This cold is slowing me down

GAH. Woke up with yesterday’s cough turned into a different kind of cough, more phlegmy. I think that’s actually progress, but it feels worse. Also, my head is a ball of snot. I may refrain from trying to do delectable food descriptions for a day or two, as right now, every adjective I come up with is gross.

Plan for today: somehow, clear head enough to finish Wild Cards story revision. That’s basically it, though there are some little e-mails, etc. to process. Oh, and a phone conference with Margaret about our comic, though I think I need to push that off again (gah), as this cold has slowed me down sufficiently that I didn’t do the writing I said I’d do before we met again. SIGH.

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Marketing Feast

I’m starting to think seriously about marketing Feast. Should I have thought seriously about it earlier? Yes. But one does what one can. I’m currently reading a book about how to sell a lot of books, and I have another one recommended to me about your brand and your book. Fun? Not exactly. But I’m learning things.

So far, the first chapters have mostly told me to build a platform, so at least that’s sort of comforting, as it’s mostly done. Or at least in progress. It’s hard to figure out how much time one should spend on such things (as opposed to, say, writing new fiction, essays, etc).

Facebook I do very naturally, and it’s super-fun talking to people here. (Maybe too fun!) Right now, I try to bop over to Twitter once a day or so, but it’s just not a natural medium for me, so it’s hard to build engagement there. And Instagram I just have Heather copying things over to for now; I should probably be following food bloggers and liking their stuff and going back to their sites, etc. I mean, I even want to do that; it sounds like fun. But it all takes time.

There are some other concrete tips; I’m going to try to collate them into a document to discuss with my team.

Here’s a few so far:

– make sure your website looks professional and has all the info people will need (Stephanie is working on that now)

– build your e-mail list (it exists, but I can build it further by making it cool: extra recipes? discounts? contests when the book comes out?) — this book recommends one newsletter a week, which may be beyond me, but something to think about, I guess? They recommend checking out, so I’ll go look at that

– build out the YouTube channel (I need to set that up for Serendib Kitchen, edit the videos and start putting them up; I’d really like to do a video for every recipe in the cookbook, eventually — is that overambitious? It seems like it’d be so helpful to people, though…)

– ditto if you’re doing a podcast, but I don’t think I’ll be doing one for this book.

– are there major figures in the field you want to reach out to? for endorsements (it’d be great to get blurbs from other South Asian cookbook authors, right? other general cookbook authors?), invitations to speak, support my marketing (reposting things, etc.) I’ve already joined the EATT mailing list, for people of color in the food world, but there’s a ton more I could do in this arena.

– also start working on appearances: writer’s conferences, TED venues, universities and other possible speaking venues)

– contact book buyers, of course! I need to talk to Mascot and find out who they’re contacting, so I don’t duplicate, but then I need to hustle and get on this. They’ll want to know numbers for my platforms, so I should get Heather to pull that together for me — how many FB friends / followers, etc.

– ideally, you schedule things to happen at the same time, in the first 30 days after the launch — radio interviews, book signings, posters in the windows of local bookstores, e-mail blasts — I’m not sure how much of this I can do, but we’ll see?

Expect to see more of this. 


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Question re: an outlier of international shipping

Question re: international shipping and extra taxes. No one else reported this — does anyone know what happened here? I’d like to make sure it doesn’t happen again. One of my Kickstarter backers sent me this:

“However, and this may only concern some future Kickstarter project you plan to do, it was less fun to see that there were still substantial taxes to be paid at the post office. So, adding the 16 euros in taxes, the added costs almost outweigh the price of the book.

I am not an expert on fulfillment, but I have bought a lot of other Kickstarters, somr quite heavy boardgames among them, but paying extra taxes on top of shipping is a first for me. Next time, you may want to check out what type of fulfillment they use to both lower shipping costs and avoid import taxes.

My country is The Netherlands and it’s part of the EU, if that’s helpful to you.”


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Thank you, dear anonymous donor, in case you’re reading this

I came home from SALA and in my mail, found two $250 anonymous donor checks for the SLF. So I just want to say thank you, dear donor, in case you’re reading this, since I can’t send you a thank you e-mail. I will endeavor to put the funds to excellent use. (They’re probably going to go towards editing expenses for the Portolan Project writing instruction videos.)


