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The You I Never Knew was written, sold to a publisher, and edited…and then it was orphaned. In publishing, this means the editor who acquired it moved on while the book was in production. This is usually not the best news for a book,  because that acquiring editor loved the book and was its in-house cheerleader. The project was handed off to a new editor. This is a bit like getting a foster child you didn’t ask for.

In my case, it turned out to be a mixed blessing. They were right in the middle of designing the cover, and it looked like this:

cover never used on the you i never knew

the art i never used on the you i never knew

literary collection of stories

Now, this is a fine piece of original art. The design and layout are Image result for the horse whisperer nicholas evansreminiscent of both The Horse Whisperer and a Nicholas Sparks cover, so those are pluses. It also looks a bit like Annie Proulx’s Close Range.

Does this mean the cover is right for this book? Probably not. First of all, The You I Never Knew would be a paperback original, not a hardcover book, so the art needs to “pop” on the shelf in order to stand out. The colors of this cover are muted and the mood is chilly. It might work on a hardcover jacket, but it doesn’t look instantly warm and inviting, like a “feel-good” novel.

The new editor came into the middle of cover design, knowing nothing about me or the book. There was a bright spot, though. The new editor was the extremely smart Maggie Crawford, and she was the kind of foster mother the book needed–an experienced editor who understood the market for this book. She’d worked with many bestselling authors and had a fine eye for marketing women’s fiction. She took on the cover art issue with aplomb, and came up with this.

The You I Never KnewIt’s one of the least-relevant yet most commercial covers I’ve ever had. Here’s my analysis: Splashing my name on the cover in huge letters gave the illusion that this was a big book by a big author. The lettering itself–big, graceful block lettering–was reminiscent of the font used for blockbuster author Sandra Brown. 22 Indigo PlaceAnd of course, it capitalizes on the galloping popularity of the biggest novel of the ’90s, The Horse Whisperer. Cover Image

So I’m back on track, right? My new editor rescued the novel from obscurity and now all I’d need to do is kick back and let the sales roll in. Oh, and I’d be working with Maggie on the next book, brainstorming the plot and building on the success of The You I Never Knew. Right? Right?

NOT.

The lovely and talented foster-editor for this book was so lovely and talented that another publisher hired her away. By the time my novel was published for the first time, there was no one home. My calls were fielded by hapless assistant. With no in-house cheerleader, no marketing budget, and no PR, my book was destined to die of slow strangulation in that publishing twilight zone known as “the midlist.” If sales were poor, the publisher wouldn’t want anymore books from me, and my days as an author were numbered.

BUT.

I had a secret weapon, and that secret weapon was YOU. The You I Never Knew, aka READERS.

One of the great things about publishing is that readers don’t care what a book’s marketing budget is. They don’t care how it’s positioned on a publisher’s list or catalog. They care about the story. Not only that, when they like the story, they tell their friends. And their librarians. And their hairdresser. And the next thing you know, the book is a bestseller.

Against all odds, the first edition of The You I Never Knew made the USA Today bestseller list. Thanks to readers, the book is still in print, in a fresh new edition this week.

The You I never Knew 2016

The latest edition – in stores now!

The You I never knew-SP

the 2010 edition

 

 

 

 

I was a storyteller before I could speak in fully formed sentences, or write words on paper. I know this because I have the kind of mom who tended to save things she deemed important—like a toddler’s markings on an old church collection envelope, or stick-figure drawings featuring imaginary characters. This is how I know that all my stories have always been about the same thing—an ordinary girl, facing extraordinary circumstances, whether it’s a kid up a tree with Bad Things after her…or a lonely young woman who suddenly discovers a family she’s never known.

But that’s just the spine of the story. For me, the magic happens when I discover just the right setting and tone for the story to unfold. I created the town of Archangel, in glorious Sonoma County, as the setting for THE APPLE ORCHARD, because I wanted to evoke that golden, sweep-you-away quality that comes over the reader as she sinks into the world of the story.

Besides the setting, my favorite aspect of this story is that often, the key to the present is found in the past, sometimes deeply buried. As Tess, the main character, uncovers the hidden dramas that have brought her to THE APPLE ORCHARD, she uncovers her own heart’s desire.

BIG NEWS: THE APPLE ORCHARD (have I mentioned the title enough?) is 50% off when you preorder from Barnes&Noble on April 3 and 4 only. So grab a copy for yourself, and maybe order an extra for your mom, your BFF, your local library…I do love a sale!

Susan Wiggs

Pre-Order The Apple Orchard today!

Susan Wiggs - The Apple Orchard

Today is the official pub day of Return to Willow Lake. I’m so grateful to all the readers who helped make it a bestseller in hardcover. Now, paperback fans will find it in stores. You can also find the book in audio and digital formats, and in lots of different languages.

The hardcover edition was published during an exciting time in my life.

And I’m excited about the paperback, but for me, there’s something bittersweet about the publication of this particular book. When I first conceived the story, I knew I would be dealing with some big issues

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Just out in paperback

. However, I didn’t know how personal the central issue would become for me.

One of the storylines in the novel involves a young woman returning home to help her mother through the ordeal of breast cancer. Now, on the eve of the paperback publication, I’ve discovered that one of my best friends has just been diagnosed with cancer.
Loretta is a wife, a mom, a sister, a friend. She’s facing the fight of her life.

So in addition to the dedication in the printed book, I would like to unofficially dedicate the paperback edition to my beloved friend, Loretta. She’s sharing her journey on a blog, and I’m so proud of the courage and humor in her writing, and in the responses from her friends and family. Here’s a link to her most heart touching post. Keep the Kleenex handy. You’ve been warned.  http://blog.lorettastanton.com/?p=114#comments

Jun. 28, 2010 | contact us
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READ IT

Just Breathe
By: Susan Wiggs

Feel-good story, character-driven romance

about Sarah Moon who returns to her

childhood home after her husband’s infidelity.

