Category: Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember

Lifehacks on giving birth to a book


Book publication is like giving birth.

Thus, I provide two lists, with advice and lifehacks for each.

When you give birth to a baby:

  • 6 weeks before giving birth, start the perineal massages. It is not sexy. But it is helpful.
  • Take all the hospital supplies home with you–the squeeze bottle, the cloth underpants, the pads, the chux, everything. You may need all of it. You may only need some. You won’t have time to get more. Take them all home.
  • Amazon.com and Diapers.com are your friends.
  • Get a flat waterproof crib sheet. That’s not for the baby just yet. Put that under you while you sleep for the lochea (there will be lochea).
  • Get a headlamp for nighttime diaper changes.
  • Coconut oil is your nipples’ friend. I tasted lanolin, and it was so gross I couldn’t fathom giving it to my baby–so I slathered coconut oil instead. I still have that jar.
  • Dermaplast spray if you gave birth vaginally. ‘Nuff said.
  • Tucks pads.
  • That first bowel movement after giving birth? It’s epic. Hold on to the walls. You will be okay.

When you give birth to a book…

  • Enjoy the book cover reveal. Enjoy the galleys. It’s all a thrill!
  • Don’t ask anyone to help with publicity if you haven’t sent them a copy of an ARC. Send out a lot of ARCs, if you can.
  • Be ready to set aside time to write articles and such to help with book publicity.
  • There will be haters. Don’t let them get you down.
  • Be prepared to email blurbers yourself. Email them. They may not be able to say yes. Shake that off, and keep emailing.
  • Thank your blurbers. Send a card. A tiny gift. They read your damn book and then said something nice about it.
  • Goodreads.com is not your friend. DO NOT RESPOND to Goodreads.com reviews. In sum, do NOT respond to ANY bad reviews of any kind, be it Goodreads or the Nytimes.
  • If you have a book launch party (and you should), bring a guest book so people can sign and leave you notes. You’ll find you have very little time to have meaningful chats with each person. (This advice was gifted to me by another friend).
  • Make a list of your allies–litmags and organizations and people who have genuinely supported you throughout the years. Never forget them.
  • Keep friends who aren’t writers close to you. Maintain the part of your life that has nothing to do with writing.
  • Have a friend you can vent to about bad reviews or the process of book publication. Someone who won’t be jealous, preferably someone who’s been through it before.
  • Keep a running list of press, so that you can update your website later.
  • If you will be doing radio interviews, practice speaking without saying “um, uh, like,” and other things that buy you time. It’s better to pause a second or two then say “uhhh.” I did this by recording myself speak and counting the times I said “like.” (the Southern California girl in me flows strong).
  • Now’s also the time to strengthen yourself as a book reader. Mark your manuscript and reading copy up–put notes down indicating where you want to increase volume, slow, speed up, or pause.
  • Prep a few lines of greetings for when you sign books. So you don’t go blank.
  • Thank your publicist (if you have one). They work hard for you and your book.
  • Self care, self care, self care. If you have the resources, plan a getaway for after book launch and publicity duties end. Do what you can to make sure you nurture yourself.

Tote Bags

I found a stash of tote bags for TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER. I thought I’d given all of them away by now!

What to do, what to do?
GIVE. THEM. AWAY!!!!

So.

  1. Tweet or Facebook or instagram or email me a picture of yourself with your copy of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER, You can tag me (@xtinehlee on twitter and @xtinehlee1 on instagram)
  2. Then email me your mailing address to: xtinehlee AT gmail DOT com (so that I can get the tote bag to you).
  3. The first 30 people to do the above will receive a free tote bag.*

Thank you for reading. I’m blown away by your response, and love hearing from readers. And the best thing about all this are all the new connections in my life**–so I’m looking forward to building more.

*I haven’t counted, but I’m pretty sure I have more than 30 bags, so I may be able to go over this number.
**Also, I love seeing pictures of readers + TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER out in the world. 😉

(how to buy) Personalized/Signed Copies of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER

I’ve been getting a number of requests for signed and/or personalized, signed copies of TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER. I’m not going on book tour, but WANT to fulfill your wishes (without having to live at UPS or FedEx or the US Postal Service office).

