Friday, January 29, 2010

How much am I worth on eBay?

By Lonnie Cruse

Some time ago I discovered a neat little thing on Google. You can have yourself "Googled" every day by signing up to be notified when your name pops up anywhere on the Internet. This is great for authors as we can see who is checking on us, on our books, reviews we might not know about, etc. Recently my name popped up on eBay so I clicked in to see why. Someone is selling one or more of my books on eBay. I couldn't help but notice that the seller is asking more than my books sell for in a store, so I mentally wished the seller good luck with that and clicked out.

Now, mind you, this news would make *some* authors livid (that wouldn't be me) because the author whose book is sold by a third party on eBay (that would be me) will receive NO royalty for this sale. So why am I not livid? Because to begin with, said seller had to purchase my book in the first place in order to re-sell it. So I did make a royalty there. Okay, I won't make a royalty on the re-sale. BUT I might get a new reader out of the deal, and if the buyer likes my book and recommends it to others, I'll make more sales. It's all good.

I recently received an e-mail (through my website) from a reader who picked up a copy of my first book in the Metropolis Mystery Series, secondhand, from a store that sells secondhand goods. The buyer wanted to know why the person would sell that particular copy of the book since I had autographed it with a personal sentiment to someone who is closely related to me by marriage. I had to chuckle over that one. The person I autographed the book for lives half a continent away from me and likely never dreamed I'd find out it had been re-sold or traded away. Nor do I plan to enlighten that person. I told the new buyer that my "relative" likely was cleaning out book shelves and decided to purge it, which was fine with me because it brought me a new buyer/reader. I also offered the new buyer the rest of the series at a cut rate, IF he decides he wants to read the rest of the series. I encourage my readership whenever and wherever I can.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE royalties. When I received my last royalty check from Harlequin Worldwide for the paperback edition of Fifty-Seven Heaven, an amount quite a bit heftier than I'd expected, I literally clutched my chest. I never dreamed the paperback edition would sell that many copies!

Several of my other books are available on Kindle, so Amazon sends me small royalties periodically, usually around $10-$20. Not a fortune, but money just the same. And it spends as well from my pocket as it would from Amazon's. Yes, I do LOVE receiving royalties for my books. But even more, I love having new readers find me. More to the point, read me. Read the books that I slaved over a hot computer to produce. Because that's really why I write. To share my thoughts with others. To connect with others. And if they enjoy the read, so much the better!

I don't care how much I'm worth on eBay, and if that seller makes a couple of bucks off me, so be it. I care about how much I'm worth to my readers because they are worth so very much to me. Thanks for stopping by!


Sandra Parshall said...

I feel the same way, Lonnie -- I want my books to be read and enjoyed, regardless of where the reader acquires them. Some writers give away a lot of books, and I think that probably helps them more than it hurts their income. Some publishers give away backlist titles in Kindle format and have found that the writer's sales from new books benefit as a result. I've had people apologize to me for getting my books from the library, but no apology is necessary! I love libraries -- they pay for the books they stock, after all -- and I'm happy when someone finds my novels there.

Julia Buckley said...

Great points, Lonnie. But what an ironic world we live in now--that we can "Google ourselves" (just the term is odd) and end up exposing someone's secret because everything, everything can become public.

No matter what you're worth on ebay, you're a treasure to us!

David Chaudoir said...

Lonnie, this was a really inspiring post and it made me feel good to know someone has what occurs to me as a really healthy outlook on all of this (Sandra too!). I've been following this blog for over a year, but now I'm really inspired to read one of your books, too!!