“Why do they have so many copies of my book? Is that a bad sign? Does that mean no one’s buying it?”
“No. Your book has been out for a year, and they have a lot of copies. That’s a good sign. That means they keep it in stock.”
“Are you sure? Because doesn’t it mean that no one’s buy them-”
“No. It’s a good sign. They restocked them. They’re selling for full price. This is good.”
It’s still a surreal thing to see my book in bookstores. I don’t really process it as something I’ve written. It’s more like when you see something that you own that you haven’t made – like a shirt or a mug or a lamp – in a store, and you think, “Hey! I have that at home!” It’s just a neat little coincidence. It’s certainly not enough affirmation of your career to counteract the lifetime of self-doubt that you’ve managed to accumulate.
And now recently, I’ve had the added privilege of seeing my beloved’s book on bookstore shelves, too:
While down in Portland last week, Rand and I stopped into Powell’s, where I had the slightly-less-awkward-now-than-it-was-the-first-dozen-times-I-did-it privilege of explaining to the staff that I wrote this particular book and would it be okay if I signed a couple copies? I’ve found that the people who work in bookstores – both independent ones and big chains – are always incredibly grateful and obliging when you ask this. And you know those “Autographed” stickers that you see on the cover of signed books? They always have those on hand, and as soon as you’re done signing your book, they slap one of those on the cover. It’s … well, it’s really fun. I need to remind myself of that, because sometimes I forget to take the time and really enjoy those moments.
At some point, as I was signing books at Powell’s, I looked up and caught Rand taking photos of me.
He captured the exact moment I realized what he was doing.
Until I spotted him with his phone out, I hadn’t considered that what was happening might be a photo-worthy event.
I mean, it was just me standing there.
In one of my favorite bookstores.
Signing copies of my memoir.
Of which they had plenty in stock.
It’s really easy for me to lose perspective on how great my life is. Luckily, I have someone who is always reminding me.