McDonalds Hamburgers has displayed several variations of “Billions Served” on its signage for many years. Periodically they change the number from 50 to 100 to 257 to whatever the sign reads now. Maybe it just says “Billions” served. Whatever the number or verbiage, it is a tremendous number of things severed. Was it burgers, fries or people? Do you care? “Billions served” just numbs the mind.
Well, I care about the number. That phrase makes my book sales look puny and insignificant. Even a million copy bestseller is 100,000 times smaller (check my math) than “billions served.” I could rationalize and say that I wrote the book for my self-image or as part of some writing therapy or that my agent was on my case to produce something (that’s a lie). Or just that I had nothing to do at night, since I don’t play poker or care about TV. But once I got started I enjoyed it too much to stop. I am not interested in numbers, just a good product.
The end result is that I wrote just one novel, Far from Newark, and have only sold a modest number. In fact, I may have given away more than I sold.
My hometown of Newark NJ was listed as the un-friendliest city in 2013, it beat out Islamabad. It really wasn’t that bad when I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. I think the survey was taken at Newark Airport, which probably skewed the results towards the negative side. Current and former residents of Newark are actually quite proud of Newark. Many famous people were born in Newark: Philip Roth, Aaron Burr, Ed Koch, Whitney Houston, Chris Christie and many others. Newarkers even have a Facebook page, Newark N.J. Born and Raised !! And you have to be invited to be a Friend.
The title of my book came from a saying that I had been known to use often when asked, “Where are you from?” I get that I lot especially with my accent in San Antonio Texas. My answer is often, “From Newark, far from.” That phrase or variations of it appear in my book in several places and became the natural title for the book.
I am proud to say that “Far from Newark” has sold dozens. Take that McDonalds. Watch for the sequel, “Return.” It should be out by the end of 2014 and I certainly intend to claim, “More than dozens sold.” Don’t be surprised when you order my book on-line if you are asked, “Do you want fries with it?” But for a true Newarker a sausage, pepper and onion sandwich served on an Italian roll would be much better.
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