It's showtime, folks

Look Me in the Eye doesn’t go on sale in stores till next week, but it’s an online bestseller now! How cool is that? Out of the five million books in the catalog, mine has climbed into the top 100! And you, the readers of my blog, have been here from the beginning.

I know a few of you blog readers have read advance copies of my book. As soon as you can do it, this is the time to start posting your reviews, on the online book sites and anywhere else. It’s show time, folks, so tell all your friends.

Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Show time starts at 7, next Tuesday, when my brother and I walk up to the microphones at Union Square in New York City. But tonight, I’ll give you a preview and ask your opinions . . .

At my first appearance, my brother and I will talk, bicker, snipe, and answer questions together. I’ll read from my book, and we’ll both sign copies of both of our books. My New York appearance is your chance if you want both of us to sign your books. And best of all - it’s free. It may be crowded, but if the crowd is like the folks on my blog, they’ll all be nice, and the place does have a cafeteria . . .

The next night, at R J Julia in Madison, I’ll be alone. But I won’t really be alone, because Kim Stagliano has organized an army of autism moms, and they’re planning to march on the event. Supposedly, some will bring food. And these moms are HIGHLY motivated, enthusiastic, specially selected examples of mom-hood. So who knows what they’ll do? Come early to find out.

The third night next week, at Brookline Booksmith, is co-sponsored by the Asperger Association of New England, and they will be there in force, since their convention starts just a few hours after my reading ends. I know that some of you can’t get enough of Aspergians, and that will be the place to find us. In quantity. Mister Spock would be right at home.

And if that’s not enough, I hear they’ll be talking up that reading in the Boston Globe, and who knows what kind of audience that will pull from the woodwork. . .

So each reading will be different. As will I. Knowing that some of you will come to several events, I have pledged to read different material at each event. So you will never become bored. And I am doing it just for you. Which begs the question . . . what will you do, by your third or fourth book signing, do to make yourself different for me?? Yes . . . I’ll bet you didn’t think of that. But just as you will be watching me . . . I will be watching YOU.

And now, for the question of the night . . . .

My book is full of STUFF. Some stuff is funny. Some is sad. Some is wild, and some is crazy. What STUFF would you like to hear about? Be specific. Be imaginative.

Would you like to hear me read from my book, and answer questions? That’s what they do at most readings. But is there more? Should I step away from the podium and tell some of my stories, as a standup routine? Or hide behind a podium and a book?

I have a few thoughts of my own . . . Most of my listeners (you) this time won’t have read my book, so they’ll (you’ll) be coming to the event to get a feel for what my book is like. For some of you, my reading is like an audition. If I impress you, you fork over the twenty bucks. If I don’t, you toss the egg.

Since I’m new to all of you, perhaps I should read this tour and do more free standing talking on my next tour. Think so?

I hear it already . . . next tour? Next?

Of course there’s a NEXT. With all the enthusiasm and support from all of you, and now that I’m a bestseller online, before my book is even released, how could you ever imagine there would not be a next?

If you would like to bet on the release date of my next book, send your wager with a ten dollar entry fee to the address on my website. Winners will be notified by mail.

As always, I await your comments with bated breath.


All I want to know, John, is when you're coming to SoCal. There is a whole other country on this side of the continent. Well, not a country in political terms, but when you're cold and shivering on the East Coast, consider a book tour in the West. Please?

Still, I'm rooting and cheering for you, excited that LOOK ME IN THE EYES is already a bestseller.

John Robison said…
I'd love to read in California, and to that end, round up all your friends, and have them all lobby your favorite bookseller to call Crown and invite me out!
John, I hope you read excerpts that are both poignant and funny. I especially want to hear a specific example, a show me, about what it's like to be Aspergian. I think I have a real sense, but still I'd like to hear it from someone capable of articulating the reality.
Polly Kahl said…
HI John, I will be happy with whatever you give us. It's good to hear you sounding so confident. I'm going to leave my eggs at home. And that goes for the rotten tomatoes too. I will, however, leave a review on Amazon.
Polly Kahl said…
Hey John. Total coolness that your blog is up on your book page on Amazon. Great marketing too. How do we leave reviews? Maybe the review link only goes up on the 25th, when the book is officially out?
Trish Ryan said…
Read funny parts from your book. Answer questions. While answering questions, you can incorporate some of your stand-up material. Trust that those of us who have been reading your blog for awhile already have our $20 squirreled away and ready to go :)

Limber up your autograph hand, as I suspect it's gonna get a workout!
The Muse said…
"What will you do, by your third or fourth book signing, do to make yourself different for me?? Yes . . . I’ll bet you didn’t think of that. But just as you will be watching me . . . I will be watching YOU."

