26 January 2018

Throwing Raspberries

by O'Neil De Noux

In 1940, the last year of F. Scott Fitzgerald's life, only seven copies of THE GREAT GATSBY were sold.

Edgar Allan Poe sold THE RAVEN for $20.

I have 36 books in print and many times my monthly sales are low. That happens. I haven't learned the tricks of selling online, but I'm still young. Writing well is more important to me than selling well, I suppose.

The next person who says I must be rich because I'm a writer with all those books in print will get a raspberry from me. Not the tongue-vibrating raspberry. I'm going to the grocery to buy raspberries to throw at people. Especially relatives who see me arrive at a family gathering in my 2004 Saturn SUV.

My writer friends know what I mean. We don't do it for money. We write because we were put on this earth to be writers. And don't think it's the quality of writing that makes those big-name writers sell more books than most of us. It's good marketing and readers too lazy to try someone new. Kudos to those writers who sell lots of books.

FOR YEARS I've been asking friends and relatives, acquaintances, people on the street, people on social networks to buy books as Christmas presents, birthday presents. Don't even go to a store. Just go online and order and it's delivered to your house. Books are ease to wrap. Books make people THINK and FEEL something, maybe even drag them away from depression into another world for a short while. If it's a good book, it'll remain with the reader. May even make them laugh or cry.

Remember IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - when you hear a bell ringing an angel got his/her wings?

Each time you buy a book, you're helping support someone who has struggled with our limited means of communicating to weave a tapestry of ideas and sensation and scenes that can be unforgettable.

I recommend books I've read all the time to acquaintances, friends, passersby, family. I buy books as presents.

Funny note about family. All of my books are dedicated to someone, often family members who I dutifully give a copy of the book to, family members who politely ask me at the next family gathering how my writing is going. I ask them if they liked the book I dedicated to them and they find lint to brush off their shoulder or a hem to straighten or a belt to pull up or they have to go to the bathroom.

Time to go to the grocery for raspberries.

Just as I put this posting together, my high school English teacher from ARCHBISHOP RUMMEL HIGH SCHOOL in Metairie, LA is so proud of me dedicating my latest book to him, he sent a notice to the school. Check it out.

Some people do appreciate a dedication.



  1. O'Neil, I think books as gifts is a great thing and we often give them, and not mine necessarily ;-) . I also find that people I have given mine to haven't read them even though they thought they deserved a free copy, but it's usually not free to me. So, I love the raspberries idea. If we go in on them together maybe we can get a bulk price.

  2. All the rich people I know drive old cars because they are frugal and desire to maintain their wealth. It is only the deeply in debt posers who drive fancy cars and pretend to be something they're not. So, you must secretly be rich. Right? It's okay. You can tell us the truth. We're all friends here.

    Concentrating on short stories means no one mistakes me for wealthy, so I don't have to fend off the kind of comments you receive, O'Neil. I do, however, keep getting asked what I'm going to sell movie rights to something so that I will get rich.

  3. Books are, of course, the perfect gift and we must all remember that books are NEVER CLUTTER.

  4. There's a special place in heaven for the Archbishop!
    And I ALWAYS give books as gifts. All my grandchildren and godchildren know that's what they're gonna get from me, and amazingly (to their parents) they look forward to it. (This year I started my 12 year old grandson on the Discworld series.)
    And I understand the raspberries - the number of people (of more wealth than me, I might add), who ask me, "Where can I get a copy of your story?" and then look blankly at me when I suggest they buy a magazine at their local bookstore or on-line...

  5. Paul, you made me laugh. (haven't read them even though they thought they deserved a free copy)
    O'Neil, a pint of raspberries in Canada probably costs as much as an ebook, so I'm not sure I can afford to give those. But I'm with you all the way - books as gifts! I've started giving books (and not mine) as hostess gifts. Wish everyone would.

  6. O'Neil, you nailed it from sales to dedications to blank looks on the faces of receivers.

  7. O'Neil, I'm with you, on giving books as gifts. (And I love receiving them as well.) Great column!

  8. My mother, who is 95, says it isn't a birthday or Xmas unless she receives a book. I was at her birthday party & she got two or three that day. At her age she doesn't want things that will outlive her, except books. So I gave her Polish cookies which are delicious & maybe helped her gain a little weight.

    It's great that your English teacher gave you props after you gave him his!

  9. Yes, I give (and receive!) books for Xmas, Birthdays, ect! :) Keep those bells ringing!


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