• Just Visiting

    A blog by John Warner, author of the story collection Tough Day for the Army, and a novel, The Funny Man, on teaching, writing and never knowing when you're going to be asked to leave.


Buy a Book, Preferably Mine

I'm not above groveling for support.

September 22, 2014

As publishing evolves, authors have been asked to take on more and more responsibilities[1].

It used to be that you could write the book and return to your garret or dungeon or other preferred writing space, but it’s been a given for awhile that authors are expected to market and promote their own books though email, social media, ritual sacrifice, what have you.

I accept this reality, and do my best to do my part, but I have long believed that being a Midwesterner is a handicap when it comes to self-promotion. I was told at an early age that “the band doesn’t always play for you” and was made to understand that “doesn’t always” was shorthand for “never.”

Certainly tooting one’s own horn is frowned upon where I come from, a prohibition that I’m perfectly comfortable with because the writing parts of writing have always held more appeal to me than the publishing parts of writing.

And yet, one must try to make a living at what one likes to do and is reasonably good at, so self-promote I shall.

All this is to say that I hope you’ll consider purchasing my book of short stories, Tough Day for the Army, recently released by Yellow Shoe Fiction/LSU Press[2].

You’re wondering some things. 1. Is this book any good? 2. Why should I buy this book instead of some other book? 3. Why should I buy books at all?

The answers to these questions are: 1. I think so. (You can sample an excerpt here.) 2. I can’t think of a good reason. 3. Uh...

Here's a stab at number 3. in our consumer culture, what we consume and how we consume it is an expression of our values. That the lines for the new iPhone 6 stretched around the block says something about us, what, I’m not sure. Maybe nothing particularly good.

I know I buy books because I value them. I buy more books than I read, often knowing I won’t ever read them even at the time of purchase just because I’m rooting for a particular author or small publisher to succeed. I want them to continue to exist and so I vote for their product with my dollars.

If you like this blog[3], or if you like short stories, or like university presses, you can buy my book as a show of appreciation for any one of these things.

It’s just like Kickstarter, only the thing that we’re trying to kickstart already exists.

I won’t ask you to buy my book again, definitely not in this space.

Am I begging? Not really. It’s more like pleading.

Bestselling New York Times author Roxane Gay says, "In Tough Day for the Army, Warner is at his best. He takes bold chances and the risk always pays off."

That sounds good, doesn't it?

But just in case my book doesn't appeal, here’s some others I’ve read recently that I highly recommend. At least buy one of these so I can read more by these authors someday.

Adam by Ariel Schrag.

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor

Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson

People Park by Pasha Malla

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison


I'll definitely be tweeting about the book. No one should be shy about tweeting.


[1] Or if you’re a self-publisher, all of the responsibilities.

[2] For those that make Amazon their preferred provider of reading material, the link to the book is here.

[3] If you’re wondering if there’s overlap between the Just Visiting blog and the book, the answer is, not really, except that they’re written by the same person.



Back to Top