Um, phew.

So, yeah, sorry about the radio silence.  It turns out that this publishing-a-book thing is a bit of a time-suck.  But, you know, in a good way.

Since the book was published – almost a month ago now, bizarre though that seems – I have hardly had time to sit down.  It has been a wonderful, mad, hectic ride, and it is far from over – because I am off on tour again.  I will be in Nashville for the first half of next week, visiting the book trade distributor Ingrams, and the lovely people at Book Page.  On Tuesday evening (March 6) I am doing an event at Parnassus Books, a new indie bookstore which is probably best known for being co-owned by multi-gazillion best seller author Ann Patchett, whose State of Wonder I will packing in my suitcase in the hopes that she will be there and I can get her to sign my copy.  (I wrote about Ann Patchett’s essay The Getaway Car here – required reading, in my humble opinion, for all writers.)

On Thursday I will be back home, performing what is known as a radio tour – which means, as I understand it, that I sit at my kitchen table doing telephone interviews all day with various radio stations across America.  One of the delights of living in a country with so many time zones is that breakfast drive time goes on for ever – and once it’s over on the west coast, it’s time for the lunch crowd back east… and so it goes on.  I suspect my espresso machine will be in overdrive for most of the day.  I can always rely on the sainted coffee bean to keep me peppy.  After all, that’s how I wrote the book in the first place.

The following week I am off on my travels again.  I think I’ll be at Reed’s Gum Tree Bookstore in Tupelo, MS on Monday, March 12 (details to be confirmed.)  On Tuesday (March 13) I’ll be at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis at 6.00 p.m.  On Wednesday (March 14) I’m looking forward to visiting the famous Lemuria Books, in Jackson, MS.  And on Thursday (March 15) I’ll be reading at the Turn Row Book Company, in Greenwood, MS.  The event starts at 5.30 with a signing, followed by a reading and discussion.  If you’re in the area for any of these events, please come, and bring friends!  If you’re not, but know someone who is, please spread the word.  The more, as they say, the merrier.

Looking a little further ahead, I’m also very excited to have been invited to participate in the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 19.  Finally, the East coast beckons!

I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to write about the adventures I’ve had so far on my travels to Wichita, KS, Birmingham, AL, and Kansas City.  I will, I promise.  I have met so many wonderful people, it is hard to keep track, but highlights so far include:

  • Seeing Pam, the nurse from my allergist’s office, waiting in line at Barnes & Noble in Columbia on a horrible, snowy launch day, with a book in her hand.
  • Listening to Sarah Bagby, owner of Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita, telling a story about going into the Oval Office and giving a book to President Obama;
  • Seeing the book in a bookstore in Atlanta airport, 3 days after publication, nestling snugly in the best sellers section, looking very comfortable at #15;
  • Signing 1,000 copies of A GOOD AMERICAN in three hours flat at the Alabama Booksmith (that’s 10.8 seconds per book, math fans);
  • Doing my first NPR interview (which you can listen to here);
  • Meeting twitter friends in real life – in particular the lovely Hallie Sawyer in Kansas City, who wrote about the encounter here.
  • The small launch party for family and friends at PS: Gallery in Columbia, Missouri, which was a memorable evening for many reasons, not least of which was my six year-old daughter fearlessly offering to sign guests’ copies of the book on the dedication page (she is the dedicatee).
  • My first in-person appearance at a book club, which was a wonderful (and only slightly scary) encounter.  I look forward to doing a lot more.

This week A GOOD AMERICAN is at #30 (and climbing) on the nationwide independent booksellers best sellers list.  There are nineteen copies of the book at my local library, Daniel Boone Regional Library.  I gather they are all checked out and that the hold list is a long one.  A HUGE thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to buy a copy.  The response from readers, booksellers, bloggers, and reviewers has been utterly overwhelming, and (almost!) universally positive.  I am so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to post a review, or share the book with friends.  Thanks, too, to everyone who has taken the time to send me photographs of the novel in its natural habitat – on bookstore shelves, tables, and displays across the country.  I’ve said it here many times – writing a book is a long, lonely process, and it is humbling and wonderful to see the result of my efforts out in the real world.

Just in case all this wasn’t enough, also in February:

  • I turned 42;
  • I got divorced;
  • I became an American citizen; and
  • I had an offer accepted on a house.

So, all in all, last month was quite a month.  Thank you all for your support and friendship.  Onwards and upwards!

By the way, if you’re curious what 1,000 copies of a book looks like, here’s your answer:

Comments 22

  1. Wow, it has been a month. As one just waiting for the release and reading about what followed, it’s seemed to fly by — I can only imagine the blur February must have been for you. I hope A GOOD AMERICAN keeps climbing on best seller lists. It’s a book I still think about, even though I’ve moved on to reading other books — and still the book I recommend to people when talking about reading with others.

    Here’s to another busy month!

  2. That’s a lot of books!

    Wishing you nothing but the best success as you enter month 2 of book launch. I’ve picked up my copy, and can’t wait to read it.

    I’ll be watching for you and the book on the Penguin interweb. (I work in young readers. John Green signed about 150,000 copies of The Fault in Our Stars. But he signed the tip-ins only. Hard copies would have filled his entire garage, I’m sure!)

  3. Um, WOW!

    As someone turning 42 in a mere few months as well, my head spins for all your adventures, Alex–but what a wonderful journey–and this one is just beginning for you. Thanks for sharing all that is going on and all that is ahead for you and your wonderful novel!

    (And yes, this definitely calls for the coffee “drip”!)

