Has It Been A Year Already?

We began this blog a year ago to track the launch of Bittersweet, and find ourselves at the end of the initial launch period we outlined. Yes, Miranda is currently on the west coast for some book events, and she will OF COURSE be continuing to spread the word about Bittersweet, and connect with readers. Last Friday, we ran a Twitter chat to discuss the book and other summer reads.

We had lunch last Wednesday and talked about what lies ahead. Bittersweet continues to sell well and take on a life of its own – a life with READERS. Beyond that, there will likely be the paperback release of Bittersweet, and the 2016 launch of her next novel, June.

For this blog, we will be pausing, at the very least, as Miranda and I assess what we have accomplished, and what is still left to create.

If you have ANY questions for either of us, please feel free to reach out: Dan and Miranda.

Thank you for sharing this journey with us!

The Effect of Publishing This Book: The Relationship Between Each Reader and the Story

I feel like the way we run this blog is the opposite of what one would expect when considering talking about a book launch. In other words, we are talking LESS here now that we are firmly in the book launch itself. The fear for many writers is usually that they don’t want to feel like the launch period is spent shouting “buy my book!”

Clearly, Miranda is busy with some readings & events, plus traveling to Ohio to research her NEXT book, among other things.

But more than that, the book is now in readers’ hands. And that is what is so thrilling for me to see – the EFFECT of publishing the book. That this is now about the relationship between a reader and the story.

On Amazon there are 127 reviews.
On Goodreads, 829 ratings and 238 reviews.
On Barnes & Noble, 13 reviews.

That the narrative around sharing this book is now personal and individual and between friends.

Love that.

The Difference A Year Makes

Miranda & I spent the past couple of days wandering around Book Expo, which is much how this launch project began. On my other blog, I reflect on the difference a year makes: “New York Times Bestselling Author” (and other things you would like to have permanently attached to your name)

In that post, I also outlined three agenda items that she and I were to discuss over lunch on the High Line in NYC:

  • New ways to connect with readers. Note: this is not really about promoting the novel to new readers, but instead about engaging with folks who have already read Bittersweet. In other words: to create new ways to talk with readers, instead of just having them be represented as some sales figure. Oh, and I’ll be honest here, these types of activities do tend to encourage the best type of marketing: WORD OF MOUTH marketing.
  • Thinking mid-term as to how she can keep connections going with readers and those who supported Bittersweet once the “launch period” has run its course. We have no idea when that will be, but we know we need to setup the channels and practices now.
  • Talk about her NEXT book, and the long-term preparation for that.

I am so excited to be framing these next steps! Will share details soon.

What You Don’t See

There has been so much going on in Miranda’s life, and the life of Bittersweet, in the past week. And today. And tomorrow. I checked in on this blog, and found that so much of it wasn’t – perhaps couldn’t be – represented here.

The book lives in bookstores, libraries, bookshelves, warehouses, and so many other places:

A photo shared by Bay Books Coronado on their Facebook Page

A photo shared by Bay Books Coronado on their Facebook Page

Reviews that are popping up in both obvious, and less obvious places. This one, shared with Miranda on Facebook:

The most important thing that you don’t see are READERS, and their experiences with the story & characters that Miranda created in Bittersweet. Some do share their experience with the book on Amazon, Goodreads, and many other places. Though of course, many others don’t. They are private moments. That what Miranda created is now something that exists in tiny corners of people’s minds and their experience of this world.

Many of these things can be shared on social media, and sometimes are. Yet, even with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, there is still so much you don’t see.

And yes, there are “behind the scenes” conversations that Miranda & I chat about, things that seem to be happening that aren’t represented in any of those social feeds. Which simply illustrates the opportunity we have to be better at sharing, and in the limits of these networks to effortlessly express real-life in 140 characters.

I absolutely love how the book’s launch is also a social event for Miranda through social media. That the process encourages connections, enthusiasm, and seeing that thing that is often opaque: how a story spreads.

Thank you.

Miranda’s Book Launch Event

Over on my other blog, I shared LOTS of photos of Miranda’s book launch event at BookCourt this past week: see them here!

I also shared reflections on the nature of publishing, and how in some ways it involves SO MANY people, and then the unique way that a single individual – MIRANDA – is at the center of it all.

So excited for this week coming up!

The Morning After

Miranda and I had a giddy chat yesterday – it was amazing to see how much she was able to enjoy publication day. Oftentimes, I feel this day is more emotionally complex in the minds of the author – akin to how we build up a prom or New Year’s Eve plans in our mind, and they come to represent more than they should about our identity.

What it should be is a celebration.

There are lots of highlights for Miranda that have nothing to do with sales figures:

Tonight is her book launch party, which I am so excited about!

Mostly, what “the morning after” publication day means is that people can now access the story Miranda wrote, they can read it, and through them, it becomes part of the fabric of stories we tell.


I Don’t Ever Give Up

Patty Griffin’s song I Don’t Ever Give Up was my daily listen a few years back, in the time before I wrote Bittersweet. Do you know that song? Stream it right now! It’s on her brilliant album Children Running Through, which has some of my other favorite songs of hers on it – Burgandy Shoes, No Bad News (a love song to her dog), and Up To The Mountain, to name a few. Stream the whole damn thing while you’re at it! In the meantime, I’ll tell you why I Don’t Ever Give Up became my personal anthem in those days when I truly believed my career was over. Actually, I guess it’s pretty self explanatory if you read the lyrics:

I’m no kid in a kid’s game
Did what I did, I got no one to blame
But I don’t give up, no, I don’t ever give up
It’s all I got, it’s my claim to fame

I’m no fighter but I’m fighting
This whole world seems uninviting
But I don’t give up, no, I don’t ever give up
I fall down sometimes, sometimes I come back flying

Liars are lying, airplanes are flying
Love isn’t here, love isn’t here
But it’s somewhere

You turn to forget me
But something won’t let me
Love isn’t here, love isn’t here
But it’s somewhere

I’m not clean, I’m not washed up
This dream, I don’t ever give up
I don’t ever give up
I don’t ever give up

No, I don’t ever give up
No, I don’t ever give up
No, I don’t ever give up
I don’t ever give up

It was a hard song to listen to some days- some days it made me angry. Sometimes it made me cry. Sometimes I sang along with it at the top of my lungs. Some days I didn’t want to listen to, but I made myself.

And then I made myself write a few words. And I made myself believe in my dream- the dream to write another book, to have someone want to read it, to have someone want to publish it, to have someone want to review it.

And that day has come.

It’s a good thing to know that my stubbornness is sometimes worth celebrating.

Is This Thing On?

“Is this thing on?” That feels like the question that is being asked when a book is published, when it is “launched.” The story, the book, it exists regardless. But the act of “publishing” it is that moment by which it seeks an audience – to connect with a reader.

I mentioned a few days ago that good things are happening with Bittersweet. And since then, it has become apparent that watching Amazon rankings is the next indicator of whether things are happening. Here is the Kindle Store ranking from mid-day Friday:


And here it is right now, about a day later:


And while this is fun (and somewhat addictive) to check, it is just amazing to consider that behind sales figures, rankings and reviews, is a reader making a personal connection with a story. And that indeed, this thing is on.

Excited for this week!