I'm feeling very grassroots lately. Inspired by stories, like that of Lisa Genova, I've begun to more actively market myself and my little short story collection. Considering that I don't like talking about myself, or my writing, this is actually quite a difficult task for me. I'm forced to take on a persona of confidence and bravado, when more often, I'm debating whether or not to stick my head back in the sand and wait for any storms to pass by.
Still, I've been doing what I can, with a household of three children under the age of five, and no money to put into marketing a fairly unmarketable project. Short story collections aren't exactly an easy sell, which I knew going in. It's why I went ahead and published it on my own to begin with, without even really bothering to look into a publishing house.
So, I've been researching local media outlets, making contacts, sending copies as requested. Holding my breath and waiting. I should have updates to post here in the coming weeks or months, depending on how soon reviews are done or articles published.
I've also been sort of assembling my own little virtual book tour, as I don't have the funding to put into paying someone else to do it for me. As a result, around the book-related blogosphere, there are a couple of new reviews of The Simplest of Acts, here and here. There should be a few more in the future.
What's interesting to me is that the stories that most of the readers have enjoyed the most are not necessarily my favorite pieces. Also, I think unanimously, the favorite has been the first story in the collection, "And Ordinary Evening" - which is encouraging, because it's the story from which the novel I have in progress is based.
In other news, the Spring 2009 issue of Blue Earth Review is now available, featuring my story "The Anniversary." I didn't realize what great company I would be in, having been published in Blue Earth Review. Past contributors include Charles Baxter and, just last issue, Steve Almond.
"The Anniversary" started from a writing prompt to create a story based on an image. Specifically, we were handed various covers of Kenyon Review issues. Mine was a black and white photograph of Grand Central Station, and thus, the story that was born from it takes place in a train station. It, of course, involves cows on tracks and heartache.
And finally, for the first time in weeks, I'm feeling the urge to write again. I've been reading lately, which tends to be the fix for writer's block - assuming the book-in-progress is inspirational enough. And Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth is just that.