I haven't decided what to wear yet. I think I shall dress incognito one night or perhaps like a groupie in RED another night, or maybe as simply a shy adoring fan. (Hah)

I still wish that you would distribute "Woof!" buttons to all of your blog friends. Perhaps Kim S. will bake you an organic cake shaped like a dog...
ORION said…
I love the part about the explosion with your friend when the fire department told you to put water on the smoking fire and it made it worse!
I LOVE that part!!!
I know what you mean about making things different for each reading- it's what I've been trying to do but I know you'll be brilliant!
Alan Gage said…
It wouldn't matter to me what type of selection(s) you read from the book (funny, sad, whatever) as long as it seemed to be genuine.

I personally don't think I'd enjoy a stand up routine or acting out portions of the book as much. While it might be funny and entertaining every time I see stuff like that I wonder how much of the act is genuine and how much is just an act that's done over and over again.

I find the funniest and most touching things are the ones that seem more spontaneous and genuine, even if they really aren't. Then again, I generally don't like the same things as most of my family and friends so who knows what everyone else wants.

I think taking audience questions would be a good thing too. I always like hearing questions other people have and hearing the responses.

It's exciting just reading about all the things happening in your life and how your book is taking off; I can't imagine what it must be like live it!

FOOD?? FOOD?? Who said anything about food! Grumbling off to the kitchen to start baking...... John likes cake. That much I know. Muse, I can bake a cake shaped like a 3D rabbit. Does that work? "Hop to it and buy Look Me In The Eye!" No, I won't give up my day job. What IS my day job?

Back to my book revisions.....

See you in NYC then CT.
Anonymous said…
this sentence, "an army of autism moms" makes me want to be there! in fact, i would pay money to be a part of anything where there are an "army of autism moms" :)

i love the way you write, and my god i wish you all the luck there is! (not that you'll need it, yer' doin' pretty good for yourself.)

i've already pre-ordered the book and made an announcement on my blog with a warning that people should hurry up and order in case they run out at the publisher... (that's a small joke, insert guffaw here.)
ssas said…
However, have you told your brother how great Colorado is? Shouldn't he join you for a little vacation here? I'm jealous the New Yorkers are getting a double-header.

...Grumble...stupid New Yorkers get EVERYTHING, they're so spoiled...grumble...

Maybe to make up for it, you should do a little tap dance or fireworks or something at the Tattered Cover.

Kidding!! I don't care what you do when you come to CO--just can't wait to meet you!
Anonymous said…
Awwww...if you have a manager running the shop, then the customers are missing out on the best part...YOU! :) Honestly, you alone were half the reason I went to your shop instead of the dealership. Always enjoyed your company!
The Anti-Wife said…
Just remember that unless you have groupies or stalkers, the people at each reading won't be the same so you figure out which passages the groups like best and use them lots.

Now matter what happens, you're going to be great. I'm looking forward to reading the book.
The Muse said…
Kim S. said,

"I will ply you with chocolate cake for the mechanics secret. With homemade fudge frosting thicker than any motor oil you've ever seen come out of a poorly maintained car. And far tastier. I'll make you the Rolls Royce of cakes, rich, hard to come by, much envied by all who have to eat Ding Dongs instead of the cake that will be on your plate."

You are a tease, Kim; you promised him cake...

PS. At the end of the reading I think we should all light matches or hold up lighters for an encore. Although we might make the sprinkler system go off! Well, that would make the news.
Therese Fowler said…
Hi John--

What a terrific article in the London Times! Sorry I'm not in the area to hear/see you reading whatever you elect to go with. But of course if you find yourself in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area I'll be there!
John Robison said…
Anti-Wife, I already have people telling me they're coming to several events. So they must be groupies or stalkers, as you say.

What do you suggest I do?

And Denise . . . it's flattering that half the reason you came to our shop was me, but you did move away, so I must not have been that appealing.

Still, in my reinvented life as a book author, I may be able to capture and retain people's interest for a longer term.

