John Calvin (1509-1564) is best known as a religious reformer. He, like Luther and many others, broke from the Catholic Church when the Church become too corrupted with rampant scandals.
But I am not religious and I am here to talk about his first book, Commentary on Lucius Anneas Seneca’s Two Books on Clemency, and not religious history. He was 23 at the time and like any scholar with ambition eager to make his name known. He had to pay for the publication himself and like any author sat back to see what happened.
Nothing happened. As in zero book sales. Now you might look at the title and wonder why anyone would buy the book in the first place. But it was an age of ideas and change and literate people and other scholars relished argument, debate, and ideas. Except the Inquisition party-poopers of course. Besides there was no Stephen King books. Fiction? What was that?
Timing is everything and Calvin’s timing was off. His book was not to condemn the catholic Church, but an inoffensive argument, not a bad one to be sure, but not one the public was eager for. They had been, but now were very anti-pope and wanted an attack not something conciliatory and mild.
I mention this because other works of Calvin did sell and he made quite a name for himself with books, sermons, and letters. So if you write and self-publish, or write e-Books for the digital age, or even are a first time published writer, do not get discouraged if the book does not sell.
There are a few million book titles on Amazon. And with considerable competition growing daily it is easy to get the blues, become despondent and eat a freezer of ice cream and a semi of maple-leaf crème cookies. Yum!
Loonies in Hollywood sells better than my other books and it is my second e-Book. So write your second book, then your third. The future is bleak only when you give up.
Here are my five books at Amazon