In the next few seconds, transiting between smug certainty and utter bewilderment, I made a tremendous discovery: French works. Say the secret word, and a waiter will indeed bring you a cup of steaming hot rocket fuel, whether he likes you or not. Sit in someone else's seat on a train, and you will learn that "ma" and "mon" really do mean "mine." I realized that I had endured years of repetitious language drills, secretly assuming it was all just a hoax. "No one," I thought, "really talks this way. If I ever get to France, not one of these words will do."
Last Friday, an e-mail arrived that brought me back to that moment of discovery. "Why is Amazon e-mailing me?" I wondered, as I scanned my inbox, "Did I do something wrong?" (This is what I always think.) Then I saw it. "Sold! Ship Now!"
"Huh? A book? Someone bought a book? From moi?"
Yes, indeed, in only one week, bereft of an adequate inventory system, packing material, or even an introductory how-to manual, someone had ponied up for my lovely copy of Sara Midda's book on Provence. Apparently, Amazon is not a hoax, any more than France is. If you list a book that someone wants, sure enough, it will be sold. And make no mistake: You will receive money for it. In this case, about $30 smackers.
Nothing could have surprised me more. Or scared me more. What if I damaged the book? Is Saturday a business day? Will anyone care if I mail it in that perfectly sized, albeit scrounged box from my eBay stash? And more importantly, now what am I going to write about? During the week between listing my first books and selling my first book, I'd been making notes about my experiences in this new found venture - notes mostly along the lines of, "Can this really be a viable second business for me? Can I really earn any money at it?" Mmm. Riveting stuff.
Now, of course, I'm wondering if this is the only book I ever sell? So, I still have my doubts. But I can add two items to the very short list of things I know with utter certainty: French works; and Amazon.com sells books. And maybe, so do I.
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