To an author, is the royalty check the bottom line of the value of a book? Not in my book. I had an e-mail from a reader yesterday, a fellow named Ben, who said he spotted my book, Dakota Printer, at the bookstore. Since he loved the movie, Fargo, he decided to give it a try. He wrote, "Dakota Printer outshines Fargo by a mile and a half. When is the next one like this coming out?"
I also recently had a letter (on little post-it notes from the retirement home where she lives) from a woman who has lived her entire life in Fargo. She had read Dakota Printer. She wrote that her birthday was in January, and she would be 90 years old. So, I decided to call her for her birthday. She was so excited. It almost made me feel like a real celebrity! As we talked about her life in Fargo and the book, she said, "My mother always told me about this woman she knew years ago in Fargo. She was a real busybody! Her name was Beulah, but until I read your book I never knew what her last name was. Now I know it was Hegdahl." I told her Beulah Hegdahl was a fictional character, but she insisted she wasn't. I'm not at all sure she was convinced of it.
Today, Sunday, at church, our minister came over to me after the service. He said he had finished reading Dakota Printer. He said I must have done a lot of research about George and Libbie Custer. I read the books Libbie wrote about their life in North Dakota. Of course, I embellished them (just a bit!), but it was all based on actual history. They did stop and spend a few days in Fargo, so I figured they just might have met Papa Levine and his granddaughter, Mary Jane. Well, if they had been real people, they might have met!
I really like it when people think my make-believe people are real ones!
Yup, that kind of pay is the kind you will never get in the royalty check. But it is the best kind!
Now, go out there and make this a great day!