I’m honored to have Sarah Pekkanen here today sharing the story surrounding her fourth novel, THE BEST OF US. Because of a dispute between Barnes & Noble and S&S, many authors’ books aren’t being featured in their stores, if they’re even being sold at all.
This is where the writer and reader community must come together. Sure, publishing is a business, but for the next few minutes, as you read about Sarah and her book, remember that she’s just like you. Someone whose words and stories are meant to be read; someone who just wants to share her book with you. Please give her a shout-out, buy the book if you can, talk about it, and keep talking!
Please welcome Sarah Pekkanen to Women’s Fiction Writers!
Sarah Pekkanen’s Fourth Novel, THE BEST OF US, Hit Stores This Week!
Before I gave birth, I imagined how things would go: An effective epidural, a gently encouraging doctor (obviously he’d look a little like George Clooney), me panting heroically while my husband watched in awe….. Suffice to say things didn’t exactly go according to plan: My water broke at 2 a.m., my epidural failed, my doctor was grumpy – and female! – and my husband was so nervous he kept shoveling ice chips I didn’t want into my mouth.
It’s been kind of the same way with my latest book launch. THE BEST OF US, my fourth novel, hit stores yesterday. I envisioned strolling through the front doors of Barnes & Noble in Bethesda, where I actually wrote part of the book, and hovering around the new releases table at the front of the store, bursting with all the pride and anxiety of a new mother. I figured I’d hold a launch event at B&N, and sign a gloriously tall stack of books for friends and family members.
Unfortunately, my book isn’t at the front of B&N along with all the other new releases, because I’m one of a number of authors caught in a dispute between my publisher, Simon & Schuster, and the nation’s largest retail chain.
There’s much I don’t understand about this corporate stand-off, and I don’t blame either side. Publishing is a tough business. Everyone is struggling – big publishers, agents, booksellers, bookstores, authors….B&N and S&S are both trying to stay afloat in a constantly changing, volatile industry.
While I hold no ill will, it is tough to accept that I’m not able to do any readings or signings at B&N stores. I admit that I cried a little when I learned B&N had cut its order for my book by 75 percent. And I’m saddened to think my novel will be back in the stacks, with my older books, if it is in stores at all. It’ll be impossible for people to give my book a chance if they can’t even find it.
Still, I’m trying to think of the positives. This book has gotten the best reviews of anything I’ve ever written. Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred and boxed review. People magazine awarded it three and a half out of four stars. Marie Claire and Glamour magazine both recommended it.
I wrote The Best of Us in a little coffeeshop around the corner from my son’s nursery school. I loved those quiet, dreamy hours, when fueled by a latte and a croissant, I delved into the complicated worlds of my main characters. I interviewed experts in both severe weather patterns and genetic diseases so I could develop story lines. I jotted notes on scraps of paper, on my iPhone, and even on my hand when inspiration struck. I wrote and rewrote, cut and pasted, trimmed and shaped, and then I read through my manuscript and did it all over again.
After a painful, agonizing birth, I finally got to hold my son. And though this process has also been painful, I can pick up a copy of The Best of Us, and remember all the care and hard work I poured into it. And I can feel proud.
Sarah Pekkanen is the internationally-bestselling author of the novels THE BEST OF US, THESE GIRLS, SKIPPING A BEAT and THE OPPOSITE OF ME. Please find her on Facebook and twitter @sarahpekkanen!
Sarah is the mother of three young boys, which explains why she wrote part of her novel at Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously. Sarah penned her first book, Miscellaneous Tales and Poems, at the age of 10. When publishers failed to jump upon this literary masterpiece (hey, all the poems rhymed!) Sarah followed up by sending them a sternly-worded letter on Raggedy Ann stationery. Sarah still has that letter, and carries it to New York every time she has meetings with her publisher, as a reminder that dreams do come true. At least some dreams – Brad Pitt has yet to show up on her doorstep wearing nothing but a toolbelt and asking if she needs anything fixed. So maybe it’s only G-rated dreams that come true. Please visit www.sarahpekkanen.com