Friday, March 30, 2012

Luck and...Not

Hard time in my life to write a post. But I’m going to do it anyway.

You see, last Wednesday, not much more than a week ago, I lost my mom. She was 90, but such a strong, healthy 90, I guess I thought she would live forever. Or at least another five or six years.

And now I’m supposed to talk about luck.

But, oddly enough, I have some to talk about.

You see, in the ten days or so that my mom was on Hospice care (that is, here at home, under my care, but with the help of Hospice, which was considerable) all kinds of luck was breaking out in my life.

If you’ve read some of my more recent posts, you’ll know that my career has been a great source of worry. The book sales just weren’t there. I was beginning to question whether I could continue to make my living as a writer. It didn’t look like things were about to change. My adult books have been going well in the UK, but US publishers weren’t taking a chance on them. So my agent, and her agency, helped bring out the first two of them—Second Hand Heart and When I Found You—as Indie titles.

And there they sat.

I guess it’s easy to tell one’s self that no one knows they’re there yet. But you can’t help but wince when your books are selling in the tens on any given month.

Then luck kicked in.

We got a chance to put one of the ebook editions on a 5-day free promotion.

I chose When I Found You. Because I like it a lot.

By the end of the day it was in the top 10 in Kindle Free. In the morning it was #1. Then it sank down to #2 and #3, inevitably. Then, inexplicably, it bounced back to #1.

Why? How?

I have no idea. No one has any idea, actually. Luck is as good an explanation as any. Something somehow conspired behind the scenes to get it noticed, and the more it was noticed the more it was noticed.

More people downloaded When I Found You during that free trial than read Pay It Forward in hardcover.

But that’s free. I make no money on that. What about when we went back to charging $2.99 again? Well, it made it up to #12 in paid. That’s essentially better than any of my books have ever done. And I still have no idea why. I still have to chalk it up to luck.

You’re probably wondering how weird it was to try to enjoy all this luck at the same time my mom was dying. Pretty weird. It was quite the emotional roller coaster. But it helped that she enjoyed it just as much. Every time she woke up, and I took her in her medication, she’d ask, “What are the numbers now?” She was nothing if not my biggest fan. She liked knowing I’d be okay after she was gone. That I’d have less to worry about.

So, no doubt, luck cuts both ways. It’s certainly possible to have the best of luck and the worst of it, all at the same time. Still, I was lucky to have my mom for so many years. And I think we were lucky that she lived just long enough to watch luck turn in my favor again. I know that was something she wouldn’t have wanted to miss.


  1. Catherine--so sorry about your mom passing away. I lost my dad seven years ago and I remember it like yesterday. I bet that you're books continue to have more and more good luck as your mom watches over them and you. <3

  2. C, so sorry about your mom, and it's nice that you could find something to be positive about in such a difficult time. How wonderful that you got to share something like with your mom. Best of luck with those ebooks, your story reminds all of us that everyday brings something new, some not so good, some unexpected good. I hope you have more good come your way.

  3. Cahterine --
    So sorry to hear about your mom's death. Both my parents have passed, both at relatively young ages, and I still feel that loss. But how wonderful that she was there to watch those numbers with you! Lucky? Yes. Absolutely.

  4. I'm sorry about your mom. You certainly have made a beautiful tribute to her.

    "Every time she woke up, and I took her in her medication, she’d ask, “What are the numbers now?”"
    Oh, that is so Mommish! <3

  5. I'm so sorry for your loss, Catherine, but this really is a beautiful post and wonderful tribute to your mom. My mom is my biggest cheerleader, too. It means the world, doesn't it? And congrats on those numbers! May your career continue on the upswing.

  6. My mom is my biggest fan, too. She has congestive heart failure. So I could really empathize with your post.

    Ebooks are so strange. I have five of my out-of-print backlist that I put up myself. Last month was my best ever. As to why? No idea.