After the event at Faith United Methodist Church on January 31st, I am now nearly breaking even financially with the self-publication of my first work, 27 Million Revolutions for 27 Million Slaves. One of the things that I have talked to my fiancee about is how hard it can be for a writer/artist, or anyone really, to continue doing what they love for the sake of doing what they love when financial considerations come into play. Are we good enough people to not care about money, to do what it is we love without any seeking after money? As a Christian, and as a Christian writer, I have to say that any seeking after money lessens our potential, even if the money seeking is secondary. To be the best that we can be, as a person and as a professional in a vocation, we should only do what it is we want to do and then let the money come to us. In real life this is a hard principle to follow, since we're often in need of money any way we can get it. But still, I have written a book: do I sell that book because I want people to read it and possibly gain something from it, or do I sell the book because I want to make some money? Does it matter?
Well, first of all, I think that breaking even is an event to be celebrated. Whether I am writing for my own financial well-being, my own satisfaction, or for the betterment of the world, breaking even means something: I've sold about 150 copies. Stop the trains! 150 copies! No way! That must have killed at least 10 million trees! Okay, so 150 copies is not 1,000 copies, nor is it 10,000 copies. I'm not setting any records. And let's say only half the people who have bought the book have actually read it. That means a mere 75 people have read the book. Though that number is much smaller than a writer with big dreams may like, it's still something to be celebrated.
In the case of 27 Million Revolutions, I know that many of those 75 people have found the book helpful in some way. A student in Florida asked me to record a little talk for her, one of my brother's friends was strongly moved by the book and started up a conversation with me about the book, and residents of my former hometown have said that they are starting to be more aware of slavery in the news and in their daily lives. Those are just a few examples. As a writer, what else could you ask for? As a Christian, what else could you ask for? People's lives are being changed for the better. Yes, the numbers are small, but if the impact is large, how can I or anyone else complain?
Self-publishing has had the unintended consequence of forcing me to think about finances a little too much. For any budding writers out there, self-publishing will have the same negative consequence on you as well, unless a financial boom is why you are writing. But I suppose I am choosing to ignore all the more serious questions and just remember that breaking even with 27 Million Revolutions for 27 Million Slaves means that a good number of people have been positively impacted and influenced by reading the book.
Here's to hoping that celebrating this milestone will lead to more lives changed, bringing us closer to the end of slavery. If you want to help change lives and make the world a better place--aka, a world without slavery--recommend 27 Million Revolutions for 27 Million Slaves. It's already worked wonders in a number of lives.