On Germany

I’m kind of a big deal in Germany.

Not a huge deal, mind you. And certainly not a David Hasselhoff-type deal. (I think I need leather pants, a few cheesy albums and a drinking problem to reach those heights.) But I’m pretty sure more readers know my name in Germany than in the United States.

“Why is that?” I hear you asking.

The reason is that image to your right — the German version of DEATH NOTICE, only there it’s known as DAS SCHWEIGEN DER TOTEN. Cool cover, right? I’m not sure how it relates to my book at all (There is no one wrapped in plastic, a la Twin Peaks.) but it looks creepy and certainly has a few Germans buzzing about it. It’s sold more copies in the past two weeks in Germany than it has in the last four months in the United States.

I’ve come up with two reasons for this. The first is that Germans are twisted, morbid people with a taste for thrillers in which characters get embalmed by a wannabe mortician. (I’m not judging. I find that to be an admirable quality.) The second is that my name is rather Teutonic and that perhaps some Germans have mistaken me for one of their countrymen. Whatever the reason, I’ll take it.

Of course, I’m not the only writer this has happened to. If you take a look at Amazon.com’s German website, you’ll see a lot of American authors you’ve probably never heard of doing very, very well there. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that good sales in Germany have allowed a few authors to make the leap into writing full time. That is an awesome thing. I hope to be one of them someday.

Now, my point of this post is not to brag about my success in Germany. It’s more about how surreal the world of publishing can be, especially where foreign sales are concerned. It’s mind-blowing to know that, right this very moment, someone on the other side of the world is reading my book. Even stranger is that people in Germany are liking it quite a bit.

I think.

That’s another surreal thing about all of this. I have no idea what German readers are saying about DAS SCHWEIGEN DER TOTEN. I only see the starred reviews on the few sites I’ve been able to Google. For writers like me who thrive on positive feedback, it’s pretty frustrating not being able to read what those reviews are saying. (I tried using Google translator, but everything came out sounding like garbled lyrics to an Ace of Base song.)

The upside is that none of this has gone to my head. It’s hard to get a swollen ego when you’re not even sure what’s going on in a country you’ve never visited and whose language you don’t know. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes. So I go about my day like normal — writing, driving to work, spending weekends on the couch dressed like a retiree from Boca.

At the same time, it’s good to have a back-up ego boost in times of stress. When I get cut off by an SUV on the highway, for example, or when the kid behind me on the airplane keeps kicking my seat. That’s when I close my eyes, take a deep breath and tell myself, “People in Germany really like my book.”

It works everytime.

So if anyone from Germany is reading this, I want you to know how grateful I am that you’ve taken a shine to this boy from Pennsylvania. It means a lot, and I hope to visit one day very soon. Until then, from the bottom of my heart, danke.

Posted on by Todd Posted in Musings

Comments are closed.