RLP Enters the Book Business
So I'm in the book business now. Sort of. (see
Remaindered parts one
I've sold 69 copies of my book, which is almost enough to recoup the cost of
buying the remaindered books and paying for the freight charges. I had to get an
online postage system in place. My original idea was me addressing the envelopes
by hand with stamps. But as it turns out, anything over 1 pound can't have
stamps on it.
When someone orders a book I get notified by
email. I go to the shopping cart to find their name and address. I open
Microsoft's version of Google Earth and plug in their address.
(Microsoft's Live Search has a "bird's eye view" feature that gives you the best
satellite imagine. It's amazing) Then I just look at the person's house for a
few moments. I might zoom out and look at their neighborhood. Sometimes the book
goes to a church, so I look at that.
After that I open the person's book and write
them a little note inside. Sometimes I mention having looked at their house. One
guy had something in his backyard that looked to me like a chicken coop. So I
wrote, "Hey man, what's that thing in your backyard? A chicken coop?" Or I might
say something like: "Is that a truck stop across the street from your church?"
After I've written the note, I have to find a
present that will fit in the pages. Understand that these presents have
absolutely no monetary value. Some of them don't even make sense. I just run
around the house grabbing things and shoving them in the books. But everyone
gets a little note and a present. Some of the presents I have included so far
- Pressed flowers from my backyard and from
around Covenant Baptist Church.
- An order of worship from my church.
- Music CDs (Native angels by SAVAE
and Rio Grande Romeos by Ben King.
- Leftover communion wafers from my
communion wafer taste test video.
- Cool looking old fashioned circus tickets.
- Pages from some favorite old Peanuts
- My old neighborhood association membership
- Various comic strips I have collected over
- A credit card rosary.
- A purple leaf from some plant in my
- A Kansas quarter.
Then I put the book(s) in an envelope, print
the postage, and drop it in the mail. One at a time.
What's cool about this is it's personal. These
books were sitting in a warehouse. Eerdmans was done with them, really. And I
didn't make a dime on any that sold. Eerdmans paid me an advance, so I wasn't
going to make any money unless they sold out the entire first run. Now these
books are in my home. I wrote the book. I own the copies. I ship them myself. I
like the way that feels.
Whenever possible, you should resist the urge
to automate things. You can't do everything by hand. I know that. But when you
can, you should.