Tag Archives: Merritt Tierce

Post-Debut Struggles

Many articles are written about debut writers who get a big advance and whose lives are changed by having their books published. But only a few have such luck/opportunity. For most debut novelists, their book comes out, and after the flurry of readings and reviews, they return to a life much like the one they led before.

Merritt Tierce, in her essay, “I published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim—and Then I Promptly Went Broke,” published in Marie Claire, writes about her post-debut struggles. Her novel, Love Me Back, was widely written about and got much praise when it came out in 2014. She has sold over 12,000 copies. But this is still not enough to pay back her advance, so she has made no money from the book since it published. The essay is an honest look at how hard it is to make a living as a fiction writer, even if one does write a successful book. I appreciate having this story shared, even if it is not as uplifting as the ones about those who get a big advance..

And here at Proto Libro I have fallen behind with my reviews, but have some I’m working on and will post next month. I find Fall is a nice time of year to settle in with a good book.

Thanks for reading, stopping by!



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So Many Book Awards

Now that I am tracking more book awards than I did a couple years ago, I feel like there are so many that I can barely keep up with them all. Below are some debuts that have won prizes, or been shortlisted, in the US this spring. Next month, I will write about notable books from the UK and Australia. What I think is interesting about book prizes is that they often choose books that have been less commercially successful or take on unique topics.

Have you read any of the debuts below? Or read about them? I’d be curious to know what you think or know about the books.

The PEN/Robert W. Bingham shortlist is out and the winner will be announced on June 8th. This prize “honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work—a novel or collection of short stories—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise.” Two of the books on the shortlist, Ruby, by Cynthia Bond and Redeployment, by Phil Klay have gotten a lot of attention this year. The other books on the shortlist take us into different worlds and countries:

The Dog, by Jack Livings, a collection of short stories set in contemporary China.

The UnAmericans, by Molly Antopol, another collection of short stories set in the US, the former Soviet Union and Israel.

Love Me Back, by Merritt Tierce, is a novel about a young woman who is a single mom and a waitress in a steakhouse. The book explores her self-destructive lifestyle. This book has been noted by reviewers for Tierce’s open and honest writing.

The LA Times Book Awards has the The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. The 2014 award went to Valeria Luiselli for Faces in the Crowd, a novel translated from Spanish and set in Mexico City, Harlem and Philadelphia. It tells the story of a writer/translator looking back on her life and an obscure Mexican poet. The book “plays with the idea of time and identity.” Seems like a unique and literary read.

The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction is one of the Publishing Triangle Awards. It recognizes “outstanding first novels or story collections by LGBT authors.” This year’s award goes to For Today I am a Boy, by Kim Fu. This book, a coming of age story about a transgender boy, set in Canada, was also a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award.


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