on second chances and free books!
September 30th, 2009
So a couple days ago was the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, a holiday that never fails to confuse non-Jews who know it’s a holiday but seem to get it’s not a happy one. As in, you don’t say “Happy Yom Kippur!” Yom Kippur is a day of atonement. It’s a day you contemplate all the bad stuff you did the year before and say sorry for it and wipe the slate clean for the next year. Then you can start screwing up all over again. Also, you don’t eat all day. Fun!
Yom Kippur is the day you get to sort of say Do Over! Or to me, it’s the day I get to say Do Better! It’s a day for thinking about being the gleaming perfect person I want to be, as opposed to the fallible person I am. Anyhow, this Yom Kippur was also about a fall cleaning because we spent the day rearranging the apartment so that Denbele and Willa now sleep separately and clearing a space in the hallway for Willa to have her own “office area,” (which is more than I have, btw). It was during this major crap-move and purge that I discovered a box of unopened paperback Sisters in Sanity books.
That this book exists in paperback is testament to the power of second chances. As I might have mentioned, when Sisters was released, it came out to this . By which I mean the resounding sound of nothing. It sold about 12 copies. To my relatives. A few months after its release a friend asked me how the book was doing and I told him, “lousy.” I explained how hard it was for any book to break through and this friend, who was in publishing, albeit underground indie-fringe publishing, said how sorry he was for and how bitter I must be. I told him that I decided that I could feel bitter but that I’d decided to just be grateful that I had published a novel and was making a living as a writer and that maybe one day I’d have another book do well and Sisters would get another chance. Ahh. See. That was a moment of me being that better person I always tell myself I’ll be on Yom Kippur. I wish I could say I am like this always, but alas, that kind of Zen optimism and letting go takes so much effort for a worrywart like me.
So, you can see where this is going. Sisters in Sanity was headed for the graveyard (or, in publishing speak: remaindering) but when If I Stay started to get some attention, my old publisher decided to give Sisters a…second chance and put out a paperback edition. And it’s not like that book has suddenly become a huge hit. But lately something strange has been happening. I did a bookstore reading for If I Stay a few weeks ago and a couple of readers wanted to buy Sisters but it was sold out! Three of my foreign publishers are now publishing Sisters! And last week, I bumped into a neighbor and she said “I’m reading your book.” And I said, “Oh, cool.” And she said, “I’m at the part where V…” and it took me a second to realize she was referring to V, one of the characters in Sisters.
So, in honor of fresh starts and second chances and the fact that I found a box of 20 books I didn’t know I had, I’m giving away 5 signed copies of Sisters in Sanity to the first readers who comment on this blog with some tale of their own second chances.