All authors hope that their books will last. I like to think that some of mine will be in print decades from now. Maybe my great-grandchildren will be able to browse in a book store and find my titles – still available, still selling, still worth reading. The reality, of course, is that most books go out of print fairly quickly.
Some of my books have had staying power; others have not. My first book, Vows of Love and Marriage, was published in 1979. Ten years later it was revised and updated, and published as Wedding Vows. New brides and grooms come along every year, planning their weddings, so there is a steady market. My second book had a print run of only 1500 copies and was never reprinted. Apparently there is more interest in getting married than there is in Refinishing and Restoring Your Piano.
My first book for young people, Winning Monologs for Young Actors, remains in print and continues to have steady sales. It was first published in 1985. Other books have not fared as well. Some, such as my Frightmares series, got caught in publisher mergers beyond my control. Others simply did not generate enough sales. I’ve never been able to predict which titles will be popular and which won’t. One book that I especially like, The Richest Kids in Town, went out of print after only a few years, while my least favorite of my own books (which I won’t name) is still going strong.
I began thinking about this topic because I’ve been using my rhyming dictionary a lot this week. The title is actually The Complete Rhyming Dictionary, published by Doubleday and edited by Clement Wood. I’ve had my copy for over thirty years. Today I looked to see when it had been published. 1936! The year I was born.
I hope some of my books are still being read seventy-two years after I write them.