Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

15 years of national bestsellerdom

by Rob - July 29th, 2015.
Filed under: Bestsellers Lists, Calculating God.

Speaking, as we were yesterday, of bestsellers lists, it was fifteen years ago today, July 29, 2000, that I first hit a national top-ten mainstream bestsellers list in Canada. My Calculating God hit #8 on the Globe and Mail fiction bestsellers list, and the following week, it hit #7 on the fiction list in Maclean’s, Canada’s national newsmagazine.

The wonderful folks at H.B. Fenn and Company, the Canadian distributor for Tor Books at the time, surprised me with this beautiful (and large!) commemorative poster (click for larger version). As I noted in my journal for September 7, 2000:

Today was an unexpectedly fabulous day. I had a meeting scheduled with Heidi Winter, senior publicist at H.B. Fenn and Company, the Canadian distributor for Tor Books. The meeting was supposed to be a wrap-up discussion about my recent book tour for Calculating God.

Carolyn and I drove up to Bolton, Ontario, where Fenn is headquartered. Heidi took us upstairs to the board room for our meeting …

… except it turned out it wasn’t a meeting. To my absolute shock and delight, it was a surprise party for me! They were celebrating my making the bestsellers lists in The Globe and Mail: Canada’s National Newspaper and Maclean’s: Canada’s National Newsmagazine.

Forty Fenn staff members were on hand to congratulate me. They had a big cake and lots of beverages, and the art department had made up a wonderful “Congratulations, Rob!” poster, signed by all sorts of Fenn staff members.

Harold Fenn (the president) gave a terrific and very moving speech about our ten-year-long association (Fenn is also the Canadian distributor for Warner Books, so they had distributed my first novel, Golden Fleece, back in 1990). I was absolutely floored; I knew making the national mainstream bestsellers lists was a thrill for me, but I hadn’t realized it had been a thrill for the Fenn folk as well. But they seemed at least as delighted as I was.

After the party, the publicity department — Heidi Winter, Marla Krisko, and Melissa Cameron — took Carolyn and me out for a lovely lunch.

I was totally surprised, very touched, and completely thrilled. It was just wonderful.

Robert J. Sawyer online:

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