Tag Archives: publish

Get Over Yourself

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Originally published in the San Francisco Book Review – October issue.

October2014SFBR-page-001October2014SFBR-page-002

 Get Over Yourself: What My Students Taught Me
 

“Miss, get back to me when you’re Dr. Seuss famous.”

That was one of the first reactions I received when I told my 100 7th grade students that I was publishing a novel.

The main piece of congratulations I got from my squirrelly middle schoolers was: “Will you share the money with us?!” Ha.

As per usual, my hooligans who I spend all day with keep me in check.

They will never allow me to take myself too seriously and thank goodness for that. No one likes that pretentious-never-smiling writer who goes around constantly sighing about how their agent and editor just “don’t see eye to eye.” Oh please.

I make a living telling kids to capitalize and spit out their gum. I write on the side. I get two sad paychecks a month, break up two fights a year, and hand out maybe two stickers a day. I write on the side.

In case you don’t have a clear enough picture of my glamorous life yet, this was the simultaneous response of almost every class when I began with “I have some great news…”:
“YOU’RE PREGNANT?!?!”

That, as you can imagine, made the news of my novel seem quite arbitrary. Oh, our teacher isn’t having a baby out of wedlock? Well then we don’t really care.

Yeah.

I’m not going to lie, as a self-published author, it’s easy to get caught up in Twitter followers, Facebook likes, WordPress reblogs, Goodreads ratings, and Amazon reviews. It’s even easier to get lost in the black hole of “refreshing” the Kindle and CreateSpace sales pages.

That’s what I have my darling pre-teens for. They may irk me with their constant struggle of “Is a lot really two words, Miss?” but they definitely, DEFINITELY teach me to get over myself.

You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND break up spit ball invasions. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND secretly bribe a student with chocolate before school to kill a classroom cockroach. You can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND calmly tell a student to stop making “sexual noises” during the state standardized test. And you definitely, definitely can’t be a cliché snobby writer AND keep a straight face when a student asks you, “Miss, why do all white people like to rhyme all the time?”

I think every author out there truly needs someone (or hundreds of mini-someones) to keep them humble. I’m sure even J.K. Rowling has a bubble-burster. Probably someone who gloats to her about Avatar doubling the sales of every Harry Potter film. But seriously, where would we be without these parade-rainers?

Granted, there are different types of these “antagonists”. Not everyone can be as lucky as me—mine are cute and almost impossible to stay angry with (I said almost). My students make fun of me for not being married and then, in the next breath, accidentally call me Mom. They make fun of my clothes and then, a minute later, they’re hugging me or begging me to read their poem or asking if I’ll be at their soccer game. But trust me, I have the more evil-type-naysayers as well. I like to call them h8ters or swag-less (my students may or may not have taught me those words).

These Negative Nancys are necessary, I’m telling you! You don’t want to end up ALONE, smoking a pipe in front of a fireplace, wearing only wool argyle, and refusing to speak to anyone but your typewriter (because no one else deserves your esteemed attention). NO! Also, you don’t want to end up an alcoholic-addict-suicide-Hemingway type. I mean, being Hemingway would be cool…but you know what I mean. Don’t take yourself seriously. Ever. You’ll lose something. And in turn, your writing will lose something. And then you’ll lose your readers. Boom. Is your mind blown?

While you may not be walking around the halls of your employment wearing dry erase marker streaks on your white dress, I encourage you to find your own path to absurdity. If your life isn’t a joke, you’re not a writer.

I leave you with the best student reaction to my book cover: “Miss…is that a picture of what you wish you had, but you’ve like…never had and will never have?” Burn, kid. Burn.

So hey, writers out there, remember: get over yourself!

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A Chance to Leave the Self-Pub World…what to do?!

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selfpub

 

That’s right, I have an opportunity to float on over to the traditional publishing world! Well, two opportunities actually- in the last few weeks, I’ve had TWO offers from two very different indie publishers. It should be a dream come true, right? Right?! How could I even be considering turning them both down?

Sigh.

So many things to think about here.

First of all, one of the publishers is e-book only. BUT, I’d get to keep the print rights- so technically, I’d still be self-published with the paperback version. I don’t know how I feel about that though- they wouldn’t be linked on Amazon. Different edits, different covers…it’d be like having two completely different books out there…

Not to mention, I LOVE my current cover. And then there’s the reviews to think about…I cherish each and every review I’ve received on Amazon and Goodreads. If I take the book down and sign a contract with a publisher, I lose all of those kind words that are sooo dear to me!

While I’m rambling, let’s go ahead and throw in the bizarre moral obligation I feel to the wonderful self-pub world. A strange guilt has washed over me at the mere thought of abandoning my proud post as ALYSHA KAYE, SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR.

There’s also the inevitable feeling of, “What if an even BETTER offer comes along, and I just need to wait it out?”

It’s a tough call to say the least. I wish I had a year to think it over, but I’ll be making a decision before this month is over I’m sure. Wish me luck!

