Friday, September 28, 2007

It’s a phenomenon!

I don’t know what else to say. Tuesday my brother and I read to a packed house at B&N Union Square, in New York. And of course New York's the center of the world, as booksellers see it.

And out there in cyberspace, my Amazon rank keeps climbing. Slowly but surely, Look Me in the Eye is rising on the charts. First it was in the top 1,000. Then the top 100. Now, it's climbing the top 50. It's like the Energizer Bunny . . . it keeps going. And going. And going. And going.

The next night, I was on my own, and I went to RJ Julia in Madison, CT. “They get all the big stars there,” my brother told me. And indeed, when I arrived, I saw their photos, framed on the wall.

I wondered what would happen. Would anyone show up? I'm no star.

By seven o’clock, the place was full and the books were gone. The crowd had been fascinated, and engaged. They asked questions until the store staff said we had to stop. They had to close at nine. If they hadn’t stopped, I might well have been there till morning.

When the people came up to me in the book signing line, I said, “Thanks for coming tonight.” And many of them replied, “Thanks for coming here. Your story is very inspiring. Thanks for telling it.” I didn’t know what to say.

The next day, Thursday, I read at the Booksmith in Brookline, outside Boston. I wondered . . . would the magic happen again? And it did. As reading time approached, the room filled up, then the aisle, then the stairs. Then it overflowed.

Once again, the people seemed captivated; fascinated. And once again, I thanked them, and they thanked me. One after the other, they said, “Your story is so inspiring and hopeful . . .”

And once again, the books all vanished. I'd promised to buy some books to donate to the Asperger Association event the next day, but there weren't enough left. "We have more on order," they told me.

Where’s it all coming from? I’ve never written a book before. Outside of my friends on the blog, I don’t have an audience or a following. Is the pent up need to know how we think that great? And who’s the “we”? Is it Aspergians? Or is it just people in general?

It's clear that I’ve touched something deep in people, something I had no idea of when I wrote Look Me in the Eye. For years, I’ve wanted to do something to benefit society. I never expected it to arrive like this, out of the blue.

“I’m going to give your book to my son.”

“I’m going to give it to my husband.”

“I’m an Aspergian like you.”

“It’s for my high school class.”

Clearly, for all these people, it’s more than entertainment. It’s more than just a story.

But you know, Look Me in the Eye is also a sad, funny, and just plain entertaining book. Where are the readers who just want that? Where are the readers who want a nice book for a cool fall evening? I guess the people who NEED the book have elbowed them out of the way. For now at least.

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the Asperger’s Association event in Boston, and next week, I head for Wisconsin.

If you’re around on Sunday, I’ll be on Weekend Today. And I’ll be on Diane Rehm next Tuesday, on NPR.

And the magic continues . . . . I don’t know what else to say. The responses from all of you just leave me speechless.

24 comments:

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Beautiful, John, just beautiful. Like you.

The Muse said...

It's called KARMA, John. What goes around, comes around. I know because you are a logical thinker and a man of science that you have doubted that God has been watching over you all this time. But it is a basic spiritual principle that you reap what you sow. Everything that is happening right now is the universe paying you back gratitude. You deserve this acclaim. You are a kind and gentle soul and your book speaks from the heart. People recognize your inner beauty and altruistic spirit.

This is only the beginning of great things for you...

Kim Stagliano said...

Woof.

kristen said...

John, this is a wonderful story! I am so glad to have found you and found your blog in time to enjoy the journey right along with you.

I have a friend who works at RJ Julia and because I missed the event in NY, but still was hoping for a signed book, she suggested I call the store and place a phone order. I was even able to ask for the book to be "dedicated" to my son (he's only six, but I think someday, your book will mean something to him...)Now that's a great service!

Enjoy!

Trish Ryan said...

Your reading in Boston was great last night. So encouraging. And your words to the Aspergians in the signing line were so heartfelt--it was a gorgeous thing to witness and I know you brought hope to many in that crowd.

Not bad for an evening's work :)

Polly Kahl said...

What Kim said. And most deservedly so.

MirWilk said...

I had the pleasure of attending the R.J. Julia event on Wed. 9/27/07 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I could have listened to you for hours. You are a very captivating story teller. I look forward to reading the book I bought for 16 y.o. son (dx'd at age 15 y.o.; a relief for me to understand him and why he acts the way he does and to realize I am not a "bad mother" after all). I have already realized the special positives of his AS but you have given me so much more hope for his future. I just hope I can get him to realize the positives. He's still uncomfortable with the DX and doesn't want to talk about it with me so I try not to push the issue. Of course it's not easy talking about much w/ him anyway given his age. Oh, the joys of living w/ a teenaged Aspergian.
Sorry for rambling on. I just want to thank you again for writing your book, sharing your life stories, and thank you for coming to CT to speak to us all so eloquently. I believe you are going to positively touch the lives of so many more people in this world than you ever could have imagined.

