Reflections on a rollout: Neema Avashia shares perspective on her book’s first months

Way back when Another Appalachia hadn’t yet been published, and I was filled with doubt about whether anyone other than my family and friends would read the book, my mentor Geeta Kothari would tell me: “Your book will find its readers.” She said it with a confidence I didn’t understand. How exactly would this book find readers who weren’t people I knew? Never mind that I find books I love all the time—imposter syndrome is not subject to rational thinking, it would seem.

And yet, the three months since Another Appalachia’s release have proven Geeta right so many times that she’s gotten tired of telling me, “I told you so.” In large part, this is because of the work that folks at the Press, folks at Vesto PR, and I have all put into publicizing the book—to thinking creatively about outlets, to the litany of pitches and pursuits that are alway part of the pre-publication rush.  

But in addition to the elements of this process where we have exercised control and moved in planful ways, there have also been lovely and unexpected moments: a Salon interview with Alison Stine, a Scalawag interview with Anjali Enjeti, both initiated by those writers. Appearances on lists in New York Magazine, the Bitter Southerner, Book Riot, Longreads, and the New York Public Library. Moments when it has felt as though the book, indeed, is finding a readership way broader than my immediate circle of readers.

When I look at the coverage Another Appalachia has gotten this far, it’s hard not to feel proud of all of us. The roster of interviews, podcasts, lists, and companion pieces succeeds in representing the same intersectionality that the book holds: a representation of the queer, Desi, and Appalachian parts of me. If success in publishing takes multiple forms, then this, perhaps, is the most important form for me: that the same writers and media outlets that I know and love are the ones finding my book, lifting it up, and sharing it with readers.

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