Paperback Writer

January 25th, 2012

A box full of paperback editions of my memoir, Planting Dandelions, arrived on my doorstep last week, a few weeks ahead of the official release date of February 7. I’ve had the Beatles song, Paperback Writer, on endless loop in my head ever since.

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?

I wasn’t expecting it to be thrilling all over again (for those of you just tuning in, the hardcover release was last April), but it really is. I’m still so proud of my baby. I believe in it, because I believe in this big, little life. I believe there’s more to the story of becoming a family than usually gets told in popular culture. Family life is funnier than sitcom. It’s deeper than soap opera, more complex than a talk show topic. And I trust people to get that. Not a week goes by without me getting an email from somebody, somewhere, who has taken the time to reach out and say, this is my story.

I believe in my book, because I believe in your story too.

Unfortunately, the market only gives readers a few weeks to discover a new book for themselves. Within a few months of the Planting Dandelions release, it could no longer be found on a shelf at even my local bookstores. Though it was reviewed and covered nationally and abroad with more enthusiasm than a debut author has any right to dream (still pinching myself over 4/4 stars in People-freaking-magazine), the reality of the book business is that unless a new release generates a LOT of buzz in a hurry and/or has a ton of cash behind it, it doesn’t get to hang around.

Dandelions isn’t a buzzy kind of book. I’m not a big name author. It isn’t the 20th century anymore (though judging from the number of times I get asked about a book tour, the public imagination hasn’t quite caught up). This isn’t a lament about the state of book publishing or a complaint about booksellers, it’s just a statement of fact. And a way of driving home the point that word of mouth (or blog/Twitter/Facebook) matters like never before.

I discovered Ann Lamott‘s book Operating Instructions on a bookstore shelf thirteen years ago, when I was pregnant the first time. I had never heard of it, or her. I took it home, and it changed my life. It was a catalytic input for who I am today as a mother and a writer. I needed what was in that book. It felt like it was written just for me. Like I was meant to find it.

Dandelions doesn’t have to be a blockbuster for me to be proud of its success. But if there is a someone out there who is meant to find it, I would like for them to have the chance. I’m hoping you’ll help blow the seeds of that wish far and wide. Share about it, quote from it, add it to your GoodReads queue, suggest it to your book club, blog or tweet about it, gift it, borrow it, lend it, leave it in your bathroom and at the coffee shop.

Some will wonder why you picked a bunch of weeds. That’s okay. The ones I wrote it for will thank you for the wildflowers.


Excerpts, reviews, book club information and other bits of fluff can all be found at my “official” author site, www.KyranPittman.com. And if you don’t already “like” my Facebook page, it would be very cool if you did.

7 Responses to “Paperback Writer”

  1. Margaret says:

    Hi Kyran,

    I’ve been following your blog since long before Marilee enthusiastically assaulted me at Shopper’s Drug Mart a couple of years ago with a copy of “Good Housekeeping.” I’ve been tempted so many times to respond to a post or to comment on your book, but haven’t followed through. But tonight I’m taking action. Although I don’t “tweet,” I always check out your messages when I read your blog. Tonight, I laughed out loud when I saw your Instagram photo of the “international distress signal for ‘can’t face the dishes right now.'” I thought I was the only one who recognized that sign! — except for my sisters–they know it, too! Loved the book. Love the blog. Love the photos. You keep me coming back.

    • Kyran says:

      “enthusiastically assaulted” sounds like my mom! She’d give any publicist a run for the money 🙂 So glad to hear from you!

  2. Cassie says:

    Congratulations!

  3. Kelly says:

    Looking forward to finding the paperback and finally reading your book. I didn’t buy the hardback in time, then went I went browsing for it, sure enough it was absent from the shelves. Some of my favorite books ever are those kind of “happy accidents” you describe here.

  4. Kim says:

    I stumbled upon your book at a Borders going out of business sale. I bought it on a whim and I loved it. I loved it enough to start reading your blog and tell my friends about it.

    I think you should be very proud.

  5. Kendra says:

    Exactly. I just put your book down, and it felt just right. I am in my early 30’s (yes, I relish a teensy bit being able to say “early”) and somewhere between feeling like I am still 22 or perhaps I need to just lie down for a moment my days are a blur. My babies are 4 and 2 and yes, still babies but wow I can’t catch my breathe! You get it, and thanks for putting in writing the words I somehow have trouble forming myself. Blessings to you and your family, cocktail thursdays are on the calendar!

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