So the official release date for my debut novel Backward Glass is tomorrow. Which is odd, since it’s been out in ebook for a solid week, and actually on shelves in a lot of stores for close to a month, but, you know, whatevs.
Thing is, I’m nervous, y’all. People talk about publishing a book as being like giving birth, but since I’ve only ever experienced that major life event from the outside, I can’t say.
To me, it’s like sending your kid off to school for the first time. You’ve prepared him as best you can, dressed him up to be his best, and filled him with all the words you think he needs to take on the world. But is it enough? Will anybody like him? Will he make friends? Does he have good marketing? Is he being put on the right display tables? Are people gonna tweet about him?
Okay, some of those don’t apply to the kid. But still. I mean my name? It’s alphabetically pretty close to Lowry. I hope The Giver isn’t a bully.
But what’s going to happen next? The starred review in Kirkus was awesome, as were the nice notes from Publishers Weekly and Booklist (no link yet on that one). And the reviews from book bloggers who got ARCs have been a highlight of my last few months. (Okay, bragging done now.)
I don’t have much more point to this. I just wanted to share that I have some jitters. If you were someone who wanted to help me sleep tonight, maybe you’d want to tweet to a friend (or a friend who has a teenager — or a friend who is a teenager) that they should get to a bookstore tomorrow and get a copy of Backward Glass. Or to an online bookstore right now.
I’ll be off in the corner biting my nails.
I’m getting very excited about the launch of my novel Backward Glass, but to be honest, I’m also a little apprehensive. I have some excellent reviews (starred from Kirkus, very positive from Publisher‘s Weekly, and a tweet that the Booklist reviewer loved it, though no actual review as yet…) and yet at the same time, I worry that I’m about to place a tiny drip into a vast ocean. People who have read the book have liked it — I just really want to make sure a lot of people read it.
So, David, how can I help?
I’m so glad you asked. My friend Christopher Barzak (who gave a really generous blurb for Backward Glass) did this great post on his blog back in March when his (highly recommended) collection Before and Afterlives was about to come out, suggesting some things that friendly folks could do to help him make a splash. I thought it was a great idea, and so I thought I’d try the same sort of thing. Here is a list of things you could do if you’d like to help out.
- Buy the book. Read it. If you like it, review or rate it somewhere. Goodreads is awesome. Online book retailers are fantastic.
- Buy the book as a gift for someone who might like it. Reviewers so far have made some very generous comparisons to The Time Traveler’s Wife, Back to the Future, The Wonder Years, Doctor Who and Stand by Me. You pretty much have to know people who liked at least one of those, right? If you know someone who doesn’t like any of those, maybe buy them a season of Doctor Who and The Time Traveler’s Wife as well as Backward Glass. Because that would just be the right thing to do.
- Suggest the book to some parents of teenagers. Backward Glass is supposedly pitched at a teenage audience, but to be honest, what I tried to do with that books is create a classic, the kind of thing you can read at any age. Most kids probably shouldn’t read it younger than twelve.
- Buy it as a gift for your kid’s teacher. Or librarian.
- Suggest it to your local public library. If you’re within fifty miles of me, tell them you can get me there for the nominal fee of nothing at all.
- Suggest it to your kids’ school librarian. You might want to mention the Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly Reviews. It’s harder for me to do school visits, but I can try — especially for elementary schools when my high school students are writing exams. If they’re too far away, I Skype. Again, nominal fee of not a single penny.
- Ask for it at your local bookstore.
- Read it in public places, arranging your body language so as to be very approachable to strangers who might wonder what you’re reading. Laugh or look concerned — while reading, not at the strangers.
- Tweet or Facebook pictures of yourself reading the book.
- Repost or Tweet this. Share or Retweet some of my other Backward Glass related stuff. Your friends and followers are no doubt people of taste and discernment.
- Come to the launch if you’re local. It’s at the Kennedy Commons Chapters, October 19th from 1:00-4:00 pm. I’ll read a little bit at the start, so feel free to miss that if it’s not your thing. From 1:30 pm onwards, I’ll just be sitting at a table signing books and talking to folks. I’d sure appreciate it if you can come by. I’ve always had the dread of throwing a party that nobody comes to, so I’m really hoping for a crowd that day.
- Go to my author Facebook page (www.facebook.com\DavidLomax100) and like it. Share some stuff there with those discerning and tasteful friends of yours.
- Are you a former student of mine? Get some of my other former students on board. Tag them in posts: “Hey, remember old Mr. Lomax from back in [insert unbelievably distant date here]? He’s got a book coming out. Let’s go to the launch and have a mini-reunion of the class of [unbelievably ancient date] at the Starbucks at Kennedy Commons on October 19th, somewhere between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm, at which point we can all buy his book and see how old he looks.”
