Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Letter From Afar

I received a fan letter in yesterday’s mail. Now this in itself is odd enough. As a primarily self-pubbed/print-on-demand author, my books aren’t widely distributed. Heck, they aren’t “distributed” at all, except to a few local shops. Granted, my POD books are on and, but somebody would have to know they’re there to actually find them.

My best-selling book (the self-pubbed Patches on the Same Quilt) has sold about 1,800 copies in seven years. This is not great. For a commercially published book, it would be abysmal. Had the Smith Mountain Arts Council not backed the first press run and set up appearances for me, Patches wouldn’t have sold as many copies as it did.

My POD books haven’t sold as well as Patches. The, ahem, “best seller” of the bunch—The Girl Who Raced Mules & Other Stories—has only sold a little over 500 copies. Most of us who self-pub (or POD-pub) do so because our books fit small niche markets. Our readership is usually in our local area. Consequently, we don’t expect huge sales figures or whopping profits.

And those of us who are “under-published” usually don’t expect fan letters, so it’s a pleasant surprise when we get one. The one I got yesterday came from an 89-year-old WWII veteran who lives in Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia, and who had been given a copy of The Girl Who Raced Mules & Other Stories by a woman who lives within 20 miles of me. They’d both been in Canada at a reunion of WWII training squadron; her father-in-law was a member of the RCAF.

“I have always loved short stories,” Mr. Taylor wrote, and went on to say how much he’d enjoyed “Chosen Child,” one of the longer stories in my collection. He mentions that he “several times burst out laughing.” He also told me he’d compiled a couple of books of his own stories, Taylor’s Tales, Vols. I, II, and III.

It’s always nice to hear from a fellow writer, and his letter made my day. Sometimes we don’t know how far our words will reach, and I’m humbled and appreciative that my words reached halfway round the world.

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Blogger Amy Hanek said...

Wow! That's great! You are receiving fan mail!! You deserve it!

3:02 PM  

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