Not Spare Change · 24 October 2015

If you were the person counting the money in the offering lately, that 15 cents I put in was not spare change.

A long time ago, I decided that I would give God at least half of my writing earnings. It would not all go to the church necessarily, but I knew dedicating it to God was what I wanted to do. Actually, I was trying to bargain with God, and I just knew the royalties would start rolling in if He agreed to the deal. (By the way, it does not work that way. God does not bargain, nor does He need our money.)

That was years ago and I am still waiting for those royalties to roll in. At least in more than nickels and dimes.

To date, I have actually made a few dollars in royalties. I get a statement every three months and I can look at the reports to see how well my books have done on Amazon (where they are currently available digitally, hint, hint). The funny thing is that when I get those statements, I do not need a calculator to figure out God’s share. Instead, I need to get out my change.

My wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, thinks it is funny when we are sitting in church and the offering bag goes by and I put in my change. It does not matter whether the amount is a bunch of quarters or a few cents or even a couple dollars. She just giggles with a mischievous grin and a twinkle in her eye and says, “Royalties?”

I try to look offended and hurt, but it always comes out as a smile and I just say, “Yes.”

Our little inside joke has gone on for as long as I have been receiving these small payments, but it is still fun. It helps me to remember that I need not take myself, or my writing, too seriously.

I must admit that this latest royalty payment was the smallest I have had in a long time (besides the ones that are zero). My ebooks are priced at a modest $3.00 and Amazon gives me between 35% and 70% of that price. So I wondered what was up with the 27¢. I looked at the reports and found that somebody had read some amount of pages of one of my books (Pee on Poo Potty on the Shoe) and I got some money. Just for somebody turning the digital pages of my book.

It was mindboggling to say the least.

I thought a little more about Kindle Direct Publishing Select program and decided that while people complain about it, there are some nice benefits. One of which is getting a few cents for people turning pages in a digital book enrolled in the program. People who have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited can read my books for their subscription price and I get a little profit for each page they read. The downside is that these books cannot be digitally available outside Kindle Direct Publishing, but if people are reading, people are reading. And that is a good thing.

I am glad that I live in this day and age when a hack with a website and the desire to do a little writing (regardless of its quality or relevance) can publish. I am glad that the books I have out there are selling a few copies. And I am glad that I can even make a little money when somebody turns a few pages of one of my books before deciding that is enough. It is certainly a great time to be a writer. Regardless of how mediocre I am at it.

But back to the cents.

I just wanted to let the people around me at church to understand that when The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi laughs at my pennies in the offering, she is merely recognizing that I am being aptly rewarded for my talent. And I wanted the counters of said offering to realize that my part was a large percentage of my writing income. Not just spare change.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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