Monthly Archives: March 2015

in which Mackenzi Lee holds her first copy of her first book in her hot little hands

So I already fessed up to how excited I was when I got my first ARC of my book.

Turns out the dorkiness was not out of my system. Which is how the following video came to be.

So if you’ve ever wondered what authors do when they get their first arc of their first book…this is about what it looks like.

You’re welcome.

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in which my parents market my book

Something you should know about my dad: he’s a quiet guy. He generally keeps himself to himself, never raises his voice about anything, whether in excitement or outrage, and just stays generally in the background. My mom has a bit of a reputation for striking up conversations with strangers, but my dad sort of has to be lured with peanut M&Ms into having a conversation.

Smash cut to…

The other night my parents are at the opera. At intermission, they are standing in the lobby, milling through the crowd of other opera goers, all of whom are minding their own business, reading their playbills, speaking in low, sophisticated voices. Probably someone was wearing a monocle.

Then, with no warning, my dad announces, to no one in particular but also everyone around him, “I’m reading the best book right now.”

A few people glance at him. Including my mother, who is surprised, because my dad never talks to strangers. Let alone announces himself to a crowded room of strangers.

“It’s called THIS MONSTROUS THING,” he says, even louder. “I can’t put it down. It’s the best book I’ve ever read.”

It should be noted, he has yet to actually read said novel.

“It’s by new up and coming author Mackenzi Lee,” he continues. Then, just for good measure, throws in, “I hear she’s Harper Lee’s granddaughter.”

That lie apparently got a few people interested. Other opera goers were starting to peer at him through their monocles.

“Harper Lee didn’t have children,” my mom says.

“Oh,” my dad says.

Then my mom adds, “So this Mackenzi Lee must be Harper Lee’s grandniece1.”

My parents, ladies and gentlemen. Guerrilla marketers2.


  1. Just to be clear, since there’s been a lot of legal talk surrounding Harper Lee lately, this is not true and I don’t make this claim. My parents are bold-faced liars.
  2. My mom also made her own Pinterest board for my book. Hoping to get some exposure. To all her ten followers. It’s a great compliment to her gourd board. She’s very much enamored with gourds3.
  3. I also feel the need to note that last night on Skype, my mom asked me how many pages are in my novel YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Why didn’t I think of that title?
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The Road Thus Far: ARCs!

I had very noble intentions yesterday to clean my apartment. Every piece of clothing I own needs to be washed, our floors are crusted with salt and mud after weeks of tracking in snow, and all the plants in the window have gone to plant heaven. And since I have been so steadfastly avoiding writing my current manuscript, cleaning seemed the perfect way to spend a Tuesday night.

But then a thing showed up in my mailbox. It was book-shaped and had my name on it. And all my plans went out the window.

Guys, my first ARC1 came! It is not a finished book, but it is cut and bound and has my cover and a spine and my words inside of it and my picture outside of it and it smells like a book and pages turn and GUH BOOK.

So instead of doing anything I meant to, I spent the entire night snuggling my ARC, and flipping through it, and giggling with happiness, and clutching it to my heart, and moving it around the apartment and flailing over the way it looked in different places.

My apartment did not get cleaned. But my book and I had many adventures together.

We practiced sitting on a shelf, which will one day be its full time occupation.

photo(6)It met some of the neighbors2.

photo(7)“These are going to be your new best friends, book,” I told it.

photo(5)Look at this beautiful book sandwich!

photo(4)Seriously I just carried it everywhere with me, even to completely nonsensical places where there was clearly no application for it.

photo(3)I actually did do a load of laundry, and, without meaning to, carried the ARC into the laundry room with me. I didn’t realize I had done it until I was trying to figure out how to juggle an armful of sheets and the most precious thing in my possession over a tub of water.

Yeah, my book and I did laundry together.

photo(2)And then, because excessive joy is thoroughly exhausting, book and I went to sleep. And I woke to discover it was not just a beautiful dream3.

photo(1)Guys, I am a super weirdo. If that wasn’t already clear, stuffed Appa in that bottom picture probably cemented it.

