Now that I've submitted Galway book #3 (Andi & Kevin's story, tentatively scheduled for release in spring 2025) to my editor, my first-ever book contract has been fulfilled.
I am deeply thrilled about this.
RUSA stands for the American Library Association (ALA)'s Reference & User Services Association.
If I had to save one type of institution and let all the others be destroyed, libraries would be my choice to save.
So to have my Curves for Days chosen by librarians, and short-listed alongside these amazing books and authors, and to have the winner of my category be one of my very favorite books I read in 2023 (Cathy Yardley 's Role Playing)--which will forevermore have me chuckling when I hear anyone say "Hold my earrings"?-- I am verklempt.
If you want, you can watch the award program here. They talk about all kinds of wonderful books I'd either already wanted to read or now want to read after hearing about them (including James McBride's The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store). The larger section of awards my book is short-listed in starts just before 11 minutes in, I think, and the romance category at about 16:40.
Congratulations to all the winners and fellow short-listers!
Thank you, thank you RUSA for this honor, and thanks to librarians everywhere for all the good you do every day. Special shout out to Mychal, whose Insta reels raise my spirits and make me glad to be a library kid-turned-library-grownup every single day!
[image: screenshot of the 2024 romance winner & short list, including my novel Curves for Days, for the ALA RUSA awards, against a rich red background with the caption: Why yes, I DID nearly pee myself]
I can't believe we're more than halfway through the first month of 2024. The time since my last post here has seemed to both fly and drag.
[image: Sharp mountains against a blue night sky with a crescent moon shrouded by clouds; stars above. Caption: Wishing everyone everywhere peace and freedome.]
It was only after I survived grad school and became a professor that I started hearing academia referred to as "crazy-making," and wow, that explained so much.
So it was with great relief years later that I left that life to focus on writing full time, with the goal of getting published. My path has been easier than most, and still now sometimes I feel like I jumped out of the frying pan of higher ed and into the fire of the publishing world.
Again, my progress has been relatively smooth...and yet there are days when I want to curl up in a corner, hug my stories to myself, and never have to think about how to get anyone else to approve/see/like/buy them again. Days when I think by entering the business of publishing, I have lost the joy of writing.
I'm thankful that most of those thoughts and feelings have been fleeting for me. It could have been much worse.
Every year there are scandals and wild, sometimes unbelievable things happening in book world, and this year has been no exception. 2023 started with an author whom everyone believed had died resurrecting herself. Apparently she had faked her own demise, played on the feelings of those who had supported and cared about her, and parlayed her sad "death" into book sales to support her "grieving family." And then decided some time later to reenter the world and act like there was nothing wrong with what she'd done.
Numerous other wild things happened in book world in 2023, and the worst of them (that we know of so far) has blown up over the past week or two. A promising white author whose well-reviewed debut novel was scheduled to come out in 2024 (and who had secured not only the agent and publishing deal so many struggle for years to get but also a sweetheart placement with one of those monthly goodie box companies) has been revealed to have created a bunch of fake Goodreads accounts so that she could review bomb fellow 2024 debut authors and anyone else whose work she considered a threat. Some of these other authors were even her agency mates. Even worse: She targeted authors of color.
Using fake accounts, she gave scathing 1-star reviews to competitors of color while also upvoting her own book on Goodreads lists. And when discovered and called out, she created and screenshotted a fake chat conversation with a fake acquaintance, in which the fake acquaintance confessed to doing all this to try to help the debut author.
And when fact checks and time stamps showed that the conversation was fabricated, the author went silent. A (real) friend of hers started defending her to accusers, and that devolved into a whole ugly red herring thing where the friend claimed that one of the accusers--a Black author whose debut novel had been one of those targeted with a review bomb--had made an ableist remark to her...and others rushed to dog-pile the Black author, ignoring the whole horrible racist and hateful act(s) by the white author who'd started it all.
Anyway, what ended up happening is that the review-bombing author lost her agent, her monthly goodie deal, and eventually her whole book deal. She issued a big 2-page non-apology apology in which she blamed substance abuse and mental health issues for what she'd done.
As many online have pointed out, the publishing world IS a pressure cooker and "crazy-making," and many people in it do struggle with mental health or substance abuse issues AND YET manage not to go on racist review-bombing sprees that target people of color who are already at a disadvantage in the historically- and still-lily white world of publishing.
Just as circumstances can't force a non-rapist man to become a rapist, pressure and drinking and insecurity do not cause an author to become racist. Just as rape-inclined men will create and/or seize opportunities to rape, people willing to commit racist acts will take advantage of the opportunity to do so, knowing, as rapists do, that our society is more likely to point fingers at and place blame on their victims.
The authors who were unfairly targeted and review-bombed in this case are:
Molly X Chang
Bethany Baptiste is the author who was dog-piled and slapped with the "ableist" label after she called out the original author's lies and racist acts.
If you were wanting to support some up-and-coming authors and weren't sure whose work to buy (or pre-order), these folks would benefit from our support. And, in general, if you are white and have found yourself reading all or mostly works by white authors, please remember that there are many, many other excellent books and perspectives out there. Any bookseller or librarian can point you to fabulous authors of color.
The American Booksellers Association posted their preview to "The 2023 Indie Gift Guide for Genre Lovers" list, and "Curves for Days" is on it, with some really good company. Here's hoping MANY people see it and think it sounds like a good gift for loved ones--or for themselves!
Things I know I can count on from a Julie Anne Long story:
Laura Moher, navigating this new world of writing and publishing her stories.