So–here’s the deal: DIESEL, A Bookstore in Oakland will send out signed copies to you, when you purchase from their site. This is the direct link to Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember on their website.

In the “notes” section of your order as you check out, PLEASE INDICATE TO WHOM YOU WOULD LIKE THE BOOK SIGNED (otherwise you’ll get a generic signature-only copy), and they will work with me to make that happen and ship it out to you!

Hopefully, this makes it easier for you and for me, and everyone is happy, and a local bookstore wins! They’re the only place from which you can buy a signed copy.

Guys, Scott Simon of NPR Interviewed Me

I had the privilege of being interviewed by Scott Simon at NPR Headquarters in D.C. last week. Scott Simon was an incredibly handsome and poised gentleman. NPR Headquarters was amazing–there is a huge news board in the lobby and a newsroom in the building’s atrium and so many wonderful recording rooms. Also, it felt like one of the safest places in America, at least psychically speaking. So I felt comfortable and welcome and ready to share my stroke recovery experience, living with a 15 minute short term memory, and the writing of Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember

My interview aired on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday this past weekend. You can listen to it here. Also, there is a written transcription of some of the interview.

Mailing List

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I am starting a mailing list in anticipation of the release of my memoir TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER (and of course, after that–my novel, THE GOLEM OF SEOUL).

I welcome you to sign up for monthly-ish updates from me.

The updates will have some personal content as it pertains to writing. I’ll also be sharing my writing process, my publishing experience, favorites, travel, etc. A little like this blog, but also different.

And hopefully more exclusive–for instance, when my book trailer is released, my mailing list readers will be the first to see it!

Additionally, I plan on holding giveaways to members of the mailing list–for example, signed books…and possibly tote bags or other schwag I might dream up.

Please sign up below. And thank you for becoming a part of my inner circle of readers.

Subscribe to my mailing list

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The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

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(A picture of me in 2013)

In 2013, I lost everything I’d built my life upon. My marriage. My previous identity. Money. I was heartbroken and dealing with postpartum depression. I was struggling with motherhood, and the challenges of this new life.

But unbeknownst to me at the time, I found my identity and strength and friends and love and I began a relationship with my newborn daughter. Everything was gone but I had the opportunity to replenish my life with things and people most important to me as a newly untethered individual.

I remember telling O that I had one year to really make a change. That for a year I would be at home as a new mother and I would have no money and that that would be the year I would double down on dreams. Everything’s gone to shit, I told him. I have nothing else left to lose. I have to do only the things I love to do and see where they lead me.

I felt helpless and so I did the one thing that did not make me feel helpless. I doubled down on writing.

In 2013, I wrote the essay that was a turning point in my career, MINT and it was published in The Rumpus by Roxane Gay. It was not as widely read as some of my future work, but this was the publication that changed my life.

That essay led to an opportunity to write something for BuzzFeed in 2014. I wrote an essay about my stroke and recovery. The essay went viral and led to a 2-book deal with Ecco.

All I did in 2015 was write my memoir. I wrote and wrote and wrote.

Two months ago, I turned in my memoir manuscript. Yesterday, I finished copy edits.

In 2017, on February 14, TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON’T REMEMBER will be published and out in the world.

I did not do this alone.

Thank you.

2013 was an enormous fall. Here is a picture of me in 2013, sliding down the Codornices park concrete slide. On that day, I decided that as miserable as I felt, I would seek a minute of pure joy, somehow. My thinking was that I could hold on to those few seconds and say, “Today I felt good, even if for ten seconds.”

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(Also, falling can feel good–as evidenced by the slide).

That is how I clawed my way back. I would hold on to the small parts of good. Even if the good was just one percent of my day. I would make that one percent, larger, somehow. I would hold on to any part of happiness, even if fleeting.

I would focus on happiness. I would be aware of misery and I would try to deal with the bills and legal paperwork one by one. My worries were many–at one point I wondered how it was that I would pay for diapers. I would not ignore these concerns. But I would look at a sliver of happiness while dealing with the unpleasant.

And eventually, the happiness would dominate.

And yes, it has.