On Self-Promotion In A Time of National Crisis

Greetings friends! If you are reading this in the future, you likely know that I am writing this blog in the last days of the republic. So it stands to reason that I should be lamenting the disintegration of our checks and balances, our swift descent away from decency, and more constitutional crises than you could shake a gavel at. BUT ALAS, I am not going to talk about those things! I am going to talk about my book that is entirely unrelated to politics! People are enjoying it, just look at Zayn and Keanu's incredulity at learning about the treatment of their female colleagues: 


Or so I have felt for the last several weeks as I've mostly abstained from talking about the book, promoting it aggressively because the conversations about our country's fate are more important than the ones about my book and it feels uncouth to barge into that discourse with self-promotion. When I have told people about this trepidation to promote, they encourage me to do so because they say that writing about other topics and engaging meaningfully with culture and ideas in ways that aren't political is important right now.

I was heartened by their belief in the project but ultimately decided that the book doesn't even have to be an antidote to the present fatigue and uncertainty for me to promote it, be proud of it, and try to get people to buy it. The reasons I should do those things is because they are my job: I wrote a book and it is my responsibility to promote it, sell it, convince people that it is worth their while. I don't have to promise a reprieve from political madness with this book, though I do hope I can offer one with it. But in the same way I don't quit feeding the cat or reading books I like or going to parties sometimes instead of protests, I also promote the book and think about it. 

I really hope that people will enjoy it, that you will pre-order it so you can have it the day it comes out, and that it might bring you some joy or understanding. I mean, look at how clearly engrossed this parrot lamp is in it. It must be good! 

And if you're like me and think birds are SUSPECT AS HELL, you can read all of these kind words that have been written about the book in the lead-up to publication! (Yes, this is the blog post equivalent of RTing your compliments. I do not care.) 


Alana Massey's chapter titles sell themselves: "On Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and the Singularity," "Heavenly Creatures: The Gospels According to Lana, Fiona, and Dolly." What's less apparent from the essays' glittery surfaces is that they are also searingly insightful reminders of shared experience — humor-filled rafts of humanity in a sea of contemporary TMZ- and Trump-fueled despair. Massey's prose captures barely perceptible nuances of feeling we have all felt and holds them up to hilarious effect — all while discussing Daily Mail headlines and Gwyneth Paltrow's kids' multilingual tutors. All the Lives I Want is Massey's first book of published essays, and picks up where her viral BuzzFeed essay "Being Winona in a World Made for Gywneths" left off (Grand Central Publishing, February 7).

Nylon Magazine

“This sharp, brilliant collection of essays weaves personal anecdotes alongside incisive analysis of cultural icons and phenomenons including Winona Ryder, Amber Rose, and Lana Del Rey. Massey’s voice is wholly original, and her critical instincts are always spot-on as she illuminates the reasons behind why we celebrate and excoriate the women who exist in the public eye, and what that says about cultural attitudes toward all women.”

The Observer

"Alana Massey is rightfully hailed as one of the sharpest voices today. When she’s writing about women and pop culture, there’s no one I’d rather read."

The Week

You might have already read Alana Massey and not known it. She is the author of the "Being Winona In A World Made for Gwyneths," an explosive BuzzFeed essay that landed her a literary agent in less than 24 hours, or perhaps you've read "Against Chill," a takedown of the titular "garbage virtue that will destroy the species." In All the Lives I Want, Massey bridges the gap from Sylvia Plath to Amber Rose, and all the high- and lowbrow female celebrities in between with her deeply contemporary voice and sense of humor. "These women — often the subjects of great scrutiny by celebrity magazines — prompt the author to ponder, with wit and keen self-reflection, what our feelings about them reveal about us," Kirkus Review writes.

Huffington Post

"The title of Alana Massey’s essay collection comes from a Sylvia Plath quote that reads, in part, “I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want.” Massey’s meditation on our cultural fascination with the iconic, prematurely deceased writer is a standout of her upcoming collection, in which she probes the lives of famous and infamous women and incorporates her own experiences to arrive at sharp insights on celebrity fascination and personal examination."


"When Alana Massey's essay, "Being Winona In A World Made For Gwyneths," debuted on Buzzfeed in January 2015, we sensed that maybe we'd found a new favorite writer to add to our lists. 

In this new collection of essays, Massey delves into other pop cultural and public figures — from Britney Spears to Sylvia Plath and beyond — with a critical eye but also an empathetic one. These works are each a reminder that what glitters is not always gold, and what lies beneath the surface is actually much more interesting than the superficial impression."


"Alana Massey’s All the Lives I Want is a collection of essays examining the lives of famous and infamous women in pop culture through an intimately personal lens. Part clever cultural critique and part passionate fan love letter, All the Lives I Want forces us to see ourselves and our vulnerabilities in the legacies of prominent female figures, from Sylvia Plath to Lil’ Kim."


"In this breathtaking collection of personal essays, columnist and critic Alana Massey explores pop culture and womanhood through the lives of some of the most famous female figures of the last fifty years. All the Lives I Want is at once a fan letter to female celebrities, a sharp cultural critique, and a thorough examination of some of the biggest issues facing women today, including mental illness, sexual violence, and body image. Featuring the likes of Sylvia Plath, Anjelica Huston, Anna Nicole Smith, and many more, All the Lives I Want is a must read for every fangirl out there."