Thursday, October 28, 2010

The "Bargain Book" Shelf

Kay and I were shopping in our local Christian bookstore, looking for some books for our grandson, when she noticed several shelves of books marked "bargain." Most were $3, some were two for $3, and others had been marked down to $1. We bought some bargains, but the fact that there were books there by some of my favorite authors, very talented people, set me thinking. (Don't you hate it when that happens?)

I've had two novels and one non-fiction book published. Another novel comes out next spring, and it looks like there will be more after that. Like all authors, I got a rush seeing my work on the bookshelves of our local stores. I reveled in emails, phone calls, and conversations that told me how much the people enjoyed my work. But if I'd developed an inflated sense of self-worth, seeing those shelves of bargain books brought me down to earth. Because someday, my books will be right there.

It's unrealistic to think that all works of literature have an infinite shelf life. Maybe Pilgrim's Progress or A Tale Of Two Cities. Most books aren't of that caliber, and I'm not deluded enough to think mine are. I just hope they entertain some folks while mirroring the way God works in our lives through good times and bad. If my novels do that, I won't mind when they end up on the bargain book shelf. That will only make it more likely they'll fall into the hands of someone who needs that message. And isn't that the purpose of Christian fiction? I think so.

1 comment:

Timothy Fish said...

"Infinite" is a long time and in the traditional meaning of shelf it is highly unlikely that many of us will have our books on the shelf forever, but with the technologies that are currently available (e-books, POD, etc.) we've gotten to the point where there isn't a good reason to take the books off the "shelf" either. I wrote a book a few years ago knowing it was for a niche market. I made a guess at how many copies it would sell and how long people would continue to buy it. I was way off. So far I've sold 50% more copies than I ever expected to sell and it keeps right on selling. It has slowed some since its peak several months ago, but keeps right on selling. It won't make me rich by any means, but if people still want it I see no reason why they shouldn't have access to it.