Let's Talk with Debra H. Goldstein

Should Have Played Poker is Back!

May 25, 2023

Most of you know me as the author of the Sarah Blair Mystery series, but there was a mystery book before this, SHOULD HAVE PLAYED POKER. I’ll start out with the publication timeline of that book, and you can see that while it was successfully published, it endured a downsizing company and the pandemic…Keep reading because there’s a happy ending to this tale!

August 2014: Killer Nashville –First Two Pages Editor Workshop – First two pages of SHOULD HAVE PLAYED POKER: a Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery read aloud.

August 2014: Five Star Editor requests entire manuscript.
August 2014: Five Star Editor offers a contract, but because the 2015 publication calendar is full, the book won’t be published until January 2016.
January 2016: Five Star undergoing some changes, publication is delayed.
April 2016: SHOULD HAVE PLAYED POKER is published.
2016: Five Star decides to no longer have a mystery line. Keeps book in publication because it is selling, but effectively orphans it.
2018/2019: SHOULD HAVE PLAYED POKER mass market rights sold to Harlequin Worldwide Mystery / published in 2019.

At this point, both companies kept selling their editions of the books until their stock was exhausted. My rights reverted to me in late 2021, but I didn’t do anything with them. I was busy with my Sarah Blair series published by Kensington. That is, until I recently went to give an in-person library talk.

Before the talk, I carefully arranged the five Sarah Blair titles so the audience could see them. As people began entering the room, a few came up to me and bought Sarah Blair books, but one woman held herself back staring at my display. “Where’s the mah jongg book?” she asked. “I recently started playing mah jongg and that’s the one I want.”

“I’m sorry. Although Amazon has a hard cover copy available for $94.97, the book is out of print.”

“But that’s the one I WANT!”

At that moment, the librarian defused the situation: “We still have library copies circulating in the system, but they always have a waiting list. I’ll be glad to put your name on the list. There are only three people ahead of you.”

The library patron was happy, but I was stunned. A waiting list for a book seven years old and technically out of print?

Putting my author hat on, I was delighted, there still was an audience for SHOULD HAVE PLAYED POKER. But, I had to do something. The result, with the help of a formatter and cover artist (once I realized self-publication is beyond my technical skill and time) is the reissuance of Poker in trade paperback and e-book. Either is available from any of your favorite indie booksellers ( https://books2read.com/u/bregMw ) or Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/Should-Played-Poker-Debra-Goldstein-ebook/dp/B0C39RKSK9 ). See the graphic for a snapshot about the book.


Of course, I don’t want you to forget my five-book Sarah Blair series – so, in case you haven’t started that yet, why not try to win a copy of the first book, ONE TASTE TOO MANY, by telling me what you think about authors reissuing books?

If you’d like to know more about author Debra H Goldstein, visit her WEBSITE.


Posted in Let's Talk, with Debra H. Goldstein • Tags: , , , |  25 Comments


25 thoughts on “Should Have Played Poker is Back!

  1. Great news!! That book was my introduction to your work and is still my favorite. I am a mah jongg fan and there are few fiction works associated with it out there.

  2. As you know, I’ve been reissuing all my backlist titles. I’ve had fans ask for paperback copies of my earlier romances that have been available in revised ebook editions, so that’s been my project for this year. It’s gratifying when people read these older books. Now if we could only get them to write reviews…

  3. Hi Debra, How wonderful to discover that readers are continuing to support your earlier books. Congratulations on taking steps to make your readers happy.

  4. I love it when authors are able to publish out of print books for those who missed them, or for the next generation of readers. Kudos to you Debra for bring back SHOUL HAVE PLAYED POKER!!! Luis at ole dot travel

  5. I am half way thru Should Have Played Poker – the question is will you now write book 2. Totally enjoying it.

  6. Getting backlist books out there is an effort when you’re busy with a new series. I have an orphaned book that is in the process of being reissued now that the rights reversal happened. I’m sure your fans will be happy to know they can get autographed copies of SHOULD HAVE PLAYED POKER!

  7. Ordered. On its way. Sitting on my doorstep waiting (lol). I am so excited, and how did I miss this earlier? Loved the Sarah books, so I’m looking forward to ?what may be the start of a new series? Have played MJ with same three women since Jan. 2018 – it was a lifesaver during the pandemic – so this book will be especially meaningful. Thanks Debra!

  8. I guess I’m pretty naive, but I did not know that publishers could sell your books to another publisher, had never heard of a book being “orphaned” and I found this article fascinating! I’ve haven’t read your books yet, but this has been really interesting. And if there is an audience, I think it is smart to republish! Thank you for a really fun read!

  9. I did not know about this book!!!!!!! Now on my TBR!!!!!! Thank you for sharing it!

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