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Mid-List Woes

By April 14, 2009No Comments

Yesterday I got a letter from my publisher, the only correspondence more dreaded than a rejection. It was a notice that Union Square Publishing, an imprint of Cardoza Publishing, is taking my book, Write In Style, out of print, rather than print another edition. Yes, the publisher is running out of books, and rather than reprint, the company will turn the rights to back over to me. I can find another publisher, reprint it myself, or let it die on the vine.

Such is the life of a mid-list author. We write books intended to stay on the market a long time, and in that time, things happen; companies change; and the market changes.

This book stayed on the market since 2004, so I probably shouldn’t complain, but I had hoped for a much longer life for it. My publisher, however, has taken its business strongly in the direction of gaming books. The owner even moved his company from New York to Las Vegas.

The company has never quite known how to promote the books published under the Union Square imprint, anyway. It created that imprint to handle books on writing and publishing, but has historically paid more attention to the books on its gaming side, its original imprint. Since publishing my book, the company began publishing a magazine on gaming. It reaps more revenue from selling advertising in the magazine than it reaps from selling books like mine, so it expends most of its energy on producing the magazine and selling advertising. Readers of books of gambling tend to be wealthy males with a desire for high risks and high stakes. While a great market for advertising expensive cologne and pricey cigars, the magazine is obviously not the market for advertising my book on how to improve the quality of your writing. Writers tend to be gentler, less self-involved souls, I suspect.

What to do, then, when my book is out of print? First, I will be allowed to purchase the last few books available at Simon & Schuster, the distributor for the book. Next, I have the option of selling the book to another publisher.

I’m not sure what I’ll do, right now, but I’m thinking about contacting my original agent and asking if she has another publisher she’d like to try. I hope so. I’d like to see my book live on after me, as my legacy.

Wish me success.

Bobbie Christmas

Bobbie Christmas

Editor Bobbie Christmas is your book doctor. She can also be your mentor, ghostwriter, copywriter, and writing and publishing consultant. After spending decades writing and editing for a living, Bobbie became a much-sought-after seminar and workshop leader. She began Zebra Communications in 1992 in Atlanta, Georgia, to provide professional editing services to publishers and to writers like you.

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