Are You a Gatsby Fan?

Are You a Gatsby Fan?

Happy Birthday F. Scott Fitzgerald!

Are you a Gatsby Fan?

Are you a Gatsby Fan? Learn About the Author Behind the Book!

September 24th is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday! Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Gatsby fan. This was actually one of the first things my husband and I bonded over. We even had a Great Gatsby-themed wedding, and well anyone who follows my social media knows my yellow furry friend- Gatsby 🙂

Some have questioned why I’m drawn to such a supposedly depressing book or why we’d choose to highlight our happiest day with a theme that ended in such catastrophe. But what I tell any of those people is I strongly believe both the novel and Fitzgerald himself were tragically misunderstood.

Fitzgerald took to writing at a young age. He was published for the first time at thirteen. He continued writing short stories and plays to the point of neglecting his studies at Princeton and soon found himself failing his classes and unlikely to graduate.

Fitzgerald joined the Army in 1917. Convinced he would die in war, he wanted to leave a piece of himself behind, so he rapidly wrote his first novel, The Romantic Egoist, which later became, This Side of Paradise.

It took years to bring This Side of Paradise to publication. However, when it did publish, it literally made him famous overnight.

By this point, Fitzgerald had also made a name for himself, writing short stories for magazines. He was fully supporting himself with his writing. It was his dream come true, followed by his long-time love, Zelda Sayre, finally agreeing to marry him.


They married in March of 1920 and began what became known as a famously tumultuous marriage. They traveled the world and lived an extravagant lifestyle while often leaving chaos in their wake.

Fitzgerald wanted to be taken seriously in the literary world; however, his drinking, partying ways, and chaotic marriage damaged his reputation with critics. They began to dismiss him as irresponsible and a flaky writer. This, however, was far from the truth. Although Fitzgerald was definitely an alcoholic, he always wrote soberly and was a critical perfectionist. He belabored overdrafts, revising each line until he deemed it perfect.

Despite critics’ opinions of him as derelict or irresponsible, or perhaps because of it–– Fitzgerald’s name soon became synonymous with the Jazz Age in which he lived. He embraced this and even wrote about it in his novel, Echoes of the Jazz Age.

Fitzgerald’s writing mirrored his personal life in other ways as well. His characters often possessed his idealistic, romantic soul. They were also often seeking the American dream, striving for something better. However, they were often plagued as Fitzgerald himself was, with a lack of control and loss.

Like his charactersFitzgerald continued to strive for more-– constantly chasing his next dream-– to write for Broadway, to write for Hollywood. He attempted both of these and yet, never fulfilled the opportunities the way he envisioned. Much of this was due to his drinking and inability to handle his finances. He and Zelda always burned through money faster than he could make it. Zelda also suffered from mental health issues and was eventually hospitalized in a care facility.

Fitzgerald’s last unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon, again mirrored many of his beliefs about his own life. Fitzgerald, unfortunately, passed away from a heart attack before finishing the novel and died believing himself a failure wasting away in literary obscurity. Indeed, for years, that did appear to be the case. However, somewhere in the late 1940s, his work went through a “resurgence” period until he was solidified in 1960 as an enduring American writer. So much so that his novel, The Great Gatsby, has been listed most often as a novel that defines an American classic.

I’ve always felt that Fitzgerald’s writing, The Great Gatsby, in particular, is one of those books that needs to be read more than once. It needs to be unpacked for the multiple layers that are there. Fitzgerald was a master at symbolism, and his themes do withstand the test of time. After all, aren’t we still obsessed with status and money? Will unrequited love ever go away? Or sadly, even the treatment and lack of choices for women is still an issue today.

What are your thoughts on Fitzgerald? Literary classic? Idealistic waste? Have you read any of his other novels aside from The Great Gatsby?

Have you read any of Fitzgerald’s other books? Check out my Fitzgerald Book List Below!

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise is the debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1920. The book examines the lives and morality of post–World War I youth. Its protagonist Amory Blaine is an attractive student at Princeton University who dabbles in literature.

The novel explores the theme of love warped by greed and status seeking, and takes its title from a line of Rupert Brooke’s poem Tiare Tahiti. The novel famously helped F. Scott Fitzgerald gain Zelda Sayre’s hand in marriage; its publication was her condition of acceptance.

A True Classic that Belongs on Every Bookshelf!


It’s title taken from John Keats’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, Tender is the Night (1934) is Fitzgerald’s best-known and most widely read novel after The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald actually considered Tender is the Night to be his greatest novel. It was his fourth novel, and the last novel he completed before his death in 1940.

