Every now and then, I think about words and expressions that I either love or loathe. What can I say? I’m a word guy; one of my books is called Wordapodia, Volume One: An Encyclopedia of Real Fake Words. If this one sold more—and I knew that the next one would as well—I’d be working on Volume Two. More on that in a bit.
One of those loathsome words is invaluable. Essentially, it means the same thing as valuable. I know that it supposedly means that it’s so valuable that its worth is incalculable, or priceless. But if it means all that, then why didn’t American Express say in its ads, “Two tickets to the movies, $24. Two village-sized vats of popcorn: $15. Sharing a movie and 5,000 calories of butter with someone you love? Invaluable."
Of course, they wouldn’t use the word invaluable, because this word, in a word, sucks. Invaluable, of course, sounds like it’s the opposite of valuable. So, I try not to say things like, “Honey, watching that episode of HGTV with you was an invaluable experience” unless I really don’t mean it. But, I don’t do that because I’m really not a sarcastic guy.
Truth be told, I could care less about most things on HGTV. No, I guess I couldn’t care (even) less. Hmmm. But, sharing experiences with my wife has great value to me. So, even if the shows aren’t very good, the companionship and brownie points might be valuable. Even priceless—but never, in my lexicon, invaluable.
This brings me to my mailbox, and the royalty check that I just received from my publisher, iUniverse. Let me be clear on this. In this day and age, it is no great feat—which means that it is a mean feat—to get one’s book(s) published…somewhere.
For Wordapodia and All That Twitters is Not Goldberg, I decided to utilize a POD (print-on-demand) publisher called iUniverse. These books were, and are, my third and fourth, and I hope to write quite a few more—if with another publisher.
In a nutshell, I am very proud of the contents of these books, even if I would not recommend this publisher to anyone I could or couldn’t care more about. I am a much better author than I am a salesman, and I still have many copies of both titles, which I paid for. My name on the cover does little for me at this point, but at the same I would never put my name to something that I did not believe in. Or, to adapt a famous slogan, with a name like Goldberg, it’s got to be good.
Every three months, I get a royalty check from iUniverse. Given the publisher’s uselessness and my own largely unfocused efforts to sell my books, most quarterly royalty checks would barely feed my anorexic pet goldfish. Royalty checks?! Maybe they should be called commonality checks.
Yes, I have sold a few books outside of the publisher at speaking engagements and from direct sales, but am still at the mercy of iUniverse for all other sales. Suffice it to say that I have regarded everything they have done from the editing stages to now with a well-earned sense of skepticism. Yesterday, the check came. I looked at it, and reported the latest family windfall to my wife in good news/bad news style:
Honey, I have good news and bad news.
What’s the good news?
I just received my commonality check from iUniverse.
Oh, what’s the bad news?
It’s for 14 dollars and 72 cents.
(Silence and a little well-earned, resigned laughter.)
So, what can I/we do with fourteen dollars and seventy-two cents?
Perhaps, we can purchase something that is invaluable.
If only I couldn’t care less.
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