And check out THE WAITING ROOM while it’s still in it’s lovely original format 😉

Turkey: The Country and the Lunchmeat

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Istanbul

In three days, I’ll be traveling to Europe 🙂 Rome–>Athens–>Santorini–>Mykonos–>Istanbul–>Capadoccia! One of the things I’m most excited about is the Blue Mosque in Istanbul (the beautiful thing shown in the picture).

I’m not sure what I’m more nervous/anxious/thrilled about: this amazing summer trip or my new teaching job starting as soon as I get back. I am officially moving from 7th grade English to 9th grade English. I accepted a position at Hays High School, my alma mater! To top it off, I’ll be teaching alongside my mentor, my real-life Dumbledore, the guy who’s responsible for me writing and teaching (thanks a lot, I’ll be poor forever). My novel is actually dedicated to him! So hey teachers, feeling down? You never know, maybe a student will dedicate a book to you one day.

I’m really gonna miss my squirrely middle schoolers though. Not to mention my coworkers here in Del Valle that I’ve come to deeply love and respect.

Hence my clever title…lunchmeat, cafeteria….high school? Ok, so maybe the dots aren’t as easy to connect as I’d like to think, but whatever.

Why am I writing one blog to talk about two completely different topics? I’m lazy, y’all.

In fact, I’ve said all I wanted to say already.

Let me sum up (I just love making lists, to be honest):

1. Rome- I guess that coin I threw into the fountain a few years ago for “returning” worked. Now about that other coin…

2. Greece- Was anyone else obsessed with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants when they were younger? Yeah, I’ll be on the lookout for Kostas.

3. Turkey, the country- Please send good, safe vibes since it’s not exactly a prime time to travel there… Also: we’re going on a hot air balloon ride. Be jealous.

4. Turkey, the lunchmeat- Bring it on, freshmen.

 

Sidenote: it’ll be really nice to get away from all the book marketing exhaustion. THE WAITING ROOM is my baby and I love her…but she has been a real pain in the ass! Sorry to my WordPress/Twitter amigos- if I’m silent for a few weeks, it’s because I’m tanning on a Greek island. NBD.

7/10-7/17 Blog Tour!

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Blog Tour

 

Amazing writers/bloggers/reviewers (they’re really just everything good in the world) have signed up to participate in my blog tour, beginning Thursday! There will be interviews, excerpts from THE WAITING ROOM, reviews, and more!

Here’s the line-up:

7/10 The Owl Lady

7/11 Ronovan Writes

7/12 Penny Dreadful Book Reviews

7/13 My train of thoughts on…

7/14 The Wessex Literary Review

7/15 A Simple, Village Undertaker

7/16 Fran the Bookie

7/17 Loving Life in the Rain

 

I hope you check out their blogs and I hope you check out THE WAITING ROOM, out now on Amazon!

P.S. It’s my birthday today. I plan on embarrassing myself at Top Golf and also telling everyone I know that all I want this year is for them to buy and review my novel! I mean, it’s the perfect gift.

Better Early Than Late: When pub dates go wrong…

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The Waiting Room on Amazon

If you’ve self-published, you probably know the exasperation of CreateSpace and Amazon.

In my case, I wanted to make sure my novel was out on July 1, the date which I’ve advertised everywhere. CreateSpace warns that the print process sometimes takes up to 5 days…so, of course, I uploaded 5 days before the 1st.

And then my book magically appeared on Amazon a day later. Friends and family excitedly posted on my Facebook and I deflated in my humid, Texas apartment.

“Well….better early than late!” My friend Nathan graciously pointed out. I drank three mimosas at brunch and decided to go ahead and let the world know: my book is available!

Here are the links, hope you check out THE WAITING ROOM 🙂

Kindle version:
http://amzn.to/TupzK9

Print version:
http://amzn.to/1ofMTXn

KTSW 89.9 On-Air Interview!

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KTSW

In the San Marcos, TX area? Listen live this Thursday at 5:30 PM! I’ll be talking about THE WAITING ROOM, releasing July 1, live on-air KTSW 89.9.

Not a Central Texan? No problem! KTSW offers various streaming options.

They also have a blog, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel.

 

When I was going to Texas State, I was actually a news reporter for KTSW! So this experience will be bizarre not only because being on the radio makes me extremely nervous, but also because I’ll be in my old stomping grounds…feeling old.

The support I’ve received from my alma maters (Texas State and University of Hawaii) has been amazing. Both schools have posted about my upcoming novel on their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and even their main websites. It’s been incredible.

So thank you KTSW, for this opportunity! Pretty sure most KTSW San Marvelous listeners are students and probably not around since it’s sweet summertime, but hopefully this will still help spread the word 🙂

Listen in and cross your fingers that I don’t sound like too much of a bumbling idiot! 5:30PM, CST, KTSW 89.9.

Review #5 for THE WAITING ROOM

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“I don’t think there’s a soul that has walked this earth and not wondered what happens after we die, and whether we will get to see our loved ones once we pass on, and that alone made me really love the topic of the book.”
5th review of THE WAITING ROOM, coming all the way from Australia:)
Thanks a million to this wonderful blogger- check out her page!