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November 12th, 2012, 03:21 PM #1
Advice on republishing my first novel
Well, when I first published this thing back in 2010, it wasn't a very good book. I'm really not sure what I was thinking. So, I went back and rewrote it, and then again, and again. Then I emailed several reviewers who came and critiqued it. I got some nice reviews that also pointed out the flaws in my writing. So, I went back and rewrote it, again and again. Now, while a lot of the plot is still the same, it's not even recognizable as the same book it was 2 years ago. Even character names and personalities are different. Plus, there's maybe, uh, 20 people out there that read the older versions.
So, since it's the first in a series, and I don't want to scrap the series, I'm trying to figure out what exactly I should do with it. I can tell you this, I don't ever want to write under my real name again, for several reasons.
1) my last name is impossible to spell or remember
2) I hate aggressively marketing something under my name because then I feel like I'm spamming
3) I hate people randomly asking me about my writing work
4) I don't really like fantasy fiction being tied to my name for professional reasons. It seems to make some people take me less seriously.
I'm sure there are others, but those are the biggest ones.
The book in 2010 was published under my real name. So, in my future writings, I'll obviously not self-pub unless I feel it's necessary. But, does anyone have any recommendations? I'd like to just self-pub the entire series under a pen name with a new cover and a new ISBN and aggressively promote it.
Anyone else been down this road?
Last edited by Chris_KW; November 12th, 2012 at 03:27 PM.
November 12th, 2012, 03:56 PM #2
Not been down that road, but...
Assuming you self-published the series and are not subject to any rights (including First Refusal) issues, I see no reasons why you shouldn't improve the first book. Of course, if you did, then you should ripple your changes through your series as well. No sense being hasty, right? Looking back at one's work is always a bit of a dicey thing for writers - I know I write better now than I did when I started my last series, but you got to leave well enough alone (assuming it is indeed well enough) and move on. The trick is when your first work is truly something that is damaging to your career if you leave it out there without revisions (which is why I tell new writers never to send out their first work cause it's invariably gonna be bad in most cases).
You do need a name that is easy on the tongue and memory, not to mention any adverse impact it may have on your real job. Catchy and unique. Oh, and not too long.
November 12th, 2012, 04:11 PM #3
Thanks, Kerry, and you're correct, there are no First Refusal issues. There were times after the book's 1st overhaul that I considered just moving on, but I'm glad I didn't. I'm ecstatic with where the MS is at right now, and I know all of that editing will help my future works. Also, I got your PM. Thanks.
November 12th, 2012, 05:53 PM #4
Okay, so republish the book and series under a pen name. Problem solved. It was done all the time. It's still done all the time.
I will say one thing, though, if you're using the pen name in part to try and hide your real life, it can be hard to do on our lovely Internet. I recently discovered that somehow my personal social media and my blog were getting hooked up in searches and reference links -- they aren't supposed to be. And if you are aggressively promoting with author pictures, etc., then a lot of people are going to know the Clark Kent part of you. So make sure Google search and social media sites aren't going to let someone searching for real life you lead into pen name you areas of the Net.
November 13th, 2012, 03:24 PM #5
Are you e-published? There is a certain chill on the practice of changing author name and title then popping it back with the same e-publisher. Smashwords, I believe, will actually close your account if someone brings such an instance to their attention. Too many writers had been using the (supposed) anonymity of the internet to get a new-release buzz several times with the same book, and the e-publishers have their reputations to consider.
That said, there's nothing to prevent you releasing a revised or an expanded edition... or maybe some other up-front disclosure, such as "portions of this book formerly appeared under the title such-and-such," although that will prevent you from building an opaque wall between this issue and the past one.
Of course, if you sold the first round in paper and ink, I can't believe there's any real problem. There will be very little internet trail of your first effort. Be prepared, however, to refund a few dollars on the off chance that one of your prior readers accidentally shells out bright new coin for the re-issue.
BTW, I will soon be doing something similar. My first release has been revised and improved several times, often in response to reader correspondence and critique. As my knowledge of the craft improved, I revised the book online, but did no other changes. My current effort (two more books) will need to be congruent with the first; and in most instances the changes will be made to the first because the second is a more coherent story. I will be going the "revised and expanded" route, but I don't have the need for an author name change.
Good luck -- WB
Last edited by Window Bar; November 13th, 2012 at 03:27 PM.
November 13th, 2012, 03:48 PM #6
Yeah, that sounds a lot like my situation. It's certainly not my intent to deceive, but there's so few people that actually read my prior versions that I'm not that concerned about it. I do want to be forthcoming, but at the same time not ruin any new "buzz," like you said. And as Kat said, it's not like we're doing anything revolutionary. I'd like to get the 2nd book in my series done before I re-release the 1st, that way I can pump two a couple months after one.
Also, WB, if you're looking for a review and wouldn't mind offering one yourself, we could trade works. I'm actually in desperate need of some new reading material, and I'd love to get other authors input on my book. I'll probably start a thread about this before the end of the week seeing who all would like to trade with me.
EDIT- sorry, missed your first question. I'm not e-published by anyone. I did it solo.
Last edited by Chris_KW; November 13th, 2012 at 08:24 PM.
November 13th, 2012, 03:49 PM #7
... whoops, double posted.
Last edited by Chris_KW; November 13th, 2012 at 03:51 PM.