Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Why Bother?

A friend reports that he purchased four used copies of my book, Figured Dark , for 1 cent each, plus shipping. At least one of the copies had a card in it that I gave out only at the AWP Conference and a few local readings.

Still though, alas, I invoke these almost deadly birds of the soul.

I know the four copies will find good readers, so that is some consolation.


Blogger Joseph Hutchison said...

Don't let it wound you too deeply, Greg. Two consolatory stories:

1) Two years after the release of my third book, Bed of Coals, I wrote the publisher to exercise my author's discount and stock up for some scheduled readings. I received a letter saying that the new managing editor had needed to cull their backlist and that my book had been—yes—pulped. Without even a whisper to its author....

2) In a local used bookstore I picked up a chapbook by a poet I won't name, inscribed thusly: "Dear Mom— ... Maybe now you'll understand...." Either way you read that one—indifferent mother or a hasty estate sale— ... well, you know....

9:18 AM  
Blogger greg rappleye said...

Oh, No!

That is so sad!

9:34 AM  
Blogger The Weaver of Grass said...

I often wonder how I would feel if I saw a book I had written remaindered or in an Oxfam shop or something. I think I would much rather it be left on a park bench or somewhere like that so that someone could pick it up and read it.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Leslie said...


Someone recently gave me good advice: he said buy all those cheap used copies of your book—most are in like-new condition and you can give them out to people who might review, schedule readings, etc.

I thought this was a good idea.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

And I would NEVER sell your book, just FYI. I love it too much.

(If the economy continues to tank, I might have to burn it, but sell it? Nope.)

2:42 PM  
Blogger Collin Kelley said...

You can't let this kind of thing bother you. I just checked Amazon and there are 11 used copies of my first collection for sale ranging in price from 1 cent to more than $13. A couple of years ago, some rare book store had a copy I'd signed and was trying to sell it for $150. I don't know if some poor sucker bought it, but I never saw a dime of those royalties.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I read Mark Doty's latest blog post after reading this and it seemed a possible answer to Why Bother (a question I've been asking myself lately too!). I'm too lazy to do this the proper HTML way but this is the link:

9:46 PM  
Blogger Karen J. Weyant said...

If it makes you feel any better, I purchased your books, brand new!

12:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew Thorburn said...

I always cringe a little when I open a poetry book in a used bookstore here and see it's signed with a personal note -- though I've never seen one addressed to "Mom"!

I'm with Leslie. If you can get copies of your book for promo use for 1 cent that's much better than the 1/2 price I pay my publisher to get copies of mine.

And I'm not selling my copies of your books either -- those are keepers!

1:35 PM  
Blogger Cindy Hunter Morgan said...

The Bronte sisters published a selection of poetry by all three sisters. Only two copies were sold! Then they switched to novels.

We do this, as many have said, because we can't not do it.

2:01 PM  

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