On failing to meet my social responsibilities (PLUS good press for my book)
First of all, I wrote a guest post for the Diversity in YA tumblr, and I think it’s pretty good. The post went up yesterday, but in all the launch day froth, I don’t think I called much attention to it. The post is about me struggling with the social responsibility of the writer. When there are so many problems in the world, can a person justify writing the sorts of books that I do? The answer is…I still don’t know. The post begins:
Recently a friend of mine, Ferrett, was talking about the upcoming release of the third book in his excellent urban fantasy trilogy, and he was like, I’m thinking of doing less promotion for this book, because, well, with all of the news out there about Philando Castile, and the Dallas shootings, and the Orlando massacre, and the attack in Nice, and the Brexit, and nomination of Trump, it just feels weird to pop onto Facebook and be like, BUY MY BOOK!
And I said to myself, Huh, that’s interesting. Because I genuinely hadn’t thought about it. My debut novel is coming out now. (Today, in fact). And I need to promote it. Was I really going to stand on my soap-box and tell people that my book was worth their attention?
I had my launch party at the Berkeley Central Library. It was very akin to what a marriage must be like. It’s an emotional experience. And lots of your friends show up. But you don’t really see much of them or talk to them. It was definitely a highlight of this “releasing my debut novel” experience.
Now to change topics back to the question of why you should buy my book, I’ll note that I got a review from Justine magazine, which is a glossy mag for teen girls.
Indian-American Reshma Kapoor isn’t the smartest or the most beloved at her Silicon Valley high school, but she is the best. Through careful study and manipulation of the grading system, she has become valedictorian. But with sub-standard SAT scores and meager extracurriculars, she’s not the ideal student for Stanford, her dream school. After her op-ed is published by the Huffington Post and a literary agent contacts her, Reshma realizes that she finally has her hook into Stanford. She will write a YA novel, using herself as the protagonist. She’s willing to do anything—from blackmailing her way into a friendship to threatening to sue anyone who might oppose her—to move her story arc along.
Rahul Kanakia’s debut is a definitive metafiction experience. Readers will question whether Reshma is a satirical antihero who reflects today’s convoluted race relations, education system and need for fame, or simply a teen who wants acceptance and love. Readers may not always like Reshma, but they won’t forget her story.
And another review in Shelf Awareness:
Many high school readers will recognize the intense pressure this ruthless anti-hero feels, if not her over-the-top manipulations. Moments of poignancy when one almost feels pity for Reshma will alternate with horrified awe at her cold-blooded grit. Rahul Kanakia’s inventive, radically original debut Enter Title Here is not for everyone, but it will be fiercely loved by many. –Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor