So, how’s it going?
I’ve been asked this question more than any other over the three-plus weeks since my novel, The Last Good Day launched. The question has come in a variety of forms including the general “how’s it actually going?” to the more forward “how’s it selling?”
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to be sure. We took a week off and went to visit New Orleans with the wife while our kids were enjoying their annual comic book camp in New Jersey. It was a very good trip. New Orleans is a very interesting city, though I learned that summer is not generally the best time to visit. It was beyond hot. I think our next trip needs to be somewhere that is 60-70 degrees in June. Please give me suggestions in the comments section below. Seriously, I need them.
To answer the second question, the book is doing well. It’s a first novel and it’s #1 in a series that no one knows about yet, so my expectations are not immense. As I wrote recently, I’m playing a long game here with my writing. I didn’t start this business or this process in order to publish one book. I’m all about the tortoise: slow and steady. If I can stay on target, I’m hoping to have book #2 (tentatively called The Next Good Day) ready in December. That story takes place over winter break so I’d like to have it available then, just like The Last Good Day is a summertime story, and it’s out now.
My son keeps asking me if I’ve made back the money that I invested in creating the book. I’ll share with you the answer I gave him which is “not yet.” That was always a long-term goal. A few more months like June and that will take care of itself but the goal here was never about money. It was about sharing my work and developing a platform and market for the books I’ve yet to write. I think we are on target there and a lot of that is due to the support I’ve received from friends and family, obviously, but also to support I’ve received from a variety of communities: the online writers of the world have been very helpful.
Perhaps most exciting is that my undergraduate alma mater, The College of Wooster, is going to be featuring all of my books in a new alumni section of the bookstore on campus. I have to tell you that the moment I see a picture of my books on sale in the Florence O. Wilson Bookstore in Lowry Center, a dream will have come true.
I’m not kidding. One of my first goals as a young writer while at Wooster was to someday create something that would earn shelf space at the Flo. Wooster is an amazing place and was instrumental in my life, not just for what I learned there. Meeting my wife and several of my best friends there was a tremendous bonus to the amazing education I received, especially as a writer. The day I can see my books sharing shelf space with other alumni and faculty and just the everyday books of a great college education is one I am truly looking forward to with all my heart. I’m really, really excited about that. I honestly wish my mom was here to see that. Beyond any other accolade the book may or may not earn, I know that Mom would have really liked my book being for sale in Wooster.
So, how’s it going? I think it’s going pretty darned well! I’m still learning a lot about marketing and social media and how to continue to develop my platform and there are areas of this I’m struggling with. In the end, it’s going well but if you or someone you love is really good at online marketing please be in touch. I have a lot to learn and there are things I could be doing better. Playing the long game makes sense to me now. I’m grateful that I have characters who are continuing to boss me around as I tell their story.
So-my first book signing? Well, at work today, I had two friends bring in their copies of The Last Good Day for me to sign. I am so grateful for their support. These were the first copies of the novel that I’d been asked to sign. I was a little nervous to be honest. I’ve been collecting signed books from authors I admire for years! I’ve been the guy on the line or walking up after an event more times than I could count. It’s always fun and someday I should tell the stories of some of my more entertaining signed books stories, but I digress.
I’ve been the guy asking for the author’s signature so many times--when it was my turn to sign my own book, after a moment of awkwardness, I realized what every author who signs a book for anyone is saying when they sign that book. It was so simple once I took a breath and looked at the page and took out my pen. I understood it all in that moment and it was a bit of a sea change for me.
I wrote a note to my friends and included a few shared jokes we have but all of the words I wrote are easily boiled down to one simple sentiment:
“Oh my God, THANK YOU!”
That’s what I now believe every single signature on every single book in all of time in perpetuity really means, forever and ever and I don’t think it’s just me. I think James Patterson, John Green, Steven King, Kaui Hart Hemmings, John Scalzi, Harper Lee (I have a signed book from her!) all of them—Every writer ever who’s signed a book is thinking that same thing as they sign their name. Whether they personalize it or it’s just a signature, they’re all thinking it! “OH MY GOD! THANK YOU!”
And I felt a real, almost tangible sense of gratitude as I handed them back and watched as they flipped through to see what I’d written. It was like the coolest kid at school wanted you to sign their yearbook and then couldn’t wait to read what you’d written to them.
Even better is that all this led to wild discussion of the book around the bar and I passed out several cards and two guests ordered the book while still sitting there. Not a bad shift, to be sure.
To those of you who’ve supported the book I’ll say this: whether I ever get to sign your copy or not: OH MY GOD, THANK YOU!
I get it now. It’s a level of gratitude I didn’t know I was capable of but I’m really very grateful. So yeah, it’s going well. Thanks so much for your support and stay tuned.
I’m just getting started