My book is five years old now—a literary kindergartner!–but I still remember the day I got the news that a small press in Ohio wanted to publish it. Even though I’ve been a writer most of my life, publishing a novel was different. The whole process was fresh and new.
Fast forward to today: PageSpring Publishing—the small press that served as such an awesome midwife for The Button Collector–is following the path of many small presses and closing up shop. It’s not exactly a surprise considering how giant publishing houses are merging to become mega-giant publishing houses, squeezing out small, creative presses in the process.
It’s not a surprise, but it is a disappointment.
I feel very fortunate that my book was in the right place at the right time to find a home with PageSpring instead of one of the other houses I had close-but-no-cigar moments with. Few publishers would have commissioned 21 sketches of buttons so that the visual element of my book could become reality. Few publishers would have gone to such effort to commission amazing cover art by an amazing artist. Few would have been so insightful in their advice about the structure and the title. Few would have believed in me the way they did. I’ll always be grateful to them for that.
What all this means is that The Button Collector is going out of print. If you would like a copy, it is available via Amazon through the end of the year. If you want a signed copy, please send me an email or contact me via The Button Collector Facebook page and I’ll send you one of my stash. They make great Christmas gifts!
Meanwhile, here are some random nuggets of wisdom from my adventures in publishing:
- I’ve found that online data is addicting. Did you know that on Amazon, The Button Collector has 77 reviews, with an average of 4.1 stars?
- On Goodreads, The Button Collector has 224 ratings with an average of 3.94 out of 5 and 48 text reviews and is on the to-read shelf of 1258 people! That’s pretty cool.
- I’ve also found that some people are remarkably qualm-free about sharing their negative opinions online!! There was one review that called my pretty normal book “just weird.” They seem to have taken it down, but you can still read these choice nuggets!!!! “This is easily one of the most boring books I have ever read.” “I haven’t finished the last chapters as it became tedious.” “My book club chose this book. … Written in too many voices and written by someone I am guessing is quite religious. Disappointing.” (NB—I’m not that religious.)
- On the other hand, the good reviews are the best ego boosts ever!!! I love their beautiful phrases: “…the overarching metaphor of the button jar is deftly used to illuminate the relationships between the women.” “My mom has been gone almost twenty-nine years and my wolves are not calm.” “I download dozens of books each week, skim the first pages, and set aside most of the books until I get to one that I can’t put down. The Button Collector is one of those that hooked me and kept me.”
- In person feedback? Words can’t describe it. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to connect with all these people who’ve read my book!
- Because of my book, I’ve come to know other writers and vicariously share their success. Amy Willoughby-Burle, who wrote a blurb for my book, has now been to New York and all sorts of big city places with her new novel The Lemonade Year. Brenda Sutton Rose—for whom I wrote a blurb—was just nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Ann Ross, my amazing in-town mentor, keeps adding to the canon of Miss Julia books. And Katie Winkler—my comrade in arms since forever—keeps having her work published and performed all over the place and has launched a literary journal.
- I realize that I’m not sad my book is going out of print. It makes it more distinct, like a limited edition. I like to think it’s in the company of early Hogarth Press editions, in a modern, techie kind of way. I could use the e-files to self-publish, but I won’t. Maybe The Button Collector will itself become a collector’s item one day… that would be amazing.
So thanks for reading, thanks for the encouragement, thanks for going on this journey with me! I am very superstitious and don’t talk about work in progress, but I am always writing in some way, even if it’s just corporate newsletters and blogs. This space will evolve, but I’ll still be here with my random thoughts, so pop by once in a while.
Until then, support your local authors. Keep reading.
(And in case you missed it, here is the link to Amazon again. Remember: Mom’s Christmas present….)