How Are Your Book Sales Going?

One of my current least favorite questions. One capable of triggering doubts, second-guessing and negativity. My favorite answer to this least favorite question is— Think of the Zen koan - What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Alternately, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, might said tree someday get another chance of being heard via a book?

Because, indeed, life is short; art long (ars longa, vita brevis), neither of which sales numbers address. I am nothing but happy to have Rocking Like It’s All Intermezzo: 21st Century Psalm Responsorials out in the world. And I have received some comments that have meant a great deal to me.

Beyond that, publishing one book seems to have flipped my stuck brake switch! And made it easier to imagine doing additional books. The poems in Rocking address interior struggles and temporary rapprochements. They are not the satirical, angry quasi-polemics I’m so fond of, recently, some of which can be found online or at locations referenced on this website. But if seen as a group, they make a more coherent statement and complement the Psalm poems perfectly.

As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog, reform is needed. Reform is normal, i.e., has happened before in the church’s long history. It is our church. We bear corporate responsibility to ensure substantive change. No bloodless apologies or insipid window-dressing. A real metanoia is required. To this end, I put together a 10-poem sequence addressing the domestic church reality, as I see it. The best of the poems that I’ve been writing all along. And This Can’t Be Good, Ten Poems in Praise of Reform has joined Rocking on Amazon.

At this point, it is available only as an ebook. I think it works, with one glaring exception. The need to use long lines in these somewhat cerebral poems (or maybe I just like long lines) conflicts mightily with the small phone screen. Maybe phone readers turn their devices horizontally automatically. I hope so; otherwise; the lines can get quite confusing. The longer I worked on adjusting everything, the worse things got, so I took the first available sweet spot and immediately uploaded to Amazon.

The book can be downloaded there for $2.99.. As a participant in the Kindle Select Program, it is exclusive to Amazon, at least for the next three months, and must not be priced below $2.99, except for some promotional days. I plan to reduce the price whenever I can to $.99 so contact me for more information, if interested.

I have to say, other than the frustration over how to preserve lineation in some of the poems, the process was interesting and enjoyable. Amazon’s software is easy to use, and the site has good instructional help. The Cover Creator program was intuitive, fun, and I liked the result very much. In addition to the book creation technology, Amazon provides marketing programs and, here in this halcyonic slice of time before the publishing industry is totally destroyed by their model, makes it easy to publish work and connect with readers. It was great, and now I have two books, which, incidentally, I hope might come to clap hands together in the forest soon!

How Is That Book Coming Along?

Funny, you should ask! Getting close to publication day! Rocking Like It’s All Intermezzo: 21st Century Psalm Responsorials. Resource Publications, 2019. So… I’m squeaking the publication of my first book into this decade, after all.

I’ve had my doubts. Despite a few encouragingly close calls to publish other manuscripts, this one is in a printing queue somewhere. Thanks to the concerted efforts of many people, some of whom I know, but most of whom I’ve never met, it’s happening within the month.

I had my first peek at the cover this week. Designed by Shannon Carter of Wipf and Stock. I’d been wondering what “rocking” image she would build on, and it’s a storm-tossed sea. Perhaps she took her inspiration “Paths” (Psalm 77. 19):

All of which is to say, Lord:

On these great waters of Yours,

how do I not drown?

Unless I hear otherwise, I’m going with that.

And even better, the incomparably-voiced Deborah T. Mazzone will be reading the poems for an audiobook, to be released simultaneously with the publication of Rocking as a paperback and ebook. She will add dramatic depth to what are now words on a page. I am very grateful for her willingness to do this—and excited to hear the finished product!