Bennett's Blog

It's Business... But it's still personal

Bennett R. Coles | August 5, 2011

The other day a friend of mine went into a local independent bookstore to pick up a copy of Virtues of War, to no avail. Thinking this meant they'd sold out, I popped by a few days later to deliver more (I often deal directly with the independents to preserve profitability) and was politely informed that the book was unavailable because they'd pulled it from the shelves: apparently it hadn't sold enough.

Fair enough. I've always understood that books are a business and if this particular store wasn't making enough money selling Virtues they would only naturally replace it with something that moves more copies.

But it still hurt, dammit. How could they say that my book wasn't worth keeping in stock? How could new readers out there not instantly perceive its genius and buy it up by the wagonload? How dare they pull my book!

I tried to maintain my smile, but it was hard to enter the store thinking I was dropping off more copies of a successful seller and then leave having been told that the book was a flop. I protested that the book was already on its fourth re-order with a store across town, and the owner commented on how different genres sell well in different locations. Very true. Very professional.

I understand that it's a business. But this is something I created, and while every success makes me smile, every setback still hurts. Yes, it's a business... but it's always personal.

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