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How Many Books Have You Sold? · 13 September 2014


A while ago, our youngest son, Thing 3, asked the question: How many books have you sold?


It was innocent enough. (Although I think he was wondering if I was going to make enough money in royalties to buy him a new computer.) But I was curious too, so I said, “I don’t know. Let’s look.”


So we did.


For the month previous to the date Thing 3 asked, I had sold exactly four books. Four. F-O-U-R. I was excited. Really. After all, when we looked back three months previous, I had still only sold those same four books. I was also excited because one of the books was sold in Japan and the other three were sold on the same day. I told Thing 3 that the three on the same day were probably bought by the same person. (Turns out they were not.) And all the sales were probably to friends of mine. Which is great too. After all, it means that somebody is reading what I write.


Now after giving books away (see Just Gotta P), I am not so sure if I want to my son to ask me the question again.


In truth, I am a bit scared. I am scared wondering how many books I will have given away after a weekend of freebies. Frankly, I am not worried that I have given away too many. Quite the contrary. If I gave lots of books away, I would be ecstatic. After all, it might mean somebody is reading. Hopefully, it turns into a few reviews. And some subsequently sales.


No. The reason I am a bit scared is because I would hate to see that I did not give away any books. That nobody wanted to read what I have even though it was free.


The more I think about it, that is the biggest reason most people do not put pen to paper in the first place. They do not think anybody will read. They deem themselves unworthy of the ink. And so they do not write. Even if they have some compelling story.


Which brings me back down to earth. Even if I could not give away any books in a weekend of freebies (I ended up giving away thirty-three), I still consider myself a writer. I still believe in myself. Because I have done it. I have put pen to paper. I have published several books. I have promoted myself and those books. And even if nobody reads them, I can say that I have done it. I may not be an accomplished writer. I may not even be a good writer. But I am a writer. Regardless of how many books I have sold. Regardless of whether my answer to Thing 3 about how many books I have sold is still just F-O-U-R.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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