In the first few weeks of its life, it’s been very gratifying to see Poles Apart grace a number of bestsellers lists in various positions. I just wanted to note them here for posterity’s sake, as this blog is a kind of digital scrapbook of my writing life. Here’s hoping Poles Apart hangs on for a few more weeks before it inevitably slips off these ever-changing bestsellers lists. I’m grateful to the many readers who have bought the book and helped propel it into these rankings.
Archive for the ‘Globe and Mail’ Category
No Relation has now been on the market for ten weeks. So you can imagine how thrilled I am that for the tenth straight week, it’s still hanging in there on the Globe and Mail Bestsellers list. Honoured, humbled, and grateful.
I was surprised and delighted to see that No Relation had climbed from number five on last week’s Globe and Mail Bestsellers list to number two this week. Only Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda is ahead of No Relation, and I suspect always will be. I’m honoured to be on the same list with my friend Joseph and his blockbuster book, let alone right next to him. Fingers crossed for next week. My deep thanks to all of you who have kept the buzz and the sales going on the new novel. Onwards…
It was thrilling to learn yesterday that just three days after being published, No Relation debuted at number five on the Globe and Mail bestsellers list. I well remember when Up and Down was published, it opened at number seven. So this feels good. Of course, it happened because so many friends, family, and yes, perfect strangers, pre-ordered the novel or bought copies this week. I’m blessed and grateful. Thank you, all. Let the touring begin! It’s Creemore today, Thornbury tomorrow, Toronto Monday, Lindsay Tuesday, Toronto again Thursday, then Montreal on Friday. And that’s just the beginning…
I just thought I’d do a round up of quick hits today…
Sharing space with Mordecai Richler
A Nova Scotian podcasting friend, Bruce Murray, sent me this Kobo ad last week, noting that I am keeping pretty good literary company these days. I couldn’t agree more. I never expected to see a novel I’d written anywhere near the Mordecai Richler, Leacock-winning classic, Barney’s Version. What a thrill…
Up to #2 on the Globe and Mail Bestseller List
TBLP jumped up to #2 on the Globe and Mail Canadian Fiction Bestsellers List, its highest ranking so far. I don’t think it’ll make it to #1 but I’m over the moon to be sitting at #2 at least for a week.
Ben McNally Books Authors’ Brunch
This past Sunday, I was delighted to be one of four writers speaking at a Ben McNally Books Authors’ Brunch in the beautiful King Edward Hotel. Ben has been a strong supporter for many years and I was very pleased to participate and talk about The High Road. The other authors, Ray Jayawardhana, Ian Hamilton,Â and John Ralston Saul, were all fascinating and I really enjoyed meeting them and listening to their stories.Â The event was very well-attended and many books were sold and signed. My thanks to Ben McNally for the invitation and to my intrepid and tireless publicist, Frances Bedford for making the arrangements and giving up a Sunday morning to attend!
Early in the fall, I was asked to write a piece for the fall/winter edition of WRITE, the official magazine of the Writers’ Union of Canada (WUC). The magazine is now out there, with Paul Quarrington on the cover, and focuses on Canadian humour. I was only too happy to oblige. I joined the WUC in the fall, figuring a contributor to the magazine better be a member. I wish I could actually reproduce the article here, but the magazine is only available to WUC members, and I wouldn’t want to be drummed out of the organization within a few months of joining! After all, membership has its privileges! Other contributors to this humour edition include my friend and fellow Leacock Medal winner, Mark Leiren-Young, the hilarious Drew Hayden Taylor (whose new novel I’ve recently blurbed), and the very funny Erika Ritter, among others. The magazine is great, and well worth reading, even with my piece! (Psst! The article I contributed is quite like the essay that ran on the Globe and Mail books site last spring.)
I’ve been on Twitter now for several months but am not as frequent a “tweeter” as I’d like to be. If you’re on Twitter, and you suffer with insomnia, you’re certainly welcome to follow me (@TerryFallis). I use Twitter to comment on various and sundry topics related to my day job in public relations and my writing life. I tend to tweet more about my writing on evenings and weekends, when I’m more apt to be hunched over the keyboard. During the week, you’re more likely to find my tweets connected to public relations. I also Tweet on the Inside PR twitter account (@Inside_PR), related to our weekly public relations podcast, Inside PR. Twitter is a very cool tool for staying connected with people you’re interested in. I follow several authors including Stephen Fry (along with about a million other followers!) and other book-related Twitter streams like the Globe and Mail books section (@Globebooks). So why not join the Twitterati?
I’ve done a few interviews lately for broader stories about self-publishing, and the results are here.Â The Globe story was apparently trimmed quite a bit to fit the space they had available.Â But it’s always nice to be in the Globe.Â I did the Financial Post interview while standing on a pier in Digby, Nova Scotia at the start of our family vacation back in the early part of the July.
Who’d have thunk it!Â Nearly two years after the final episode of The Best Laid Plans podcast was posted, it’s reappeared on the iTunes Arts and Literature charts at #17.Â I figure my GlobeBooks essay and the CBC Book Club’s Top 10 Books to Make You Laugh list last week have had a hand in pointing new listeners to the podcast, and that’s wonderful news.Â I still believe strongly that the podcast is a great driver of awareness and ultimately book sales.Â So it’s a thrill to see it back up in the top 25.Â Happy listening…
As part of celebrating the 2009 Leacock Medal presentation later this week, I wrote a piece for the Globe and Mail on what a wild ride the last year has been.Â It appeared today in the Globe’s great online book section.Â You can read it at the Globe Books site or to make it even easier, I’ve reproduced it below.Â I’ll be in Orillia tomorrow for the Leacock Luncheon where the winner is announced.Â It will be wonderful to be there again without the butterflies from one year ago.
