Late last night, I was browsing Amazon looking for a book, and decided to see how (whether) Dead Ernest was doing. I was shocked to find that, quite suddenly, it's gone. Finished. Sold out. There was the usual "we'll let you know when we have it in stock again" message, but both hardback and trade paperback have gone. So I tried Macmillan's website, and there was no mention of it at all. It might never have existed.
I should have seen this coming, of course. It was never brought out in paperback (Pan Mac) as it "lacked commerciality"(their words). It was just a matter of time before it disappeared altogether. But it was my first; the book that made me feel I might one day be a novelist; the Richard and Judy competiton runner-up (I'll never forget the jubilation); my first full-length literary baby. And now it's gone.
This hit me far harder than I would have thought. I knew I was being stupid; that I've written a second (and I hope, third) better book(s); that poor Ernest would inevitably sooon be out of print. But it felt like a little death in my (very small) literary family. There is still hope, as the screen producer who has bought the rights is still trying to make a screenplay, but while I very much hope this works out (for her even more than me, because she's put so much time and effort into the project), my book is dead, as a book. Unless I become very successful indeed, it won't be brought back to life. And I feel enormously sad.