When your market value is over $1 trillion, you enjoy certain privileges. One of these privileges is getting what you want, when you want it, for as cheap as you want it. This is the story of Amazon.
This week, the Kindle version of When Despair Meets Delight came out on Amazon. Next week, they will be releasing my print book. On the one hand, this is cause for celebration. Amazon can reach readers far greater than I can. With their help, I can better cultivate hope for those impacted by brain illnesses is advanced. This is proving to be the case, as my book has shot up to #1 in Bipolar Disorder, above Carrie Fisher’s book. I am grateful for this and pray that lives are changed as a result of Amazon’s service.
At the same time, I am conflicted. I have loyal and faithful supporters who invested in the publication of When Despair Meets Delight. I was hoping to offer them books prior to public release. Now that’s not going to happen. There is no way I can compete with the big boys. Amazon has a sweetheart deal with my publisher and they get books sooner than I do, for a lower rate. If I don’t allow them to set the terms, my book dies in an graveyard few will ever find. With them, more people read my work. This is my primary goal. I may make very little from Amazon for the books they sell, but some benefits are greater than financial rewards.
In spite of my conflicting emotions, gratitude overrides them all. I am grateful to Amazon for making my book available to the masses. I am grateful to those of you who are buying it. For those who have or will pre-order (at When Despair Meets Delight), you will still get the benefit of an autographed copy and an invitation to a virtual book signing. The cost will be comparable to Amazon’s and you will receive free shipping. Finally, you receive my gratitude for investing in my publication process, which is costly. Thanks to your encouragement, prayers, and financial support, When Despair Meets Delight now sees the light of day. Amazon now sees that it shines brighter.
Self-publishing is a learning process. With two books now, I’ve learned many lessons. One day I may write a book about writing a book, though that market is more than a little saturated. For now, I am ready to step back and focus on what I do best — reflect on the nature of faith and brain illnesses and compose stories that convey Christ’s love for those often considered the least.
This week I plan to take a social media retreat. While I will not be totally disengaged, I will invest a good deal of time and attention to prayers for others and for discerning about my vocation. I have been stretched thin lately and I need to step back and try to not do everything, particularly those things others do better. Let Amazon sell the books. Trust others to promote them. I will still be involved in spreading the message of my book, but I will cautiously and carefully do only what is essential.
Instead, during my retreat, I will also be advancing forward. I will draft a proposal for my next book and begin the research process. I will refocus on what I know best and love most and, hopefully, glorify God in what I enjoy.