My Book Went Out of Print, Now What?

When I learned that my publisher decided to let One Person/Multiple Careers go out of print just a few months after its second printing, I didn’t know what to make of it. The book hadn’t sold millions of copies, but it had sold thousands, had a loyal following — and garnered continuous media attention around the world.

As someone who spends a lot of time talking about the book business with other writers, this just didn’t make sense. But rather than whine, I took action. I asked the publisher to revert the rights back to me — which happened with relative ease and no cash on my end. And I decided to release an electronic version and a new paperback edition on my own, as the first “” production. In fact, the thing that pushed me to get moving and get the e-book finished was a wave of recent interest (nearly five years after the book’s publication) outside of the United States. It was killing me that there was no way to buy the book other than through Amazon, where the handful of used copies would surely run out at some point. I had some other reasons, too.

I wanted to start a conversation with other authors who are in the same position — wondering what to do with an older book that still has readers but has been orphaned by the original publisher.

I also wanted to model the kind of entrepreneurial thinking I encourage others to adopt. The timing was awful. I’m weeks away from delivering a new book manuscript to a new publisher. And my head is focused on encore careers — the subject of my new book. So the only way I could do this was by minimizing the labor involved. I tapped my network, found a great consultant to handle the technology parts, and gave her the updated introduction I had written months ago. I signed up for a PayPal account. My husband designed a new cover. And voila, we were ready to go in about two weeks.

So here it is. You can download the new introduction for free. And if you or anyone you know has been awaiting the digital version, you can order or share with this link. If you’re inclined to help spread the word – either about this new edition or about how authors can be more entrepreneurial, I’d so appreciate it. And here’s a few easy ways to do that:

1.  Tweet (#slashcareers) or share this post on Facebook.
2.  Write a review on Amazon.
3.  Share this post with other authors who may be wondering what to do about books that have gone out of print.

Oh, and don’t forget to join the conversation about “slash careers” and share your experiences with others. There’s a slash “/” careers group on Facebook that I plan to revive. I also regularly get calls from reporters doing “slash” stories and love having handy case studies ready to share. If you tweet, use the hashtag #slashcareers.

In a follow-up post, I’ll cover the steps you need to take to take a previously published book and reissue it as a digital and POD (print-on-demand) edition.


Farewell to My NYT Blog

Today is a sad day. I’ve announced on Shifting Careers that The Times has decided to cancel the blog.  This post, “Laid Off From My Non-Job,” describes what happened and how I feel about it.

Amid the sadness, there are quite a few things that I’m happy about. I am pleased that The Times allowed me to speak honestly about how I felt about the decision.  My editor agreed with me that the subject would be good fodder for discussion; and in light of the blog’s subject, it would be extremely odd were I not to address it. As the paper itself reported earlier this month, when companies blog about good times, it is a smart move to be as transparent as possible about the difficult times as well.

When people are laid off, one instinct is to hide. By sharing my news the way I did, I pretty much denied myself the opportunity to hide. And because I didn’t hide, good things have already happened. My inbox has been filling up with words of support from friends and colleagues. I’ve even received a job offer. I’m sure it will continue to be an interesting day.

Next time you run into someone who has been laid off, encourage them not to hide. And make sure to show your support.


Happiness Interview with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin recently interviewed me for her fantastic blog, The Happiness Project, of which I’m a loyal reader. The interview was part of a series she is doing where she talks to various people about what they’ve learned about how to be happy. I’ve enjoyed all of Gretchen’s interviews in this series and was thrilled to be ask to do one. You can read it here.


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