It's always a huge disappointment when a publisher decides they won't be re-printing one of your books. When this first happened to me back in the 1990s and my early books started to slip into this OOP category, it really seemed like the end of the line for those stories.
It's funny when you think about it, because when a box of eggs or a pint of milk outlives its sell by date it's because its not as good as it was.
With books, the quality of the story remains exactly the same. The story is just as exciting as it ever was. The characters are still as interesting. Anyone who reads the book will enjoy it just as much as when it first hit the shelves years before. If it appealed to a nine year old ten years ago it's just as likely to appeal to a nine year old today. It's just that the publisher has moved on.
The thing that takes the sting out of the tail these days, is that when the rights are reverted back to the author, that author then has the option of giving their story a new lease of life as an ebook or getting it re-printed as a print on demand book.
Of course producing an ebook doesn't cost the author anything if they do it themselves and as well as the joy of getting the book back into the marketplace, I found that the whole thing of tackling the ebook technicalities to be quite absorbing - and exciting.
Obviously there's lots of work involved. Firstly there's all the re-formatting of your text. Original files – if they can be found at all, will probably be the basic manuscripts that were submitted. All the to-ing and fro-ing between the editor and author as we worked on the story, were nowhere to be found. The only way I could get my text back in a workable form, was to retytpe the whole book.
Yep! Loads of work, but the good thing was it was an opportunity of adjusting any bits that you always wished were different and you get the chance to bring the story up to date.
As anyone who has turned their OOP book into an ebook, you'll know that reformatting the text is one of those jobs that has you tearing your hair out.
But now that mine has re-grown, I'm glad I stuck at it. The sense of achievement is almost as good as getting an acceptance letter from a publisher – well, okay not quite, but it's pretty good!
The other thing to think about is the cover. Another tricky project especially if you haven't got a friend or relative who designs book covers. But generally there's always someone who knows someone... plus there are some great illustrators out there, and it's not such a mysterious world as I used to think it was.
And finally when your new ebook is up on Amazon or Smashwords or wherever, there's no denying the joy at seeing it back where it belongs. Back on the bookshelves – okay the virtual bookshelves. And the best thing is, you know that this time there's no sell by date.
If you'd like to see my ebooks efforts, my early Sealed Mysteries published by Scholastic eleven years ago are now my Little Tyke Murder Mysteries.