y1 will die

What prompts an author to kill her own book?

On January 1, 2019 my second novel is scheduled to die. I admit the prospect makes me sad. This book, with its fiery sunset-themed cover, has been part of my life for a while.

I finished it in early 2012, and released it on Kindle September 2012. Shape shifter Zane and his unique crime solving skills were a source of pride and joy.

As with my first book, x0, I’ve never totaled up the exact sales, because it’s not easy to separate a sale from a give-away. I’m pretty sure I’ve been paid for at least three hundred copies, and have gifted at least as many more. I’d hoped for more sales, of course, but every time a stranger liked my book and let me know, it delighted me. No regrets.

Times change. Sales of y1 have gone from small to nearly zero.

A few months ago, I attended a conference of science fiction writers, and signed up for a mentor. It may have been one of my more useful decisions. This guy pointed out that I could still have a marketable product in this particular story, but I needed a more genre-appropriate cover, a much better title, and an updated and aggressive marketing plan.

I can change the title of my book? Apparently I can. I do need a new ISBN number (no problem). I also need to acknowledge to the new reader what has been done (just in case he or she is one of the 600 humans who already read this story.)

And …. I need to kill y1. That is, I must take it off the market completely. No electronic versions for sale, although those who have it obviously always will. No new paperbacks printed and sold, although nothing can prevent current owners from reselling their copies on Amazon and elsewhere.

Over the years, I’ve eliminated all the hyperlinks in the book, and the text that went with them. I’ve made corrections and done minor clean-up. Why not. But I’ve refrained from doing anything major.

Because this will be a new book, I have the chance to do some serious editing. So I have. The original y1 came in at just under 125,000 words. The leaner new version is under 103,000. I’ve broken the chapters into smaller chunks. I’ve given more attention to point of view. I’ve taken the techniques I’ve learned over the past six years, at conferences, from other writers, and simply from practicing my craft for hours every week, and I’ve done my best to fold those learnings into telling my story better.

I’m pleased with the result.

So while y1 will soon cease to exist, it will give birth to a new and better novel. I’ll be blogging all about it soon

Expectations

ATVYou’ve had this happen, right? By the time you finally get around the seeing the movie that everyone has told you that you have absolutely got to see, you wonder what all the fuss was about. Or, a friend talks you into doing something you do not particularly think you will enjoy, and it’s way more fun than you expected. For me, this describes “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and my first time on an all terrain vehicle, respectively. Not that good and actually rather fun.

It also describes my recent attempts to edit my first and second novels, irrespectively. I was proud of x0 when I wrote it and frankly anyone who ever finishes writing a whole entire book ought to be very proud. After I finished my second book, however, I got used to people telling me how much better it was than the first. Really? How bad was the first?

I charged ahead into the third book and the fourth one and although I liked hearing about how my writing kept improving, it also nagged at me. Finally I decided to give x0 a little clean up. Maybe I could just take out a hated adverb here and an unnecessary conjunction there and it would still be the same book, but a tad better. So I did and it helped. While I was doing it, though, I kept thinking, this isn’t so bad. It’s way better written than I expected.

from y1Naturally, it seemed like a good idea to go ahead and do y1 as well. I figured it ought to be an easy process, because it was so much better to begin with, right?

It must have been good for me to find out otherwise. I wrote that sentence? Not that the book is bad. It isn’t. It may have the best plot I have come up with yet. The problem is that as I gained confidence in my story telling abilities, my sentences seem to have become longer and more convoluted. A snip snip here and a snip snip there made a world of difference. I finished the process last week, and the fun story hasn’t changed but some of the more difficult to digest pieces of it have become bite sized. There is more punctuation. It is better now.

I did find a few gems in it that I had forgotten about and enjoyed discovering. The narrator in y1 has a bit more of a tendency to wax eloquent, and this can be both good and bad. It isn’t surprising, however. The real life people whom I admire are full of great quotes, so I should have seen that one coming.

(Read about x0 getting a makeover here. For a limited time the new x0 is available on kindle for only 99 cents and the new y1 is only 99 cents too!)