September 16, 2020

MY LIFE IN THE FISH TANK by Barbara Dee Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Welcome to the My Life in the Fish Tank Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of My Life in the Fish Tank by Barbara Dee on September 15th, blogs across the web are featuring original guest posts from Barbara, plus 5 chances to win My Life in the Fish Tank and swag! 

  Author Buddies by Barbara Dee
I've seen many authors joke on social media that life under quarantine is really not so different from business as usual. Authors are introverts who crave uninterrupted solitude.  Our favorite hangout is our computer desks. We dread in-person appearances, and any type of shmoozing. 
To some extent, all that's true. I know a few authors who consider themselves extroverts, but many more who land on the "I" end of the Myers-Briggs scale. And a surprising number who, like me, identify as INFJ --a notable phenomenon, given that INFJs are rare in the population as a whole.
But I think it's wrong to call authors antisocial loners. Authors socialize with other authors all the time, engaging in the same sort of water-cooler conversation you find in any office, virtual or not.  We compare notes. We offer advice and support.  We share challenges and frustrations.
Because being an author is a privilege, a dream job, a joy--but also not an easy gig. Some days the challenges seem overwhelming. It's not just about writing and revising (a zillion times). You also have to sell and position your work in a chaotic, super-competitive and possibly shrinking market. You have to deal with rejection and criticism-- without responding. And you have to make peace with self-promotion, forcing your introverted self into some extremely uncomfortable terrain, especially these days, when we're all on camera. And who better to commiserate with about all this than another author?
So one piece of advice I'd give to new and not-yet-published authors: find your pack. Even if you're an introvert, look for other authors to hang with. Don't think of them as mentors who'll take you under their wings because (to mix metaphors) authors have enough on their own plates.  Think of them as colleagues.
And then: be a good colleague. Listen to other authors' experiences. Don't betray confidences.  Cheer them on when they have success, and try to avoid comparing yourself. Promote their books every chance you get. Include them when you're proposing book giveaways and panels. Recommend their work to educators, booksellers and librarians. Celebrate their #bookbirthdays.
Here's my most important advice:  never, ever snipe or spread negative gossip about another author, online or in person. The publishing world is small, and subcategories like kidlit make it even smaller. When you say or post something negative, it gets around, just like it would in any bricks-and-mortar office setting.  You never know when you'll be asking authors for a blurb, or sitting across from them on a panel.  If you can't say something nice...well, you remember what your mom told you.  (But you're good with words, right? So go ahead, say something nice.) 
A long time ago I realized that life in the book world could be tough. If I was going to make a career out of it, I couldn't do it alone. So I decided to try to surround myself in positivity-- at least, as much as I could from my solitary computer desk. Now I have a few author buddies who aren't just colleagues--they're cherished friends. We may not hang around actual water coolers, but we're always there for each other.
Especially when we need to procrastinate.  Because even if we're working in a virtual office, coffee breaks are definitely more fun with buddies.   

From acclaimed author of Maybe He Just Likes You and Halfway Normal comes a powerful and moving story of learning how to grow, change, and survive.
When twelve-year-old Zinnia Manning’s older brother Gabriel is diagnosed with a mental illness, the family’s world is turned upside down. Mom and Dad want Zinny, her sixteen-year-old sister, Scarlett, and her eight-year-old brother, Aiden, to keep Gabriel’s condition “private”—and to Zinny that sounds the same as “secret.” Which means she can’t talk about it to her two best friends, who don’t understand why Zinny keeps pushing them away, turning everything into a joke.
It also means she can’t talk about it during Lunch Club, a group run by the school guidance counselor. How did Zinny get stuck in this weird club, anyway? She certainly doesn’t have anything in common with these kids—and even if she did, she’d never betray her family’s secret.
The only good thing about school is science class, where cool teacher Ms. Molina has them doing experiments on crayfish. And when Zinny has the chance to attend a dream marine biology camp for the summer, she doesn’t know what to do. How can Zinny move forward when Gabriel—and, really, her whole family—still needs her help?

About the Author: Barbara Dee is the author of eleven middle grade novels published by Simon & Schuster, including My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including the The Washington Post’s Best Children’s Books, the ALA Notable Children’s Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, and the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten. Barbara lives with her family, including a naughty cat named Luna and a sweet rescue hound named Ripley, in Westchester County, New York.
Follow BarbaraWebsite | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

  • One winner will receive a hardcover copy of My Life in the Fish Tank, bookmark, and button
  • Check out the rest of the stops on the tour for 4 more chances to win!
  • US/Can only
  • Ends 9/27 at 11:59pm ET

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great advice to find your pack and be a good colleague. My Twitter writing groups are instrumental for improving my writing and being a wonderful support group. Writers for writers!

  2. This book cover is eye-catching and would make me pick it off the shelf. This author tackles tough subjects for middle graders and this makes her books so important for readers.

  3. My Life in a Fish Tank sounds like an amazing book! Love the cover!!


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