Sunday, August 30, 2009


So today Radclyffe, the president of Bold Strokes Books, sent 4 possible covers for my book. Talk about a close-your-eyes-and-point process. Well, not really. Every choice seemed off except the one that was quite different from the others. And, to me, that was the one that best reflected the atmosphere of the books. Rad even liked one that was different. And, gosh-oh-gosh, I had to speak up for my favorite. And she was okay with that. A few years ago I would have deferred.
And, of course, now I'm nervous about the choice.

All choices had blacktop highway and mountains except one. I wanted dirt road and prairie. We came out somewhere in between. It also includes a leather-clad female leg with an automatic rifle resting against it. It works and I'm happpy. Hopefully, it will be interesting enough to attract a few extra readers besides my friends and family.

Lately, I've been dealing with people who judge all artistic endeavors by the amount of money made by the creative work.
"Oh, she makes indie films? Does she get paid for them?"
"He's a poet? How much money did his book make?"
"Well, has she ever sold any of her short stories?"
"You make pots? You should sell them at art fairs."
"I hope you negotiated a decent contract with your publisher."

Nancy Pearl (America's great librarian and professional book reader) says that books make money from luck and "fairy dust." She said, just the other day, that it's a mystery why some books become famous while other books that are better, or just as worthy, go unnoticed.

Can't people just create for the sake of creating? Why do we Americans only value artistic work that has monetary value?

And I know my book will be judged by the number of copies it sells or by how much my publisher pays me. Frankly, I really don't need the money. I have a great job already. And since Wind and Bones is clearly a niche book, I'll be happy with a few strangers reading it. I already expect my friends to buy it....not necessarily read it, though. Reading is optional.

So, hopefully, I won't get that teeth-grinding question: "How much you makin' off yer book, Marra?" Because the answer will be a shrug and a smile and the questioner will go unsatisfied. But he/she will walk away thinking the book has no value because it's not making me rich.

"Oh, what a world, what a world..."

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