Set in the south of France in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic tale of a young actress, Rosemary Hoyt, and her complicated relationship with the alluring American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth pushed him into a glamorous lifestyle, and whose growing strength highlights Dick’s decline.

Lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative, Tender Is the Night was one of the most talked-about books of the year when it was originally published in 1934, and is even more beloved by readers today.

Are you a Gatsby Fan?

Are you a Gatsby Fan?

This is probably Fitzgerald’s best-known short story, especially since it was made into a movie in 2008 by David Fincher, with Brad Pitt in the starring role. 

Although better known today for his novels, in the 1920s F. Scott Fitzgerald ranked among the top writers of magazine fiction. Fitzgerald represented the dreams and aspirations of the post-World War I generation in his life as well as his works. With his glamorous wife, Zelda, and his cosmopolitan social circle, he projected the perfect image for narrating tales of restless youth in a hectic world.

These short stories offer insights into many themes, characters, and techniques that emerged in Fitzgerald’s later works. The title tale, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” reflects his preoccupation with life’s fleeting nature. “Winter Dreams,” written three years before The Great Gatsby, shares the concept of commitment to an idealized dream. “Babes in the Woods,” developed during the author’s Princeton days, evidences the roots of This Side of Paradise. Thirteen other selections offer further insights into the author’s growing skills as well as examples of his sparkling prose, understated wit, and deft characterizations.


Are you a Gatsby Fan? Then you also need to check out this more recent retelling of the famous tale-

“Jillian Cantor beautifully re-crafts an American classic in Beautiful Little Fools, placing the women of The Great Gatsby center stage: more than merely beautiful, not so little as the men in their lives assume, and certainly far from foolish. Both fresh and familiar, this page-turner is one to savor!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

“Jillian Cantor’s shifting kaleidoscope of female perspectives makes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale of Jazz Age longing and lust feel utterly modern. A breathtaking accomplishment.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue 

Are you a Gatsby Fan?

On a sultry August day in 1922, Jay Gatsby is shot dead in his West Egg swimming pool. To the police, it appears to be an open-and-shut case of murder/suicide when the body of George Wilson, a local mechanic, is found in the woods nearby.

Then a diamond hairpin is discovered in the bushes by the pool, and three women fall under suspicion. Each holds a key that can unlock the truth to the mysterious life and death of this enigmatic millionaire. 

Daisy Buchanan once thought she might marry Gatsby—before her family was torn apart by an unspeakable tragedy that sent her into the arms of the philandering Tom Buchanan.

Jordan Baker, Daisy’s best friend, guards a secret that derailed her promising golf career and threatens to ruin her friendship with Daisy as well.

Catherine McCoy, a suffragette, fights for women’s freedom and independence, and especially for her sister, Myrtle Wilson, who’s trapped in a terrible marriage.

Their stories unfold in the years leading up to that fateful summer of 1922, when all three of their lives are on the brink of unraveling. Each woman is pulled deeper into Jay Gatsby’s romantic obsession, with devastating consequences for all of them.

Jillian Cantor revisits the glittering Jazz Age world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, retelling this timeless American classic from the women’s perspective. Beautiful Little Fools is a quintessential tale of money and power, marriage and friendship, love and desire, and ultimately the murder of a man tormented by the past and driven by a destructive longing that can never be fulfilled.

Hope you enjoyed and found some new good reads to try! If you enjoy getting new book recommendations, make sure you check out my other Book Lists Here!

Labor Day Books

Labor Day Books

Our Workplace History and Potential Future

Labor Day Books

Labor Day Books to Read

The first Labor Day Parade took place in NYC on September 5th, 1882. It was a demonstration for worker’s rights. Twelve years later, Labor Day was signed into a law as a national holiday to celebrate and honor the working class by giving them a day off.

Sadly, we still have a long way to go in regards to truly celebrating and honoring the workers of our country. We’re continuing to widen the wage gap, are facing more controversy and debate than ever between political opinions, and we’re experiencing one of the largest face-offs between workers and employers in our history.

So, where does that leave us for the future? Will American workplaces ever look the same again? Will we ever again have booming office buildings and daily commutes? Or has this been the reckoning that was needed after years of an imbalance in American working culture?

In honor of this year’s Labor Day- I wanted to provide you with a book list of some Labor Day books that will hopefully make you think and force some conversation about these issues and examine not only our present-day working issues, but also those from our past. You might find many systemic issues that have been present for a while. And most importantly, if this is our time of reckoning, we might need to look deeper to truly fix what is broken.

