This is the year to sell some books.
January 21, 2016
Caleb Pirtle III
IT WAS COLD. I hate cold mornings.
A good friend gave me a thermometer that hangs outside my window.
It has big numbers.
I look at it the first thing every morning.
The big numbers say its 29 degrees.
This is Texas.
Twenty-nine degrees is heresy.
I’ve called my friend and told him to come take down his thermometer.
I’m not cold if I don’t know it’s cold.
Lord, I hate cold mornings.
I was staring at a blank screen when the Muse wandered in from out of the dark and sat down.
He always waits until the coffee is brewed.
He doesn’t mind the cold.
He harasses me.
Keeps him warm, he says.
I guess it does.
“You’re not writing this morning,” he said.
I glanced at the screen.
There wasn’t a word on it.
He’s observant as hell.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
“Then what are you doing?”
The Muse is not always right.
This time, he was.
“This is the year,” I told him.
“I’m gonna sell some books.”
“You always sell some books.”
“This year, I’m gonna sell a lot of books.”
“Got a plan?” he asked. “Or did you have tequila with breakfast.”
“I’m stone cold sober,” I said.
The Muse walked to the window and looked out across the patio.
It was still too dark for the birds.
There was no sign of life around, nothing but the Muse and I.
“Writers no longer have to sit in the dark and hope,” I said.
“You could turn on the light.”
I ignored him.
“The digital age snuck up on us, caught us by surprise, and strangled a whole bunch of us,” I said.
“You and the masses.”
“I was in the middle of the masses.”
In an earlier time, when traditional publishing and custom publishing ruled the world of words, I sold a lot of books.
In those days, writers wrote.
Booksellers sold books.
We could see our titles in every bookstoe.
Then the digital age swamped us like a tidal wave.
The landscape abruptly changed.
It all happened overnight.
One week, I was scared of computers.
The next week, I owned one.
But the business I knew was crumbling.
Agents went away.
The agents I knew changed jobs, changed agencies, changed genres, and sometimes changed their names.
The agents I knew went out on a coffee break that’s lasted for years.
Publishers no longer ran publishing companies.
Got a book?
Accountants never loved books.
Here came Amazon.
“We’ll sell your book,” Amazon said.
Amazon will display your book.
Writers have to sell their books.
Now there are fine indie writers who are beginning to figure it all out.
That’s why I kept writing.
I couldn’t figure it out.
I believed someone someday could.
I turned to the Muse. “I have a publicist now,” I said. “I have someone to market the books.”
“It costs money.”
“Can they sell books?” he asked.
“They think they can,” I said.
“Is it worth the risk?”
“I believe in them,” I said. “It’s a new day, and they have new ideas.”
“Then I better leave,” the Muse said.
“You’ve got a book to write.”
And so I did.
One thing was for certain.
Y & R couldn’t sell the book if I didn’t write it.
They were waiting on me.
Someone always is.