Friday, October 5, 2007

It’s official – Look Me in the Eye debuts as a New York Times Bestseller!

I just got word that Look Me in the Eye made the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list immediately upon going on sale September 25th. It will be #13 on the October 16 list, which tracks sales for books in the September 25 week.

Woof!

To my great amazement, the book has already been reprinted five times, and there are one hundred thousand copies in print. My book has been reprinted every few days for the past couple of weeks to keep up with the orders. Who would ever have guessed that there’d be such a huge demand for a story like this?

The bestseller list is dominated my huge bestselling authors, presidents, and major public figures. And yet, there I am, right in the midst of them. I can understand why millions of readers want to know what President Clinton or Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan have to say. Deplorable as it may be to some, many want to know "How OJ Did It." And I know there are huge crowds awaiting the next Grisham or Sparks. But why me? A guy no one has heard of? The remarkable demand for my book tells me that the country’s interest in Asperger’s and the way all people think and feel is very, very strong.

It’s the same response I’m seeing at all my readings and appearances. I hear it from booksellers, too, when I stop by to sign copies of my book.

I marvel at the undercurrent of interest in the working of the mind our society. People sometimes say, “it’s just a good, funny book!” While I am thrilled to hear that readers think my book is “good” or “well written” or “funny,” I do not think it would have been an Instant Bestseller if my topic had been Wall Street, the trucking industry, or real estate riches. Asperger’s and “growing up different” are the key.

My book is all about “fitting in.” And I guess deep down, that’s what all of us want. It doesn’t matter if someone have Asperger’s or not – we all want people to like us, and we want to find our place in the world. And that’s really the essence of my story.

At every reading, someone asks what I wanted to accomplish by writing Look Me in the Eye. And I tell them the same thing . . . I wanted to provide hope and inspiration for young people struggling to find their way. I wanted to show people what it’s like to be “different.” I want moms and teachers to look at that kid by himself in the corner a little bit differently, the next time they see him.

Thanks so much to all of you, here at the blog and in real life, who've helped to make this a success. And my brother deserves a special mention . . . it was his book, Running With Scissors - and the public's response to his story - that gave me courage to write my own. I would never have written a book without his encouragement. I'm far too shy.

33 comments:

Paula's Poetry said...

Congratulations, John.
Although it seems sureal to you, it is well deserved.



Paula

kristen said...

This mother of a "different" son says thank you and bless you, John, for having the courage to tell this story.

Polly Kahl said...

The NYT bestseller list...I told you this would happen. Damn, shoulda put money on it. Enjoy every sweet minute of it, Mr. Oddsbreaker.

Holly Kennedy said...

This is great news, John.
I've been waiting for it. Expecting it, even. Yesterday, I couldn't help myself. I peeked at the NYT list to see if it was there yet, that's how sure I felt that it would soon be there.

It couldn't have happened to someone more well deserved.

Woof from Canada!

MirWilk said...

I, too, send congratulations to you on your book making the best seller list. I must say I am not surprised. While I haven't fully completed it yet, I didn't want to put it down once I started it. I think anyone would enjoy this, whether they are on the spectrum or have someone on the spectrum in their lives. I cannot wait for my 16 y.o. Aspergian to read it! I think it will really help him a lot. Also I know he'll really enjoy your stories. Wow! You are a master storyteller and have had quite some life experiences, haven't you? Thanks again for sharing and thanks to your brother for writing his book. May "LMITE" make it up to #1 on the list.

Miriam

Daly said...

yes, congrats on a well deserved honor! I'm recommending this book to everyone I talk too lately. For the past 2 days I read it every chance I got. Over dinner I read parts of it out loud to my son and husband who especially got a chuckle over the magnesium fire story.

There is now a waiting list of my homeschool- mom friends who want to borrow the book from me now.

Well, sorry about that actually! I guess it would be better for your wallet if each went out and purchased her own copy!

Casdok said...

Congratulations from me to!

Trish Ryan said...

Whooo Hoo! Congratulations. This is really exciting, and I know Unit #2 and your brother must both be incredibly proud :)

You bring hope to lots of people, and that rocks!

ORION said...

Yeah john!!!!!!
Way to go!
I am not surprised though really and truly.
It is a story who's time has come.
double WOOF!

