The April Indie Next List features two #1 picks and they both have the same title; Life After Life. The one by Jill McCorkle will be published by Algonquin on March 26th (Thorndike large print). The one by Kate Atkinson will be published by Hachette/Little, Brown on April 2, six days later (Hachette Audio).
Making it an even odder coincidence, this is the first #1 tie in the history of the Indie Next List. Each book received the same number of nominations, reports Mark Nichols, Development Officer for the American Booksellers Association, adding, “My mandate as editor of the Indie Next LIst is to honor the wishes of the booksellers, so there was no recourse other than to have two # 1 picks.”
The natural question is whether there may have been some mistaken nominations. Nichols says he took extra precautions to make certain that booksellers knew exactly which book that they were supporting, and it was clear there had been no misidentifications.
The title works well for each book, even though they are quite different. McCorkle’s is set in the present day and features residents of a retirement community. Atkinson’s is set between the World Wars and features a woman who lives her life over and over.
It’s not unusual for two books to share the same title (and there’s at least one other Life After Life, a book about out-of-body experiences published in 2001 by HarperCollins). However, both publishers ruefully acknowledge that it’s not ideal to have to market two books with the same title, but say that by the time they realized the overlap, plans were already in motion and it was too late to make a change.
On the other hand, this may not be a liability; it’s beginning to appear that it may actually bring more attention to each book.