My Quandary

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!

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54 Responses to My Quandary

  1. Nicole says:

    Kristen, your fans will read them and not care that you re-fleshed them. They might feel like they just got “new” books. Don’t change the titles. Leave the readers a note of explanation. And publish away. (JMO)

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  2. Valerie Eyerly says:

    Ditto to Nicole… and I don’t think your fans will have any trouble explaining and encouraging others to read these either! At least this one won’t.

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  3. Pingback: 4 Days Remain… | The Ranting Papizilla

  4. t price says:

    I love those stories, also….could perhaps put “revisited” somewhere…?

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  5. Rebecca Maney says:

    I have to agree with you. I have read all your books, but when I tried to read your original historical series, I could not even finish the first one; no offense, but it did not even appear to be the same writer. You have “come a long way, baby”! Yes, I would new title them, let your readers know that you have kept the “skeleton” intact but everything else is different. Personally, I would love to give them a second chance, because all your books since then have been five-star exceptional!

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  6. Shelly says:

    I would put a “new and improved” in the title, perhaps something like “Revisited” or something like that but keep the rest of the title as is. Then put a reader’s note in re: the changes. I can’t wait to read them!

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  7. Michelle says:

    A short time ago, I found your ebook Secrets through amazon and am now finishing a 3rd series of yours. If you keep the original title let your readers know it is a rewrite/ rework. Those that follow your work like Nicole said will feel like they got new books. Looking forward to reading your Recreated writings.

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  8. Jackie Drake says:

    Are they only going to be available as e-books? (There are a lot of us out here who still like to hold a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other, curled up in a comfy chair.) I’m looking forward to the rewrites, and think a note to readers that the works “revisited” is the best route to go. I loved your historical fiction, and still do. Have you improved as a writer? Definitely. But the characters in your early stories made the books and if you have the same characters (even if they are improved) and essentially the same plot(s) I think you need to keep the same titles.

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  9. Maxine Bamburg says:

    I think you are selling yourself short in regard to how you perceive these first historical books. I, and my daughters, absolutely loved them! As to your quandary – display your revisions as just that…revisions. Would love to read more historical fiction from your pen/laptop.

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  10. Tracy Sollinger Rodgers says:

    Kristen – have never before posted on a blog but felt compelled to do so today. The first series I read of yours was ‘The Diamond of the Rockies” series. I LOVED it. So the first thing I do when I find a new author I love is I look for all the other books by them that I can. So I read the first ones but had a hard time finding the last one. I ended up paying about $25 to eventually get it but I HAD to know how it ended up! Now – do I think they were your best books? – No. But did I love the characters? – Yes. Bottom line – I would love to re-read them with your “experienced” writing skills now! :). Just put a note at the beginning of the book telling them what you just told us and it will be fine! Can’t wait!

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  11. Kim says:

    Leave the titles. That way we know they are still the same series, but if you want to say they are revised, that might be a good idea. I have all the “Diamond of the Rockies” books and I loved them. I loved the Characters, but I will be excited to read the revised versions! BTW, Maxine was right. You are selling yourself short, My oldest daughter read them and had me read them. I loved them. (so did she!)

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    • Well, thank you for that encouragement, but these are not the Diamond of the Rockies series. These came before those and are The Rocky Mountain Legacy series–though people usually say the Honor’s series.

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  12. Beth Rumbaugh says:

    Keep the titles with Shelly’s suggestion of “revisited.”

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  13. Kay Walsh says:

    Cole is coming back?!? Alright!!

    When I decided to add my thoughts, I discovered everyone else has already expressed them. To say it again would feel like plagiarism (perhaps in reverse?) So, I’ll just say that I agree with all of the above.

    A couple of thoughts: Please use the picture of Cole on the last book. That’s what he looks like in my mind. Also, the scene in book 4 where Cole asks Abby to marry him is one of my favorites of all times. Be gentle with that one.

    I’m ready to read!!

    Blessings!

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  14. cacalestini says:

    Oh I LOVED all of those books and would totally re-read them! When I found you, I immediately found all of your other books and poured over them. I would suggest that you just put “revised” somewhere. 🙂 I cannot wait to re-read them!

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  15. Robin says:

    I think you should keep the same titles, put in a whole page that explains what you did (just before chapter one), but there really should be something on the outside, too, that notes a change from the original. I love all your books, but yes, after this series you definitely refined your skills and made the characters absolutely true to form, believable. I think I read The Still of Night first and then this series next. That Abbie, she was like the superwoman of the 1800’s, too amazing to be true, but oh how I wish I had her fortitude!! Really looking forward to reading the new versions, yes!

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  16. Jessica says:

    I’m loving all these responses and the excitement. I cannot wait for these books to come out. I have a couple thoughts on titles. The Honor’s Pledge, Honor’s Price, etc. titles seem just a bit dated to me. Also, they sound more like a Young Adult series. You could retitle them and say something like: based on the characters and some plot points from the Rocky Mountain Legacy Series. Whatever you decide, I cannot wait to see more of those characters who will always have a place in my heart.

