Recently, I had the pleasure of packing up 20 copies of my first novel, Gratefully Yours, and shipping them to a teacher in Nebraska.
She’d tried to buy copies online, only to find out that the book was out of print. Fortunately, I happened to have a stash of my own and was able to send them to her.
As I was carrying them to the post office, it struck me that these 20 copies were of a book first published 20 years ago! Imagine that! I grieved when this, my first book, went out of print. Yet here it is, 20 years later, still having a life. Still touching a teacher enough that she emailed me seeking a way to share it with her students. Amazing, really.
It’s a funny business, this writing books for children and young adults. There is the writing, which is itself a painful pleasure. There is the marketing, which is largely just painful, with brief joyous interludes. There is the ecstasy of the printed book in hand. The agony of waiting for reviews, and the good and the bad of that. There’s the supreme pleasure of hearing from and meeting the kids who have read your books. And then there is the despair of watching them go out of print.
Why do we do this? Because we can’t not. Because we have stories to tell and if we keep them all inside, we will explode! And because, now and then, 20 years on, we get an email from a teacher who just needs to share our story with her class. How cool is that?
And me? I’m so grateful.