Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Letter About Following Atticus From A Reader

A writer longs to connect. 

He wants his words to find the right set of eyes, pierce them, and fall directly into his reader's heart.  Occassionally, if we are fortunate enough, it happens.  And better yet, there are times a person lets you know when your words have taken them home again.  That's the most fulfilling part about being a writer.  Yes, making a living off of it is nice, and so are book sales, and bestseller lists - but more than anything it's the connection that counts.

On Monday we celebrated Atticus's tenth birthday by telling our blog, Twitter, and Facebook followers that if we made the New York Times bestseller list during his birthday week (the rating period goes through this Saturday), we'd donate a $1,000 to both the Jimmy Fund and to Angell Animal Medical Center.  We then urged people to buy Following Atticus this week to read it (if they haven't already), or to buy it for those they cared about.  What has transpired has been beyond my wildest dreams.  We may or may not make the New York Times bestseller list, but our numbers on Amazon and Barnes & have jumped to new highs.  Even better is the outpouring of emotion that has come with so many of the posts, emails, and tweets.  It's really been something special.

The responses have been so numerous that I could not possibly post all of them but today I asked one emailer for permission to make her message public.  I hers out of so many worthy candidates for various reasons.  I think, however, the main reason is because it was most indicative of the majority of messages we've received. 

So many people have bought several copies of Following Atticus in its various forms (some of have bought it in ebook, hardcover, and in its audio form as well) and read it or listened to it, but then went right ahead and bought several more copies for other people in their life.

I think I can speak for everyone who is involved in the publishing of Following Atticus by saying that the response has been beyond remarkable.  It's been jaw-dropping. 

So thank you all for sharing your stories with us. 

Thank you for revealing your hearts.

And thank you for allowing me to tell the story of my friend, a most unusual little dog.

Here's what Janice from Saskatchewan, Canada had to say about Following Atticus...

I first learned about your book after my husband went out looking for dog booties earlier this year (incidentally for our own miniature schnauzer "Mausi", who had her first birthday last month). He came home with a set of muttluks, and attached to them was a promo card for your book. I was instantly intrigued - our Mausi is such an amazing little dog in her own right, so I was curious about what sort of story you and Atticus could tell. I kept the card in front of my keyboard for the next couple of weeks, as a reminder to snag the book when I was done with the series I was reading at the time.

I purchased the ebook in mid-February - and I am so glad that I did. I found so much joy and wisdom and more than a few tears every time I turned on my kindle. My only regret is that it didn't count towards the NYT push you started yesterday - so in honor of Atticus's birthday and the story you've shared, last night I went to and bought several more ebooks (to share with my family), and a hardcover version to grace our own living room. I hope you make it to the bestseller list - your story deserves to be spread far and wide.

Thank you so much,
Janice, Clark, and Mausi
Saskatchewan, Canada - where the winters can be nasty too, except everything here is flat.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful, generous act. All for a special story.

Hazel & Trusty Canine Teddy said...

Atticus warmed my heart and Tom brought joy and enlightenment through his writing.

I do believe in divine timing and it never failed when I picked up the book it was right at a particular spot that resonated deeply with either what I had endured or was currently journeying through.

Thank you Tom and Atticus for your selfless acts and sharing your courage, fears and love with your readers.

Sincerely -
Hazel Tarr

Diane Herd Smith said...

I've never been a hiker, lived in Mt Washington Valley for 40+ years, but hiked only a bit and only two 4K-footers, but .... I am giving it some serious thought again. You and Atti inspire me to re-think what my inner view has been, 'gee, I can't do that.' So maybe this is the year I REALLY remember how much I loved just being out in the mountains, whether or not I was climbing up or just sauntering along .... again for the millionth time, thank you Tom & Atticus for sharing your journey!

audree said...

Dear Tom,
It's been a joy for me to keep up with your blog. In honor of Atticus' birthday, I called two Barnes and Noble stores in Honolulu, Hawaii to find your book. The first store sadly told me that they just returned the copies that they had. I called the second store and told them what the first said and also why I'm looking for your book...the lovely lady who helped me managed to save one copy from the box of books being returned, and as she did so, her boss told her that someone else called for the other copies, too! Even here in Hawaii, your and Atticus' story touch our hearts.

Janice from Saskatchewan said...

My family eagerly snatched up the ebooks I had purchased on Atticus's birthday - I've since bought another batch so that I have more to give away.

Good luck with the list!