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It’s the end of July, and I’m still living deep inside the tunnel of self-involvement that began with the launch of my novel on June 1.  It is a hazard of the trade, today, that every author must be an incessant self-promoter and grandstander about everything related to “the book.”  I sometimes wonder what it’s all for.  If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  If an author writes a beautiful story but (almost) no one reads it, is it still a story or just so much ink scattered on paper?

My fever of vanity has been rising, these past two days, with the Amazon rank for Kindle sales of The Prodigal.  After a month of tepid (really moribund) sales, suddenly it spiked a few hundred thousand ranks upward and stayed there.  Over the course of a day, someone was buying a copy or two every hour.  I don’t know who, although I am afraid to call my sister Sharon—the most reliable patron of everything her little brother has created since kindergarten—and ask whether she’s started filling her Christmas list early.  But some of the sales are coming in the middle of the night, and while I know my sister loves me, I’m equally certain she’s not buying my book at 3 a.m.  So, who?

This is the mystery of our faith, friends.  There may come a day when my book falls from Amazon’s shelves in some distant land and the sound of it escapes me, but not yet.  Know that when a digital copy of The Prodigal sells to a reader in Bangladesh in the middle of the night, that joyful noise is keeping me awake in Raleigh.