I want to add, it has been brought to my attention that some might question one or two of the books on the list. I want to explain that I chose these books not necessarily because I believe they will individually provide a solution, but because they will hopefully open a dialogue. One of the biggest problems facing us today is our distrust of the “other side”. We have become so polarized and defensive, we’ve forgotten how to listen and learn. But looking at all sides and beliefs and being open to why a solution is being offered is important to finding compromise. As Walter Cronkite once said, “In seeking truth you have to get both sides of the story.”

With that thought in mind, I’d love to continue to add to this list. If you have other resources or books you think I should add, please add them to the comments or feel free to reach out.

Labor Day Books To Read List


The Great Resignation: Why Millions are Leaving Their Jobs and Who Will Win the Battle for Talent by Russ Hill and Jared Jones

The era of adult daycare is over. The way we work has changed permanently. Leaders who fail to adapt will lose their best people. It’s why millions are leaving their jobs!

“We’ve had every leader in our organization read The Great Resignation. Employees are demanding more flexibility and other changes in how we lead. We must adapt or risk losing our best people.” – John Dawson

You can’t send 70% of the global workforce home for an extended period of time and not expect their priorities to shift. Add to that the discontent that’s been growing in most companies for years and you can start to see why there’s so much movement in the job market.

Labor Day Books

In The Great Resignation, Russ Hill and Jared Jones show how two trends have been building for years and how the pandemic accelerated both of them. Hill and Jones share data from Microsoft, Deloitte, McKinssey, LinkedIn, and Gallup alongside stories from their consulting and coaching clients that include executives at some of the world’s largest companies like Amazon, Cigna, Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson, Fox, Kohler, and many others.

The Great Resignation is a casual, insightful read that gives you actionable ideas you can implement with your team immediately. Whether you’re a seasoned senior executive of a Fortune 50 company or a new leader seeking to strengthen your ability to lead in today’s competitive environment you’ll find tons of value in The Great Resignation.


Wage Theft by Kim Bobo

“This book will give you an entirely new perspective on work in America.” ―Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
 
In what has been described as “the crime wave no one talks about,” billions of dollars’ worth of wages are stolen from millions of workers in the United States every year―a grand theft that exceeds every other larceny category. Even the Economic Policy Foundation, a business-funded think tank, has estimated that companies annually steal an incredible $19 billion in unpaid overtime. The scope of these abuses is staggering, but activists, unions, and policymakers―along with everyday Americans in congregations and towns across the country―have begun to take notice.
 
While the first edition of Wage Theft In America documented the scope of the problem, this new edition adds the latest research on wage theft and tells what community, religious, and labor activists are now doing to address the crisis―from passing state and local wage-theft bills to establishing mayoral task forces and tapping agencies that help low-wage workers in spotting wage theft.
 
Citing hard-hitting statistics and heartbreaking first-person accounts of exploitation at the hands of employers, this updated edition of Wage Theft In America offers concrete solutions and a roadmap for putting an end to this insidious practice.


Stayin’ Alive The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class by Jefferson Cowie

A wide-ranging cultural and political history that will forever redefine a misunderstood decade, Stayin’ Alive is prize-winning historian Jefferson Cowie’s remarkable account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the 1970s. In this edgy and incisive book―part political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American music, film and television lore―Cowie, with “an ear for the power and poetry of vernacular speech” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), reveals America’s fascinating path from rising incomes and optimism of the New Deal to the widening economic inequalities and dampened expectations of the present.

Winner of the 2011 Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians for the Best Book on American History

Winner of the 2011 Merle Curti Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the Best Book in American Social History

Winner of the 2011 Labor History Best Book Prize

Winner of the 2011 Best Book Award from the United Association for Labor Education


Labor Day Books
Labor Day Books

We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism- American Style by Kate Aronoff

A stunningly original and timely collection that makes the case for “socialism, American style”

It’s a strange day when a New York Times conservative columnist is forced to admit that the left is winning, but as David Brooks wrote recently, “the American left is on the cusp of a great victory.” Among Americans under thirty, 43 percent had a favorable view of socialism, while only 32 percent had a favorable view of capitalism. Not since the Great Depression have so many Americans questioned the fundamental tenets of capitalism and expressed openness to a socialist alternative.

We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism—American Style offers a road map to making this alternative a reality, giving readers a practical vision of a future that is more democratic, egalitarian, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable. The book includes a crash course in the history and practice of democratic socialism, a vivid picture of what democratic socialism in America might look like in practice, and compelling proposals for how to get there from the age of Trump and beyond.

