Monday, October 22, 2012

The Numbers


- Where are you going?
- A bookstore. I'm doing an opening to sell a client's new book.
- What kind of client?
- A poet.
- A good poet?
- She's well known in Israel.
- How many copies does a well known poet's book sell?
- 500. Tops.
- 500?
- For poetry, that is good..
- My stories on the internet have been visited over 100,000 times.
- In how long?
- 2 years.
- Israel is a small country. And people pay for my clients' books. You give away your writing.
- Maybe it's harder to give away writing than sell it.
- Why?
- People who need things have to buy. They will take anything of the sort they need. When they have their needs satisfied they are more selective. And there is a near infinite amount of free writing to choose from.
- What basic need does Israeli poetry satisfy?
- A feeling of belonging to a group, the cultured and poetic.
- What good is your writing if it doesn't satisfy any need?
- No basic need. There's plenty to talk about once we stop worrying how we're going to keep ourselves safe.
- But people will pay for that too. Stop giving it away.
- Maybe I like the numbers too much.
- What numbers?
- For a book to make The New York Times Bestseller list it has to sell 20,000 copies. I threw stories and philosophy into the internet and a bestseller 5 times over came out.
- But a bestseller is sold. People pay for it.
- And the competition is greater giving things away than selling.
- What do you care about the competition if no one is paying you?
- Competition is what all this is about. Writing is to be read.

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