What did you not expect to happen when you first published TFiOS 3 years ago today?

Well, for context:

I signed about 155,000 copies to try to ensure that the entire first printing would be signed. 

But only about 68,000 of those 155,000 signed books were actually sold before January 10, 2012, and I knew from experience (painful, painful experience!) that books usually do not sell through their first print run.

What usually happens is that bookstores can’t sell all that they order and end up returning a lot of copies. Those returned books usually get “pulped,” which means like recycled or incinerated but in any event destroyed.

So when I was signing those 155,000 books, I would think, “Okay, most of these are going not to people who’ve preordered the book but to bookstores, and a lot of those copies will probably end up unsold and will eventually be pulped.”

So the whole three months I was signing all those pages, I was mostly hoping that the book would sell well enough that only a smallish percentage of my signatures would end up getting destroyed. 

It never crossed my mind that there would be a second printing of the book. I mean, 155,000 copies was more copies than all my books combined x 2 had sold in hardcover. 

So what did I not expect? I did not expect that three years later, there would be a movie or an SNL parody or a sold-out celebratory show at Carnegie Hall with my favorite band. I did not expect that the book would sell through its first printing, let alone that it would find millions of readers around the world. 


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