The common question people ask me during these months of book presentations, signings, and book talks of Baltimore's Little Italy is: "How many books did you sell?" And my standard answer is that the sales don't matter. I'm not paying attention to the numbers ... I'm more interested in the reactions. It is much more meaningful how the book affects people - how excited they get over it. More valuable than any monetary amount from book sales is the precious collection of comments readers have emailed, verbalized, facebook posted, and handwritten to me by mail. All because Little Italy holds a unique place in their souls and hearts, as well as feeling pride for their Italian heritage.
You get the idea - all heartfelt words. People seemed to have been genuinely filled with emotion as they read the book's topics; and for those reactions, I feel delighted, accomplished, and truly grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to write it.
At a book talk today in Highlandtown's Enoch Pratt Library, I was elated to meet two "characters" in the book (Dolly Della Noce Bekowitz and Willy Sydnor) who were friends in their youth and as I researched, shared memories of the Della Noce Funeral Home on Trinity Street. They told me that because of the book, their friendship has been reignited - after 40 years! They attended the book talk together and I felt truly giddy and pleased during the entire presentation thinking about them. How satisfying it was to learn this and to meet both of these happy ladies!
So, let the publisher count the quantity of books sold. The question should not be: "How many books did you sell?" ... it should be: "How many people have been touched?" For this author, if I have moved even one soul, that is quite enough payment.