During my rookie year, some bright professional bulb convinced me to have bookmarks for my first release professionally printed. I was told all the real authors had them done that way, and after an unpleasant experience with my first, homemade version, I caved in and placed an order with a printer.
A tiny error messed up the first run, which the printer gave me for free, and which doubled my order. 800 + 800 = 1,600 bookmarks. At the time I didn't think that was a lot. After all, I was going to sell a million copies of my first novel. People were going to stand in line for these babies. They'd be great self-promo. Why, I probably wouldn't have enough to go around.
Go ahead. Laugh. If you've got one of my bookmarks, I know where you live.
For the first year, I gave away the little darlings whenever I could: at my signings, my writer organization meetings, conferences, libraries, bookstores, schools, and anywhere else I could drop a small pile. Second year, I convinced my writer friends to take some with them to their signings, conferences, meetings and so on. Barely made a dent in my supply; I swear the damn things were breeding. Eventually I shoved the boxes of bookmarks in a closet and tried to forget about them.
One good thing came out of it: I went back to making my own. Hell with being a real author.
After I started PBW, I found the boxes again and began sending them to giveaway winners. I tried to redeem myself by writing something original and vaguely clever on the back, but really. I have been shamelessly using you guys. All I know is if it weren't for you, it might have taken me another eight years to get rid of 1,599 bookmarks. That's right. I am down to #1,600, the very last of the bookmarks. When I give this one away, I will be free, free, free!
We must celebrate my emancipation, so in comments to this post, write something suitable to grace your first or next bookmark (or, if you plan to be smarter than PBW and skip that joy, just throw your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Wednesday, March 7, 2007. I will draw one name at random from everyone who participates and send you a signed ARC of Night Lost, or a signed copy of any of my published books currently in print (in other words, your choice.) The winner will also become the proud owner of this bookmark, signed and bearing my personal ceritification that it is, indeed, the last of its kind. Giveaway open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something at PBW and/or been nailed by a bookmark in the past.