Monday, September 22, 2008

Literary Life: The Underbelly

"The book of my enemy has been remaindered
And I am pleased.
In vast quantities it has been remaindered
Like a van-load of counterfeit that has been seized
And sits in piles in a police warehouse,
My enemy's much-prized effort sits in piles
In the kind of bookshop where remaindering occurs.
Great, square stacks of rejected books and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on life's vanities,
Pausing to remember all those thoughtful reviews
Lavished to no avail upon one's enemy's book --
For behold, here is that book
Among these ranks and banks of duds,
These ponderous and seeminly irreducible cairns
Of complete stiffs."

The poem is by Clive James. Perhaps I should know about whom he is licking his sweet lips, feasting on the failure of a competitor or adversary. I know not. I was just reminded of it when I realized that Amazon, AMAZON!, no longer has copies of either of my books.

So I jumped to the NavPress website, thinking to contact someone about this outrage—after all, the second book, Every Disciple’s Journey, has been out only 13 months—there to find that my first book, Praying for Dear Life, is on the clearance shelf.

Clearanced. Remaindered. What is the difference?

Stephen Donaldson once said something to the effect that the only way to hurt someone who has lost everything is to give him part of it back, but broken.

I am not overly depressed about it—just about usual—and I guess I knew that soon I would hear from the publisher that neither book has sold well enough to warrant a reprint or new addition or whatever and so I if I wanted I could order multiple copies and a fraction of the cost. I will do that when the letter comes.

Still, that AMAZON is no longer carrying them, new ones, used ones, otherwise. I do not even have the honor of my books in great unsold stacks as Clive James’ enemy’s. Nope. My just seem to have disappeared into the ether or otherwise.

Being a writer is such a wonderful dream and a reality. But having nobody read what you write is almost worse than never having published at all. Almost.

1 comment:

Anita said...

Let me say that I am HONORED to have your book which can now be considered COLLECTOR'S ITEMS!!! They will be incredibly valuable after you die - like a Picasso :)

I love you my #1 preacher man ;D