Saturday, August 25, 2007

OOP Again

I received official word last week or the week before (I'm not that good with time) that Saving the Planet & Stuff is going out of print. My editor and I had been expecting this for a while. Planet wasn't one of my greater successes. In spite of a flurry of renewed interest in it this past spring, it was never picked up for a paperback edition. All my previous books were.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as my father always used to say. Looking back, I think we marketed it to the wrong age group. I saw it as YA. It has a sixteen-year-old main character, and while I was writing it my intention was to create a humorous book for teen boy readers. But we marketed it to ten-year-olds and up. Though kids like to read up, I think the material was of little interest to fifth- or sixth-graders. We're talking environmental jokes here (we called it the first eco-comedy) and workplace humor for kids starting to take summer jobs. There were teen and elderly characters in the book who were going through similar things--how will I spend my life and how have I spent my life? The book came out soon after YA started surging. If we'd placed it just a little differently, maybe things would have turned out better.

Also, I missed a lot of opportunities to try to promote it around Earth Day.

I'm going to ask to have the rights returned to me, and once they are, I may try to find a publisher interested in environmental books. I would have to be very organized to pull off the research and contacts to do that, though, and since I'm not...

I don't get majorly distressed when my books go out of print. I've probably said this here before, but just as extinction is the fate of all species, unless your name is Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, going out of print is the fate of all books. Having a book go out of print means you had a book published, that once, at least, you were a player.

Plus, I'm always working on the next book. It's hard to become terribly despondent about the book you wrote four or five or more years ago when you've got another one coming out next year and you're trying to write still another. The e-mail officially notifying me that Saving the Planet is going out of print was attached to the cover art for next year's Girl and Boy book.

Life moves on.



Blogger Chris Barton said...

Geez, you're being such a grownup about this. Speaking as someone who has yet to officially make it into print, I can't quite imagine being so sanguine about going out.

10:24 PM  
Blogger gail said...

What cannot be changed must be endured. Plus, I have that grasshopper mind thing going for me. It's hard to fixate on the woe of having a book go out of print when you're worrying about writing another one and finding a publisher for it, getting new promotional material out about your school visits, doing the laundry, reading a stack of books on writing, whether or not you have enough food in the house to make dinner, getting some registration forms in for book events, writing two little review pieces you've promised to others, whether or not you need to buy paint if you're going to paint the old playroom this weekend, jotting down ideas for essays...

There are points when being unfocused is actually a good thing.

8:25 AM  
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