“The shelf life of the average trade book is somewhere between milk and yogurt.”–Calvin Trillin
Even when I don’t love what he’s saying–as here–I love how New-Yorker writer Calvin Trillin says it.
Authors love the idea that our books will live forever. Copies will reside in the Library of Congress and in libraries and bookstores throughout the land. Royalty checks will appear regularly in the mailbox. Unfortunately that idea is just that, an idea.
The T.F. Letters was first published in 1998. The kernel of the idea came to me a few years earlier when my daughters were small. Jessamyn lost a tooth while we were on vacation:
“How will the Tooth Fairy know where I am?”
“The Tooth Fairy always knows,” I said.
With that I began noodling a short children’s novel about a girl who writes letters to the Tooth Fairy, or “Ferry”, as Alexis calls her. And of course the T.F. writes back, leaving fancy letters that help Alexis through a hard time.
Writing the book was great fun and I was happy. Readers were too. And the publisher. And audiences of the many schools where I spoke. This was at the height of Harry Potter mania and anything with even a hint of fantasy benefited by association. After the hardcover we went through several paperback versions. Puffin and then Scholastic. Scholastic book fairs. Reprintings.
And eventually it stopped.
I got the rights back. And there it sat. Until now.
Through Internet magic, and some help from Ariel, The T.F. Letters is now available on Kindle. Yowza. If you are Amazon Prime you can even borrow it for free. Read a sample. Tell your friends.
Read it aloud to your favorite second grader.
Before posting the Calvin Trillin quote I looked it up. Thought I had the quote memorized, but the version I had in my head was…”the average life of a book is between yogurt and butter.”
His…”between milk and yogurt.”
I like mine better.