William Shakespeare’s Star Wars came out July 2nd, one week before my birthday, and what a week it was—lots of fun press, a great book release at Powell’s and a great party afterward (featuring the world’s best cake courtesy of the world’s best spouse), watching the online buzz grow, and so on.
I thought I’d hit the high Monday the 8th, when Google Trends Manager Kevin Allocca appeared on the Today show and named my little book as the reason why Google had seen an upturn in searches for “Star Wars” over the weekend. But then, later that day, my editor Jason Rekulak from Quirk Books called me and told me there was a decent chance I would end up on the New York Times bestseller list.
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is my first book. (I like saying that, because it implies there will be others.) I’ve learned all kinds of things about the publishing world in the last year, but in these last weeks before publication a few lessons have come clearly to the forefront. Here’s what this first-time author has learned:
William Shakespeare was born today in 1564... maybe. Here's the truth: we know he died on April 23, 1616 and we know he was baptized on April 26, 1564. Those facts are enough for most of Shakespeare's biographers, who have decided that his birth and death on the same day of the year is, as Han Solo once said of Luke's being born and dying (or about to die) on Tatooine, "convenient." So April 23rd is the day that bookends Shakespeare's life; he died on (or near) his 52nd birthday.
My love affair with William Shakespeare began in 1991. My brother was a senior in high school, reading Hamlet in his English class. I was a precocious eighth grader eager to emulate my brother, who was four years older but infinitely cooler than I was. On a trip to the Oregon coast, my family stopped at our favorite book store (a glorified flea market), where I bought my first volume of Shakespeare: a worn red copy of Hamlet that looked really, really old. It is from a Scottish publisher -- Blackie & Son, Ltd. in Glasgow -- with no copyright date.