My LDS fiction novel, Time and Eternity, is out. I don't have my copies yet, but DeseretBook.com has theirs and my friend, Char, confirmed that the SLC Deseret Bookstores and Seagull Bookstores have theirs. It's an odd feeling to have a book out. While many ask if I'm excited, I'm more just sitting and watching. Like and actor who just completed an audition, I've done what I can do, now I wait and see what kind of part I've landed.
Char was kind enough to call me yesterday and ask if the book was out, and I explained it won't be in all stores yet. While the Utah area stores seem to have them, I've been corresponding with a Montana bookstore that does not yet. The books were shipped, but haven't arrived everywhere. Char, hearing this, decided to call around her local bookstores to check on it and called me back to tell me that her local Deseret Book had 12 copies, and the local Seagull Book had 48. 48?! That's a lot of copies of a book. When's the last time you went to a bookstore and saw 48 copies of one book? Only on the displays where they build a giganto pyramid. I don't know much about Seagull Book, as we don't have any in my region. Maybe that's how they market books from Covenant? (Covenant, my publisher, owns Seagull Books.) Anyway, that number made me think, "How many copies did Covenant print, and is my return reserve going to eat up all royalties here?" I know, not optimistic. I'm just not the type to be thinking, "Oh hey, bestseller list, here we come!" Because I'd feel like an idiot if I thought that and it didn't come to pass, and realistically, it rarely comes to pass. A first time LDS author sells about 2,500 copies on average.
So then Char decided to go out and buy a copy, even though she's read multiple drafts of the thing, including the typeset galleys, and has her free copy coming when I get my author copies in. She went to Seagull Book, picked one up, and took it up to the counter, where the clerk said, "That is such a good book. You will love that book. I just finished it." Bear in mind, the book had been out for roughly four hours at that point. I guess the clerk must have picked up a copy when the shipment came in and just sat down to read it in one sitting.
Char called me up to tell me this, and while I heard her, I felt this distanced sense of disbelief. I'm trying to remember the last time a bookstore clerk said that kind of thing to me about a book that wasn't some huge, national market bestseller that had been out for several months. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy, but I'm also just waiting to see if that's an early sign of good sales, or a really random fluke.
And I'm waiting to see my book. So unfair that Char has a copy and I don't! (But this isn't uncommon in publishing.)