Posts Tagged With: Malaprop's Bookstore

I got 99 problems, but a book ain’t one

After you get through the long, hard slog of writing a book, publication day represents the culmination of the initial creative process. But it’s not really the end, because a whole new set of tasks begins around then: The hustle.

I must confess that I have mixed feelings about getting in touch with my inner marketing maven. Relentless self-promotion takes a lot of time and effort, if you do it right, and that might be time better-spent on the next book (especially since I already have another project in the on-deck circle). I admire writers who are Zen enough to finish writing one book and move directly on to the next thing, with nary a second thought or backward glance.

Not me. After putting years of work into something, you want it to have the best possible shot at finding an audience. And so you work it as best you can. Or I do, anyway.

To that end, I’ve been very busy lately launching “Step It Up and Go” — in part because, without in-person bookstore readings, I have to utilize whatever is at hand. I’m doing lots of online virtual events, including tonight (Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time) at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville with special guest David Holt. You should tune in.

I’m also writing essays, articles and listicles that are tied into the book for a number of outlets kind enough to commission me to do so. Two pieces like that dropped just this week.

One is “The Page 99 Test,” which holds that if you open up any book to page 99, “the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” Interesting theory, but I have to admit it sounds strange and a little random. Nevertheless, it worked pretty much perfectly the last time I contributed, for the 2012 Ryan Adams book “Losering.” And it works well for “Step It Up and Go,” too, especially since page 99 falls in the Doc Watson chapter. That essay can also be found on the Campaign for the American Reader blog.

Also new this week is my contribution to the music/literature blog Largehearted Boy, which publishes book-related playlists by authors. Since mixtapes are kind of my thing, I composed playlists for “Losering” and also my 2015 Ray Benson co-write “Comin’ Right at Ya” at their behest. And here is my latest one, the “Step It Up and Go” Largehearted Boy playlist.

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“Step It Up and Go”: Publication day

Today is Monday, Oct. 19, which makes it official: It’s “Publication Day” for “Step It Up and Go,” which is now formally released to make its way into the world. That actually seems a bit anticlimactic, as the book has already been available in most stores for the better of a part of a month now. But anyway, it’s no longer “upcoming” or “impending,” but “released.” Yay! Fly, little book, be free! And lookee here, it’s even Amazon’s No. 1 best-seller in the category of Ethnomusicology (ahead of David Byrne, no less). All right, then.

Had all gone according to the original plan, right now I would be in the midst of a bunch of in-person events all over the state, many of them involving live performances. Unfortunately, the virus pandemic put the kibosh on all of that Oh well, so it goes. We are pressing on with virtual/online events instead — and the silver lining of these days of miracle and wonder is that people can tune in from anywhere with ease. My guests at this week’s events are worth tuning in for, too.

We’ll mark today’s publication day with my hometown independent bookstore, Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books, which is sponsoring a virtual event at 7 p.m. Eastern Time tonight. My guest will be my fellow Piedmont Laureate alumnus Scott Huler, an amazing raconteur and noted author himself. Also my best friend, y’all.

Scott Avett from The Avett Brothers will lend some star power to a virtual event on Tuesday, sponsored by Park Road Books in Charlotte. I expect that Chapter 13 of the book, which covers the Avetts, will be the focus of our discussion. Please join us at 7 p.m. Eastern Time Tuesday (Oct. 20).

The late great Doc Watson’s longtime accompanist David Holt will join me for a “UNC Press Presents” virtual event at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time Wednesday (Oct. 21), sponsored by Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville. David is a four-time Grammy winner, host of “David Holt’s State of Music” and renowned keeper of the flame.

Closing out the week on Friday (Oct. 23), my fellow scribe Eddie Huffman will be my guest at 7 p.m. Eastern Time that evening for a virtual event through Greensboro’s Scuppernong Books. I was honored to edit Eddie’s first book, the excellent 2015 John Prine biography “In Spite of Himself.” I eagerly await his next book, a Doc Watson biography coming next year on University of North Carolina Press. So yeah, you can expect some talk about Doc, which is always a good thing in my book.

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