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In Seattle through Friday morning

Quick note that I’ll be in Seattle today through Friday morning, and while I have no scheduled public events, I do have cookbooks and other books with me, and would be happy to meet up to hand you a signed copy if you like, esp. if you can come to my hotel downtown.

I may also have time for a coffee, even if you don’t want to buy a book! I’m at a conference, so the schedule is a little complicated and I should prioritize actual meals with conference attendees, but if you’re interested in coffee, let me know, and I’ll let you know if there’s any kind of gathering happening. 

Right now, it’s looking like today 4-6 is relatively free. Tomorrow, I’m going to the Book Larder at some point, and I have dinner plans and will be on an evening panel, but am currently unscheduled otherwise. Friday morning I’m also fairly free, at least right now.


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In Seattle for SALA/MLA till Friday

Headed off to Seattle for SALA / MLA! I fit a few cookbooks in my carry-on to have at the con —Seattle folks, happy to meet up if you’d like to get one, and happy to sign / personalize! I’ll be in town till Friday. Please do note if you’d like me to reserve a cookbook for you!


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The SLF is in serious need of Grants Administrators and Jurors

Hey, folks. The SLF is in serious need of volunteers to help us with our SF/F literature grants. Specifically, we’d like to add:

• two assistant grants administrators (to help Malon Edwards, our primary grants administrator)
• a broader pool of jurors for our various grants (older writers, working class, travel, diversity, and South Asian)

No particular background qualifications necessary; we’d like to draw from a broad pool of people who love speculative lit. and want to help make it even better.

GRANTS ADMINISTRATORS would help with tracking the grant work through the course of year, helping to keep jurors on track with their reading, making sure press releases are sent out in a timely fashion, making sure juror honoraria and grant award money gets sent out, etc. With five grants, it’s not a huge time commitment, but we need people who are good at keeping to a calendar. If you’re familiar with Trello, even better, as we’re transitioning to using that to help keep track of our tasks at the SLF, but if not, we can easily teach you. This pays a tiny $250 honorarium for the year, and a lovely lapel pin in thanks.

JURORS would let us know which grants they’d be interested in reading for, any relevant background they have (i.e., a LGBT person who’d like to read for the diversity grants), and then they’d be added to a spreadsheet of possible jurors. We’d then contact you (or rather, the grants administrators would), when putting together the jury for a particular grant, and see if you’re available to serve. Service would mean reading some applications, discussing your picks with the rest of the jury, and making your recommendations within a reasonable timeframe (usually over two months). This pays an even tinier $25 honorarium, if you serve on a jury, and some lovely SLF bookmarks in thanks.

Please note that grants administrators cannot apply for our grants within three years of volunteering for the SLF, and jurors cannot apply for our grants within one year of serving on one of our juries. (Just being in the spreadsheet as a possible juror is fine, though.)

If you’re interested in serving with us, please write to Karen Murphy, our managing director, at, with the subject line: GRANT ADMINISTRATOR or GRANT JUROR. (If you’re interested in both, feel free to put both.) Please include a brief paragraph about yourself and your background in spec lit. (Avid reader, librarian or teacher, writer, etc.)

Thank you!

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Announcing the A. C. Bose Grant

The SLF and DesiLit are pleased to announce a new co-sponsored grant, founded in memory of Ashim Chandra Bose, known as the
A. C. Bose Grant beginning in 2019.

The A.C. Bose Grant will annually give $1000 to a South Asian / South Asian diaspora writer developing speculative fiction. It supports adult fiction, but work that is also accessible to older children and teens will be given preference in the jury process. The donors hope that this grant will help develop work that will let young people imagine different worlds and possibilities.

The grant is founded in memory of Ashim Chandra Bose. A.C. Bose, a lover of books, and especially science fiction and fantasy, by his children, Rupa Bose and Gautam Bose, in fond memory and to honor the legacy of the worlds he opened up for them.

More information online:


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This counts as work, right?

Over the months of shipping out books, then the holidays, my office had gotten completely swamped with…stuff. A rough day was assuaged by a floor and desk cleaned out, lots of candles, and fresh flowering plants (all from Trader Joe’s). Cleaning accompanied by Miss Marple murder mysteries, which are also a good study in wickedness, which is something I’m not so skilled at writing, but need to learn. So this counts as work, right?

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