First of all, and most importantly, I hope that this finds you and your loved ones well.
This month’s newsletter was supposed to be all about the build-up to the publication of The Paris Hours in May. I had lots of good news to share: the book had received really quite lovely reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. It was chosen as an Indie Next List pick for May – always a huge honor, as these titles are nominated exclusively by independent booksellers from around the country – and this month it is also a Book of the Month selection. (This last has been especially fun, as BOTM members love posting photos of their books on social media, so I’ve got to see it in lots of readers’ hands.)
Then came COVID-19. Now, we are all well and safe, and I am grateful beyond words for that. I hope that you are, too. It has been heartbreaking to see the destruction that this terrible virus has wrought. Of course, the publication of a novel is utterly insignificant in the context of the tragedy that is unfolding across the globe. COVID-19 has impacted us all in many different ways, and I wanted to let you know how the pandemic has changed the picture as far as the book is concerned.
The launch party at Skylark has been canceled, and the book tour as well. Of course, in these difficult times we are all in the market for silver linings, and we continue to push on as best we can. We’re working hard with some of the bookshops I was going to visit to bring events online, and as soon as we know more, I’ll be posting about those on the website. For example, my event scheduled for the Unbound Book Festival on historical fiction will be broadcast live on Thursday, April 30 at 7:00 p.m., as part of “Housebound Unbound.” There are already several online interviews scheduled for around publication and we’ll still do a launch event on May 5 – the only difference will be that people will have to stay home and drink their own champagne. All details will be up on the website as we get ’em. I hope I’ll have a chance to “see” you at one of these events. I’m especially looking forward to working with the brilliant people at A Mighty Blaze. It’s the best place to learn about new releases during this time.
Here’s where I’m going to ask you for a favor. With all these things being canceled, we’re losing our biggest opportunity to make a big push when the book comes out on May 5. You may know that pre-sales (when folks buy the book ahead of the publication date) are hugely important, as all those sales get counted in the first week that the book is out. This massively increases the chances of getting onto the bestseller lists. So, if you were planning to come and see me on my tour, please go ahead and pre-order a copy of the book from your local independent bookshop anyway. If you’d like a signed copy, call Skylark Bookshop at (573) 777 6990 or email us at email@example.com. If you like audiobooks, then you can support your local independent bookstore by pre-ordering at Libro.fm. Thank you so much!
My reading since the pandemic started has felt haphazard, although probably it’s been no more so than usual. I enjoyed Lily King’s Writers and Lovers, Samantha Irby’s new book(as hilarious and excruciating as ever), and Erik Larson’s engrossing The Splendid and the Vile, a timely reminder of what real leadership in a crisis looks like. I’m now reading Ben Winters’s Golden State, set in a society where the most valuable commodity is truth. (Do you need more? Go read it. It’s brilliant.)
Finally, this month’s musical distraction is this excellent song, which should raise your spirits. And yes, that’s my son.
All the best –