A couple weeks ago I received a royalty check from the publisher of my e-book, At Work as it is in Heaven. It wasn’t much – enough to buy a couple tanks of gas for my SUV. But the point is, there is now hard evidence that some wretched working souls somewhere on this lonely planet have actually punched their way through enough mouse clicks to actually purchase the thing.
We’re not talking about thousands of people, so calm down. But we can safely count in the hundreds, which I consider a miracle in and of itself.
Although, truthfully, I probably could have raised as much money with far less work by holding a bake sale.
But really, friends, it was never about the money – even though getting a surprise royalty check in the mail is great fun, if nothing more than to hear yourself while spreading out your arms in a great stretch and a casual yawn say to your friends, “Oh, yes, another royalty check arrived in the mail today.”
I had always dreamed of saying those words.
Those same friends hardly need to know, of course, that my daughter made as much from her last two babysitting gigs. Better to keep them guessing.
So thanks to the one hundred fans who “liked” my Facebook page, and to the ten people who reviewed my book on Amazon, especially to those complete strangers whom I did not ask ahead of time to write a review. And look, the e-book is currently ranked #316,115 on Amazon! Which is not very good, if we are being honest. Certainly bordering on solid embarrassment. But hey, where’s your book on the Amazon ranking? Huh?
Some would say that I played the fool in this whole publishing scheme, that I could have doubled that royalty stash to the equivalent of four tanks of gas had I self-published rather than selling out to The Man (Patheos Publishing, in this case). But to be honest, I am far too lazy to figure out all that publishing rigamorole on my own. I have no idea how it works, to get something converted from a file in Microsoft Word to a digitally merchandised e-book on Amazon.com. It all sounds so complicated and time-consuming and boring. So I let Patheos do all the grunt work, and they split the proceeds. So what.
Anyway, like I was saying, getting my great work published has little to do with the money. Like many other under-appreciated writers and bloggers, I was just happy to have the opportunity to get published, even in a digital format. To think, ordinary folks in Wisconsin and Sydney, and possibly even Antwerp, are reading my little contribution to society!
I imagine them on their morning commute into the office, coffee in one hand and i-pad in the other, lost in the stories with a satisfied grin on their faces as the train rumbles through the morning fog. The conductor announces the train’s arrival to the big city, and off they go into the crowds, perhaps walking now with a renewed spiritual boost, if ever so slight. Just something to keep them going another day.
And as they push through the glass doors of their building and walk past security to the elevator bank and push the button for the 40th floor, they are thinking: “That guy who I was just reading – he’s really not much different from me right now.”
And that would be true.
Or, another scenario could be they still haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.