But my book is almost a real book. It is now a real thing that I can hold in my hands and I refuse to be cool or normal or coy about that fact or pretend this ARC is not the most amazing thing ever or that it is not overwhelming and staggering and humbling to watch your dreams come true. There is a peculiar sort of magic in seeing something I created in the same form as other things that have had such a tremendous and powerful impact on me.


I am excruciatingly bad at taking selfies but also too shy to ask my roommate to take a picture of me with my book.

My book is a real book. Who’d have thought it?


  1. An Advanced Reader’s Copy, for those of you who don’t know that term. Advanced reader’s copies are NOT finished books—they are cheap, flimsy paperbacks, often still with errors and another round of edits before the finished book is printed—but they are what gets handed out to reviewers, bloggers, bookstores, librarians, etc. to get people excited about your book before it comes out. They are not sold. This is not a finished copy of the book. No, your finished copy won’t be in paperback like this one or have that “Uncorrected Proof” red stamp in the corner and on the spine. No, you can’t have one. No, your preorder won’t arrive tomorrow. No, it isn’t fair. LIFE ISN’T FAIR.
  2. And I squeed because MY BOOK is as real of a book as Frankenstein!
  3. But don’t worry—I’ve only had an actual book in my possession for twelve hours and I’ve already had a stress dream about holding a book signing that no one came to.
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in which I put my foot in my mouth

I’ve had a week of saying stupid things.

Over the last seven days, with staggering consistency and completely without meaning to, I have put my foot in my mouth. Over. And over. And over again. I’ve never had a week of such a steady stream of utter stupidity. Maybe it’s something in the air. Maybe the snow is finally getting to me. Maybe all that Diet Coke has finally found its way to my brain and is slowly rotting it, starting with the filter part.

An example, you say? Alright, here’s a dramatic recreation of a conversation I had with my boss a few days ago:

Boss: So I need you to calculate some percentages for me.
Mackenzi: Oh, I don’t understand how to do percentages.
*boss looks at me* *Mackenzi panics*
Mackenzi: I mean, I just really don’t understand what percentages are.
*boss continues to stare* *Mackenzi panics harder*
Mackenzi: My dad tried to teach me when I was little and I think he thought I wasn’t trying but actually I was just too stupid.
*boss continues to stare* *Mackenzi panics harder*
Mackenzi: When I was a kid, my mom used to take me shopping and she wouldn’t buy things for me unless I could tell her what the sale price was with the percentage off. So I just have a lot of anxiety attached to percentages.
*boss continues to stare* *Mackenzi panics harder*
Mackenzi: Percentages freak me out.
*boss continues to stare* *Mackenzi panics harder*
Mackenzi: I’m stupid and can’t do math!
Boss: …..okay, well maybe run those numbers by me before you send them out to our customers.
Mackenzi: Hold on, let me shove my foot a little further into my mouth.

Another example, you say? Sure thing.

The other night I was at a party talking to a lovely independent bookseller and this happened:

Lovely Independent Bookseller: So you have a book coming out! That’s so exciting! Is it going to be one book or two?
Mackenzi: It’s two. I’m writing the second one right now.
LIB: How cool!
Mackenzi: It’s actually really hard. It’s stressing me out.
LIB: But it’s so cool you get to write another book.
Mackenzi: Yeah, but it’s also sort of a curse.
LIB: *sarcastically* Boy, what a problem for you.
Mackenzi: *starting to panic* I mean, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about it.
LIB: That’s exactly what it sounds like.
Mackenzi: ….I’ll just leave you alone forever now.

I was just trying to make conversation about the difficulties of the creative process, and instead I ended up looking like an ungrateful jerk. *facepalm*

The story of this entire week for me has been saying things I don’t mean, or things that make me look like an idiot, or things that make me look like an insensitive jerk. Perhaps someone should put me in lock down this week for the protection of those around me. And also a little bit for my own.

I don’t know why I’m blogging about this. With my track record, this will probably offend somebody.

It’s hard to say the right thing all the time. It’s hard to say the right thing even half the time. That’s I guess what I want to say.

I’m having lunch with my editor tomorrow—it’s the first time we’ll be meeting in person—and let’s hope this streak doesn’t continue. When I was stressing to the MT about the very real possibility of saying something stupid to her, she offered the sound advice: “Just don’t lead with the thing about percentages.”

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