A few weeks ago, I found out that my first book, Acting Assertively, had gone out of print. I found out quite by accident when I called my publisher to order copies of the book to take to a workshop I was presenting and was told that the book is no longer available.
I wrote about this in a businesslike manner on The Susquehanna Writers blog, asking my fellow writers if they'd had this experience, and if so, what had they done? Very matter-of-fact. Very professional.
What I didn't say was that it was very sad. A little like Meg Ryan closing the doors on The Shop Around the Corner in You've Got Mail.
Okay, so maybe that's a little melodramatic. My book wasn't in print for 40 years, and it was neither an inheritance from my mother, nor a huge part of my growing up years. But the sense of "now what?" was very real.
Like Kathleen Kelly (Ryan's character, for those of you who haven't seen the movie), I was reluctant to let it slip away, and concerned that just as The Shop Around the Corner was overshadowed by Fox Books, until it was finally forced out of business, my little educational title stands a similarly poor chance in a publishing world interested primarily in big name authors and topics with wide appeal. Has it had its fifteen minutes of fame? Have I?
And just as Kathleen Kelly began weighing her options, I am now weighing mine. Ebooks. Kindle. Self-publishing. Foreign territory for which I have neither a map nor a tour guide. Yet.
The good news is that we've moved beyond the dial-up connection of the You've Got Mail era into the digital age, and so I do have options - options that could give my book a 21st century face lift.
And so I have work to do. In an unrelated discussion last week, a friend reminded me that when God closes a door, he opens a window, so I know that if I am patient, eventually I will feel a draft. And since this isn't my livelihood, I can wait. I have time.
So for now, I'm taking the necessary steps to make sure that when those curtains billow, I'll be ready.