributors Julie Senger (Just Like A Girl) and Tashamee Dorsey (Growing Up Girl) joined me to bring the tour to a close. I was very grateful to have them there. They are both wonderful writers and beautiful spirits.

I absolutely limped into this reading. I was exhausted. For a reason, I'm still not sure of, I scheduled this tour to be pulled off in 5 months. Almost every weekend (and a couple weekdays) I was on the road. Fourteen cities and several hundred miles were covered in that time. With Growing Up Girl it took me over a year to cover that kind of territory. I'm not sure what the hurry was about but I wont do that again!

For those who read this blog for tips on running your own press or self-publishing and promoting your work - here are a few concrete ones.

Pace yourself - especially if you are a one person show. When you are responsible for booking the readings, shipping the books, filling the orders, reserving the flights, cars, hotel rooms, AND being present at the readings - that is a lot to handle. You will start to feel the fatigue and the sense you are operating in a divided mind (which is not great if you have to make significant business decisions).

Ask for help! I can't tell you how much I suck at this. Part of it is about my personality, but the other part is that doing something like this really can be an isolating endeavor. You spend a lot of time by yourself and you get in the headset that you have to do everything. Not true. Especially when it becomes clear that you are not going to be good at everything or have the resources to pull everything off.

At the end of the tour I started to run out of money and energy. Because I depend on the sale of the books (Hey! have you bought a couple copies for the holidays?) to pay for every aspect of the tour it can get a little sketchy. This tour required more flying and as we all know - airfare has been out of this world! My starting budget for the tour did not factor in four dollar gas and $15 first bag check-in fees. In the end, after much fretting, I had to ask my sister to put my ticket to Atlanta on her credit card. She was more than happy to. For some reason I thought it was going to be an imposition. In all the worrying I forgot that my family and friends want me to succeed and are more than willing to do what they can to get me where I am trying to go.

Write Everything Down!! Besides having your master marketing plan, you have to keep a list of "stuff" you will need while you are on the road or just traveling to your local bookstore for a reading. I make a "pack list" every time I have a reading. From my toiletries to how many books I need to have on hand, I write it down. I know you think your mind is a steel trap, but you WILL forget something. Trust me, it sucks to get somewhere and realize that you forgot the camera or your slacks or the address to the hotel where you are staying.

Pack Light. Leave your favorite pillow at home. Take only what you need. It is easier to keep track of your stuff and get through airport security this way. At this point, I got this process down to a science. Yesterday I only took a backpack with me. I squeezed my laptop, change of clothes and shoes, toiletries, cameras, and books in that puppy. I sailed through the airport. It was a very efficient trip (not counting the three hour layover)!

Be Flexible! No matter how much you plan or try to anticipate - something is going to go wrong. That's just how the Universe is. US Airway is going to cancel your flight and saddle you with a three hour layover (putting you at your destination with just an hour to get ready for your reading). Jerome at Alamo is going to say something crazy to you and forget the power cord to the $11.95 a day GPS that you desperately need to get around. While away from your home base (in a totally different city) you will get an email from the bookstore saying they never got their shipment and you have to pay an extra 50 bucks to overnight them another batch before the reading. All of this is annoying, but not earth shattering. Your problem solving skills will kick in and everything will work out -one way or another. Promise.

The rest of 2008 will consist of me filling holiday orders, sleeping,and mapping out what 2009 needs to look like. When the tour starts back up I will be focused on mostly universities,colleges, and book clubs. And,oh yeah, reading the submissions for the new anthology Woman's Work!.

I want to thank everyone for the continued support of GirlChild Press. I really appreciate all the support and love. I look forward to your submissions, feedback, and positive energy.

Until Later!

Friday, December 5, 2008

From Snowy Wisconsin

Lacey Louwagie and I held down the reading at A Room of One's Own. Thanks to everyone who came through, asked questions, and took pictures:)

Besides me whining about how frickin' cold Wisconsin is (why does anyone live in this state after September?), we had a nice talk about creating a space for writers, upcoming projects and why women don't write more sci-fi.

The bookstore staff was super great. Thanks Amanda for scheduling the reading and finding me a cool new journal and a copy of Junot Diaz's Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. If one more person tells me "you have to read this book!" Hopefully over the holidays I will be able to cuddle up with this work of genius.

Until then I am heading off to L.A for some fun and hopefully a new writing gig. Then next Friday, we wrap up this five month adventure at Charis Books in Atlanta,GA.

I look forward to seeing everyone there:)

Until Later

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the Road Again!

Nearing the finish line of the 2008 Just Like A Girl Book Tour. On Friday,December 5th I'll be reading at A Room of One's Own in Madison, WI at 6:30pm. Contributors will be in the house and I anticipate a good reading. If you are in the area please come by and check us out.

Then after a layover in L.A. for a few days, I'll head to the ATL on December 12th for the VERY LAST READING OF THE YEAR!
Cue the fireworks!!!

We are reading at Charis Books at 8:00pm. The super fabulous contributor Julie Senger will be joining me. I would love to go out with a bang so please come through and show us some love AND buy books:)

Until Later