With contributions from some of the nation’s leading political activists and analysts, We Own the Future articulates a clear and uncompromising view from the left—a perfectly timed book that will appeal to a wide audience hungry for change.


Fight Like Hell: The Untold History of American Labor by Kim Kelly

“Kelly unearths the stories of the people- farm laborers, domestic workers, factory employees—behind some of the labor movement’s biggest successes.” —The New York Times

A revelatory and inclusive history of the American labor movement, from independent journalist and Teen Vogue labor columnist Kim Kelly.

Freed Black women organizing for protection in the Reconstruction-era South. Jewish immigrant garment workers braving deadly conditions for a sliver of independence. Asian American fieldworkers rejecting government-sanctioned indentured servitude across the Pacific. Incarcerated workers advocating for basic human rights and fair wages. The queer Black labor leader who helped orchestrate America’s civil rights movement. These are only some of the working-class heroes who propelled American labor’s relentless push for fairness and equal protection under the law.

The names and faces of countless silenced, misrepresented, or forgotten leaders have been erased by time as a privileged few decide which stories get cut from the final copy: those of women, people of color, LGBTQIA people, disabled people, sex workers, prisoners, and the poor. In this assiduously researched work of journalism, Teen Vogue columnist and independent labor reporter Kim Kelly excavates that history and shows how the rights the American worker has today—the forty-hour workweek, workplace-safety standards, restrictions on child labor, protection from harassment and discrimination on the job—were earned with literal blood, sweat, and tears.

Fight Like Hell comes at a time of economic reckoning in America. From Amazon’s warehouses to Starbucks cafes, Appalachian coal mines to the sex workers of Portland’s Stripper Strike, interest in organized labor is at a fever pitch not seen since the early 1960s.

Inspirational, intersectional, and full of crucial lessons from the past, Fight Like Hell shows what is possible when the working class demands the dignity it has always deserved.


$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
The story of a kind of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don’t even think exists—from a leading national poverty expert who “defies convention.” (The New York Times)
Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no income if she didn’t donate plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter, Brianna, in Chicago, often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends.
After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before—households surviving on virtually no cash income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, was one and a half million households, including about three million children. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor?
Through this book’s eye-opening analysis and many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge. $2.00 a Day delivers provocative ideas to our national debate on income inequality.
“Powerful . . . Presents a deeply moving human face that brings the stunning numbers to life. It is an explosive book . . . The stories will make you angry and break your heart.”—American Prospect
“Harrowing . . . [An] important and heart-rending book, in the tradition of Michael Harrington’s The Other America.”—Los Angeles Times


In a Day’s Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung

“A timely, intensely intimate, and relevant exposé.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Pulitzer Prize finalist’s powerful examination of the hidden stories of workers overlooked by #MeToo

Apple orchards in bucolic Washington State. Office parks in Southern California under cover of night. The home of an elderly man in Miami. These are some of the workplaces where women have suffered brutal sexual assaults and shocking harassment at the hands of their employers, often with little or no official recourse. In this heartrending but ultimately inspiring tale, investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Bernice Yeung exposes the epidemic of sexual violence levied against the low-wage workers largely overlooked by #MeToo, and charts their quest for justice.

Labor Day Books

In a Day’s Work reveals the underbelly of hidden economies teeming with employers who are in the practice of taking advantage of immigrant women. But it also tells a timely story of resistance, introducing a group of courageous allies who challenge the status quo of violations alongside aggrieved workers―and win.


Hope you enjoy this list of Labor Day Books! For more of my book lists check out the Book List page here!

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Joining a Book Club

Joining a Book Club

Have you hit a reading slump? Do you need to shake things up a bit? Check out the benefits of joining a book club!

Joining a book club

Book Club. The excuse for women to get together, drink wine, and take a night off from life while discussing some great literature. I’ve participated in a number of book clubs over the years and they’ve forged some of my greatest connections and conversations. It’s amazing how fast you can forge a friendship over a shared love of reading! They’ve also been my way to break the ice and find my “peeps” in new chapters of my life- moving to a new place, starting my children at a new school etc. Joining a book club can have many benefits.

If anyone follows my blog or Goodreads profile you know I’m an avid reader. And I read a variety of genres and authors. But the thing I love about Book Club is it forces me out of my comfort zone.

