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Endangered Books: Keeping in Print!

*Gasp!*  I.  Am. Blogging.  I’m actually blogging since, well, forever.  The question is this:  who's still reading this blog?  If you are one of the few who've stuck with me, I am so sorry about the absence.  Blame readergirlz.  Blame synopsis-hell (but yay! I just sent it in to my editor & agent!).  Blame...my writer-in-residency (why did I think it was a good idea to guide an entire school of K-6th graders in writing their own novellas????).  *sigh*


But back to BookSmart. 


So two (yes, T-W-O!) critically-acclaimed writer-friends told me recently that some of their books are OSI—out-of-stock indefinitely.  Translation:  their publisher won’t print more of their books. 


The kicker, of course, is that after the OSI decision had been made, my writer-buddies were told that they had needed to sell a minimum of 500 copies a year to be kept in print.  Never mind that if they had been told earlier—say, six months ago—they might have been able to do something about their sales figures!  Never mind awards.  Never mind starred reviews. 


Okay, rather than be the Literary CSI who determines What Went Wrong, I’d rather focus on What Can Be Done. 


So how the heck do you keep marketing a book that’s been in print for years so your book doesn’t go OSI? 

  • Comb through your novel for any potential hooks you may have missed the first marketing-go-round. 

For instance, one of my aforementioned friends is quite TALL, and the novel she wrote featured a quite TALL girl whose very TALLNESS was a monumental problem.  While this may sound inordinately stupid, in addition to other groups, I suggested she outreach to organizations for the Very Tall:  communities, stores/boutiques, support groups.  Stop scoffing.  It worked.  She and her novel were featured on the front page of quite a few of these (active) websites, and since then, new (TALL) readers have contacted her about her novel.  

  • Research and reach out to national organizations whose staff, boards and members might be interested in your book.  Literature can be a powerful bridge, linking people’s hearts and minds to causes.  That’s why I’m positive many organizations would love to know about novels.  So let’s say you wrote a book about an endangered species.  You might want to contact every large endangered species/animal rights organization with these ideas:  (Note, you bet this strategy even applies to fantasy novels where the endangered animal, say, could be a dragon.)

    Let the group know you’ve written a novel that inspires young people to speak out for endangered animals.  Offer to write an article for their newsletter, talking about why this kind of activism is important to you.  Be willing to chat with their members at a designated time on an online forum, such as your own blog.  You could answer questions about the novel.  Link to their website, and ask for a link to yours. 


Semi-happy unending for one of my OSI-ed friends.  She wrote to her editor, outlining a short-term marketing plan for the novel on the chopping block and received a stay of execution.  Cross your fingers.  Better yet, go buy a book from your favorite, but overlooked, author.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 3rd, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
I'm still reading. And I missed you. And the whole thought of one's book going out of print after selling it is sad, sad stuff.
May. 4th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC)
I know it! It's hard enough to get published...only to find out that looming over us is this possibility of being UNpublished. (Thanks so much for your support, Kelly! I hope your writing has been going well!)
(Deleted comment)
May. 4th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you!! I missed seeing Mission Impossible Mouse onscreen here.
May. 4th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
I've bought some out-of-print books from dealers in the past. It seems like the big chains give up on them too fast.
May. 4th, 2007 06:27 am (UTC)
Some of my friends tell me that you blink and your book could be gone from the big chain bookstores.
May. 4th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
And others sit on their shelves forever, even though they're not incredibly popular. I wonder why.
May. 4th, 2007 04:03 am (UTC)
We frequently call them OOP - out-of-print - and those that I think SHOULD NOT be out-of-print I refer to as oops, because those publishers made a mistake to OOP it.

May. 4th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
I *love* that...OOPS. That's really what it is...a big oops for everyone.
May. 4th, 2007 01:03 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2007 03:31 pm (UTC)
Glad to see you back!
Aug. 8th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
Missed seeing you at the SCBWI Annual in L.A. Hope to see you there next year.
Aug. 19th, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
Hi David,

I was bummed to miss SCBWI this year, but I'm hoping next year will work out. Did you have fun?
Aug. 20th, 2007 04:15 pm (UTC)
It was great fun. John Green and Tamora Pierce were very serious and informative, but they also injected humor that made you laugh harder than you thought possible. Hope to see you there next year.
Jun. 15th, 2008 01:07 pm (UTC)
First, thank you for your blog.

Can you help me please, cause i can't create a blogbook of my livejourna on booksmart...
I tape my livejournal name "igosta", then my password, but it's don't work...
How you proces to do a login and then make a book?
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )