Birthmarked Is Out in Paperback
(These remarks are cross-posted on the MacKids site.)
The moment of Birthmarked’s paperback release gives me a portal into a little time travel. It invites me to leap forward because, for any readers who are about to discover Gaia’s story, the paperback is now the real thing. This is the gritty version you’ll read at the beach or squish at the bottom of your backpack, while the hardcover will shortly become a quaint artifact from an earlier time, a sturdy tome you might find on your older cousin’s bookshelf or sleeved in plastic at the library. As more time passes, and other books in the series come out and aunts discover them for birthday gifts, I predict the stories will be identified by their matching covers, the new ones with the cool script and evocative, object-based pictures, while the lone hardcover of Birthmarked with the windswept girl on the cover will seem more and more like an orphan. Such is the view from the future.
If I take the portal back twenty months, that orphan was the real book, the only book. The hardcover is the one I’ve held when giving readings, the one I’ve signed and wrapped for gifts. I had no idea that I would hear from readers about how much they loved Gaia with her feisty determination, or how anxious they were about troubled, changing Leon. I hoped but didn’t fully expect that those readers would tell their friends, mothers and grandfathers about my novel. They have. In time, Birthmarked has been honored by YALSA, the Amelia Bloomer List, and the Junior Library Guild, and by state reading lists in Rhode Island, Georgia, Utah, Texas, and Arkansas. My novel is read overseas in five countries and counting. I’ve found that people seem to genuinely enjoy Gaia’s story, and I’m incredibly grateful.
When I bring the portal back to focus on this moment, this paperback seems like a slim, sophisticated little sister, full of promise. I like how the page numbers match the hardcover’s so I can still find my favorite image on page 200, and I like the extras at the back with the unassuming photos and the opening scene from Prized. I even like the timing, with this paperback appearing on the brink of the release of Prized, Gaia’s continuing story, which is about to materialize into its own corporeal form. For now, I can look up from my computer and be excited.
So, thanks to my kind readers for leading Roaring Brook to believe there’s a readership for this series, thanks to April Ward at Macmillan and Tim Green of Faceout Studio for the smashing new cover, and thanks to Jessica Tedder and Anna Booth for tireless help in creating the bonus extras for the back matter. Birthmarked in paperback would not have happened without you. Thanks!