One of my current book clubs has what we call the “magic bag”. On the first day we got together we all tossed suggestions into the bag. Each month we choose something from the bag and that’s the book we read. Since we all come from a variety of tastes and backgrounds, we’ve read quite the gamut of books. Things I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen myself and yet enjoyed immensely.

I think it’s important to spin the wheel sometimes in our reading choices. Whether it’s by joining a book club or entering a reading challenge that’s accompanied by new book/genre choices (like a reading bingo or master list of categories, I’ve added a few for inspiration below), it’s great to shake things up. How else can we avoid those-“nothing’s grabbing me” reading moments?

What are some of your favorite ways to shake things up when you fall into a reading slump? Leave a comment below to share!

Some great Reading Challenges to try- 

https://www.girlxoxo.com/the-2022-master-list-of-reading-challenges/

https://www.beyondthebookends.com/2022-adult-summer-reading-challenge-bingo-is-back/

Looking for some other inspiration? Check out Joyana’s Book List page here!

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Labor Unions

Labor Unions

The ILGWU- it was so much more than labor protections…

Labor Unions in US History

I’m up in New York this week visiting family for two weeks. Yesterday, I got to enjoy a fantastic day in the city with my sister. We visited the Tenement Museum to start research for my next book and got to mozey around the Lower East Side. I even got to visit the Brown Building (aka the site of the Triangle Fire.) It was bittersweet to see it again after spending so much time writing about it these past few years.

One thing that really struck me as I went on this past tour and learned about the next phase of history for immigrants on the Lower East Side, was the rising role the International Ladies’ Garment Worker’s Union played for workers and their families.

When we think of labor unions. we think of the role they play in protecting workers’ rights. Negotiating fair pay and hours, protections etc. However, the ILGWU did FAR more than that.

One thing to remember was the Lower East Side of Manhattan was the Garment District. So, a large majority of residents had someone in their family working in a garment factory and therefore an affiliation with the union.

In the aftermath of the Garment Worker’s Strike and the Triangle fire in 1911 the union strengthened substantially. For one, it grew in its reach across other urban areas across the country. And as its reach and membership numbers grew, the union was able to focus on improving other quality of life issues for members and their families.

In 1913 they opened the first Union Health Center in NYC. They soon opened additional centers in other cities across the county and eventually offered mobile health centers to workers in smaller towns and rural areas. At the centers they offered dental care, check ups, and prescriptions to workers and their families.

By 1915 the union began to offer educational opportunities to its members. They offered coursework ranging from English classes to labor history classes. They partnered with high schools and colleges to offer incentives for members to earn credits and diplomas and eventually even offered scholarships for college education.

By 1919, there were even vacation getaways available in the Poconos and Catskills for families to escape busy city life.

These safety net offerings were integral to survival for many of these families. This was especially evident during the Depression era where many men were unable to find jobs and women stepped up to provide the bread-winning role and support for the family. 

It’s always interesting to me to look back in history and see how a story changed. Seeing what labor unions offered and how accepting people were of these offerings, it is difficult to imagine how far in opinion and reputation the pendulum could swing in its depiction of labor unions. How and when did that occur? And why? Fear? Slander?

It makes you wonder how fifty years from now our current times will be depicted. ..

Did you enjoy this article? Leave a comment. Read more of Joyana’s posts here!

U.S. Immigration History

U.S. Immigration History

U.S. Immigration History

Are You Aware of our TRUE U.S. Immigration History?

If you’ve gotten a copy of The Girl From Saint Petersburg, you’ve seen I included Emma Lazarus’s famous poem, The New Colossus, in the beginning. I’ve always been intrigued by the poem. It’s welcoming, yet imposing nature. Just like the Statue itself. It’s also struck me how early the country’s split personality nature began when it comes to our acceptance of immigrants on our shores.

As a nation- most of us think of the poem’s famous lines when we think of U.S. immigration history. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We’re the Melting Pot nation, right? We had open shores and accepted everyone. Not exactly.

Our nation’s complicated welcoming/exclusionary stances go far further back than many of us realize. Immigration exclusionary proclamations began as far back as 1790. That is when Congress passed the first law dictating that only free white people of “good character” living in the U.S. for two years or longer could apply for citizenship.

The years following kept immigration in the forefront as Europeans continued to arrive. By 1849, America’s first anti-immigrant political party was formed. They drummed up support for the states to pass their own anti-immigration laws. But the Supreme Court overturned them in 1875, declaring that only the federal government could make and enforce immigration laws.

