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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.

Launch Aftermath

Aftermath is probably the wrong word, but it's always interesting as an author to go through the first couple of months after a book launch. Of course, my circle of readers and fans is quite small, so take anything I say with a grain of reality salt, but it's nice to hear tidbits of feedback as they come in from readers. I heard from a friend on the east coast that she'd just finished Newbie and loved it. A coworker bought a copy and asked me to sign it. My sweet mother bought a bunch of copies to give as Christmas gifts. I donated a book basket at a Christmas party auction last weekend and the lady who won contacted me through my website and told me how excited she is. And this picture was taken from a recent work trip where one of our client attendees brought in her copy for me to sign.

I mention these, and revel in them so much, because my aforementioned small readership means I don't get too many of them. So I feel ridiculously tickled every time it happens, knowing each happy reader is something extraordinarily special to me. Should you ever find yourself with a copy of one of my books and enjoy it, of course I hope you'll tell someone else about it, but I also hope you'll drop me a line and tell me what parts make you smile. I guarantee it will make my day.


Lab Girl

I don't recommend books very often. Partly because writing books of my own cuts into my reading time, but mostly because rarely is one so remarkable that I feel the need to take to the streets to recommend it. But I'm about to post a 5-star review for Hope Jahren's Lab Girl, and I feel compelled to mention just how much I enjoyed it. Well-written, yes, which is key to a dymanite book. But this one's got a fascination factor rare in the world of books, even memoirs, which tend to milk the "look at this unique life I've lived" in a way that is almost never as interesting as it tries to be. But this book full-on made me want to be a scientist. It made me look at nature and plants and trees in a way I never have before. It made me feel not only that I was there, right along with Jahren as she built lab after lab, but also that I wanted to be there. And I'm really not sure what more a person could want from a book. 

The whole notion of "summer reads" is dominated by chick lit, by stories of female protagonists escaping to the beach to contemplate their divorce or unearth secrets at family reunions or mend relationships with mothers and children. And maybe this is what most readers crave when they themselves escape to the beach to contemplate their own divorces and relationships. But if you're looking for a completely engrossing tale of an actual person who actually studies things that actually affect the world we live in, then this is your book. A truly remarkable read.


The 5-star Book Review


I confess I was really hoping the San Francisco Review would give me 5 stars for Jeweled. Of course, you never think it's going to happen. Just like you never think people--any people--are really going to like your book as much as you do. But hearing from the SF review this week, seeing those 5 little stars, reading the review prior to it being put into their publication, it's been a huge pick-me-up. Not that I needed one or am feeling down these days, it's just nice to be reminded that maybe you really did write a good book. And maybe peope other than your friends and family think so, too. Let me just leave you with this little gem:

..."Although Jeweled is the sincere and outspoken retelling of Nay's jeweled experiences, her stories invoke the humanness in all of us. Truly a fun and totally engaging read from cover to cover."

Now if that doesn't just warm an author's heart, I don't know what will. Besides, like, selling a ton of books. That would warm my heart, too.




I've been traveling this week, and it's the first time in probably years that I didn't bring a computer with me. I knew I wasn't going to have time for writing, plus I wanted my focus to be on my family, as they were the entire reason for the trip anyway. I'd be lying if I said I didn't at times feel crazy for being completely disconnected from the land of www, but spending so much quality time with  my family had me really reflecting on how grateful I truly am for the blessings in my life.

Last week a pretty harsh review of Schooled popped up that complained about the lack of opposition, trials, or legitimate "memoir" subject matter in the book. I won't go into how this person sort of missed the universality boat like I did in my popularity spiel inspired by another review (although I certainly could), because my reaction to this latest review has actually been one of gratitude. Not for the review itself, because reading it really sucked, but for the chance it has given me to be grateful for such a trial-free upbringing.

Let's be clear, this is not to say that there have not been trials. But compared to so many in this world, I've been fortunate. My parents are still married, and they treated us and each other with love and respect. We never had a lot, but we always had more than enough for what we needed. I was raised in a religion that gave (and continues to give) me hope and comfort in an increasingly corrupt world. I can see and hear and walk, and I've been able to receive a quality education that has prepared me well for the workforce. I could go on and on. I suppose if I had battled a drug addiction or escaped an abusive situation or been homeless or imprisoned  for a time that I might be selling more books. But personally, I'd rather be me, here, now, in my abundantly blessed yet somewhat less than noteworthy life.


Holiday Book Giveaways

I began my Christmas shopping this weekend. So far I'm spending way too much per gift (as well as spending way too much time in each store), but that's neither here nor there. Since most of you are probably also thinking about holiday gifts, I thought it might be nice to give some books away. So here's how it works:

Option #1: Anyone who posts a review of Schooled on Amazon or Goodreads will be entered to win one of a few signed copies I'll be giving away in time for Christmas. If you post a review on both of those sites, you'll be entered twice. Just contact me so that I'll know where the review is and make the connection that the reviewer is you. Use the email in the About Me sidebar on this blog if you don't have my personal contact info.

Option #2: There's a free book in it for anyone out there who gets their local indie bookstore (or library) to stock the book. Again, contact me so I know which store now has it and where to send your book.

Option #3: For shoppers out there looking to purchase at least 5 copies, contact me and I can send you a discount code to be used when you place the order.

**One last thing. Anyone receiving a free copy of Schooled will have the option of choosing a copy of my second book instead. Just bear in mind that it's only halfway done. So you might be waiting a long time. To the tune of a couple of years possibly. But still, it's an option. Email me with questions, and certainly to let me know if you're interested in participating in any of these giveaways. And whatever you do this shopping season, stay away from Anthropologie. Especially if they're having a dress sale.


The Paradox of the Book Review

I learned recently (when they sent me the advanced review) that the San Francisco Review has given Schooled a 4 out of 5 stars. Which I'm very pleased with. Delighted even. I love that a real review company loved my book. But the sole benefit/goal of a positive review is to sell more books, and the question I'm suddenly having a hard time answering is who even reads The San Francisco Review? I, in fact, have no idea who reads publications consisting entirely of book reviews. I myself have never read one, nor am I entirely sure how to even obtain one. And it's funny, because even though there may then be no point at all to me and my 4 stars (ie. no one who is brought to my book because of it), the review still delights me.


Word on the Street

When you are a no-name author, word of mouth is one of the only things you have to work with. You hope that everyone who reads your book tells several other people who then read it and tell several more people about it. In my head I always thought of it as a snowball/domino effect that would blossom quite naturally. In reality though, getting people to buy your book is not that easy.

Look at it this way. You start with the pool of everyone who knows you. Family, friends, co-workers, etc. Based on numbers alone, this will seem like a pretty big pool. But in order for any given person to actually buy your book, he/she must: 1) enjoy reading books to begin with, 2) enjoy reading memoirs, and 3) not be "too busy" right now (even though they seem to have no trouble getting through the Shades of Grey series). And while everyone in this pool will praise you for your accomplishment, tell a few people about you, and maybe even post a link to your book on their facebook page, everyone who sees/hears about it from them will also have to pass the three criteria I've listed above. What this all boils down to is a relatively low percentage of potential readers who actually read your book.

Not that I have anything to complain about. On the contrary, I continue to be amazed at the positive response from those who have read Schooled. There were so many times during the publishing process that I had temporary freak-out moments when I wondered why in the hell I was doing this, sure no one would care about my measly collection of classroom lessons. But people do care. They remember their own educations and laugh and cry along with me as I grow up over the course of 245 pages. So I couldn't really ask for anything more. Except maybe MORE people to laugh and cry with me as I grow up over the course of 245 pages. Bring on the snowball.