So it’s like this. A few months ago I decided to self-publish my original historical series as eBooks. I began the process by scanning the print books into files. These I knew I would have to “edit.” Scanning isn’t perfect, after all. And I knew I’d want to make some changes–I wrote them fifteen years ago. And that was fine, because I really enjoy revisions.
So I got myself positioned on my treadmill desk and brought the first manuscript up on my laptop and started to work on what was actually a pretty good scan. What wasn’t good was…everything else. Oh, does fifteen years make a difference. I’ve heard from lots of readers who enjoyed these. They all made the bestseller lists in their day. But what I saw could be likened to a garden with a decent stone path and some great plantings completely overgrown and full of weeds.
My little heart sang. Here was a Herculean rewrite waiting to happen. And so it began. Whole pages–delete. Not all of them, of course. Some kept a phrase here and a sentence there. But I’m serious when I say I took that book down to the bone, and oh what fun to flesh it out again.
The characters remained, only way better, and the plot points are mostly intact, but, besides that–it’s a new book. Thus my quandary. Because there are still print versions out there (and I can’t find them all and bury them in the back yard) I’m worried people will confuse the two.
These are going to have spiffy new covers, so that might help. I debated about changing the titles, but aficionados may recognize the characters and events and believe I’m trying to pass off as new a book that’s only mostly new. On the other hand readers who discover the series in the eBook version might then buy the out-of-print paper version, thinking it will be the same.
I’ve created a conundrum and would so appreciate all the help I can get. New titles or no? Reader Note to tell former readers these are vastly different? Or does that put off new readers? How honest should I get?
The good part is that I’m in love with the characters, and having so much fun in the process, I can’t even worry too much about the outcome. It’s been a long time since I wrote historical fiction, so that’s a refreshing change, and variety is invigorating for me. I also know that everything I do with these, the first gifts from the Lord in my writing journey, will give him joy. So, for your glory, Lord–and help me do it right!