Leacock shock, 12 months later (Globe Books online April 29, 2009)
There was no phone call or e-mail. I read it first on the Orillia Packet and Times website. It was March 27, 2008. The day before, Iâ€™d been living the glamorous high life of the self-published author, schlepping my first novel around in the trunk of my car, and pleading with independent bookstores to take a few copies on consignment. Then the news broke that my book had somehow been short-listed for the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. In that instant, my life as a weekend writer changed. In the next instant, I was curled in the fetal position, hyperventilating into a paper bag.
When I finished writing The Best Laid Plans, I honestly had no real expectations that it would ever be published. Hopes and dreams? Sure. Expectations? Not so much. Would I really have written a satirical novel of Canadian politics if Iâ€™d wanted to be published? It started out strictly as a personal challenge. Could I string 100,000 words together in a way that somehow approached coherence. After Iâ€™d finished the manuscript, I still didnâ€™t know. Iâ€™d lost all perspective on it. So, based on what Iâ€™d learned on the Internet (about publishing, I mean), I sent out dozens of query letters and plot synopses to literary agents. The year-long silence that followed was deafening and discouraging. Undeterred (I didnâ€™t know enough to be deterred), I podcast my novel, one chapter at a time, and made it available for free on iTunes and at www.terryfallis.com. Then I did what is unthinkable to many writers. I self-published The Best Laid Plans. It wasnâ€™t my first choice. Self-publishing is seldom an aspiring writerâ€™s first choice.
When I finally held it in my hands in September 2007, it looked and felt like a real book. I was thrilled. A launch was organized at my alma mater and both people who came bought books. Online sales to family and friends trickled in. Then, on a lark, I sent the ten author copies I still had gathering dust in my office up to the Leacock Association in Orillia. Appearing on the short-list was the surprise of my life. Within a week, I signed with a literary agent, the wonderful and respected Beverley Slopen. We met for drinks at the Toronto Four Seasons and though calm on the outside, I was a quivering mass of excitement inside. The turning point in our conversation came when she took my hands in hers and said â€œTerry, you are not going to win the Leacock Medal, so we have 30 days to find you a publisher.â€
By April 30th, the day the Leacock Medal winner was to be announced, weâ€™d had a few nibbles, several rejections, but nothing definitive (okay, the rejections were definitive). So my wife Nancy and I drove up to Orillia for the Leacock Luncheon. I had just barely begun to recuperate from the shock of being short-listed a month earlier, so hearing my name announced from the podium as the winner set back my recovery considerably. I was floored.
I stumbled to my feet in a daze and barely survived my impromptu acceptance speech. To see my name on a list of Leacock winners alongside Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, Paul Quarrington, and W.O. Mitchell, literally left my knees weak and wobbly (and still does). On the drive home, Nancy turned to me and said, â€œThis will be noted in your obituary.â€ I slowed down immediately.
Then the surreal circus came to town. It was truly bizarre to see my face in the Globe the next day. The Best Laid Plans podcast went to number one on the iTunes charts (at least for an hour or so). The Globe reviewed it. And best of all, Beverley Slopenâ€™s phone started to ring. Within a week of my Leacock shock, we signed with McClelland & Stewart, with the revered Douglas Gibson as my editor and publisher. In September 2008, the M&S edition was released, and I hit the speaking circuit.
There was a Harbourfront Reading. I flew to Montreal for a day of media interviews. I soloed at the wonderful Canadian Authors Reading Series in Port Colborne. I shared the stage with Giller winner Joseph Boyden at the Headwaters Arts Festival. I read at Torontoâ€™s Word on the Street and the Ottawa International Writers Festival. And a few weeks ago, I appeared with Paul Quarrington at the Grimsby Authors Series. Paul and I drove down together for the event. Like an unhinged author stalker, I slid into the back seat clutching my complete collection of Quarrington first editions. He kindly inscribed each one. My dance card is full well into the fall with readings and speaking gigs at book clubs, libraries, dinners, and various other gatherings. What amazing literary company Iâ€™m suddenly keeping. At 49 years old, Iâ€™ve been blessed with an entirely new side to my life.
I know there are countless worthy writers with four and five unpublished manuscripts in their desk drawers, who deserve to break through. Itâ€™s as if published authors are sequestered in a well-defended castle, while the hordes of struggling writers amass beyond the moat, desperate for a way in. I feel like the guy who delivered a pizza to the castleâ€™s service entrance, slipped off his fluorescent orange delivery vest, and stayed.
And now that a year has passed and the 2009 Leacock winner is soon to be announced, I still pinch myself every day. In this past, charmed year, I have surely exhausted my lifetime allocation of good fortune. I keep expecting to fall off the stage at my next reading and break both my legs. I still have my day job, but on weekends, Iâ€™m banging out the sequel to The Best Laid Plans. Itâ€™s different this time around. I feel more than the weight of the words I still must write. I now shoulder expectations, mine, and those of others. But donâ€™t get me wrong. Iâ€™m not complaining. One year later, I still feel like the luckiest rookie writer in the world.