Taking Stock

Digging into the archives of my office has stirred up more than dust…

If there are any fellow scribes reading this: Do you (by design or inertia) have boxes of copies of your own out-of print works piled in a corner? If you do, do you offer them for sale in any organized way? If so, what venues have been most successful for you?

Looking over the back third of my walk-in office closet, I feel as though I’ve ended up with too much ‘inventory.’ The question is what’s to be done about it at this point.

At various times I’ve been a bookseller on Amazon Marketplace, eBay, and half.com, but never primarily to sell my own books–and all those venues have become tougher for small sellers since then.

Hand-selling? Up until the mid-90s, I was attending 6 to 8 cons a year and giving the occasional school or library presentation, which offered some organic opportunities to sell books. But as my focus changed to raising my two younger children, I cut way back events of that kind. Health issues in the family cemented the change.

Of course, as I detailed here last year, depression triggered by my father’s death has intervened to choke off the creation of new material. That alone has, over time, moved me firmly into the Who? Zone, if not I-Thought-‘e-Was-Dead Territory. I’m out of touch with most of the readership I used to have, and I frankly have no clue how to connect with any prospective new readers in this instant-access ebook/social media era.

So, who knows, maybe the best destiny of most of that inventory is to be doled out in increments to Friends of the Library sales. Maybe their fate is to be unsentimentally recycled by my heirs. Maybe any effort I might put into finding homes for these paper copies would be better spent getting my remaining titles available digitally.

But I’m still curious about what other writers are doing with their own surplus Dead Tree Editions.