As you may know, I spend last weekend in the hospital.
Most of that time I felt suspended in a morphine haze, but never really out of reach of the pain.
I was vaguely aware of nurses and doctors; tests I was told I’d need to rule out heart attack and aortic dilation, which, with my connective tissue disorder is a danger that they must watch for closely, especially when a patient presents with acute chest pain like I had.
Pain I still have, actually.
As it turns out my heart is fine, right now it’s my lungs that are taking a beating (from complications likely due to the same aforementioned connective tissue disorder) but let me tell you that in the hours I was in and out in holding rooms the ER and then in a room on the seventh floor of University of Michigan hospital, where I had to wait for the thirteen hour steroid prep to kick in so they could do my CT scan (allergies…) I had fragments of thoughts that really stuck with me.
The hardest, of course, were the memories of that place in general.
In addition to all the times I’ve been there for tests and things as a patient (my eye surgeries were at the specialized eye center, not the hospital main) I spent a lot of time in that hospital as my father’s advocate, both when he had his brain aneurism in 2001 and during his cancer battle in 2008.
I could walk the halls, literally, blindfolded because for all my sight was worth in 2008 I may as well have been. I was my father’s advocate while I was legally blind (uncorrectable at all at the time, pre-surgeries.)
I’m getting to something writing related, please hang on with me a little longer.
As I lay there the other night, wakened by nurses to draw more blood and start new IVs and watching them run into the room in a panic when my heart rate would spike for a minute, I thought about a lot of things.
Selling books was not one of them.
Writing books really wasn’t even one of them, either.
I was also awakened a couple of times by the Survival Flight helicopters as they flew so close to my window it seemed I could almost touch them…the same team of professionals that saved my dad after his aneurism.
I thought of all the lives that came to abrupt, irreversible changes, or in some cases ends, in that building in the span of time I lay there waiting for them to wheel me down to CT.
Serious thoughts, of course. Of my daughter, of the other people I love. Some of you even crossed my mind for various reasons over the days I was there (and yes, Hart, this means you especially, I wondered where in that vast place you were, somewhere…)
But amidst the serious thoughts and drug induced meandering, you may well laugh when I tell you that I did have ONE specific book related thought (and again, maybe it was the morphine…I was only awake for a second at the time I remember having this thought…)
I remember being sorry that I hadn’t had a chance to introduce more people to my medical creation, my Doctor Godspeed.
And I thought about that frakking 2.99 price point.
The one that has irritated the living hell out of me since the minute I put the book back up from .99 cents at the beginning of the month.
Not because I don’t think my book is worth the higher price.
Honestly, after the two years I gave my heart to that book I can’t put a price on it that I think signifies to me how much worth it has.
But I know the rest of the world does. And I know this is my first novel, and I don’t have another immediately planned (or perhaps planned, um, ever for publication…I may stick with short forms or branch out into focusing more on other art…right now I am wanting to seek the forms of expression that make me happiest. Right now the pressure of publishing one novel after another is not that.)
Then I thought, what if one person who would have read the book if the price had been less than a dollar passed on it- and missed out on getting to meet my colorful Marielle, and Lilibet, and Penn, and Quinn and Schuyler and all, for the sake of two dollars that I will never even see, anyway?
What is the point of that?
Over the past few days as I’ve had a long time to think (being in pain and unable to sleep or move leaves you prone to that…) I have been thinking about how many songs I have downloaded over the years from iTunes for .99 cents and dearly loved. Listened to thousands of times in some cases (yes, again, literally,) while blind, while in pain, while recovering from one surgery or another.
What if just one more person got to read my book because they could get 99 cents out of their budget where 2.99 just couldn’t be justified? Yes, things are that tight for people, I know this. Books are a luxury, period.
I would put it for free forever on Amazon if I could but since I can’t this is the next best thing I can offer.
I want to come as close as I can to giving Godspeed as the gift it was meant to be, to as many people as I can. For all I put into the process beyond the writing— hiring a proper copyeditor, all of that, I don’t think that it’s too much to ask you to risk the price of a McDonalds ice cream cone or a single song on iTunes to find out if the novel holds up after you read the first four plus chapters for free on the Amazon preview.
So…from here on out, the price for GODSPEED will be only .99 cents for the ebook. The print book stays (unfortunately) where it is because I have no control of that and still want to make it available to any who would want it.
Before anyone jumps to judgments or cries foul that I’m devaluing the work— mine or anyone else’s— I ask you to just think of why I am making the personal decision to do this— to make the book affordable to as many people as I possibly can.
If my aorta had been falling apart as I lay in that hospital bed, things could have turned out very differently, and the chance exists I would not be typing this to you now. Have a wake-up call like that and then see where your priorities lie the next morning.
When it comes to my art, my priority lies in sharing it with as many people as I can, and if making the book as inexpensive as I can makes that possible, then I will count myself much more successful than if I do things any other way. That is why I am doing this. I am following my heart.
It may take a day or so for the prices to drop, you know how these publishing sites are (may take longer for BN they seem to take longer in these matters than Amazon). But keep your eyes open.
And please, if you take a chance on it and like the book, tell a friend. Loan it to them over Amazon, even, if you can (I have enabled lending.) Spread the word, and share the story that is so much a huge part of my heart.
If you will, then the biggest gift of all will be mine.