Determined to take more of an active part in the business side of running the press, my Muse helped me count up the sales figures for our first quarter of 2008. We totalled the number of books sold, amount earned, sales tax owed, cost per unit, shipping, and the remaining amount after all those deductions that we would pull Laura's royalties from.
"344 books!" My Muse said, leaping up and laughing. "We sold 344 books!"
"Possibly more because I don't have the exact count from LSI. We only got paid for December. We'll have to wait for the rest."
"Maybe more. Maybe we sold more books. More than 344! That's wonderful!" She clapped her hands. "Do you realise that most books only sell 150 copies total?"
"Yes, I know."
"And most of those books were sold right here in Mendo."
"And the word of mouth is growing, so her book sales will only go up."
"We might have a best seller! How many more books until we break even?"
"After that, you'll be able to make a profit?"
"Maybe. Depends on our overall costs. But Laura's book will be paid for."
"Excellent." She turned and walked toward the kitchen. "Well, now that that's done, I'm going to have a cup of tea."
"Um... we're not done."
She stopped and spun around to look at me. "We're not? Are there more sales to tabulate?"
"No. Not sales. Costs. We haven't totalled up the receipts to tell us how much we spent this quarter, and with the two conferences I registered for, the cost to earnings ratio will be well in the red."
"Oh." She shrugged. "You can do that part. I'm done for the day." She vanished.
So much for helping me manage the business. I turned back to the computer and sighed while reaching for the folder packed with invoices and receipts. Then I sat up. Later. I decided to have that celebratory cup of tea. In the publishing business, you've got to celebrate those little moments when you feel successful and don't know how broke you actually are.