Ello said...

Dear John,

I ordered my book purely for entertainment. And this even before I saw the great review you got over at Entertainment Weekly which starred you as an EW pick! I am looking forward to reading my book when I get it!

Congratulations on your book!

Ell

Joe P. said...

Hi John,
Thank you for spreading you message of hope. As my son Tony and I sat in Booksmith listening to you share. I would look over at Tony who has been diagnosed with asperger's for several years now, sit and laugh at your stories. He does not always identfy with others as you know yourself. I also identified with you stories about coping with corporate culture.
Tony needed a book to read at the special school he attends and now he has voice to associate with the book it will make it all that more real to him. Thanks again for sharing you stories and your message of hope.

Amonly said...

Glad I could come. You and your brother did great and it was great to meet some more of your friends and work associates.

Amonly said...

Glad I could come. You and your brother did great and it was great to meet some more of your friends and work associates.

The Anti-Wife said...

I want to read a sad, funny, and just plain entertaining book. I look forward to reading it when it arrives.

Woof!

Tena said...

John, I hate to tell you "I told you so" but, well...

Stardom becomes you.

Chumplet said...

I'll take it just for the entertainment, don't you worry about that. I may have an autistic nephew, but my reason for buying the book is because I think it will be as entertaining as you are. Plus, we must support our fellow writers, yes?

Drama Mama said...

John, I missed you by a day. But I did go to the B and N in Union Square to visit your shrine.

It was ravaged by hungry masses by the time I'd gotten there. There was one copy left. I picked it up and showed it to My Gay, and yelled at him to put down that Goddamn Dean Koontz book he was looking at. I was talking to him about the book when a woman overheard us in the store. "My son has Aspergers!" she said dreamily. "Nice," I said as I slipped the tome into her hand. "Then you'll be needing this." She nearly floated to the cash register. My Gay looked at me. "That was MY copy," he growled. I told him that he could read mine on the mine. Clearly, she needed it.

I love that you are in demand. I love that "Our Peeps" (as Miss M likes to say) have this book. I'm so glad we have YOU.

John Elder Robison said...

It's a shame you missed me, and I'm sorry you were one step too late in line at Union Square. But all things considered I'd rather read that my book display was empty because it sold out than full because no one bought any

woof!

Michelle O'Neil said...

I am beaming with pride for a guy I don't know, who, is paving the way for people like my little girl.

Thank you John!

I got the book in the mail and I am half way through. It is so good!!!

Piglet said...

people respond to authenticity john, and you are all about authentic. that is what people are drawn to, the fact that you are sincere and real. funny how simple that is isn't? if everyone could just take the hint...

bravo.

Amber said...

Good for you! This makes me happy. This book has meant a lot to a dear friend of mine lately.

:)

John Elder Robison said...

It certainly is a good feeling, seeing how my book touches people I've never even seen.

LosingIt said...

Dear John,
I loved when Augusten wrote about you in his memoirs, so when I saw that you had written your own book, I pre-ordered it right away!. I just finished reading it... I don't even know where to begin, but it was touching and sweet and funny and eye-opening. You have such a positive message and this really puts a face on something that's not well-known and often misconstrued. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Best of luck,
Rebecca

Joe P. said...

Hi John,
I wanted to share this with you. My son Tony, who you signed a book for last Thursday night. Told his mother this evening how happy he was to be there to hear your story. He has now started reading your book at school and he shared with his mother how much you and him think alike, he is a fellow aspergian. Matter of fact that is what you wrote in his book. I just thought I would post this little note. Your message of hope has been well received. You have reached Tony where no one else could have. Thanks for sharing.
Joe P.

Russ said...

Hello John: Just finished the book and thought it was excellent! I'm sure it took a lot of courage and work to write and I truly thank you for your effort.

My 17 year-old son was diagnosed with Asperger's a year or so ago. He's had a lot of trouble with friends, school, his brother (and us) and life in general for most of his years. That changed the day of his diagnosis. It's just like the chapter when you talk about your friend passing on a book - and a light goes on!

We started reading about Apserger's, what it was, how to better handle things, got him one-on-one help at school, and the change is amazing. He's doing well in school, is (and always has been) a gifted artist and is a joy to be around. He's also grooving with a lot of good friends (finally!).

Again, thanks for a well-written and honest re-telling of your amazing story. And finally, thanks for adding to the material on Asperger's that will help countless people!!

Wendy said...

I love this book not only because I had such a difficult childhood due to loneliness because I was different and made friends easier with grown ups than kids my own age, but also because my 6 yr old son Hunter has Asperger's. He is a brilliant child, as John Elder Robison was, and has so much to give to others.