And Sex Scenes, you are not looking at this from the right perspective. It's true there's a lot of action in New York, but by the time I reach Denver, I will be a SEASONED PROFESSIONAL instead of a rank ametuer. So just imagine how much better I'm going to be out there.

And don't forget to do your part . . .invite 100 of your closest friends to the reading and the party.

And Trish, I have been working on that autograph hand. But it's not just strength, it's finesse. You don't need to be a brute with huge paws to sign lots of books. You need a gentle but firm touch.

How do I get it? Simple. I go to my basement and practice grabbing mice when they come out of their holes. Squeeze too hard and they bite. Not enough and they escape.

When you can grab 25 mice in a row, and not squash or lose a single one, you know you have the necessary hand skill and coordination to sign stacks of books.
Anonymous said…
It's Wmass that wasn't my husband probably would of been a little sketched out if I told him I didn't want to move because I like my mechanic :)
ssas said…
PARTY???? Did you say PARTY?? You're having a party in Denver?? You never SAID there was gonna be a party!!!

Don't worry, I'll drag 'em along!
Rainmom2x said…
Hi John!
I'm really looking forward to reading your book. See you on the 25th!
John Robison said…
All of you reading the comments should hop over to my page on and check out what they've done.

They added a 4 minute video of my brother and me talking about my book, and they added my blog via feed over there.
Anonymous said…
Do you honestly think that this book would have sold if you didn't have a famous brother to help market it?

Or, to put it another way, did your brother honestly think that this book would have sold if he didn't have you to pretend you'd written it?

Lord, Lord, Lord.
John Robison said…
Anonymous, no one who's interviewed me has the slightest doubt who wrote Look Me in the Eye. Me.

Why would you suggest my brother wrote it? The idea is nutty. He does just fine writing under his own name.

While my brother's success has certainly been beneficial, it would be more correct to say that it's truly extraordinary for two brothers to both produce best selling books at the same time.

If you have further doubts, come to New York and watch us both. I think the answer to your allegations will be more than clear.
AmandaT said…
hello - i am asking if it is okay that i put the picture of you and your bro from the interview you did with the Timesonline on my myspace page. (TERRIBLE sentence) i sent augusten a note for permission, too. i wish you were coming to chicago, but i guess i could just as easily have come to NY to see you!!! good luck to you!!! i am very inspired by your ambitions and think you are HILARIOUS!!! i requested you give me a name awhile ago.... i guess i will just be stuck with Demanda - peace - amanda
Anonymous said…
hey john, sorry about misspelling your name. i'm an idiot :)
Holly Kennedy said…
John, I read the comment from 'Anonymous' and shook my head, laughing. How sad that he/she feels the need to judge you and LMITE but doesn't have the backbone to leave his/her name. Sounds suspiciously resentful to me, maybe like a wanna-be author who just can't get his/her toe in the door?

Clearly this person hasn't read your book and needs to. From someone who has (and who's also met you) I find this person's far fetched theory beyond amusing.

Carry on with the bestseller lists, pal!
John Robison said…
Amanda, the photo of my brother and me on The Times page isn't ours to give. The Times sent writers and photographers here to do that story (halfway around the world) and they own the rights to the image.

Still, it's fine with me.
Anonymous said…
You bet. It IS extroardinary for two brothers to have bestsellers at the same time.

Lucky you, that he got there first. Otherwise, well, never mind.
John Robison said…
Holly, the guy does raise a valid point - being the brother of a famous author did open doors for me initially.

But once publishers read my book, it stood totally on its own.

It's no different from Hollywood, where the sons and daughters of movie stars have an easier time breaking into the business.

So would it have happened without my brother? Actually, probably not. Because it was the public's acceptance of RWS that showed me that my story could be an inspiration, and not a shameful secret as I believed for years.

Without that, I would never have considered exposing myself by writing a book.

And then there's the old "try 100 agents" and then "the agent submits to 100 publishers" thing . . . I would not have had the confidence to persist in the face of repeated rejection. I'd seen enough rejection earlier in life. So the whole thing was pretty much a one-shot deal for me.

If my brother's literary agent had rejected Look Me in the Eye, I do not think I would have rewritten it. I would have just returned to my car company and my real estate and pondered some other creative outlet, like photography.

