In January 2000 my first published novel, StarDoc, was released. Naturally people made a lot of predictions about the book; none of them were particularly optimistic. I was informed upfront that StarDoc would never make a bestseller list, or turn a profit, or stay in print; I would be phenomenally fortunate if I earned back half my advance. I don't think I've ever had my hopes so repeatedly or thoroughly stomped by others as I did that last six months before the book hit the shelves. It was so dreadful that by the time the release date came I wanted to call the whole thing off.
Understandably I was confused when StarDoc made runner-up (#11) on the Locus bestseller list. This was not supposed to be happening, I'd been told, by very experienced people. So I thought it was a fluke until the sequel, Beyond Varallan, did a little better.
Today StarDoc turns ten years old, and despite all the predictions of failure and doom, is still in print and is still selling (the last new copy I saw for sale was a tenth printing.) Whatever other people think of it, this novel is the only book I display like a trophy, in a little case on my wall. It reminds me of what's important, and what isn't. More than anything, this one novel is an ongoing tribute to my StarDoc readership, most of whom have been with me since the beginning. You guys are the reason this book and the series is still around; for that I am astounded and deeply grateful.
In keeping with the anniversary, I have ten copies of StarDoc to give away today. If you'd like a chance to win one, in comments to this post tell me about a memory you have of reading StarDoc, or about an author you've been reading for ten years or more (or if you can't think of anyone, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Friday, January 8, 2010. I'll draw ten names at random from everyone who participates and send the winners a signed copy of StarDoc with a tenth anniversary notation. This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.