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Paradise Found

One Author's Perspective on Royalties and Bookcrossing
by alltold
December 6, 2004
One of Bookcrossing’s forum discussions focuses on the issue of whether Bookcrossing “robs authors of royalties,” or whether it actually benefits writers by expanding their readerships. These may be interesting ruminations, but what speaks to me as a writer is not dollars, earned or denied, or even whether more people will have the opportunity to read my books. What charms me is the adventure of Bookcrossing’s disarming premise, the stories born of books left solely for the purpose of being found by others, whether in a corner café, a park bench or an airport lounge.

It’s not about book sales. It’s about serendipity, a small miracle shared with someone unknown, and what writer’s heart can resist dabbling with karma, the siren call of coincidence? Bookcrossing’s “releases” are their own veritable messages-in-a-bottle, little quirks of fate that crack open destiny’s door with the infinity of the Internet’s portals and possibilities, its endless combinations. Imagine the sheer romance of it - a book left on a doorstep in Michigan, finding its way to Katmandu. Envision it - the shared love for a book echoing back like a mirror.

As writers we should take Fate seriously. It’s an integral part of our writer’s DNA. What interests us, what we write, who we chose to write about comes to us on fortune’s wings. I too am no stranger to kismet. Recently, I spent a year on the Internet hunting down the author of a postcard I found in a Los Angeles junk store. It was written by an unknown British Army Private in 1942, certainly not a historic remnant of World War II. But it was also an object left behind, a fragile thread which I could never have grasped without the vast reach of the Internet. I eventually found the British Private, and this summer traveled to a small village in Norwich, England to return the postcard to the Private’s eighty-three-year-old brother. And my reward? It wasn’t measured in monies, but in the intersection of fate and coincidence, a “crossing,” into writer’s Shangri-La.

Sure authors want their books sold, but I’d be delighted to release any number of my books in the hope that stories, many stories, result. To my fellow authors or other concerned about lost book sales – a simple reminder. It’s the stories we find, that find us that make us writers, not our royalties.

Leora Krygier
Author of When She Sleeps (Toby Press, November 2004)

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