Kim Stagliano said...

Oh John! Congratulations a thousand times over. I am thrilled for you. My Gianna would say to you, "Great job!" and she'd give you two thumbs up.

WOOF!

Jessica said...

What you said:
"My book is all about “fitting in.” And I guess deep down, that’s what all of us want. It doesn’t matter if someone have Asperger’s or not – we all want people to like us, and we want to find our place in the world. And that’s really the essence of my story."...is so true.

I don't know why the subject of Asperger's and autism spectrums, etc. have taken hold of our imaginations with such force. Are there more kids born like this then before? Why are we noticing this now?

Jessica

The Anti-Wife said...

Congratulations, John!

WOOF! WOOF!

The Writers' Group said...

John, I'm not the least bit surpirsed. Congratulations on all of your hard won success. Be prepared for more.

Best,
Amy MacKinnon

amysue said...

Damn! I lost the pool! I said it would debut at 15!! In any event, Happy NYTBSLA Day! In fact, from now on I'm not gonna refer to you as my friend John, it'll be my NYTBSA friend, John. You deserve it, the book speaks to so many people, but remember first and foremost you wrote it and if you didn't have the talent it wouldn't be doing so well!f

M. G. Tarquini said...

My book is all about “fitting in.” And I guess deep down, that’s what all of us want.

Bows humbly in your direction.

Congratulations, John.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Wooo-hooo! Woofity-woof-woof!


Why you? Why now?

1 in 150 kids these days. 1 in 84 boys. Your story will make them so much more understood in society.

Thank you!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Brilliant news!! I'm so excited for you! WOOF WOOF WOOF!

momof3feistykids said...

Congratulations! I think the issue of Asperger's and other people who are a little "off the normal curve" is an issue that has received mounting interest in the past 5-10 years. To have a person with your immense writing ability and gift for storytelling to come forward at this time - well, it's perfect!

I'm a self-diagnosed Aspergian person with an Aspergian daughter. I love the fact that your voice is being heard by so many.

thismom.com said...

The New York Times Best Sellers List! Woof, INDEED!!! That's fantastic news, John! You are already my hero and when Fluffy gets old enough to read your book, you will surely be his, too.

Chumplet said...

Holy Guacamole, that's fantastic! You deserve every bit of good fortune, John. I just knew this would happen, but so soon?!

Agent M said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy for you! And so so grateful to you too.

The Muse said...

"Hope and inspiration". That's what people are longing for these days. It's no surprise that LMITE is an "Instant New York Times Best Seller". All of your blog friends knew it all along... Your story is sharing your irrepressible spirit with thousands and thousands of people worldwide. Your light of hope is shining for the world to see. Whether you know it or not, you ARE a dreamer. Your story, LMITE, of "growing up different" is similar to that classic children's tale of "The Ugly Duckling" -who felt rejected and like a misfit. He too, didn't know that he was really a swan...

John Elder Robison said...

The responses from all of you reaffirm my suspicion that the kind of book you write determines the kind of responses you'll get.

I wrote a book that's basically PG rated and sweet, and all of you write responses that are are PG rated and sweet.

I don't know what I'd do if my book had come out X rated and rough. Run and hide, I guess.

Woof.

Lili Marlene said...

"It doesn’t matter if someone have Asperger’s or not – we all want people to like us, and we want to find our place in the world."

Our (my misanthrope husband and I) ideal place in the world is a remote location on lots of acreage, with all the technology required for self-sufficiency. We couldn't care a tinker's cuss what the world thinks of us.

Why is being popular such a great thing? The Spice Girls were popular. Robbie Williams is popular. Popular is trashy and over-rated. I'd rather be very special to one or a few very special people, than have lots of friends and acquaintances.

I hope to read your book soon.

John Elder Robison said...

Lille, it's fine with me if you and your husband want to live alone in the wilderness. Sort of lone wolves, as they say.

But I believe people are pack animals, like wolves, and the majority prefer to "be in a pack."

My own experience being teased etc suggests that most who "want to be alone" feel that way as a result of shoddy treatment earlier in life.

What do you think?

Subservient No More said...

First of all, Congratulations. I can't wait to read your book.

