TL;DR GET THE BOOK
When my first book came out, I hand-sold a lot of copies. I used to keep a stack of four or five in my bag, and if anybody showed the slightest interest in it, I accepted PayPal, Venmo, cash, check, and bitcoin. I played fast and loose with the price, accepting a ten if that’s what somebody had, trying to discourage people from looking it up on Amazon to pay me exactly what they would have when ordering through Prime.
Hand-selling is intimate and excruciating. I wanted to warn people: it’s my first book. It’s terribly violent. It’s one of a series. Are you sure you want it? But I also got to sign my name on a title page, over and over, balancing the book against mailboxes and convention hall tables and trash cans to do the honors.
When I saw my book in bookstores and libraries, it felt like ascension. When I started to get fan mail from people I didn’t meet on an airplane (or in junior high), it felt like another one. Doing events and signings in bookstores was godhood, as far as I was concerned. One of the best moments of my life happened when I was having coffee with a friend at the Borderlands cafe (RIP to the cafe, may the bookstore live forever) and Jude (who runs the place) came over and very quietly and politely laid a stack of my books beside me to sign them for stock. It was a gallant gesture, and I adored the sideways glances from the other patrons who wondered who could be so famous that the bookstore owner just brought them a stack to sign over their latte.
Bookstores have been everything to me since before I earned my living there. I was the kid who never had any pocket money who parked herself in an aisle at Powell’s and Lady of the Lake and Barnes and Noble to read a book, then made a note to come back and buy it when baysitting and dishwashing paid off. To be confronted in this year of plague with not only the shuttered doors and boarded windows of many of my favorite places, but also the knowledge that every part of the industry that brings books into being is in serious peril is soul-sickening.
So as my publishers and my editors and my friends and my temples scrabble for survival, I am back to handselling my books.
My short story collection, Big Girl (PM Press) is slated for publication in May, smack dab in the middle of the ongoing shelter-in-place order for California and much of the nation. I can’t meet you in bookstores, and the conventions that booked me to talk about it aren’t even happening anymore. Tumbleweeds run through my calendar. But the book exists, somehow, even still.
It exists, in fact in an unexpected form. PM Press is issuing a limited-edition hardback version of the book. The jacket you see at the top includes a painting by Pol Morton, based on and executed after my story, Big Girl, orignally published in F&SF in 2017. I’m so excited to include their work with mine, and to have this bizarre gift of a book to show you.
There will be 200 of these hardbacks (my first ever!). They will be picked up from the printer in my own little black car, signed and numbered by me, and sent to you. The price (in the drop-down menu) is $25, but I have my own coupon code: BIGGIRL will get you 20% off list price. The books will ship in May or June, so close to when the book should have been in those dusty temples of paper that I miss so much. If you want one, please order here.
You can also order the paperback, and get the ebook if you enter your email address. All preorders will help my publisher, PM Press. They’ll help me get through this strange and uncertain time. They might help future authors in the Outspoken Author series, which I wanted to be part of more than anything. This book allows me to say I’m published in the same series as Sam Delaney. As Ursula K. LeGuin. As Elizabeth Hand and Cory Doctorow and Nalo Hopkinson. The same series as the editor and one of my personal author-heroes, Terry Bisson.
Ordering this book from PM will mean as much to me as all those folks who bought my hand-sold, indie-published debut novel. The one that won me the Dick and changed my life.
Life is always changing. I will try to be a big girl about it.