Good News — Bad News

Which do you want first?

Ok, I’ll give you the bad news: looks like my books, Honey Melon Fudge and Finders, Seekers, Losers, Keepers are going to become commercially unavailable.  I’m pretty sure* they are going out of print.  If I understand the whole ISBN situation, it’s not like I can just buy a bunch every few months or years and sell them from my website, basement, or the back of my car.  My publisher, Mill City Press, has decided to charge me to keep the book “in print.”  If I don’t pay, I can take my marbles (my electronic files) and go home, but without an ISBN.  I can buy my own, but they are expensive.  Although I hear they are free in Canada.  I’m looking into that.

Cover image from my first novel

Oh well.  Like a good restaurant in a terrible location, or a specialty retailer in almost any small town, or I guess pretty much any other “Mom and Pop” business trying to make the leap from hobby to fiscal sustainer of life, this effort hasn’t worked.

Why not?  In part because of the classic conundrum of people like me: I didn’t devote enough time, effort and cash into marketing the books.  I dabbled in marketing.  I tried a few things.  I had a few good ideas, but I didn’t run with all of them as far and fast as I possibly could.  I had to hang onto my full time job (the one that provides the mortgage payment and the health insurance), and that meant that at least some of the time, I was focused elsewhere.  Where your eyes go, your future follows. Or something like that – look at what you want.  I had to keep looking away to do other things and surprise, surprise: the books didn’t sell themselves.

There are other reasons too.  The books are not commercially appealing, and not that good.  I mean, I’m not trying to be humble or anything – just honest and accurate.  FSLK is interesting and has moments.  HMF is better, and has more moments.

Great design by Kurt Boyer Design

I’m not a student of economics, but I have a general sense that now isn’t a good time to try to sell books, and a year ago was not good and the year before that was also not good.  My timing has been – you guessed it – not good.

The sad part for me is that the best novel I’ve written so far is my most recent and unpublished one.  That one, I think, had a shot at relative commercial success.  I might go the traditional route with this one and start querying agents after I spend some quality time editing and rewriting.  Again with the time constraints… but a little less online scrabble and a little more focus on editing and badda-bing I’m moving that project forward.

So before I move on to the good news, I guess I have to say it one more time – if you have considered buying a copy of either book, NOW is the time to do it.  When I run out of books in my closet, then this adventure will come to an end.  Maybe I’ll throw a party when that happens.  At Amazon:

Finders Seekers is here

Honey Melon Fudge is here

Good news?

I’m not really all that sad about the end of this adventure.  Like any 8 year old with ADHD, I’m already looking at other projects, and pursuing other passions.  I have become the hiker I’ve always wanted to be, and I own three dogs.  I think that is the definition of nirvana.  How could I be glum when I have three muzzles in my lap, or a blur of brown and black canine grace cleaning pancake batter or red wine out of each other’s ears (they like to be close to me while I cook)?

And I have a plan.  Well, maybe not a plan.  A goal.  Ok, not exactly a goal.  Hope.  I have hope and I have dreams: 10 acres, more dogs, and ever increasing self sufficiency.  Honeybees are key in this dream.  We started keeping bees last year and I am the delighter in the project, not the doer.  But bees need forage; this I can do.  Gardens mean food and beauty and beautiful food.  This I can do.

Nothing is formed yet.  I don’t know where, I don’t know when, and I don’t know how.  But I know I can do it.  I can grow food for the bees and for my family.  I can create a honeybee sanctuary, and live intimately with the bees and the flowers and the dogs.  The eco friendly lemon tree project is still simmering away on the back burner, or the back 40, whichever comes first.  A yoga studio/ashram/meditation center in the yurt is part of the picture.

There’s more bad news and there’s also more good news.  Isn’t that always the case?  The good news sustains me.  Even when it is just a dream.  “Nothing lights a fire like a dream deferred.”  I know I have to defer a little while longer, but I’m ok with that.  I know I can do this.  I know I can make it happen.

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This entry was posted in Catskilliana, Uncategorized, writer's life. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Good News — Bad News

  1. melissa says:

    just got an email this morning– discount prices on canadian izbins! 🙂

  2. Eric riback says:

    If you’re serious about your books staying in print (even if POD), I would avoid ISBN schemes. You can buy a block of ten ISBNs for $250 and be a real publisher. I could be overstating the issue, but buying an ISBN from someone other than the official ISBN agency is against the rules and could result in it being withdrawn should the agency find out about it. I’m sure in reality this goes on all the time without consequences.

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