Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A second (shelf) life

The Notebook (paperback): 23rd
The Four Agreements (paperback): 42nd
Mysterious Skin, reissued paperback: 6th
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (hardcover): 4th
The Dirty Girls Social Club (paperback): 4th
Velocity (paperback): Seventh
Boston Boys Club: second (Yay!)


What do all these numbers mean? They represent the number of editions each book has been printed. Looking up these edition numbers has become a secret sport of mine. When I walk into Borders or Barnes and Noble to leaf through the pages of a book I am interested in, I immediately glance down at the edition number. (It's on the bottom left side of the first two or three pages, with numbers that read something like : 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3 -
I learned last fall from my publisher that Boston Boys Club was heading into a second edition. (I jumped up and down in the stairwell by the printing presses at The Globe when my editor told me the news via phone.) It doesn't take much to make me smile or leap for joy. Having a second, third, or 10th edition, means that a book is enjoying a long burn, several reincarnations. It means that there is a steady demand for the book. It means that people are reading and buying the book, my little libro!
As a first-time author, I've been gradually learning the ins and outs of this mysterious world of book publishing as developments present themselves. I just thought that my book will be published and that's that and I would continue with my daily newspaper writing. I was more than satisfied with just having a book written. I didn't even think of second or future editions. Most authors, like Dean Koontz or Nicholas Sparks, blink and they're already well into a 20th edition. When I got the news that Tommy, Rico and Kyle were going to see another publishing season, I was thrilled and I'm still beaming! So a quick super muchas gracias to you, my readers, who have given my little beach book a second life. I know it's only a second edition but I am very happy and proud nonetheless, like a proud papa.