Friday, December 14, 2007

Valuing Books More Than Numbers

Dear Friends,

Long time without writing. Been doing some living, and some reflecting. Some wonderful things to share.

Straight Into Gay America:
I remember writing this book in the winter of 2005 and coming to the point of not caring if a single person bought the book – I was putting down the words I needed to get out.

That throw-it-to-the wind feeling about sales lasted until publication when I dropped back down to valuing my work based on how many books I was selling. Even the national publishing awards didn’t take me out of this non-productive numbers game.

I’ve been settling up with this feeling – “why do I internalize my value of this book by the sales numbers???” On and off, I’m letting go of this, moving towards choosing and honoring the whole incredible experience, of writing, riding, and sharing Straight Into Gay America.

One of the greatest blessings of the book has been the pushing and pulling it worked for my dad and me. Way back the first time Ronald Reagan ran for president I voted him in, same as my dad. Ever since then I’ve been diverging more and more from his political views. I thought that was just going to be the cost of my Straight Into Gay America advocacy. Attending a Landmark Forum ( weekend I realized how I’d put my dad in an ideological box and there was so much more to him I wanted to enjoy, and I wanted my family to enjoy of him. What a breakthrough. For his 75th birthday I made a list of 75 things that inspire me about my dad and which I love about my dad. Felt so good to send that to him for his birthday. Our visit this fall felt the best in many, many years.

One Wheel – Many Spokes:
I’m letting go of that numbers thing with One Wheel, too. With two publishers weekly reviews of my book, a professional publicist, and big dreams, I printed 10,000 copies of that book. (Books are way way cheaper when you print big numbers…but you have to sell the books.) I sold 3,000 of the books and still have some 5,000 at a distribution center.

These days I work with hundreds of authors, helping them create websites to share their writing dreams with the world. I tell them that the first book is often “learner fees.” Finally I’m willing to listen to my own words. What a great learning One Wheel – Many Spokes has been for me:

o Making a difference in readers lives
o Learning to publish a book
o Learning the publishing industry
o 3 national publishing awards
o Getting my job working with authors.
o Making a home in Chelan, WA.
o A Guinness Record for fun.
o A surfeit of books for a reality check.

Book Sale: I’m cleaning out the distribution center. If you’re interested in buying the remaining copies of One Wheel – Many Spokes, make me an offer. You can market the books, sell the books, or use them any way you wish in your organization. Highest offer wins (buyer pays shipping.)

Wow it feels good to clear up these books and move on to the next adventure.

Life in Chelan:
Kids are 11 and 13 this year. Teenage fun. That first cross-country unicycle ride they were 5 and 7 years old – a whole different life back then for them. Now its sports and school and music and friends for them. Every day I’m amazed I get to be their dad.

Anne is working again. The middle school called up and asked for Anne’s special ed skills this year. She’s working with some great students and we’re all loving the stories she brings home from the day. Both Anne and I attended Landmark Forum this summer and found it opening so much insight and possibility for our lives. 17 years of marriage. Love gets better and better and better.

We’re doing some skiing with friends this Christmas break, and looking forward to the blessings of the coming year. May it be a year filled with gifts for each of you. Thank you for sharing in the journey of life.

Thank you for the emails and letters that let me know about your living.