Thursday, April 3, 2014

Some Getting Used To...

It's nearly two months now since Good For Nothing was unleashed in the UK market. A lot has happened since then. Of course, books have been selling in stores all across the UK, and to determined readers and friends in the US market (despite a clerical snafu with Amazon that presented some extra challenges). But other things as well.

For instance, I was made a legitimate offer by a US publisher, which I feel some affection for. (Yay!) And, with the help of my agents, I decided to pass on the offer. (Gulp.) A long, complicated string of reasons came to bare on the decision. But the end result is that the quest continues.

In the meantime, I have been learning to get used to the notion that people I don't know (and will likely never meet) are reading my book, and enjoying it enough to take the time to write a review in praise of my work. The generosity of strangers is an odd concept to get my head around. For instance, the Amazon US site, at the time I am writing this, has 10 5-star reviews of GFN. A few of them are from people I personally know, a couple from people I know of, and the other half are from strangers. IT BLOWS MY MIND.

Besides Amazon US, another review showed up on Amazon UK:

5.0 out of 5 stars
A brilliantly-achieved comedy10 Mar 2014
Mr J H Dudley - Truth is, this is a brilliant book and Brandon Graham is a very special writer. What I admire very much is the clever pitch and tone of the narration which allow BG to handle such seeming opposites as comic and tragic, serious and funny, dynamic and pathetic in the same paragraph with not the slightest crunching of gears. I think it takes a very special talent to pull that off. It makes the novel both literary and popular. And in Flip I believe he's created one of the great Everyman characters for our age. I cared about him so desperately in spite of, or perhaps because of himself; so much wanted him to be successful. . . . . . and really loved the triple-dip irony of him 1) knowing he's messed up so 2) messing up a whole lot more then 3) moving inexorably towards the doom-laden finale he has promised himself only to hear, when he's at the bottom of the triple-dip, that success has come his way after all. PG Wodehouse, my favourite plotter, could not have crafted it better. And what an ending ! Just superb writing.
As part of my contract with my publisher, I was to receive 20 copies of my book to distribute or give as gifts. Those finally arrived. Having stacks of this artifact around my home is becoming familiar. But having people ask for me to sign their book still feels like an awkward ritual; complimentary, yet awkward. 

My delightful book dealers have placed a few pieces, including a copy of an older artist's book, God's Country. This book was a collaborative effort with Joseph Lappie, the artist who generated the cover image for GFN. The artist's book was sold to Shomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a part of the New York Public Library system. Besides this, my book quoteUNquote is included in Vamp and Tramp's catalog 50 Books Around $50.

Lastly, on March 25th, Sue Wilkinson from across the pond decided to write a short post in her blog, Wot Sue Discovered Next about my book. In part she wrote, "Its not all doom gloom and despair, its beautifully comic, poignant. How we can receive unexpected kindnesses from the most unlikely of places, a view from the perspective of the dispossessed. That phase of life where you think, I'll just give it one more day/week/hour. In this way the book reminds me of the gentle humour of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down, about a group of disparate people who have reached the end of their tether but collectively agree to give it a little longer and reconvene to see if they still feel the same way. Brandon Graham does this well, with slightly more guts to the text."

It's funny to realize some of the issues my characters wrestle with in my fictional narrative, have come home to roost as part of my real life publishing experience. Cheers. 

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