In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. This was the first in U.S. immigration history to place broad restrictions on a certain group. It was far from the last. By 1891, it was expanded to exclude polygamists, people convicted of certain crimes, and the sick and diseased. This was also when the Federal Office of Immigration was created along with a corps of immigration inspectors stationed at all ports of entry.

Xenophobia reached new heights at the start of the World Wars. The Immigration Act of 1917 established a literacy requirement for all immigrants and halted almost all immigration from Asian countries completely.

By May of 1924, the U.S. established a new nationality quota system. The law heavily favored Northern and Western European countries with immigrants from Great Britain, Ireland and Germany accounting for 70% of the issued visas. This was also when U.S. Border Patrol was established to crack down on illegal immigrants crossing the borders from Mexico and Canada.

The quota system remained in place until 1965 when Lyndon Johnson overturned it with a new seven-category preference system. He called the old quota system “unAmerican,” and said the new bill would correct a “cruel and enduring wrong in the conduct of the American nation.”

My last installment of Ruth’s story will take place during the time of this quota system. As I’ve begun research for it, my stomach has turned at the horrors we allowed in refusing refugees from Holocaust concentration camps etc.

I’m appreciative of Johnson’s apology, but I find myself still wondering at the complexities of our system. Are we embracing the Statue’s message? Will we ever have an immigration system that is truly equitable and fair? And most importantly, will we ever have an agreed upon definition of what it means to be an American?

Interested in more of Joyana’s articles on history? Click here to read more!

Bookstores for Self Published Authors

Bookstores for Self-Published Authors

Bookstores. We love to browse them. We love the services they provide. But do they serve the needs of a Self-Published Author?

Are bookstores worth it for self-published authors?

Are Bookstores Worth It for Self-Published Authors?

I love Indie Bookstores, I do! I’m a Shop Small Girl, I promise! I buy books from bookstores ALL THE TIME! I wanted to say that first and foremost because today’s article might otherwise be viewed as controversial.

I’ve seen a number of articles and even a campaign sponsored by Bookshop (the leading online ordering service for Indie Bookstores) out this week encouraging readers to NOT shop Amazon for Prime Day and instead get your books from your local bookstore. In theory, I support and understand this. We NEED indie bookstores to survive and have been fighting this fight for them for years. Remember the Meg Ryan/ Tom Hanks movie- You’ve Got Mail?

BUT, as a Self-Published Author, there’s a reason I prioritize Amazon for my own books. Unfortunately, I’ve found bookstores just might not be worth it for self-published authors.

When The Girl in the Triangle launched last year, I was all about getting it into bookstores. One, there was the romantic idea of seeing it on shelves. And two, I thought it would really be to my benefit. Exposure, free marketing right? Most of you even know I’ve done plenty of bookstore signings. However, although I met some awesome bookstore owners and people, the shine quickly wore off.

The unfortunate reality is bookstores DO NOT benefit the Self-Published Author. Some will not even consider self-published books, others make you pay to rent your shelf space and then there’s the royalty/return issue.

I did an event a few months ago and was excited they got a bunch of my books in for it. Well, in the few hours I was there- I made less than I would in one hour at a festival. (35% per sale vs 100% – printing cost per sale).

Then I learned the hard way what happens when the bookstore decides they’re not going to move the stock. They gave my books less than eight weeks before returning. Although they bought them at a 55% discount from my supplier- I had to eat the entire full price cost of the return! And I didn’t even get the books back- they were destroyed at the warehouse!

I honestly can’t even blame the bookstore for this. I get it. They are a small space and need to stock what moves the fastest. But when traditional publishers can pay for highlighted tables and window space- my book on a back shelf didn’t stand a chance.

In contrast, the Amazon beast is set up for self-publishing success. I get a 70% royalty off a sale there. The item is only printed when ordered- so no worries about unmoved stock. And Amazon eats the cost of any returns.

The world of publishing is changing. I honestly don’t know what it will look like in the future. I already know I need to prioritize getting my books into audio book form for the upcoming year. And even on Amazon the bulk of my sales comes from e-books.

Will I find in the future that paperback format isn’t worth carrying at all? I hope not! I’d hate to never again hold a book in my hands and have that magic of turning a page. For now, I’ll stick to Print on Demand.And hopefully, one day, there will be a better system for partnering with the bookstores I love.

In the meantime, I’ll say- you can still support both me AND your favorite bookstore by ordering my books off their websites and getting them sent to your house! You just won’t see me pushing for them to stock my books in store again. 🙁


Read More of Joyana’s Posts About the World of Publishing and Books Here!