Monday, March 4, 2019

The Tucson Festival of Books 2019: No Mocha For Me

I did Book Stuff two weekends in a row. First, Tempe. Now, the Tucson Festival of Books. 

Before we get into it, look what my friend posted!

BACKGROUND: I have a profound love for Tucson, having gone to school at U. of A. I lived there for five years. My work is haunted by Tucson. "The Mickey Rourke Saga" (in The Freak Chronicles) is set in Tucson. We walked by Centennial Hall, and I remember Into the Woods and Duran Duran, Dana Carvey and Trevor Noah (last year!). We walked by my old dorm, and I want to tell my children what it all meant to  me--what this place did to me, how it's woven into my soul even.
Every spot is jam-packed with weird memories . . . 
Like the above photo. It used to be Bentley's Coffee (now on Speedway--I was unable to get their fabulous Iced Mocha) and I had a monumental first date here.

U. of AZ: Gen X Forever

But I was there for the Book Fest. May I really tell you my thoughts? I genuinely enjoy the atmosphere at bookish events--so I was perfectly content. I did find myself--and I've been finding myself with this book--in a unique spot.

I want to speak candidly about it. Is it okay?

The story goes as follows: my publisher went under after honoring the preorders for my novel. And that was that. 

Well, I did it then. I started my own business, BoGoDo Press.

But the problem is that I'm struggling. Like really struggling. (Just being honest here.) I've spent almost all of my life in Academia and all of my Writing Life in the, um, Establishment (Dzanc Books and Unbridled Books published my first two books). I'm no entrepeneur or publishing rogue or Banksy-Type rebel. So this position as self-published author is odd for me. I'm a big believer in the filtering effect of the publishing industry--the separating the weeds from the fruit. I believe, especially, in the role of editors. (PLEASE KNOW MY BOOK WAS HEAVILY EDITED BY OTHERS.) But here I am.

I don't want to diss the self-published writers that I've met these past few months. I've learned a lot. First, some are better than us ("us"?). Some are worse. Second, almost all of the ones I've met have 100% more business savvy than the writers I know within the Establishment. . . 

Here I am. I'm a freakin' English professor. I love books, and I love big books and small press books. Self-published books? Um, not so much.

But here I am.

Sent to the Indie Author Pavilion.

It felt like the kids' table on Thanksgiving.

Please understand me. I don't think I'm "better than this," or that these DIY Writers suck. Rather, it's weird. And I do feel the repercussions . . .

I'm looking for heroes. I'm looking for street cred. I'm looking for--OMG--affirmation. My Love Language.

That said, I met a parrot named Chico. I was hoping for a photo that contrasted my beautiful cover with Chico's feathers--but, instead, here's a sweaty indie author with a pretty bird!

Meanwhile, here's another secret. I had that cancer problem in 2015, and it included chemo and radiation. One lasting effect has been--and it's sad--exhaustion. I'm sorta done with the day around six p.m. I push it often enough, but it's not easy. Most of life happens earlier, so I manage. However, one consequence has been that my husband has to kinda be around to get me home if I'm going to be late. (Colson Whitehead is the keynote speaker at AWP, and he doesn't start talking till 8:30 p.m., and I'm a groupie so this should be hilarious. I don't drink, so if you see me staggering, it's just because I'm really, really tired.) While I was at the Tucson Book Fest, my husband took the kids to the zoo. He had to drive me home, of course. So Tucson was a family event.

Here's the link to my book

This bird is alive. He's sleeping.

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