Hitting the Bestseller List
Monday, November 03, 2008
Last week I stepped off a plane that had just brought me from Denver to Philadelphia International Airport, ending the first leg of my book tour, and when I powered up my cell phone, the message signal was glowing. On the other end were the voices of my William Morrow editor Mauro DiPreta and publisher Lisa Gallagher, and they had some very good news for me. "Number nine, my friend!" Mauro said in the message. "Number nine!" At first I thought he was reciting the lyrics to that old Beatles song (Turn me on, Deadman!), but then I figured it out. In its first week of publication, my new memoir The Longest Trip Home sold enough copies to land at #9 on The New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list. Yea! What made the news especially sweet was the fact that it was only a partial week of sales for the book -- which came out on a Tuesday, meaning it was available for five of the seven days.
No matter what any author may tell you about not caring about the bestseller list, being above such crass, competitive number counting, don't believe him. Every author hopes and prays for one of the 15 coveted spots, and I'm no exception. Back in October 2005, Marley & Me surprised all of us when it debuted at #10 on the Times' nonfiction bestseller list. It went on to spend the next 76 weeks there, a phenomenon I believe is safe to categorize as "once in a lifetime." But I'm thrilled to see The Longest Trip off to a good start in its own right. Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy and helped push me onto the list. I consider every week there a gift, and I take nothing for granted. But for this week at least, it feels sweet indeed. [Because of a printing delay, the list will not appear until the Sunday, Nov. 9 edition of The Times, but I pasted the online link below.]
I also learned that The Longest Trip Home in its first week landed at #11 on the Publisher's Weekly bestseller list, and at #14 on the Wall Street Journal's bestseller list. Those lists are a little tougher because they include all nonfiction, while the Times gives advice and self-help books their own list. As I drove home from the airport, my agent Laurie Abkemeier -- whom I call Super Agent 007 because she does so much seemingly all at once -- called to congratulate me and urged me to celebrate heartily. After 10 days on the road, sleeping in different hotels every night and eating all my meals out, what sounded best was to simply get home, pull on my comfiest sweatshirt and jeans, warm up some leftovers, open a beer and just put my feet up and scratch the dogs behind the ears.
Click here to see the New York Times bestseller list.
Click here to see the Publishers Weekly bestseller list.
Click here to see the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.
posted by John Grogan at 11:34 AM