Thursday, May 05, 2011

but when I'm on microfiche, that's when I'll know I've hit the big time

I don't mind telling you that I feel like I'm stretched a little tight these days.  At this point, I'm used to balancing the working thing and the parenting thing, and up until this point, the book had always been something that I'd had on the back burner at a low simmer--a thing that required some low-grade attention but not a lot of constant energy.  But as the publication date approaches and the book has actually become available, that has changed.  Publicizing a book takes a lot of time and effort, and I'm lucky enough that I have a team of awesome people at my publisher to help me with some of the nitty gritty elements of it all.  But even so, it takes a lot of work.  

Publicity and self-promotion is not something that comes naturally to me, and it's honestly something that I've had to work on.  But obviously, it's important.  Some might argue (not me, though I understand it in concept) that the publicity element is almost more important that the book itself--you could write the greatest book in the world and it doesn't matter a bit if no one ever reads it.  So I've kept at it.  It's hard to tell how much traction I'm getting or how far I'm actually moving the boulder, just keep at it, you know?  If there's one thing you learn in medicine, it's that--just keep working on it, and even if you don't end up quite where you thought you would be, at least you'll get somewhere.  And you don't spend three years writing and editing a book only to throw up your hands and say, "not my department" when it comes to marketing the thing.  Sometimes it feels like I'm a little tiny bird pecking away at the world's largest seed bell, but...I've got a sharp beak, and given enough time, I could eat a lot of seeds.

(That tinkling sound is my labored metaphor falling apart.)

Thank you so much to everyone who has been helping out with the effort, by the way.  The tweets and the Facebook mentions and the pictures and book reviews all really help, and it's tremendously heartening for me to look up once in a while and see that I've become part of a community, and that that community is growing.  I hope to be able to meet many of you in the next two weeks and be able to thank you guys in person.

OK, so speaking of publicity, a couple of quick notes:

1.) Angela over at "Authors and Appetizers" very kindly hosted me and my book on her site today, and featured my recipe for Painless Chick Pea Vegetable Soup with Parmesan and Rosemary.  If nothing else, just at least try making this soup--aside from the dicing, lemon zesting and the efforts of popping open a few cans of chicken broth, it takes nearly no effort, and is a healthy, family-friendly recipe that will yield a lot of tasty leftovers.  (As a rule, I exclusively cook things that are leftover-friendly and involve as little cleanup as possible--this usually means one-pot-wonders.)  Enjoy!

2.) So I guess I'm going to be on the radio.  I know.  I KNOW.  This upcoming Monday, you can tune in: 
  1. LIVE (!) at 8:20am (EST) on KFRU-AM out of Columbia, MO on the David Lile Show
  2. LIVE AGAIN (!!) at 9:35am (EST) on WRVC-AM in Huntington, West VA
Is this my first time on live radio?  Hardly.  There was that one time when I was invited to be a guest, along with, like, four other people in varying stages of inebriation, onto a friend's show on WZLY, Wellesley's college radio station.  Mostly we just listened to music and hooted "Woo!" a lot.  So this is going to be practically the same thing, right?  Also, where are my beta blockers?

*          *          *

OK, let's move on to more book sightings in the wild, shall we?

Here first: from Nicole's carry-on luggage, going on a trip to New York after finals.  First of all, congratulations on finishing finals.  Second of all, congratulations on that handsome bound volume of Shakespeare's Great Works.  Wait, it's not Shakespeare?  George Bernard Shaw's collected plays then, no doubt.  Good old beard-face.  Wait, what is it?  A medical memoir called what?  Written by who?  Never heard of it, but clearly, from the looks of its simple but handsome hardback cover, it is A Very Important Work.  

(And that's why I love hardcover books.  They look so serious without the dust covers--it's like the opposite of hiding a Spiderman comic on the inside of your Chemistry textbook.)

This one, from Flora's bookshelf, where she tells me is where the book will live after she finishes reading it.  Here, very fittingly, it is pictured resting between the following titles:

"Pregnancy Day by Day"
"Writing Your Life Story"
"Time Management"
"Preparing for Marriage"
"Help Your Man Get Healthy" (If by "Your Man" you mean "Your Patient Who Is A Man")

It's like distilling all the major themes out of the book and putting them on the bookcase alongside!  Nice work, Flora.  I think that new book is going to fit in juuuuuust fine.

Dogs!  Cute kids!  They all love the book!  And so should you!  Unless, you know, you're a bad person or something.  It's OK if you are, it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

I just want to point out that the last little boy is named "Mendel," which is a simply adorable and medically-themed name.  Mendel, you simply have to grow up to be a geneticist, or else it's such a waste.  This from Dr. Ow, the anesthesiologist.  NEVER PASS UP THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A MEMORABLE AND APPROPRIATE NAME-JOKE, MENDEL.  (Thanks to Jackie, Sam, Stephanie, Mendel and Leah for those last three.)

