Although everyone keeps saying, “You must be thrilled!” I’m suffering from serious post-dissertation-defense limpness. (My good friend Lauren says, “Doesn’t it feel hugely anti-climactic?” Exactly.) Yesterday I went to bed at 10 AM (courtesy of my wonderful mother, who offered to do grammar and music lessons with the little ones while I collapsed) and didn’t get up until 4 PM. Today I’ve been overcome by a desire for carbohydrates, so I’ve been baking: biscuits and bread for breakfast, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and a chocolate sponge cake for tea.

Now I’m wondering just how big and roomy that green doctoral gown IS.

However, I’m slowly returning to service as normal. Which in this case means going back to fretting about the unceremonious arrival of the History of the Ancient World in bookstores; it’s still a week before the release date, but my local B&N has it shoved back on the history shelves, not even on the “New Books” table. Presumably, this means that Norton has decided not to do any co-op advertising. (In case you don’t know, books on the front tables and shelves only get there if the publisher agrees to pay the bookstore a sizable fee.) This is not totally unexpected, but The Well-Educated Mind did get onto the front tables for a little while–and after three years of hard labor I was looking forward to my week in the spotlight. Also I haven’t seen any non-industry reviews yet, except for one incredibly snarky one that Norton publicity emailed to me on Thursday. I opened it an hour before the defense. Not the best strategy. Now I’m just forwarding all of them to my agent unopened so he can screen.

All of this sounds very whiny, now that I look back at it. I will now boot myself firmly in the backside, eat some more cake, and go read up on the long-haired kings of the Franks. It’ll be marvellous to get back to work.

It had better be a REALLY roomy gown…

Showing 9 comments
  • katebelt

    I love this book and can’t wait for the rest of them. The Well Educated Mind caught my attention just before Christmas, then somehow I found out about History. I ordered it on Amazon and I was so thrilled when I received it weeks earlier than expected. I just finished reading the chapter on writing.

    I am a college graduate with a major in sociology and minors in library science, psychology, and anthropology. I started out in English due to my love of reading and lit. Having to analyze everything and look for the “symbolism” in it took all the fun out of it for me. I did not learn critical thinking skills in the Catholic grade or high school I attended. Your Educated Mind helped me tremendously. History is my worst subject, but the way you write, how you choose to cover it, holds my attention.

    Kate Belt, Portland OR

    P.S. I wish I could see others’ comments. For some reason nothing comes up when I click on the RSS 2.0 note. Maybe I need to go directly to your blog rather than accessing it through bloglines.

  • mike

    What if customers rearranged the bookshelves for B&N?

  • Michelle in MO

    Carbs are comfort food, which you probably need, having survived (and even excelled!) through the Ides of March!

    As far as your book, I now have six copies in my possession; I’m giving five away. I can’t help you on the early publication situation, but word of mouth advertising is still working here!

    Enjoy the cake!

  • Juanita

    Susan, I am almost half-way through The History and I am *really* enjoying it. Never mind the snarky reviewers – it’s the real readers who count anyway. I don’t have a large readership but I am planning to review it on my blog too.

    Yumm on the baking.


  • Diane

    I do know that undergrad robes were big enough for me 7 months pregnant…so have another piece of cake!

    Anti-climactic doesn’t surprise me. Think of Elijah after the big win over the prophets of Baal. May you have angels bringing you food while you sleep (-:


  • Cindy in C-ville

    Susan, I will say that I am really enjoying your book and am planning on stocking up for Christmas presents. Don’t let snarky reviewers get you down. AND, give yourself permission to rest as long as you need. I imagine your having quite a “down” after the adrenalin it must have taken to get you through the last few weeks! Enjoy your carbs! 🙂 Cindy

  • Crissy in WA

    My son spied your book on the New Non-Fiction shelf at the front of our local Borders store last week.

  • Tressa

    Susan, I am really enjoying your book. I was able to find it in the new releases of the history section and you were at eye level. So, I didn’t have to look very hard for it, if that helps at all.

  • April in VA

    My B&N (in Hampton Roads) has the book on the new shelf in the History section.

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