Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Another Myth of Children's Publishing

I don't want you to think I'm just blogging about misconceptions from now on, but I did come up with another one.

Myth #3 Authors/Illustrators have access to a never-ending supply of their own books.

Wouldn't that be nice!

I often have friends call and say they want to get a signed copy of my book for a nephew's (or some other child's) birthday party and can they swing by and pick one up. (Well, "often" might be a stretch but it does happen.)

The thing is I don't have a lot of copies of my book on hand and I certainly don't have an endless supply. When the book came out, the house gave me 20. That's what was written in my contract, 20 books. That's it.

I kept one for myself. Gave one to my son. Gave another one to a friend who helped me with some of the Japanese cultural aspects of the book. Then there were a few local charities who ask for a signed copy of the book to be auctioned off. And so on. 20 goes by fast.

How many books you get is written into your contract. And that's all you get.

If I go to a show and want to sell my book - those are copies that I bought myself. If I sell a neighbor a book from my house, that's a book I bought from B&N, just like you would. I recently did a reading at a local art studio and brought nine copies with me. Nine copies I bought, so that I could then sell. That's how it works.

In the beginning I would ask people to go to the bookstore and buy it, then they could swing by and I'd sign it. But now I keep a couple in the house. I figure a sale is a sale. But it is tricker for me because of taxes. I won't go into that because it's boring - but the short version is, I'm not a bookstore.

I imagine J.K Rowling gets as many Harry Potter's as she'd like. Maybe I'm wrong. But I imagine her house wants to keep her very, very happy. But I am far from J.K. Rowling and I haven't made the publishing house a pinky-toe of as much money as she has. So I will have to be happy with my 20 copies.

Believe me, I am.


Natalie said...

And you gave one copy to the lady who did your teacher's guide. And the lady's kids love it and they request that she read it at least a few times per week. :-)

Julie_c said...

That lady's kids have good taste. :)