07/26/2010 04:02 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Making of a Novel: The Sadness of Seeing My Book on Ebay

When my last novel came out (in May), I set up Google Alerts to keep track of the reviews and mentions, and so that I could visit the sites of bloggers who liked the book -- and the sites of those who didn't. I think it's important to connect with the negative reviewers, too, to say, "Hey, not everyone can like everything, but thanks for your honesty."

The last few times I've checked Google Alerts, however, I found something I never wished to see: reports of someone selling my book on eBay. It makes me want to cry!

I can handle it when I visit a book club and three people have shared one copy of the book, because who hasn't shared a book to stretch their book-buying dollars? It's one of the biggest arguments for the validity if physical books (as opposed to e-books) -- the fact that you can pass them around. There's something lovely about pressing a book into someone's hands and saying, "Read this," or having to wait for a friend to finish a book before you can start. It highlights the way that stories can connect us all.

I can also handle it when I see used copies of my books advertised on Amazon ( "Very Good Condition! Clean pages. Satisfaction Guaranteed! ") because at least those vendors are dealing in books, making a living from books, somewhat involved in books. They play a role -- however shady -- in the book buying universe.

But there's something about seeing my book for sale on eBay that feels like some kind of violation. It feels as though someone is casting off my book with disdain, for the lowest possible price. It reinforces what a lonely, low-paying, miserable way this is to make a living, and for a flash of a moment, it makes me want to quit.

2010-07-26-homecollage.pngBut here's what pulls me out of that funk: tonight, I am teaching a class at pages, a new independent bookstore that opened in the town up the beach from mine. I will slap down my credit card and pay full price for a book or two, and hope that somewhere, someone else will do the same for me. It's the only way to fight back -- that, and to keep writing.