Luckily for me and the readers, it worked out. And in both the ways I describe above, my brother was indirectly responsible.

I guess I sort of feel sorry for people like the one who left that post . . . Most of my brother's books either feature me, or are dedicated to me. It's widely reported that he came here and built a home next to me. And my brother has told people for years that he learned storytelling from me, as a child. It's even in the foreward for my book. What did that fellow think? Is that all made up?

I think you'll see my brother and I doing more engagements together, where he talks about living with Asperger's and I talk about being Aspergian.

Look for previews online . . . they'll be taping us together in New York, and taping me alone to excerpt passages for online distribution.
The Muse said…

We have a saying in our house:

"Twenty percent of the population has the right to remain ignorant."

i.e. There are those people whose minds you will never change; so don't bother with them.

Furthermore John, you have numerous talents and skills but ACTING is NOT one of them!
piglet said…
a person posting as anonymous is not to be taken seriously. otherwise, they would have the balls to reveal who they really are.

i am certain they are jealous of your good fortune. it is unfortunate you and your brother had to live your childhoods that were not so fortunate.

god forbid you rise above the hard ships and make something of yourselves. perhaps the anonymous person would be happier if your life had turned out otherwise?

anonymous, you are a sad sad hater. i'll pray for you.
Polly Kahl said…
Not to jump on the "Let's Bash Anonymous" bandwagon, since Anon doesn't need my help making an ass of him/herself, but anyone who reads this blog would know that you wrote that book. That's just sillytalk. Unless Anon thinks you invite your brother over every day to do this blog for you too.
I wonder if Anon badgers Eli Manning for following in Peyton's footsteps? Hassles Venus Williams for following Serena? Berates Joe Hill for writing after his father Stephen King? And John, I have a surprise for you on Wednesday.


(PS) I see you solved the anon problem. Good for you. Let the coward hide in the blogs from which he (or more likely she) came.... You know what I mean.
ssas said…
Anon (if that IS your real name) (heh, I crack myself up with that line, every time.)

I do a lot of editing for a magazine. I can tell you I've gotten trunk stories from well known authors and I've rejected them. The WRITING is what counts for most of the books and stories out there, not the NAME.

John's brother might have gotten him in the door, but his writing is why he didn't get thrown out of the party.
piglet said…
john, you are well on your way to becoming a rock star :) hang on!
Aprilynne Pike said…
John, I am totally amazed. I'm going to be so proud to tell people I know such an incredible author.

BTW, I love you new banner at the top of the blog. (I'm not sure how new it is . . . maybe I'm just un-observant.:))
Aprilynne Pike said…
When you can grab 25 mice in a row, and not squash or lose a single one, you know you have the necessary hand skill and coordination to sign stacks of books."

Bwahhahahahahaha! Okay, I seriously snorted water up my nose on that one!
John Robison said…
Aprilynne, I'm not that incredible but I'm flattered you think so. As to the mice . . . it's never good to be eating or drinking when you go to grab one. That's why the water ended up you nose.

Also, never eat while grabbing mice. Wash your hands first.

And Piglet . . . what a name. It's right up there with Anti-Wife and Sex Scenes at Starbucks. I love these blog names.
AmandaT said…
if it's fine with you (and the Varmint), i will take my chances :)! ha! peace - amanda
Nita said…
John, I love reading your comments almost as much as reading your blog. I am so super happy for you that someone I know (sorta, kinda) is doing so well with his first book. I'm also so glad you walked in the door your brother held open for you.(figuratively, as he opened the book writing/publishing door and you wrote and published your book)
John Robison said…
Well, Nita, I'm glad I walked through the door too. I have met so many new people as a result, it's like a whole new life!
Kate said…
Hi John, I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog as well as your book.

I don't generally go to book readings unless I've already read and liked the book (out here though I dont have the option to go to many either) , so I guess I would like to hear any additional stories or ancedotes you had about your life as opposed to reading something I'd already read- but I'm probably in the minority there and I'm sure I would very much enjoy either one had I ever the chance to see you speak.

Come to Maine, the part of New England everyone seems to forget exists because we're so close to Canada :) Specifically, Portland.

It was actually a bookstore in Portland that gave me an advance copy of your book to read, so I know at least one store here is a fan of you.

John Robison said…
Kate, I don't know when I'll get to Maine but I hope to see you when I do

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