Ok, so I published a new book, and it's free for all: a web-book. Sure I would have loved to see "The Sea and Bottle" nicely bound and being all book-like, but in Israel today, actually letting a publishing house publish and market your book, is financial suicide.
Consider: I put several months into writing the skeleton of "I'll Meet You Halfway", then a few weeks into marketing it to the publishing houses. It went through a year and a half of editing, with no less than three editors in two publishing houses working on it along with me. When it got published I took a month off my other obligations and pushed it, visiting bookstores, trying to get radio and newspaper coverage for it.
It's been six months since the book was published, its hayday on the stands is now past. I was notified this week by my "Zmora-Bitan", Israel's most prominent publishing house, that I will be paid 4311 Shqels (About 1,200$ U.S.) in royalties for the sales of these six months. devide this into two years of work and you will find that I made about 40$ a month. It's fiscally wiser to give the book away for free than to publish it, at least you avoid the massive loss. It's actually wisest never to write at all.
This isn't only my problem. Books in Israel are marketed in away that deeply hurts the authors, even when they sign what they consider to be good contracts. "I'll Meet You Halfway" was not once sold for its original price. it was on sale since the moment it came out. I have some difficulties with how it was promoted, but the major issue is the sales technique.
There's only one reason to still compose books in Hebrew, and that is to use them as Molotov cocktails against a corrupt establishment. Mind you, the book market in Israel is incredibly alive. A lot of money exchanges hands here over literature, but only certain hands, and those aren't the hands that write. The current system, which features agressive marketing schemes, unhealthy mergers between presses and bookstore chains and ploys aimed at controlling more shelf space, is killing Hebrew literature.
"The Sea and Bottle" is a diptych, opening with a set of maritime associations and leading to the tale of my family's near demise in the Holocaust. Its publication is an act of protest.