HUGE thanks to each and every one of you, who pre-ordered a copy of Roving Pack, and/or who shared info about the pre-ordering. I’m completely blown away by all the generous support from my community buying copies and getting the word out about the book. I actually sold more copies in the pre-order than I had anticipated and had to put a second bulk order of books in to cover all the orders! That’s sure not something an author gets to say everyday!
This past weekend I was lucky enough to get to head out of the city with my partner and our dogs. We went up to our favorite little cabin in Upstate New York and I spent lots of time listening to early morning crickets and cutting out one-inch buttons for the sets that everyone who pre-ordered will be receiving! I’m glad that folks have been as excited as these cute little buttons as I have been, and I like that I’m getting to handmade a little extra thank you present for folks who ordered early copies from me : )
The past week I’ve been thinking so much about the power and importance of community – in this instance queers and leather folk. To me (as corny and cliché as it sounds) community really is everything to me. I wouldn’t be here (literally) were it not for the community that took me in and raised me up when I became homeless. It was the community that I built that got me started writing, I’m not one of those people who started writing as a kid, it was too dangerous then to even dream of stories, let alone write about what I was seeing. I didn’t start writing until I was seventeen and trying to find my place in a community I’d given up everything to try to find.
As an artist my goal has always been and will always be to make art that speaks to my community. I strive to write stories, and create books that are by/for us. Lots of us (myself very much included) spend a lot of time trying to make ourselves legible in the media artifacts that we see, in the representations of LGBT folks and it’s often an uncomfortable rub. My goal is to write the kinds of stories, to create the kinds of books that I at one point or another (maybe even now still) desperately needed for one reason or another and/or that those close to me were in need of. I want the stories I write to capture a moment/time/place/experience/identity that I’ve struggled to find reflected back at me in other places. For better or worse, one of the ways I am able to best understand myself, and feel most secure in the world is through seeing pieces of myself in books/stories/essays etc. I write stories with the hope that in some small way folks feel less alone than my friends and I felt in a particular moment/time/place/identity.
In the last week as I was watching the pre-orders come in for Roving Pack and continuing to work on both preparing it for release and reviewing the submissions for Leather Ever After (I promise I’m going to start blogging more about that book too – wouldn’t want it to think I was an evil step-queer who didn’t love it 😉 ) I was once again completely overwhelmed by the intense generosity of my community, and humbled by the ways in which folks truly believe in me and my work. Last week I got word that people had been purchasing copies of Roving Pack not only for themselves but to donate to community groups that they are involved in! Then, I got an unexpected package in the mail, it contained a very generous check from someone in the community who wanted to fund the purchasing and donating of copies of Roving Pack to individuals who needed that book but who were unable to afford it.
When I got that check I was literally in tears and completely overwhelmed about the generosity of the community and how someone who had on their own decided this book needed to get into peoples hands. All donated books will be purchased at cost to increase the number of copies I can send out and the donated copies will be going to community groups in order to increase the number of people who have access to the stories. I’ve got a few places in mind already from touring with Kicked Out and connections in the community but I’m definitely very open to suggestions of places, especially those without much funding who you think would be most excited to receive a copy of Roving Pack. I’m well aware that unlike Kicked Out this novel isn’t particularly tame, and so I’ll be following up with organizations/groups to be sure it’s something they will agree to have out – last thing I want is for one of these special copies to sit on a social workers desk because someone decided it was too edgy for the youth/adults/whoever that use their space!
If you have a suggestion for a place I should look into donating a copy of Roving Pack to (or if you wanted to financially contribute to the donating of copies) please leave me a comment here, or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org I really want to make sure that these donated copies get into as many hands as possible, especially those folks who don’t readily have access to these kinds of stories. I never let go of knowing what a book like this would have mean to me and my friends….