In the movie, ‘The Red Violin,’ the story follows the destiny of a particular violin, as it moved from person to persons down the centuries. It was made in 1681 by an Italian Cremonese master violin maker, Nicolo Bussotti in, for his forthcoming child. His wife died during the birth, and we witness his terrible grief. It is palpable. He pours his grief into finishing the instrument but uses some special pigments in the varnish that gave the violin it’s coloring. Legend has it that it was her blood.
Over the centuries, it went through many hands, some wicked others not so. It turned up in many countries and suffered many catastrophes along the way, including being buried for a while. But it always survived. It was meant to survive.
The only tracking of its destiny in the film was a series of tarot readings by Cesca, a servant woman, which foretold its future at every turn. This lent the violin even more mystery and intrigue. The film ends with the violin being bid for in an auction room in Canada. It attracted many buyers, so the interest in it was intense.
Not wishing to compare my first book, Radical Forgiveness, Making Room for the Miracle with the Red Violin, it nevertheless did appear to have a destiny of its own. It actually survived total destruction at one point, and confiscation on another. It was clear that Spirit wanted it to survive.
The book was born in October 1997. I mortgaged our house to pay for a print run of 2,500. That amount was necessary to get a reasonable price per copy. With help from a local bookseller in Atlanta, I got it into the distribution system, which in itself was extraordinary for a new book by an unknown author. It sold 5000 copies the first year. Again, very unusual for a self-published book.
Here’s where the story turns. Someone sent the book to an editor at William Morrow, a respected publisher in New York. Without even reading it, she offered me $50,000 for the rights. $25,000 on signing of the contract and the other $25,000 on publication. Of course, I said, “Yes.”
I had heard that publishing contracts are a minefield, so I bought a book Be Your Own Literary Agent. With that by my side, I went through the contract with a fine tooth comb and made all the corrections I needed to make according to that book. But here’s where Spirit intervened, I believe. I had enough foresight to add a clause to the end of the contract. It was, “I reserve the right to continue self-publishing the book to within 60 days of the ACTUAL publication date by the publisher.”
If I hadn’t added that clause, the book would have died and would still be on a shelf at Harper Collins today, gathering dust.
That’s because about a week after I signed the contract and received my first $25,000, Harper Collins (Rupert Murdoch owned), rode in and took over William Morrow, and had 50% of the staff gone within 48 hours.
They promptly put my book on the shelf because they already had a book on Forgiveness coming out, so they didn’t want mine. It would still be there, had I not inserted that clause.
So I continued self-publishing while they did nothing. The contract said they had to publish within 18 months, so when that time was up I negotiated to buy back the full rights. They wanted their $25K back, but I refused. After much haggling with the lawyers, I got the rights back. The book had survived, and I was $25,000 to the good.
The book then went, in large consignments, to a book distributor who specialized in this genre and undertook to get the book out there. Long story short, they went bankrupt. All the books they had in stock were impounded, and it looked like I would lose about 10,000 copies. There was a big fight between them and all the authors of books being held.
I stayed clear of the fighting and quietly negotiated with a lady behind the scenes who had enough pull with the powers that be to get my books released. I don’t know what happened to the other guys, but I was happy to have survived. Once again the book was saved. I would not have been able to take that loss and do another print run.
There have been a number of other hick-ups, twists and turns along the way, I won’t bore you with, but the book continues to survive and expand. To me, it proves the point that Spirit is always there for us, ready to pick up the pieces and guide our hands when the need arises.
Like the red violin, the book had a destiny to fulfill. It came through me but it was Spirit-led, and Spirit was not going to let Rupert Murdoch kill it. Spirit also led me to that lady who got the books released.
Had the book remained on the shelf at Harper Collins, it is hard to see how all that has come in its wake would have been born. We would be all the poorer for not having all the products and programs that have come from it. For example, the Forgiving Parents, Partners and More Program being featuring this week. If you decide to do it, bear in mind that this amazing tool has an interesting history behind it, and a future destiny that’s all spelled out in the cards. Who knows what that might be. Cesca perhaps?