Birthmarked Turns Five
Birthmarked was released five years ago this week, on March 30th, 2010, when I was on a leave from teaching and trying to decide whether I should resign for good. My agent, Kirby Kim, told me to have faith in myself and my writing, but I was concerned that my novel wouldn’t sell and my writing career would be over with my first YA novel. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Birthmarked will have a long tail.”
He meant that Gaia’s story might not start with a flash, but it would keep selling.
I think of his words sometimes when I hear from new readers who are just now discovering the book and its sequels, and I feel incredibly fortunate. It’s clear to me now that promotional fuss is not driving sales, because that doesn’t happen for books that are five years old. Instead, I still hear from readers who are passing along the book to their friends, and this amazes me. Gaia’s story has been going steady and strong all this time through word of mouth, and my readers’ support has, in turn, ensured that my publisher continues to support my writing. I feel like we’ve created this quiet success together, at a grass roots level, on the sly.
I don’t want to be sneaky with my gratitude, though. Thanks, readers. Thank you for embracing Gaia’s story and keeping it alive. I’m grateful in more ways than I can ever say.