|MRS. NOAH |
goes out of print
People who know me know I’m not a quitter, so after receiving the news, instead of resting on my laurels, I went to one final book-selling event in January of 2023. With my husband’s help (he is the king of schmoozing) I mingled, visited booksellers’ booths, and even had a radio interview and book signing!
After that event, I stocked up on as many copies of MRS. NOAH as I could afford. I kept checking Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and on a day in late June I read the words “out of stock,” and I knew it was over. Approximately 18 months after her release, MRS. NOAH sailed out of online book retailers and stores. But what a ride we’d had. My picture book journey truly felt like all summer in a day!
|MRS. NOAH all dressed up |
in her award swag!
I couldn’t possibly share how blessed I have been by this journey. The frustrations were many, but the reward of getting to see a book you’ve loved into existence in the bookstore and on the library shelf more than makes up for them. I’m also pleased to say that in MRS. NOAH’s short life, she won five awards, including a Northern Lights Book Award for best first picture book. Do I wish MRS. NOAH’S journey had ended differently? Of course! Do I think I’ll try to self-publish now that I have the rights back? Ask me again in a few months when the sting fades a bit.
When the life of a book begins and ends at this record pace, it’s important to pause and reflect.
Here are a few of my takeaways for those who are un-agented that might help someone else:
1. Do your homework. If you get an offer for one of your books, find out all you can about the health of the company making the offer. Use your SCBWI membership, ask other authors who have published with the same company about their experience, and check with the publisher’s state business website. None of this is foolproof. It’s impossible to predict the future ever, but especially in publishing. Getting as much info as possible can help you make informed decisions for your book.
2. Lead the discussion. In the excitement of having someone love your book, the temptation is to let the offering company lead the discussion. You might feel like you can’t ask for time to do your research and even to ask for changes to your contract. But you can! It’s also a good idea to have an attorney who specializes in contract law look over your contract to make sure you’re getting the best terms possible. At the very least, an attorney can help you know what questions to ask. Will this cost money? Unless you have a friend who can help, yes. But it’s money well spent. The Author’s Guild also provides contract reviews and other services for their members.
|Faith Radio interview at the |
Christian Product Expo in
Georgia in February
3. Learn how to market! As you can tell from my story, I had to fast-track my marketing knowledge. If you have the luxury of taking your time with this step, then do it! Budget some of your weekly writing hours for marketing education. Learn how to use Canva. Build a professional-looking website. Take advantage of free services like Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram to keep information about you and your books in front of your audience. When that contract offer comes, you’ll be glad you did!
4. Get your eggs out of the basket! Having a book release and then go out of print so quickly resulted in the entire process becoming almost all-consuming. The fight to keep MRS. NOAH in front of people for as long as I could forced other things to take a back seat. Writing, revising, submitting, looking for an agent…none of those things should stop while you’re in the middle of what feels like a sinking ship. It’s what keeps us balanced as writers. I’ll admit to losing my focus in the middle of the flood of work that came with MRS. NOAH’s release, but I’m grateful I have it back.
5. You are more than one book. This takeaway speaks for itself. Your success as a writer should never be measured by one contract. No matter how much the end of one book can break your heart, you and your work go on.
So, there you go. The story of a book’s journey…All Summer in a Day! I’m so grateful I got the chance to experience it, and that there are many little loves enjoying MRS. NOAH. That is the best gift of all.
And did poor Margot ever get out of that closet to see the sun? I’m not telling. You’ll just have to read that story for yourself.
www.pattigail1.com to learn more!