Still, the news from my literary agent (Claire Gerus, who is amazing) today, about a year into the book’s published life, is a surprise: She actually has a royalty check for us! This, from the woman who jokingly said to me not long ago (at least I think it was jokingly): “Royalties? What are those?”.
So. This means the book is actually making a profit for Rowman and Littlefield (after reimbursement for their publication expenses), and hence for me and Claire as well. While this check is hardly large, to be honest, it is a delightful surprise in its symbolism: people are buying, and reading, Ben Behind His Voices.
It also means that more and more opportunities are opening up for me to speak to audiences in person, to meet and collaborate with readers and potential readers – families, providers, doctors, nurses, faith leaders, legislators, media, PAMIS (people affected by mental illness.
And at least it’s a start. Someday, I still hope to see the book on the USA Today or New York Times
Best Seller List (hey, it can have universal appeal, right? Library Journal called it “A darn good read for memoir fans”…), for now the fact that it is getting into the hands that I suspect need it most is the best reward.
I got a Facebook message yesterday from a woman whose son had suddenly experienced a psychotic break – out of the blue. She said, Someone sent me your book, and I sat and read it during the 5 hour wait in the hospital emergency room while waiting for a bed to be available for my son. Thank you for sharing your journey. We are struggling, but your book has helped me.
Now, that means everything to me. That is why I wrote the book; that is the real reward. The fact that someone I have never met was helped by our story, and then passed it on to another “stranger” who might need to feel less alone and have an idea of what to do next…well, it helps me feel that the messages in our story are getting a life of their own, like a child going out into the world.
So, if you know someone who needs “Ben”, please share. You are the messenger. Thank you. With your help, the book will get into the hands of those who will benefit from its story and tips – and maybe, just maybe, get it to the bigger “Best Seller” lists. For then, I will know that the increased “Sales” means that more people will have been touched, enlightened, and perhaps helped by its messages.