Making a Mistake, Then Making It Better

On May 19, publication day for Life Among the Paiutes, I sent out about a half-dozen copies to friends and family, including the artist who did the cover. I printed out the labels and left them for the mail carrier to pick up in a responsible, socially distant way. I was so proud.

A couple days later, I got a call from my mom. It turned out that the flat-rate USPS envelopes I had used were Priority Mail Express, not plain old Priority Mail. Everyone who got those first copies, people I wanted to thank for their help and support, owed the post office another $20 or so to get their books.

Oh my God are you kidding me.

I went to the Practical Fox shipping center in my basement and yup. The wrong envelopes.

Luckily no one was bothered in the slightest. My mom was very nice about the whole thing; she only wanted to make sure I hadn’t sent of hundreds of books this way by mistake. (I hadn’t.) I offered to refund the $20 or have each recipient of these first copies refuse the delivery and I’d send another book immediately. They all took care of it themselves and ransomed their books out of Express jail.

So, to make good on this mistake, I’ve donated $20 for each of these mis-shipped books to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. And from this point forward, 5% of the purchase price of every copy of Life Among the Paiutes sold will be donated to this same organization.