I know it sounds like one of those things pretentious writers say, but it’s true – I always knew I was going to be a writer. It wasn’t the endless slew of unfinished journals or that I wrote the title of my novel (for a long time it was Trials and Tribulations of a Crazy Asian: Memoir of a Girlhood Behind Slanted Eyes) on the covers of marble notebooks…it wasn’t even that every time I wrote my name I imagined myself signing my book. It was just something I knew, deep within – I had a story to tell, and I was going to tell it. Now, what I didn’t know is if I was going to be a published writer.
Two years ago, almost to the day (April 12th), I met with my dear friend and mentor, Kaylie Jones, in a restaurant on the east end of Long Island. It was there she told me she was going to publish Inconvenient Daughter. In all honesty, it didn’t register with me this was happening – that the pages I had spent the majority of my life writing were going to be bound together and sent out into the world. But then a few days later, I was sitting at my kitchen table, signing my name on the dotted line of a publication contract.
So much has happened since that day: I submitted final page proofs, worked with the amazing Kaitlin Martin on a cover I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest daydreams, and hired a publicity team to worry about all the stuff I knew would drive me insane. They walked me through the process, talked me off every ledge, and, against all odds, we set a date, time, and location for the launch of Inconvenient Daughter.
Then the world changed.
At the beginning of this week, my team advised me to prepare myself as my events were likely to be cancelled. While the bookstores haven’t informed me officially as they are still scrambling to troubleshoot the April and May events, I know the cancellation is forthcoming.
It was Tuesday night when I ran the shower and sobbed like I haven’t sobbed in a while. I watched my tears go down the drain and felt like me and my dream were going with them. As a first time author, an in-person launch is a huge deal. For many of us, it’s the culmination of everything we’ve been working for our entire lives – seeing your book in a real bookstore alongside the family who told you to get a real job and this writing thing was never going to pan out. And, just like that, it was gone.
In the grand scheme of things, this one thing I lost doesn’t compare to how much so many others have lost in recent weeks. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. When I turned the shower off, I told myself, “That’s it – you’ve had your cry. It’s over now.”…then I cried myself to sleep lol. Then, Friday came.
It was around 1:00PM when I got the text from UPS that my package had been delivered. I didn’t even wait for the apartment building to email me the package notification – I wanted it, and I wanted it now.
I carried the 14.65 pound box down the hallway and into my living room and tore into it like a little kid who’d just discovered where mommy hides the presents. And there it was…my book.
I couldn’t believe it – it was here and real and finished and in existence. The dream wasn’t a dream anymore – it was reality. And, in that moment, all the sadness and disappointment seemed to fade away and all I could feel was gratitude. I was so grateful for all the amazing people who helped me get here and continue to support me and the words I hope to share. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought about what I could do to say thank you.
Any writer worth their salt will tell you they were a reader first. Books birth writers. So, to that end, I’d like to ask each and every one of you to support your local bookstore instead of buying boredom books on Amazon. And, if possible, if you’ve preordered your copy of Inconvenient Daughter on Amazon, please cancel it and pre-order it through your favorite indie bookstore.
Because while Inconvenient Daughter is my dream, bookstores are the only reason my dreams – and the dreams of so many others – exist. Let’s help keep everyone’s dream alive.