Newsletter #44 — Rah for Rae!
October 1, 2022
Newsletter #44 — Rah for Rae!
Interview — Last month I was interviewed by Harvard student and book reviewer CarlyRae. I think you'll agree that she asked me an outstanding set of questions. And I hope you enjoy my answers.
October Rules!— On September 15, 2022, The F Words moved from being a frontlist title to a backlist title. As you probably know, backlist titles are those books still in print but no longer new. This means they were published at least one year ago. Some titles have been backlist for decades. Think Harry Potter books, for example, or classics such as The Grapes of Wrath.
At the same time this happened, I was participating in a webinar on how to promote backlist titles. Interestingly, I learned that everything I did back in 2020 and 2021 to promote The F Words also works to promote a backlist title. In particular, tying a backlist book to "awareness" events works especially well. Such events are those days, weeks, and months declared to be awareness-raising or celebratory, such as Grandparents Day, Black History Month, and others.
It so happens that back in 2020 I made a list of many such days, weeks, and months for my publisher, and we used some of them to promote The F Words. But now it's time to relate to these events in even more ways . . . especially because we tied in to only a few the first time around.
So. The F Words goes into backlist in September, 2022. I look at that list of awareness days I made back in 2020. And what do I discover?
I discover that for some months (February, July, August) I found no tie-ins. For other months (January, June) I found one tie-in. For still other months, several tie-ins. May, for example, has the tie-ins of Labor History Month; Teachers Day; Cinco de Mayo; World Baking Day; and Name Day for Felipe. That's five tie-ins, and making posters for these five and then tagging them on social media will keep me busy.
But October — October looks as if it will take all my time just to keep up with it. Because October has eleven tie-ins to The F Words. (One would think I wrote The F Words just to celebrate the month of October.)
In case you're curious, here are the tie-in events . Perhaps you'll be able to figure out what each event pertains to in The F Words. The awareness events are: National Poetry Day; Indigenous People's Day; World Teachers Day; National Coaches Day; Dictionary Day; National Pumpkin Day; National Immigrants Day; International Day of Education in Prison; National Transfer Student Week; Free Speech Week; and National Bullying Prevention Month
Censored Books — A month ago I was perusing the Authors Guild site and saw that the Guild started a Censored Books discussion group earlier this year. Each month a book that has been censored somewhere in the US is discussed — usually with the author hosting the discussion group. I was very tempted to sign up and start reading and participating, but I'm already reading and discussing one Patrick O'Brian novel a month, so I didn't join.
I did, however, look over the censored books already discussed and bought three of them. The first one I read was All American Boys, a YA by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, published in 2016. I liked it a lot. The book contains an important inciting incident in which a cop uses a billy club to beat up a 15-year-old Black student who accidentally drops a bag of potato chips in a corner store. Groups who seek the banning of All American Boys say that it is anti-police. The exact same argument has been used against The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. Basically, the censors are saying they don't want police brutality mentioned anywhere, anyhow.
Censorship is not neutral, it is intrinsically one-sided — it seeks to forbid and eradicate one set of beliefs in favor of another. Censorship is a dangerous attack on freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of action.
No for Now, But Not Forever — In My Writing Life: 6 I talk about two important lessons I learned with the publication of my first novel, She's on First.
And that's all for now, but not forever!