I’ve had a week of travel and “author” type meetings. This is the other side of the writing coin: meetings with agent, editors, booksellers. It’s always a mix of stressful and wonderful. In Canada, rather too many of the hardcover edition of Mistress of the Sun were sent back to the publisher—this is the inevitable and dreaded undertow of book sales. The exhilarating thrill of a book’s publication—the bestseller lists, the glowing reviews—are then followed by this wave of books being returned to the publisher, unsold.
My darlings, unwanted? My publisher explained that they would be pulped. Pulp is not a pleasant word, but it’s better, in my view, than “remainder.”
The question of blame inevitably arises—at least in my mind. Did the publisher over-estimate? Was my novel not good enough? Was the packaging not right? The economy? There is no way to determine cause. My US publisher told me that one of their books was on the New York Times best-seller list and yet only sold 4000 books. “Canadian numbers,” I told her, but in fact, low for even Canada. It’s shocking.