Ran into an old friend from high school the other day while I was typing away in a coffee house.
We hooked up and went to a bar and passed the time and that's when he told me had picked up my second novel at a library sale for fifty cents. He said the library was cleaning out some of their beat up paperbacks and mine was on a table.
He proceeded to then tell me how much he was enjoying the book. He wanted to know all about my research and had I really lived in the South. As we sat at the bar he started to bring up obscure scenes I had really forgotten all about. He described moments that were very touching for him and said there were moments of drama that made made him forget I had written it.
He then began to ask me how much I had been paid for the book and wanted to know if I got a royalty when book was sold by a library for fifty cents. I told him no and when I told him how much I was initially paid he said he had no idea that someone paid that much for a book. I told him that was a different time and I explained the seven years it took me to write the book and the research and the grind to find a publisher and all the hell every writer goes through trying to get their work out to the public .
Again, he said he had no idea. He made me promise not to tell him how the book ended. We sat drinking for a while longer and then traded phone numbers and that was it. I thought about it later as I went home on the train. A book you spend years and years writing someone picks up for fifty cents. It's a good thing writing is not about the money.