OK, this one really got me excited, because I'm a nerd.  First sighting of the book in a library!  With library binding!  The shine off that cover is intoxicating!

To have my own Dewey Decimal number.  Dreams DO come true!

Here it is, our very first picture from outside of these United States, courtesy of Murray in Montreal!  The book is very fittingly sitting next to a giant flagon of coffee, without which the manuscript wouldn't--nay, couldn't--have been written.

Oh, and finally, this one was not sighted in the while, rather online, but I had to post it because...well, look:

This is from Grand Central Publishing's website of books they are promoting for Mother's Day.  Should you buy my book for your mom for Mother's Day?  Only if you love your mom.  WHAT, YOU DON'T LOVE YOU MOM?  (This is called "a guilt trip." Jargon!)  I also think it is a particularly fitting graduation present, particularly for the medically-oriented student in your life--hey, it's going to be their life, they deserve to know about it.  But the real reason I posted it, the real reason that made me take this screen capture and sleep with it under my pillow (as one does--what, you don't have a computer under your pillow?) is because in this display, my book is diagonally next to Tina Fey's "Bossypants."  Our books are almost touching corners.  Which means that WE ARE IN LOVE.

(Yes it does.  Yes it does.)

Thanks again to everyone for supporting the book, and keep the fun pictures coming!  Email, Twitter, Facebook, I accept them all.  I am also told that shipments to our international readers, including from some of the smaller online retailers, have shipped or are shipping within the next few days, so I look forward to seeing some of those.  My book atop the colored spires of the Kremlin in Moscow?  An elaborate feat of balance and/or glue, but you guys are very industrious.  It can be done.


  1. Anonymous9:01 PM

    signed book giveaways?

  2. Anonymous10:29 PM

    ha! I *knew* you'd be a sucker for the library accessories.

  3. I did a book signing today at an independent bookstore in East Lansing, Michigan, called Schuler Books. They had several copies of your book placed on the front table near the entrance of the store. Congrats on the good placement!

  4. You're doing an awesome job with the book promo, Michelle! Also, your book has a dewey decimal number?! Let me tell you, nerds everywhere are rejoicing. I'd be broke in a hurry if I didn't check some books out of the library, instead of buying them. Kudos to that library for a worthy addition! Sadness that I don't live in Huntington, WV, because I'd definitely tune in to listen.

  5. Anonymous6:56 AM

    Anyone care to share which of the international online retailers have shipped out THE book for sure? With all these book sightings around the world, not sure if I can wait for mine from BD until August!!!

  6. Nice recipe. I'd make it in a rice cooker - they're awesome for cooking things where you want to simmer for a long time, without paying much attention, and with an automatic cut off to stop things overflowing and overheating.

  7. Real world question, do you recommend beta blockers before step 1??? (the extra question marks are gunner-approved!)

  8. Seeing all these pictures makes me wish I'd gotten the hardcover instead of the Kindle edition. How come we have to wait till the 11th?!?

  9. Mendel best be a dr!! He's gonna have to take care of his old Mom one day :)

  10. Go Mendel. I've met this boy, and let me tell you, in addition to being the most adorable Gemini you've ever met, he is smart as a whip. Future pediatric gastroenterologist? I think so!

  11. Anonymous6:38 PM

    You seem to be doing a fine job of self-promotion. As much as I think that asking readers to take picture of your book in various locales is a little strange and self-indulgent, it surely has shown that your publicity department has done its job.

  12. Well, the unfortunate truth is that all self-promotion is strange and self-indulgent. But I'm glad that people seem to be having fun with it, and gladder yet that people are enjoying the book. Thanks, everyone!

  13. Anonymous10:43 AM

    It is a delightful book, and I am so glad that it's getting around. And I think the book pictures are not so "strange and self-indulgent" but kinda cute and endearing. Sorry -- I just can't get past how cute the cover is -- it really is tempting me to buy a baby sock monkey for my real baby!

  14. We had the exact same sock monkey in Cal's crib when he was wee, and he loved it. Just make sure you get the kind with embroidered eyes instead of button eyes and you'll be all good!

  15. Anonymous9:35 AM

    Enjoyed your book!! My favorite parts were the time of death, oh wait maybe not so fast and the apeshit diagnosis.

    I was reading about your thoughts on fear and nodding along. I think acute fear allows things to slow down and helps one to focus and instincts kick in from where (I don't know). i would not want a practitioner who never admitted to being scared every once in a while - it is what keeps us crisp.

    Hopefully,there is another book in your future..

  16. I definitely read your book right away instead of studying for the last of my undergraduate final exams. While I was reading, I was about to answer Phe to Tyr as the substitution for sickle-cell anemia, but then I realized that was phenylketonuria instead. Oops, guess I need to study more. Thanks so much for candidly sharing what may become my future someday.

    Speaking of parents, perhaps you would enjoy "A Biologist's Mother's Day Song"

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