Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Tale of Two Johns

Hi! Sorry to disappoint those of you who came here expecting me to share titillating anecdotes about how I secretly put myself through college as a call girl. This obviously didn’t happen, for several reasons. First, a basic analysis of my student loan debt would show that my part-time college jobs paid just enough to cover beer, pizza, and purple hair dye. Second, you have seen my house, right? If I’d been a “high end” hooker in college, I’d live in a much nicer house with a hot tub. Or at the very least, I’d have a permanent scar and/or limp and an impressive collection of chips from Narcotics Anonymous. Third, gross.

So, feel free to click off the page, creeps.

*Whispers* Are the creepy guys gone yet? Thank God! *brings out the string cheese and Triscuits*

Today I want to talk about publicity. Wait, don’t run away! Have a beer. Relax. It’s kind of a funny story. Anyway, I fracking HATE self-promotion. Hate it more than war or cilantro or adults that use the word “selfie.”  The challenge is that my latest book is a bit of a tough sell. Because, prison much? (And infidelity and toxic friends and horrible secrets and paralyzed sex jokes and racial imbalance in the criminal justice system and 80s hairbands and a scruffy little dog named Avis, after the car rental company.) To help get the word out, I’ve employed some macro-level stuff. *Barfs at own use of word “macro.”* This included hiring a publicist, booking a blog tour, and yelling about my shit on Facebook and Twitter and then running away with the cold sweat of self-loathing clinging to my torso. 

The first sunflower to bloom in my yard.
All of which may or may not be working. So it’s time to shake things up, get micro, reach out and touch someones who enjoy books remotely like mine. I decided to visit the Amazon sales page for Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You, because I feel (hope) that readers who like his novels will also like mine. I scrolled through the five-star reviews, looking for a few kind souls who may be open to reading and reviewing Mandatory Release. Ultimately, because most people are afraid to connect their email addresses with their reviews (I can’t imagine WHY), I ended up with two guys named John. 

I emailed both the same brief, kind-of-grovely pitch, explaining who I am and why on earth I was writing to them. I heard back from John #1 almost immediately: “No, thnaks.”

Not even enough interest to spellcheck his rejection. However, I heard from John #2 a few hours later. He said it sounded right up his alley and he enjoyed the four sample chapters he read. He finished by saying I didn’t even have to send him a free copy, because he wanted to help support my career. 

Seriously! My first reaction was, Wow, people can read four sample chapters online? My second reaction was, Thnak you, Thnak you! 

So there we have it, on the micro-level. A tale of two Johns. One a vaguely dickish poor speller, the other a kind soul who restored my faith in human generosity, all on the same day. 

Goodreads JT fans, you have been warned. 

PS: If you post an online review and email me the link by August 10, I’ll enter you in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.  I’ve also got bookplates—I’d be happy to inscribe one for your paperback copy, just let me know if y’all want one.

With sticky backs, like John Goodman on July 18.


  1. "Cold sweat of self-loathing clinging to my torso!" That's my smell! Brilliant post, Jess! My "macro-ni" and cheesy efforts went so far as to lead me to send a free, signed paperback of my book to a "Super Fan" in INDIA——some guy, who's address was 'behind a tree in back of bungalow'. At least I got a blog post out of it, which included a pic of the $29 postage receipt. Oh wait, Super Fan begged me to take the blog down. (I did.) (No reviews forthcoming, or sales spikes in India.) I imagine my poor book propping up a crooked table or something, but I can claim an international fan base now, right?!

  2. I finished Mandatory Release over the weekend and LOVED it. Will post a review on my blog soon. Ish.

    Love your books!

  3. Haha! Dee, did he self-identify as a "super fan?"

    Shelly, thank you so much!!!! :) I'm so happy to hear that.