The day Lee Pulaski sold out

This weekend marked an interesting milestone for me. No, it’s not the completion of my 30th book. No, it’s not the completion of my longest book.

Saturday was the first time I sold out.

It wasn’t my job or my friends or anything like that. I didn’t sell my soul or anything of the kind. I sold out of a book.

Technically, I can’t sell out on my books, as they’re print-on-demand. However, I do order a set number of copies to sell each time a book comes out. I have copies of all my books, even the first book that came out in paperback in 2010, but on Saturday, I sold my last copy for one book.

It’s not the first book. Oh, no. When I first self-published The Colors of Love and Autumn, I was completely naïve to the number of copies I’d realistically need. I was preparing for my first book event, and I figured there would be a lot of people there, so I ordered 150 copies. The event was a bust, and I was stuck with all the copies to sell piecemeal from that point on. An expensive lesson learned.

After that, I only purchased 20 copies of each book, but it was still a slow process. The last few books, I purchased 10 copies.

On Saturday, I sold out of my copies of As American as Apple Pie, my first book in the Zachary Gagewood Mysteries. It actually took me by surprise.

I was at the book expo for the first UntitledTown book and author festival in Green Bay, and I had a copy of each of my books on display for folks to look at. The other copies of all the books were in boxes at my feet. I had just finished talking with a book lover who was inquiring about the mysteries. When she asked which book was the first one, I told her about As American as Apple Pie. She handed me a $20 bill, and I gave her the copy on display, along with her change.

Once she moved on to the next table, I started looking through the boxes to grab a replacement copy. I found nothing in the first box, so I moved on to the second one. Nothing there, either.

I sat back in awe and realized I sold them all. There were no more copies for me to sell. That had never happened before.

Just to be sure, I went home that night and looked through the box of books I hadn’t taken with me, knowing from experience I wouldn’t need more than a few copies of each book. Still no sign of the cover with an image of an apple pie with an American flag in the background. It was official.

I had purchased 20 copies when As American as Apple Pie came out, so it wasn’t like it was 10 and done. It probably helped that it was the first in the series, but that doesn’t lessen the achievement.

I’ll probably buy more copies to sell. After all, you can’t make money on something if you run out. Still, it’s quite the rush.


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