I Had a Very Good Week, Thank You

Last year, I went around to various bookstores and signed stock (and left boxes of chocolate wherever I went, like an Easter Bunny in August.) I went into one and couldn’t find my book, though it had only been out a couple of days. I asked if they had it.

“Let me see,” said the clerk, clicking away. “Nope. We only get the important books.”

Allow me give to you a knife so you can stab me in the heart and ease some of my pain, clerk.

Most books see a pretty short shelf life. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t find the title on any store shelf. Stores ran out and didn’t re-order, as far as I could tell.

When you’re an author and it’s difficult to locate your physical book in a physical store, that can be pretty discouraging. (I know e-books are supposed to be taking over and then no author will see her book on a shelf, but there’s nothing that can compare to seeing a physical manifestation of your work, typeset and beautifully cover-arted. Hugging it to your chest, smelling the glue. Rolling around on top of the complimentary books like Scrooge McDuck on his money pile.)

But then! My paperback came out this week.

On release day, because regular life doesn’t stop for nothing, I needed to get some toiletries and Kool-Aid.  Well, I didn’t *need* Kool-Aid, but what is summer to a kid without the sweet sweet artificial nectar? Nothing.  I am an American and I drink me some Kool-Aid.

I went to Target.

“Let’s see if your book is in here,” suggested Cadillac.  Of course I was thinking that, but glad he suggested it.

We looked on the big floor directory for “BOOKS.”  Not on the directory signs that tell you where the departments are.

“It’s usually by electronics,” he said, and we went upstairs.

Finally, I saw the “Books” sign hanging down.

I walked one aisle, Cadillac the other.

Jamie Ford.  Jodi Picoult. I turned and scanned the shelves. Prepared for the same disappointment I’d felt every time I looked for my book and seen…nothing.  Lisa See. Some books with dogs on the covers.  And then, the familiar orange and green.

There it was. With a shelf price thing! With my name on it.

And only three copies left!

I don’t know how many they started with, but still.

Today, friends sent me photos of the book at airports and Costcos and bookstores.

Like I said, seeing your physical book, especially in multiple locations, makes you feel different.  It makes you feel like it’s real.

Also real: getting to go on a small tour, set up by my publisher.

What I have dreamed about since I was a little kid.  Getting to be an author.

Cue triumphant music! (Okay, I was going to use something like Chariots of Fire but felt that was too staid to convey the overall up-energy I felt, and asked Cadillac which song I should use for this bit and he suggested this song.  It’s punk rock! Bad language.  So don’t be clicking on it if you hate that and you know who I’m talking to).


Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

8 thoughts on “I Had a Very Good Week, Thank You

  1. Margaret: What a great rush that must be to see your book in a mainstream market like Target! (‘Cause they only get the important books…)

    But I have to differ with Cadillac. I remember having to buy the edited version of Misfits, Rancid and Nine Inch Nails so I would let my kid listen to them…(although I am actually the queen of potty-mouth, I was just trying to be a responsible mom. ) Not great memories for me. And being more Old School, I am recommending an alternative soundtrack for your jubilation which includes The Isley Brothers’ “Shout”, Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2”, and Gloria Estefan’s “Get On Your Feet.” I am playing them in the background on my computer in your honor, as I type this…

    Congrats and Cheers!


  2. I saw the paper back edition of your book at a Target in Ft. Worth, TX last week when I visited my mom there. I had bought the hard back edition so naturally I thought about you and your family and how cool and priceless the experience must be to see your work in major stores. Looking forward to your next book.

  3. I can’t wait to read your book. I saw an ad on NPR, then I read your blog, and I’m now convinced it’ll be a great read. I’m asking my mom to bring me a copy from the US (I live in Germany). I am a writer, too, and I can feel your joy! I haven’t had the good fortune to be picked up by a publishing house, so I finally decided to self-publish. I started writing the book when my younger child was an infant, and he’s nearly 4 now, so I was tired of being told that it was great but they didn’t know if it would sell. It is YA, but involves no vampires or supernatural elements. An actual normal YA book with normal characters who are neither drug addicts nor pregnant nor do they have eating disorders. I see what they mean, but why can’t YA books be about kids without major problems or fangs?
    Anyway, congratulations on your success!

  4. I just started reading your book and thought I would check out your blog. The book is great, by the way. I honestly think seeing your book grace the shelves of Target is awesome. I read constantly, but don’t have time for a bookstore and have yet to get a kindle (maybe for my birthday), Target is the first place I check for books–I don’t have to make an extra stop with four kids in tow during summer break.

  5. Just let you know I saw your book at Costco today in San Diego. I took note of your name to check out your blog!

  6. Just thought you’d like to know your book is even on the shelf of a little independent bookstore is Stowe, Vermont. I just picked it up and can’t wait to start reading it… And by the way I am a clerk at that bookstore and we are always honored when an author enters our store whether we have their book or not.

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