At the end of the first month of publication (a Onemonthuary!), in celebration of mah sweet, generous readers...we have a contest.
Face in the Place Photo Contest, to be exact.
Pretty simple: snap a photo of yourself (or an innocent bystander) book in hand, and send it my way. I'll randomly select at least one of the entrants for a gift card prize, and the photos will go into a video montage.
So you get world fame (smallish world, but still), a possible prize (it's worthwhile), and it gives the book a boost. Winning all around.
Send the photo to me directly or upload it into this public Facebook photo album, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=amysmithlinton&set=a.10232263802757822
Or, you know, drop me a line, and we'll figure out a way to include you.
October finished up with me working the phone banks and hitting a few of my favorite bookstores. Publicity is always a challenge, never mind whether it's a busy newsday or a slow one.
But here are a few mentions.
Feel free to pop by and give them a thumbs up if you feel like it. It's kind of amazing how mashing that "like" button makes the almighty algorithms pay attention to a thing...It's Matrixy, but hello 21st Century capitalism --!
Here' the book featured on a blog (oooh!)
And here's a quick interview with the author...
And, oy, even on Pinterest...
Scroll down to see tweets (or are they exes?) at
I don't spend a lot of time perusing the good and not-good reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It's not why I write. But again, it's a kindness to the book if you'd like to react to online reviews.
And ooh...world-famous in the vest-pocket world of the Would-Be Farm.
If you're going to achieve a lifetime goal, you might as well pause for a moment and gather together some of your bestest peeps to celebrate.
I'll admit, I spent a restful couple of hours perusing potential theme beverages...
Oooh, a maple-beet shuberita? Given that I was borrowing a house for the party, and a beet-based drink MIGHT have indelible consequences...
I chose a white Sangria-is-Thicker-than Blood, an icy Emily Dickenson (Because I Would Not Stop for Death/He Kindly Made Me Tea), and cheerful ole beer.
So, when you're planning a party around books, what's an appropriate party decor? How about that entire filing cabinet of revisions to the novel from writing workshops, my beloved writing group, and beta readers?
Those dead tree carcasses transmogrified into table-runners, decorative garland. and decorative stars.
Because the main character, Nicola Jones, is an artist, we set up an artists' station, with paint and blank watercolor paper in the form of bookmarks and postcards.
Bookmarks for reading, of course, but postcards because –– well, it's part of the novel to perhaps encourage you to pop a note in the mail, saunter back across that burning bridge, maybe reconnect with someone.
And plus––obvie!––pretty colors.
Books arrived in time (Hurrah!).
At my cheerleader-in-chief, Jennifer Holmberg's, suggestion, I set up a Venmo for the "bookstore."
And we established the pile of books next to the television, so Mr. Linton could both mind the store AND watch the game.
The day was amazing. There was so much good food, and so many good friends!
I signed books (okay, okay, confession time: I DID practice a formal "author's signature" different from my usual legal scrawl, a practice that felt both transgressive and exhilarating, like wearing someone else's steep, very glamorous shoes).
It was also my public reading debut. This is a red-letter-day event for any author: to project words into a public space? Lawsieday, that's a big dang deal.
I'm not shy about speaking in public--one of my past jobs involved what the industry calls "stand-up training," where you have an audience of adults who are meant to learn something by corporate fiat. Imagine the enthusiasm.
But this crowd--! Awesome. Made me feel like a million bucks.
Was I weepy? Did I feel my heartstrings plucked and twanged by the kindness of my people and family? Did I also laugh with immoderate mirth?
I regret only that I did not take more photos.
How often has a person's opinion hitched you up with a book? Not just the professional sources, like NPR's "All Books Considered," The New York Times Review of Books, Publisher's Weekly, but also your friend Fran who ADORED something and insists you MUST read it.
So you do.
As an independent publisher, I don't, as the Brits say, pull––not the household book reviewing names, anyhow.
Lucky for me it's a brave new world.
Instead of sending my book baby out to work the streets without any bona fides, I have options.
For instance, NetGalley. This is a service that hooks up reviewers, librarians, booksellers with Advance Readers Copies (ARCs or electronic e-ARCs). The publisher pays for the service and the reader gets a free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
There are some hundreds of thousands of readers on the site, and if we know nothing else, we are sure that FREE is a magic word.
I joined a co-op (Victory Editing. Highly recommended!) and put She Taught Me Everything up for review for a month.
I selected the option where each person who wanted the book had to get vetted first. So for three and a half weeks, I spent part of each day clicking and assessing potential readers.
NetGalley gives publishers plenty of data about the potential reviewers: name, email, links to ALL of the reviews they've posted on NetGalley, plus their socials.
So my daily routine had its moments: I'll never again have the chance to shoo die-hard twisty-psychological-suspense fans away from my title, and here's hoping I don't have to again investigate whether a person is in fact an employee of Barnes & Noble.
Anne of Victory Editing recommended being brutally ruthless in sorting the asks. Go with your gut, she said.
Heard and acknowledged! If anything felt suss or sketch, I clicked "no."
So Madam Butterfly with 27K+ Instagram followers requested the book, and I notice that her Insty posts are focused on beauty care products? Nope.
Mr. Mixalot has over 5000 titles downloaded, but only 4 reviews posted in the last year? Nope.
Lady Snippet's reviews are unkind and brutal? Uh, no.
Prince Agu says he makes all the purchasing decisions at a bookstore and sets up monthly book clubs? Well, let's see. That would be a bookstore specializing in anime and used books in rural Pennsylvania, and his name is nowhere on the website? I think not.
For every yes, there was about one and a quarter no.
The results: according to the stats, 1700 or so people stopped to look at the title. Around 120 people downloaded the book to read. Reactions to the book, I'm very happy to say, are trickling in.
Reviewers post to the NetGalley site, but also cross-post with Goodreads, Amazon (after publication), Insty, TikTok, the X formerly known as Twitter, and their own reading blogs.
Here are a few of the early reactions. Squeeeeee.
I know the metaphor has flaws, but baby book can strut those streets a little prouder now, with a few references in her back pocket.