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  17. Rebecca D says:

    I have read all of your books, except the first series. I have had a really hard time finding them all and can’t bring myself to start unless I know I can finish. I can’t think of an author with a greater gift with bringing characters to life and I would love to be able to read this series. Letting your audience know these books are revisited is wise because I know of people who had repurchased the same book because it was republished with a new cover. This can be very disappointing, as I’m sure you can imagine. Keep blessing us with your wonderful stories! Oh, and just for the record, The Diamond of the Rockies is one of my favorite series and I think your awesome at historical fiction!

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  18. outtahere says:

    I would definitely read them. Please “revisit” or “a note for the reader.” I agree with you that you don’t want the readers to be fooled. If I read them again (and I’ve read them twice), I would question my own memory (which is questionable these days, anyway.)

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  19. Kathy Willis says:

    Hi Kristen,
    Can I say that I loved this series. I had never read Christian fiction before and I found them at a tough time in life – and the concept of honor and doing the right thing – really helped me on my journey at the time. These books changed my life because they changed me by challenging me. So as sacred as I hold them I think that revisiting them and unlocking these characters with the depth you have grown to as a writer is going to be flat out exciting. It will also be exciting because no doubt you have grown in your faith and understanding of the Word of God and being able to convey that with the depth of experience will be great for those of us that are solid book buying fans of your. Thanks for sharing your gift! And don’t be too much of a critic because those books did leave an impact just as they were written. And trust me I know! Prayers and cheers out to you.

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  20. Wendy L. Adams says:

    I agree with everyone’s suggestion about keeping the same titles but mentioning somewhere that these are a revised version of the original. Maybe you could give each a new title with the original title as a subtitle. As a potential purchaser, I would also appreciate this distinction being made clear on any adverts for the series or on the bookseller’s page. (Does that make sense?) I realize you’re looking to sell these titles as e-books, but I second the suggestion to make them print-on-demand as well. I prefer reading the old-fashion way (since I don’t have an e-reader and don’t foresee getting one any time soon) and would definitely be willing to pay the extra for a paper copy. Thanks for re-working and re-publishing these titles. I look forward to reading the revised version of this series. (I read the series early on. While I enjoyed the story mostly, I soon realized that this series did not have the same depth as your later works. Thank you for following your heart and continuing to write the way you feel led.)

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  21. Cristel Phelps says:

    In today’s digital world we have a tendency to hit delete and in turn “throw the baby out with the bath water.” Our days are moving at the speed of light, and we want everything to get fixed as quickly. Sometimes things are good…as they are.

    I have noticed a trend lately. We use today’s knowledge and skills to “beat up” on what we did years ago! Not fair!!!

    Kristen, as a CBA retailer and a fan of your books, I believe the ebooks should stand as they were (hopefully there is still a digital file of the original before your new revisions). It is always a blessing to be able to look back over your accomplishments and see how far you have come, and your readers enjoy that too!

    Blessings…no matter which you choose to do. Just keep up the great work.

    Another thot (on the business side): you probably don’t do a cost analysis on your time per book, but one of the benefits of putting the older digital files on ebook and making it available is income with little extra effort expended. If you take time, effort, and creativity on older projects, you kinda defeat your purpose. Using that time to create new projects might be a better use of your time?? Just sayin’.

    On the other hand, it is always fun to “come out and play” with old friends too.

    Love ya!

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    • This is all very true, Cristel, and I do feel the time pressing. On the other hand, it’s best if i follow the muse. 🙂 When it pours out like this, I feel God’s hand. Maybe he’s not through with these stories after all.

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      • And I will say I’m excited about INDOMITABLE that is about 3/4 of the way written and will come out traditionally, I hope.

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      • Kay Walsh says:

        Thanks Kristen for following your personal leaning. I think your fans will support your endeavors on these older books. Who knows… one day they may be studied as literature to compare great writing with excellent writing!?! I’d want to join that class!

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  22. afaithgolden says:

    Kristen!!! Ok, first off… I LOVE this series!!! This is the first series of yours I read and I absolutely loved it!! You are selling yourself short on how good it was. When I read this I was a little worried because these are some of my favorites of yours but I’m also curious! Lol! I agree with everyone else put something somewhere to explain but I will totally will read and I think most people will! 🙂 pleaseeeeee tell me you didn’t take out the scene with Abby and Cole in the field on the way back from the cattle drive!?!? Please!!! 😀

    Looking forward to the books!!! When will they be available and will there be a long wait in between each book? And did I see that there might be a sixth book!?!? Excited!!!!

    Faith

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    • Thank you, Faith. I appreciate the encouragement regarding the first version. 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think of the retold stories. I haven’t gotten to the specific scene you mention, but I assure you what I’m doing with Cole is the best part of it all. Even in the very first book, coming soon. And I’m hoping to have very little time between them, but that means I’m holding back releasing the first until I have the others at least somewhat in a row. Please pass the word!

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  23. kandy hagler says:

    Go ahead and give it a fresh title. Anything you write or rewrite I am sure your fans will love.
    Be honest with your readers about this new book being a rewrite. Honesty plain and simple is the best policy.
    Thank you for sharing your talent, stories and wonderful characters with us.

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