Secondly, I agree with you that many people want to be alone because they were treated badly early in life, which caused them to be apprehensive and wary of others, which is so sad. I see many people whose entire perception of life has been formed by other children who were mean to them when they were little. I wish kids were nicer to one another.

kevathens said...

Yeah, congrats, John.

The book gave me a lot of insight. And yeah I don't get drugs or alcohol either. "Like, I'm supposed to feel something, right?"

Lili Marlene said...

"My own experience being teased etc suggests that most who "want to be alone" feel that way as a result of shoddy treatment earlier in life.

What do you think?"

Gosh, I doubt that you'll have time to read or respond to this.

I wasn't horrificlly bullied as a child, like many kids with AS. I'm definitely not as autistic as other undiagnosed autists that I know IRL. Of course there was a consistent pattern of mild bullying and a lot of exclusion, but I'm sure that is not specific to a child with AS. Fat kids and kids who don't fit gender stereotypes have a hard time too, I'm sure.

As a child I was a marginally interested part of my parents' busy social lives, and I have even socialized with extroverts. I just couldn't see what was so great about being a part of a group. I've gone to many a drunken party with my age "peers" and wondered where the fun was. The only time that I've felt that feeling that I'm part of a "pack" were the rare occasions when I've been in a group made up of people who are all somewhere on the spectrum.

Maybe the difference between me and a neurotypical person could be that I just don't have a huge need for company. This might be because extroverted, sociable people have brains that crave stimulation from "outside", while my brain does not, as it has thoughts going on inside it. Another possible explanation that would fit nicely with "evolutionary psychology" theory would be that I simply lack some "mental module" that somehow makes people desire to interact socially with other people, or somehow rewards social interaction behaviours with pleasureable sensations or emotions.

I think it could also be true that I have never recognized neurotypical people as my peers, because they aren't my peers, and when a desire to be with one's peers is never satisfied in childhood I guess it withers away or goes dormant or something. If you ever get a chance to read about the social and emotional needs of intellectually gifted kids, you will see that it's the same for them. Put them amongst a group of "normal" kids of the same age, and that isn't giving the gifted child a peer group, as their genuine peer group can only be a group of kids of about the same IQ.

I suspect that it may be true that the most disturbed people on the autistic spectrum are those who have a desire to fit in and interact socially with neurotypical people, but are too disabled or too neurologically different to genuinely achieve this. The most pathetic autist is the autist who can't or wont understand that they are different.

John Elder Robison said...

Lille, thanks for your thoughtful note. If I understand you, it sounds like you feel:

1) You have your own thoughts that keep you going
2) Many people just are not interesting to you
3) Often, when you find a group interesting many of its members are "on the spectrum."

I guess I'd agree with all that for myself, too.

However, it has been my great good fortune to have met and continue to meet quite a few interesting people. That's a direct result of putting myself in a line of work where I'll contact a wide range of folks.

If I had not started my car business I suspect I'd be pretty much under my rock, alone, today.

Lili Marlene said...

Mr Robison, you must be a busy man at the moment!

I think you are creating a false dichotomy. One doesn't have to choose between being alone "under a rock" or being a part of a busy social life (associated with work or purely social). I think most people find that something in between these extremes is the most suitable. What I prefer is quality over quantity. Sadly, I find that one can't have both quality AND quantity with regard to relationships and friendships, as there appears to be a very limited supply of "quality" people, when you get to know about the history of people.

I don't know if you've read any other Aspergians explaining that they prefer one-to-one social situations over group situations. It's the same with me, and I don't think it's because of sensory overload, it's more to do with monotropic psychology.

John Elder Robison said...

Lilli, you may have gotten the impression that I somehow prefer group interactions. That's not so. I too am more comfortable one on one. But I can handle being in a group today, where I'd have flipped out and hid when I was 20.

I never meant to suggest it's "alone or busy" as you say. I agree that most find a happy medium.

Have you had a chance to read my book yet, to see what you make of the ideas in it?

Lili Marlene said...

A while ago I recommended that my local public library network get a copy of your book when it becomes available, which they have done, and I expect they'll have a copy for me to read very soon. I'm looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about!

Donna said...

I just read your book and was very moved by your quest for discovery and self-acceptance. From now on, whenever I see a child or adult who seems "different", I will remember your book and will keep in mind that those who march to a different drummer deserve their music to be heard too!