Deb Shapiro, the publicist for Page Street, arranged to offer a giveaway on KidsBuzz/Shelf Awareness for my newly released novel, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU. She decided to have the entries sent directly to me, presumably so that I could begin building an email list of readers who were interested in my work.
This seemed like a great idea—until the entries started pouring in! On the one hand, it was lovely to hear from all of these folks who were enthusiastic about the premise of the novel and wanted to win a signed copy. On the other hand, I lamented having only ten copies from the publisher to give out. Readers wrote such lovely notes—I wanted to give all of them copies! It was almost painful to have to write the non-winners that they hadn’t lucked into a copy.
It wasn’t that I’d never done a giveaway. I’d offered one for my first novel, WHILE I DANCED. But in that case, I’d done the giveaway through Goodreads, and they’d handled the selection. My job was simply to send books to the winners, which I happily did. In this latest giveaway, however, I actually had to be the one to notify folks that they hadn’t won.
I’ve thought about why this was so hard for me, and I realized that it wasn’t just that I wanted to share my book with all of these readers who’d made the effort to enter the contest. My reaction was also about the baggage I carry around from own background—the disappointments, rejections, and times I was passed over for something I really wanted.
It made me think about how the wounds from our past repeatedly surface. It was just a book contest, after all—yet somehow, I never want to let anyone down, because I really know what that feels like. It’s not fun.
Ah, those ghosts from our past. They have a way of emerging at the oddest of times.