Plus an excerpt from 24 Hours in Italy!
Whoa, we really launched that book.
It takes a village, and somehow, against the odds of being self-published for a decade, the villagers (in the form of ride-or-die friends, writing colleagues, my publisher, myself, and others) banded together to help bring 24 Hours in Paris into the world—including literal bookstores for the first time.
A: Thank you. B: It was sublime.
From there it was a dizzying haze really, hopping on a plane to Paris two days later, doing an IG takeover to end all takeovers, experiencing even more Paris magic—despite having now been there eleven times; it was a frenzy but also gratifying in so many ways, and I’ll save that recap for later (as Paris always deserves its own newsletter, n’est ce pas?)
And then there was the aftermath
That sounds ominous, but much of that aftermath constituted exciting things, like signing a bunch of copies at the Toronto Bay and Bloor Indigo (with little messages in each one—a.k.a. if you’re in town it’s a good place to buy your copy)! It still blows my mind to think about it; that the place where I was never able to see my name during all those years of being self-published, is the very place where my name and book are now on store shelves—surreal, but in a really cool way.
The other part of the aftermath was the grand-canyon-sized hole of where my massive book-launch-prep to-do list used to be. I certainly still had things to do in the subsequent weeks, including regular social media posts to keep things top of mind, and an intense binge-writing session until four a.m. to hit my first deadline for the sequel, 24 Hours in Italy (we will never speak of that four a.m. madness again), but still, it wasn’t this relentless twenty-car-long locomotive, headed in a single direction with the singular purpose of launching a book.
The aftermath was scattered, and I found myself feeling a little rudderless. I guess I needed something tangible to work towards—I needed to know I was going to achieve.
But then I realized what most debut authors realize after a few weeks of being published: I have very little control over how any of this will play out.
So I won’t automatically be famous?
First of all, I thought part of the deal of being traditionally-published was becoming an instant icon; big accolades, hanging out with Oprah at her compound in Montecito, being invited to those “intellectual salons” as the resident admired bestselling author…
(Full disclosure, I of course knew that wasn’t part of the deal, but at some point in the last four weeks, I nevertheless became the “excuse me?” meme):
I think most of that came from a place of lacking control and lacking patience. When I was self-published, I was in charge of pulling every lever, and had a fairly good idea of what would result: lever: put your book on a temporary discount; result: KNOW that you will get a major uplift in sales on X date and time.
I definitely knew I would lose that control by taking a traditional publishing deal (and I definitely was and am very happy to have done that!), but it somehow still wound up throwing me for a loop. I suppose you could say, that overall, this has been an, ahem…adjustment period.
If that’s not enough, I’m a type-A Aries who in classic astrological form is bull-headed (or ram-headed, I guess), stubborn, and aggressive—plus an extrovert who’s all too eager to be the face of anything—whether it be books or medicinal ointment (depending on which kind), so when you put all that together, we have ourselves quite an adventure, folks!
Remember when I said it takes a village?
So apparently in this mystical traditional publishing world, these are some key elements in helping one’s book reach the masses: word-of-mouth, reviews, and viral booktoks or so it would seem. I mean…I have seen, with my own eyes, the “booktok” tables front and centre at the big Indigo Chapters locations in Canada.
(Such power Gen Z has, they frighten me…)
I am proud of myself for even attempting to use TikTok, and for somehow even scrounging up a few hundred followers with my geriatric-millennial leaning posts. I do not dance and I do not belong, but I am fighting the good fight! I am also doing my best on other social media platforms, with my colour-coded Google social media calendar and all.
At some point though, I have to remember that I am a human with a full-time copywriting job, and with a deadline to finish a sequel by the end of this summer. And so sometimes, I just have to allow myself an actual break, during which I must have faith, and let the chips fall where they may.
This is of course easier said that done, as in the back of my mind is the following: if my book isn’t a huge success, the industry won’t be as committed to pushing books with POC (and specifically South Asian) leads. No one is asking me to carry that burden, but I simply cannot help it; it’s just how it is.
It is stressful and terrifying, but that’s where the village comes in.
Easy, actionable things that the village can do
First of all, thank you, dear readers and friends. You all came out strong after the launch, buying copies, sharing my social media posts—I know that helped, and I appreciate it.
If, since then, you’ve had a chance to read the book and you enjoyed it, here are some actionable things you can do, if you’re with me in this fight in wanting more diverse books to find success:
Leave a quick review on the Amazon Canada or Amazon US book page. These pages get a lot of eyeballs so reviews are critical, and if you actually purchased the book from Amazon, you also have the option of simply leaving a rating, which helps too!
Do you have a friend or family member who might enjoy the book? Tell them! Because you know, people listen to their friends more than some rando author on social media ;-).
If you’re a social media user, post what you thought about the book (along with a photo of the book in physical form or on your e-reader), and tag me! I love seeing those posts and always try to share them, and sharing + more sharing is how we’ll slowly take over the entire world (ominous).
Buy the book as a gift for someone! It’s kind of perfect for summer, so next time you go to a barbecue, don’t just bring a bottle of rosé, bring the book too!
That’s all I’ve got for now, so here is an as-of-yet not-shared photo of me holding the book on launch day. What a magical time that was.
An exciting thing that is helping the good fight
On launch day, it was announced that Canada’s hit daytime talk show The Social, has chosen 24 Hours in Paris as their June book club pick!!! The hosts will be sharing their thoughts about the book live on air in about two weeks, so hopefully that will further the cause of POC-led-rom-coms-that-received-starred-reviews-from-Publishers-Weekly. Fingers crossed, anyway!
Bonus content: today The Social also posted a little clip of me introducing myself to their 100K+ followers on social media. That was a ride! You can watch the video here, and if you’ve already read the book, share your thoughts in the comments using #TheSocialChapter hashtag!
And finally…that excerpt from the sequel
Okay, since you’ve been so patient, here is one of my favourite excerpts so far from the sequel to 24 Hours in Paris, 24 Hours in Italy. This book will be packed with 50% more yearning; can you feel it?
I hope you enjoy it, and see you next time for more updates!