So a little less than one day in advance of the book launch of your debut story collection, you find yourself trolling the internet, Googling yourself (!) and the book’s title. This is how you discover that the interview you did with that gentleman from the news service that includes 500 small papers is out, and you sound a little like you might have something interesting to say. This is how you find your interview with the big city weekly alternative paper. This is how you stumble over a review of your book by one of the jazzier on-line book sites, a review that makes you more than a little pleased.
Here, too, you find the expected: a short-short creative nonfiction piece; a reprint (with permission) of the book’s title story from some years ago; reprints (without permission) of travel articles you wrote; an interview about creative nonfiction (two, actually); information on panels, readings, presentations; an interview with that artist who is interested in text and image; mentions and plugs by friends and students and colleagues. And the not-so-expected: the title of one of your stories in a strange aggregate list likely put up by someone with more than a little OCD; a very nasty comment about your smile on one of those rate-your-teacher sites; summaries of talks you gave at a festival, a conference, a workshop; mentions in blogs by people you don’t know but should; pictures that are not all that flattering from one event or another.
Most interesting, though, are those things absolutely surprising, weird, and sometimes wonderful:
Discovering that nearly 700 people are in the drawing for your book on Goodreads, and that close to 100 have added it to their shelves.
The name of your book on the list of 52 books a young woman—whom you don’t believe you’ve ever met—plans to read before the end of this year.
Your book on the list of “Top Pre-Orders” in the category of short story collections of a book dealer in Australia.
And this, perhaps your favorite of them all so far, found on a website called Bruv World:
“I’m reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I think she had some serious problems (Rand, not Atlas). Just reread The Great Gatsby by F. John Fitzgerald. It was disappointingly uneven in the writing, with bits of brilliance (Mr. Wolfsheim’s tufts of nostril hair) interspersed with sudden shifts from first the third person for the purpose of back-story dumps…Last month I read a new novel coming out by Patricia Ann McNair, Temple of Air. Stunningly good…Of course, the best places to find zombies is any discussion of American politics. I’ve heard the same suggested of Brit politics lately but who knows if that’s true or not.”