It’s been three months since my partner Tara Maya and I started our on-line book store, MisquePress.com. It’s been slow going, and although we’ve made money each month, we haven’t made enough to buy our cabin in the Rocky Mountains or Tara’s mansion in San Marino. Oh, well, maybe after a year.
One of the main reasons we set up the store was to free ourselves from the tyranny of the big on-line companies making all the decisions about our books. For example, Amazon will “allow” each of us to have one book offered for free as long as other sales sites offer it for free. You know what? That kind of a rule doesn’t make me feel very free. In our store, we can offer any of our books for free, simply because we want to. And when the Broncos win a football game, I like to give The Freaky Fan away for free. Sure, it’s cost me hundreds of dollars in lost sales, but it’s worth it. To me, that’s one of the joys of capitalism.
But there are some downsides to having your own store. When a customer sends me an email stating that he doesn’t want to receive so many promotional emails from me, it bothers me. Mainly because I feel as though I have intruded on someone’s privacy and gotten them upset. I followed the gentleman’s request and removed his contact from my mailing program (something he could have done himself), but still it bothers me to lose a potential contact.
But here’s a strange fact of life. I depend on sales from my books to provide me with income to eat, drink, and be merry. To get those sales, I need to advertise. Everyone I send an email promotion to has several options. They can delete the email without looking at it. They can open the email and read it. They can click on any of the links I post in the email (and hopefully buy one or more of my books!). And they can go to the bottom of the email and click on the Unsubscribe button. And the mailer program I use will tell me that the person has unsubscribed and they won’t get any more emails from me (unless they subscribe again).
So, what do I want for Christmas? I want all of my potential readers to be free to make the choices they want. But I would also like you to buy my books, read them, and enjoy them. And, not surprisingly, I think they are worth reading and can provide a lot of enjoyment.