Just a thought… Find a place inside where there’s joy, and that joy will burn out the pain. [Joseph Campbell]
Ah, Monday. It’s been another unusual weekend of calls, texts and emails letting us know about the lists that Mourning Has Broken has landed on. Biggest news came Friday that we were #1 in Canadian non-fiction and #2 non-fiction (behind Ms Michelle Obama) on the Toronto Star list, as well as #1 in the Globe and Mail (Canadian non-fiction) and #3 in non-fiction. To say that this is unexpected is an understatement!
My friend Susan Knight, program director of Ocean 98.5 here in Victoria, came over for coffee on Saturday, holding a copy of The Globe and Mail and filled with questions about this entire experience.
Did I expect a best seller when I wrote it, she asked? I told her honestly that I always envisioned it going to the top but I never expected it. Does that make sense?
I’ve found the learning curve in this whole experience to be steep. For example, as one reader asked, what makes a best seller? How does one get on one list, for example, and not on another? Is it like a gold record in Canada versus one in the US? Are the sales numbers different? Again, no idea. I don’t want to bother anyone at the publisher with these questions but I’m sure eventually I’ll get the answers. (I did learn when I went in to sign some books in our local Sidney store, Tanner’s Books, that the sales in BC were strong. I was surprised by that, in that promotion here has been minimal so far.)
Someone else asked how one gets a book into the US. (That I don’t know, but the ball will be in HarperCollins’ court.) We’ll do everything we can to help spread the word of love, loss and reclaiming joy.
Sometimes you have to do what you can to promote your own work. The author, podcast and CBC’s Under the Influence host Terry O’Reilly told me that you screw up your nerve, go into book stores and offer to sign your book, and I’ve been doing that in stores big and small. Only once (at the aforementioned Tanner’s) did the staffer to whom I spoke check the back flap to see if I was actually the person who wrote it!
I mean, I get that, and to be honest, found it funny that no one else had checked, including the friendly lady at Indigo in the Mayfair Mall here in Victoria! (I inscribed her 14 copies and let her decide whether the sticker “local author” or “signed by author” should be affixed to the cover.)
Our poor daughter-in-law Brooke, though. She was with me a week ago yesterday when we were in Barrhaven and I wanted to pop into the Indigo just a few doors from the spa we’d spent a few hours visiting. Because of a facial, I did not look – shall we say – camera ready, so I wasn’t going to offer to sign any books. Instead, I went to their best sellers’ shelf and searched for Mourning Has Broken.
Ah, there it was: on a shelf second from the bottom. Well, that was not going to do! After furtively checking for staffers (there was none), I took another book and the two behind it, and moved them down to where mine was, placing my book up on the second shelf where it belonged! Brooke was playfully mortified when she saw what I’d done and, laughing, we made our way out of the store.
Two days later, with a bit of time to kill before our flight, Rob and I stopped into the Indigo and yep – there it was – still on the second shelf! So I gathered the four remaining books, took them to the front desk and offered to sign them. The young woman behind the cash was excited and said, “Yes,” and to my delight, a woman who was in line at the store to buy a book asked if she could purchase one of my signed editions! Turns out she’s a librarian and was going to buy one anyway, but it just happened to be a bit of fortuitous timing. We even shared a hug.
Now I don’t know if this all sounds strange or like I’m on some ego trip (as my dad used to put it) or what, but I don’t really care. I’m enjoying the experience as best I can, as I’m pretty sure it’s not going to come again in this lifetime. It’s the culmination of a dream I never knew I had, out of a nightmare that we lived through. And if there’s going to be a silver lining, damn it, I’m going to embrace it. Because that’s part of the book: reclaiming joy. Have a gentle Monday and we’ll be back with you tomorrow.