  4. If after signing 1,000 copies you are still typing, you must’ve gotten a Captain Hook appendage. Congratulations on mastering the claw! (And climbing the bestsellers’ lists.)

  5. That post made me tired just reading it. You are one BUSY American! 😉 I hope you get a chance to take a deep breath, look around, and cherish all of the wonderful moments on your book tour. You are going to do fantastic!

  6. OH , wow… I love the photo of all those books in your home. What a dream come true (though my hand cramps thinking of the marathon signing you did). Come to think of it, my head spins at all you’ve done in the past month. Some very emotional highs and lows to come at you all at once. (Good fodder for your next novel, perhaps?)

    I’m also a bit jealous that I couldn’t be a fly on the wall with you and Hallie. I’m so happy your book is doing so well, Alex, and will definitely send a photo of me with A GOOD AMERICAN. You can count on it, from a fellow booksniffer!

    And when are they sending you on tour to Arizona? We really DO like to read in this state :-).

  7. Post

    Thanks, Christopher! I’m glad the book has stuck with you. That’s a wonderful compliment. Yes, busy times – if February was busy, March is more so! I’m typing this in a hotel in Nashville, just getting ready for a full day of book-related fun.

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    150,000??!? I’ll shut up then. That is truly heroic. I have THE FAULT IN OUR STARS on my bookshelf (I was given it by lovely Penguin peeps at ALA in Dallas) and I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for all your good wishes!

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    Thanks, Erika. It is a wonderful journey, no doubt. I kind of wish I could bring my children along with me, but oh well…

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    Oddly, I got through without too much discomfort (although I did pull a muscle in my neck!) I think the trick is all about the pen. When you get to Kansas City this summer, ask Roger at Rainy Day Books for his recommendations. He has put a lot of thought into the subject – and he gave me a pen, which I still use (when I remember to bring it with me.)

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    Thanks, Hallie! There are moments of respite in between the madness, and you’re right – the trick is to make the most of them. I hope I’m getting better at that…

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    Oh, Melissa, we had *such* a good time. It was so good to meet her! I don’t know about Arizona… as you will have seen, they’re sending me south, rather than west! You’ll be the first to know if plans change, I promise.

  13. Alex, I am just getting into bed to read the last forty or so pages of your wonderful book. I’ve been a reader all my life; lately so many novels have left me disappointed but not yours. I so enjoyed Jame’s coming of age part that I read it aloud to my husband. I have four sons and only now can I appreciate what they went through! Thanks for the time you put into the book.

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    Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Gail. I hope the last 40 pages don’t disappoint! I’ll be interested to know what you make of how it all ends.

  15. Dear Mr. George, I just finished reading your wonderful book. WOW, it really grabbed me from page one and every page thereafter. Your characters were real to me, I laughed and cried with them. My favorite was dear Lomax. You have an amazing gift, and I hope when the rush of this book tour is over that you will spin another great story for all of your admiring readers. God bless you! Sincerely, Hilary Kline

  16. Mr. George, I just finished your book and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it. The ending was beautifully done and made everything that came before that much more bittersweet. My ancestors came from Germany to Ste. Genevieve, Missouri about the same time as the characters in your book so it was fascinating to draw parallels between them and imagine my family living through similar events. If you haven’t been already, I hope you’ll be making a stop at one of the wonderful independent book stores in St. Louis. Cheers, Debbie Arata

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    Hilary – thank you *so* much for your kind words. I am so pleased you took the time to stop by, and I’m delighted you enjoyed the book!!

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    Hi Debbie: interestingly St. Genevieve, MO, has cropped up in conversation several times in the last couple of days while I have been on tour! I obviously have to visit!! Thanks for your kind words about the book – so glad you liked it. I hope I’ll be visiting some St. Louis bookstores soon, too – watch the website for news!

  19. Alex –
    Although I have been an avid reader all my life, I believe this is the first time I’ve ever commented to the author. I just finished your book this morning and am now running late because of it. I enjoyed it tremendously! As with most most Americans, mine is a family of immigrants and somehow we all ended up here in Mid-Missouri. Thank you for a heartwarming, engaging and insightful book. I look forward to the next one.

  20. Alex,
    My book club, Chic-Lits, is going to discuss your book tonight at our meeting. So far all who have read it have LOVED it. It will be interesting to hear the discussion that proliferates through the characters and ideas presented in your book. Thank you and congratulations!

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    Hi Lola –

    Thanks so much for stopping by – hope your book club (love the name!) has a lively discussion. If you have time, I’d love to hear what you all made of it.

  22. Hi Alex,
    Our book club discussion by the Chic-Lits was great. We used some of your reader guide questions, which is unusual for us. Usually, the questions are too “collegiate” and not fun to discuss, but the questions you offered were interesting.
    Although I see comments that many people cried over this book, I found myself chuckling through much of it. There were several sad parts, but as the book got along, possibly midway and on, the characters (such as the dwarf and teacher) did not seem as believable nor as developed as Frederick, Jette, and Lomax. We were wondering if you wrote it sort of like an opera where it became very dramatic and ended with a crescendo and humor. We would recommend this book to other book clubs and/or for personal enjoyment. The immigration issue is one that hit home with all of us. Most of us Chics are second generation “something”. We all had stories of our grandparents or parents when they immigrated here. One of the Chics had a story similar to Frederick’s. She was the fourth child of many (and a twin) and her father volunteered to fight in World War II. She was very proud of him for doing that (for being a good American) and didn’t feel abandoned by him as he made sure the family was taken care of before he left (he did say good-bye to them all before he left). There were 8 of us ranging in age from 45-70 discussing AGA. It was quite a treat to read. Thank you and we look forward to your next!

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