Trying to make a living as an author is not a great career move. It takes hours of attention every day for years to write a quality book. Then the manuscript needs to be formatted into book form, a cover designed, bar codes purchased, ISBN numbers and other info prepared for the copyright page. Someone has to go over it with a fine-tooth comb to find every teeny error in punctuation or spelling, check grammar and style. Test copies are printed and gone over. Eventually there is a “finished” work which then needs to be printed and distributed. It took me almost ten  years to write and get my first book into print. Seven for my second. Four for my third.

The listed price does not include those years of work, or the thousands of dollars it costs to get any book print-ready. I could charge more for my books, but I want to keep them affordable. I want people to read them. About half of the list price goes to printing. If I manage to get them in a book store, depending on the owner and their policies, I might make a couple bucks on a book. If I sold them on Amazon I’d make pennies. Minneapolis musical artist Paul Metsa wrote a book about his career and afterward he said, “I’ve found a way to make even less money than being a musician––become an author!”

Obviously, I’m not in it for the money. I am giving my time and attention to this as a spiritual directive––the Teachers asked me to write their books and disseminate their information. This is my purpose and my path. It’s a labor of Love. I donate about half of all the books I print to libraries and to people who can’t afford a book. If I had any other reasonable source of income, I wouldn’t have to sell any of them. But I need the cash flow to support the ongoing printing of more books.

My regional library system has a little statement on the receipt I get when I check out. It says: “By borrowing from your library you saved $26.95.” When I see that I always think “some author lost $26.95 today” (actually more like $4). I’m in the process of writing a letter to my library system to point this out, and ask them to change that to “by borrowing from your library you saved trees today.”

Here’s one more shameless ad, and then we’ll move on to other topics.