A few weeks ago, over on Twitter, someone replied to me with something that made me feel kinda weird, and not a fun-weird. They probably didn’t think anything of it, and it was probably an innocent comment, but it definitely made me feel some kind of way, and I am still thinking about it.

“How many copies of your book do you have on hand, anyway?” It was something like that. Like maybe it’s odd to have a surplus of something you created? Like it’s somehow…greedy or boastful? I obviously don’t know what the intent or thought was behind the remark, I don’t know what the person’s experience is with such things or why they felt the need to make the observation (and I say “observation” because I don’t think it was a real question that they wanted a real answer for), but I can share why it is that I like to keep so many copies of it around!

When I was younger, I worked for a family-owned business. I suppose it was *my* family, as it was my former stepfather’s business–but it feels a little disingenuous to think of it that way. We sold occult books, of both the contemporary and the very old and very rare variety. When he initially opened the shop, it was mail order only, and that was my very first job when I was 15 years old–folding and stapling those catalogs that we printed at home! In my early twenties, I worked with him in our little warehouse. We had created a website and ran lots of eBay auctions, but we still did not have a brick-and-mortar storefront. I think we both liked it best that way, not having to deal with people in person! I packed and shipped orders, restocked the shelves, replied to emails, fielded phone calls, and tried in my very limited early-2000s way, to create a social media presence. An author of three books himself, I noted that my stepdad never had less than a dozen of his own books on the shelf, and as far as everything else, well, we very rarely had to tell a customer that something was “out of stock.”

What with family dynamics and life choices and such, my former stepfather and I haven’t spoken in many years. But I am very grateful to him for the myriad experience that job afforded me, for the opportunity to have spent a few years with those incredible books, and the profound trust that he had in me to work with everything as closely as I did. Many years later, I am only selling one book–my own. But I’ll always remember how he had a whole shelf dedicated to the copies of the books that he wrote himself, and I found that wonderfully inspiring. To have a thing on hand when someone wants it is a lovely thing to be able to act on! And is it not really awesome to catch a glimpse of a stack of books that you wrote, yourself? Come on–of course it is! I am lucky enough to have the space in my home to do this, so why not?

ANYWAY, if you have made it this far…guess what! I do have a point, and it’s nothing to do with any of that.

Although all of the above is 100% true, I just wanted an excuse to share a stack of books in this post’s featured image. Did you pre-order a copy of my book but wish you could have gotten it signed? Or did you order a copy of it from somewhere other than from me over the past year and wish the same? Send me an email to theartoftheoccult AT gmail dot com with your mailing address and I will send you a signed bookplate for your copy!

Now excuse me while I step away from my desk and immediately trip over the thousands of copies of The Art of the Occult that clog my hallways and jam up every inch of space in my rooms.

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Stephanie says

I would love a signed bookplate for my book very muchly, thank you.

S. Elizabeth says

Yay! Please email me with your mailing address, thank you!

Emera says

I love knowing that your first job was in your family's occult bookstore! I just found out that a friend worked in one for a decade, too, and it made me wish for a slice-of-life comic set among the employees at an occult bookstore.

And it seems perfectly sensible to keep copies of your own book on hand...

Anna L. says

Having copies of your work isn’t weird at all! Every musician I’ve met will have at the very least one (but honestly usually more) box filled with copies of their records/CDs/cassettes. Same with the authors (both published and more homegrown like zines).

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