- Are you a former colleague of mine? Same as above, but without the “old” bit. Because teachers never age, right?
- Are you my enemy? Come on by, because, hey, maybe nobody else will show up, and you can have a bwah-ha-ha moment. (This, by the way, is my wife’s greatest fear.)
- Do you know influential people? Influence them. To do some of the items on this list.
- Are you a time traveler? If yes, please drop me a note to tell me how the launch went.
Hey, all! A few days ago I got some copies of my debut novel, Backward Glass, so I’d like to give them away. Here’s a link to my Goodreads giveaway. It lasts for six more days, and I’m ready to mail as far away as the Philippines and Malaysia. And I’ll sign them.
A couple of months ago, Anne Hannah at Addicted2Heroines gave a very generous review of Backward Glass. My editor said it would probably be better for me if the review were to come out closer to our publication date. Anne was gracious enough to withdraw the review, but this past week I started feeling guilty at asking her to continue to hold off since after all other reviews are beginning to roll out. So here it is. That review made my whole week, especially the bit where she called my book “a sci-fi mystery to die for.” I wish I could have got that on the cover.
Hey all! I just did a guest post at E. Kristin Anderson’s Write all the Words blog for her banned books month.
So I have a real trouble with self-promotion. Apparently that’s a classic trait of an introvert, which, duh. Today for example, we’re at the dentist and just before the hygienist starts torturing me a la Marathon Man she asks, “So, what’s new with you? Anything new? Anything new happening?” I kid you not — there were three questions in a row to which the answer could have been, “My debut novel comes out in six weeks and I just got a starred review in Kirkus which is cool because that’s a really rare thing, and the review was really, really, blushingly positive.”
Me at the dentist. Bonus obscure reference: “Try acting, dear boy.”
My answer? Oh, not much.
Fortunately, I have a wife who loves to brag about me. And she was next to get her teeth scraped. Long story short? The hygienist’s daughter (filling in as the receptionist today) has pre-ordered Backward Glass. (Also worth noting: today I found a book blogger who discovered Backward Glass because my wife started following her on Twitter. So Christina Lomax rules today. And every other day.)
The lesson for me, I guess, is that it’s time for me to try — hesitantly, shyly — to start promoting. So — hey guys! I got a starred review on Kirkus. I can’t feature the review here or even link to the full thing, because the magazine isn’t out yet, but I can say that they called Backward Glass an “Intricate, lusciously creepy paranormal mystery,” and that they said that “Following the complex threads of adventure as they come together through the multitude of intertwined journeys is a joy.”
So, that. It’s a starred review, as I may have said already, and Kirkus isn’t all free and easy with the stars the way my kindergarten teacher was. (I keed, I keed; I didn’t go to kindergarten. I was schooled in Scotland and went to primary one. My teacher gave out beatings, not stars — though I didn’t get any of those either.)
I digress: Starred review in Kirkus.
I’ve been meaning for a few days to give a shout-out and some big thanks to my pal Christopher Barzak. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that my debut novel, Backward Glass was about to be final at my publisher without a blurb on it. It’s not a huge deal — lots of first novels go unblurbed, but I figured better to have one than not.
Problem was, as I say, it was about to go final. My editor said we’d need something by the end of July. Enter Chris. He’s the author of, among other things, the excellent One for Sorrow, which — I almost don’t even have words for how fantastic it is. It has the angst and torture of Catcher in the Rye mixed with the genuine creepy haunted sadness of the best ghost stories. And when I said “among other things” I should note that those other things include one hell of a lot of achingly beautiful short stories, many of them collected in Before and Afterlives. The short fiction is amazing, and it’s new, though I have to say if I were recommending a place to start with Chris, it would be One for Sorrow. Doesn’t hurt that it’s being made into a movie with the, if you ask me, not as good title of Jamie Marks is Dead.
Anyhow, as well as being a pitch-perfect writer, Chris is also a stand-up guy. I Facebooked him and asked if he might have time to read Backward Glass. Guy’s got a busy schedule, but he unhesitatingly agreed. Three days later, I get this blurb to send to my publisher:
“Get ready to slide down into the past with David Lomax’s Backward Glass. It’s cold on the way down, hot on the way up into the future, and it is always, always riveting, no matter which direction in time he takes his courageous and intelligent teenagers. I’d read this again and again. Actually, the future me has already done so, I can assure you.”
–Christopher Barzak, author of One for Sorrow
Needless to say, Chris put me on a high all day. So go out and buy his books. You will thank me.