Well, just got my royalty statement for Student Bodies, and had an unpleasant surprise. It turns out that some of the books for which I received royalties have been returned to the press from the bookstores that ordered them. So, my royalty statement is now in the negative. Fortunately, I don’t have to return the money the royalties they paid me. Still it is depressing that I’ve really only sold 296 copies in a year. So much for my hope that this would get adopted for courses in history of medicine and/or by college and university libraries.
Aside from the job requirement to publish (which I don’t have), and given these numbers, why write a book? I’m serious–I’ve heard “you should write a book” a lot, and I don’t see any reason to do it. It’s an interesting exercise in sustained argument or narrative, I get that, but it seems like a lot of investment for very, very little satisfaction.
Personally, I find the process of writing very rewarding and I there is something about seeing your name on a physical object that just isn’t the same as seeing it on a computer screen. Having said that, I’m considering making a companion website for the book, if only to persuade folks to use the book in their courses!
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