Her high school heartthrob is still in town

but further complications threaten

her future happiness.
Just BreatheFIND IT
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Just Breathe
READ IT
Just Breathe
By: Susan Wiggs

Feel-good story, character-driven romance about Sarah Moon who returns to her childhood home after her husband’s infidelity. Her high school heartthrob is still in town but further complications threaten her future happiness.

9780778325772.png

Huge thanks to Karen Harper for the heads-up. If you haven’t read her MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, you are missing a treat.

peeps

I don't eat them, either, but aren't they cute?

Confession: It felt a little odd, having a Christmas book out before Halloween. I just couldn’t drum up that cozy, romantic mood that makes Christmas so special. The good news is, I ate the last of my Halloween candy for breakfast and NOW I’m ready to rock Christmas.

Here is a preview of Lakeshore Christmas. It’s worth opening the link because it gives you a few of the amazing recipes at the end. Remember my motto for this book: Bake some cookies. Save the library. Save the world.

You know, I’m so ready for Christmas now, I’m going to send somebody a signed book. You know the drill–write a Comment on this blog entry and you’re entered. In your comment, let us know the moment when you FINALLY feel the holiday season is here.

Winner will be picked via www.random.org on Sunday after I get home from the Fire in Fiction workshop. Which btw you should be coming to.

Really.

Hands down, it’s got to be Leavenworth, in the Cascades. So cute, they used it on the cover of Lakeshore Christmas. Oh, and did I mention it’s a place where you can have Breakfast with A Flock of Angels?!

Sheila RobertsOkay, so maybe “angels” is a stretch and I’m not sure three constitutes a flock, but c’mon. On Saturday October 10, 10:00 AM – noon, breakfast with three angel-inspired authors: the authors of Angel Lane,Coffeehouse Angel, and Lakeshore Christmas! Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors, and Susan Wiggs look forward to joining you at Eagle Creek Winery for a deliciously specialSuzanne Selfors breakfast and warm conversation. Breakfst includes, lox, bagel and cream cheese, apple strudel, grapes, a glass of Eagle Creek white wine, Starbucks coffee and a selection of teas. Susan Wiggs

Further details–including suggestions for accommodations–can be found here.

I’m loving this review from RT. Thanks RT! Lakeshore Christmas final front2

LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS
by Susan Wiggs

RT Rating: ****½
Publisher: MIRA
Published: October 2009
Type: Contemporary Romance


Combining sentiment with sarcasm and sweetness with spice, Wiggs concocts a terrifically tasty holiday confection sure to be enjoyed by fans and new readers alike. A keeper.


Summary: Librarian Maureen Davenport has been involved with Avalon’s holiday pageant for most of her life. This year, she’s in charge — and she intends to make it memorable. But her co-director, ex-child star Eddie Haven, doesn’t share Maureen’s vision. His biggest claim to fame is a well-loved Christmas movie, which is ironic, since he hates the holiday and everything associated with it.

Once she gets to know Eddie, Maureen swears she’ll change that, but he’s a tough sell. Against the odds, the two wind up together … but it’s certain to end in disaster, because the one thing Maureen and Eddie have in common is terrible luck when it comes to matters of the heart. Unless a Christmas miracle happens, that is! (MIRA, Oct., 384 pp., $21.95) MILD

—Catherine Witmer

neverending story

neverending story

From the Deborah Bouziden interview: How is writing a series different from writing a single title? Which do you prefer and why?

SW: I love both, and continue to do both. The actual everyday work of writing the books is not so different. I live deeply inside the story, whether or not it’s part of a series. However, with the series books, I’m very aware that every character is fair game. A walk-on in one book might become the protagonist in another. In writing the Lakeshore Chronicles books–an open-ended series about a small town in the Catskills–I never planned to write a book about Daisy, the troubled teen. But she has inspired a record amount of reader mail, and she is so multilayered, that she’ll get her book one day.

What do readers prefer? Books in a series, or single titles?

beaming with pride!

Snowfall at Willow Lake is listed as one of Amazon’s “Best of 2008” editor’s picks! I’m so proud and excited. The full list is here. Enjoy!

photo by Hall Anderson

photo by Hall Anderson

Now this is what you want every author appearance to be. Avid readers, good-hearted fun, friends old and new. Thanks to Charlotte Glover of First City Library, to Parnassus Books, to Hall Anderson, photographer, and Leila Kheiry, staff writer, of the Ketchikan Daily News. A historic room at the New York Hotel, a walk along Creek Street, and all was golden. Best lagniappe of the trip–the lovely and talented Stef Ann Holm just happened to be there doing research for a book. I’ve known Stef Ann from 1980-something and I just love her and her books. Her new one, All that Matters, will be out any day and I cannot wait!

-(

forbidden by the TSA 😦

Travel tip: Don’t even THINK about bringing an ulu chopper in your carry-on bag. Nor can you have a little snow globe with flecks of gold in it. And anyone who knows me knows I never bring more than one small carry-on bag. I hope the TSA is enjoying my souvenirs. 😦

Things that made it back in my carry-on luggage: a “spawn till you die” t-shirt, a pair of hand-made earrings, several books on Alaskiana and lots of great memories. I wasn’t tempted by the reindeer hotdogs, trust me on this.

We like the sign. The meat...notsomuch.

We like the sign. The meat...notsomuch.

New York Hotel in Ketchikan

New York Hotel in Ketchikan

what’s on my mind right now:

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