When I first started self-publishing my books I think it was only possible to have eBooks – unless with my usual knack of not noticing the blindingly obvious I missed the paperback version available! I’m sure I didn’t, I’m sure it’s only fairly recently become possible to produce actual paperbacks! All my most recent novels have been available in both formats, and I’ve spent the last little while converting all my Radwinter series to paperbacks as well. Now I am moving onto my other novels, and I’ve come across an unexpected difficulty – well, not difficulty exactly.
My Radwinter books follow the story of Thomas Radwinter, and the first ones were written ‘live’, so what Thomas was experiencing mirrored the time it was written – so the one published in 2013 was begun to be written in 2012 and that’s when it was set. I am lagging a little now, the one I’m working on now is actually set in 2019 – for no other reason that that was when I started it, so none of the current situation will be reflected in the story. When it comes to the next one, if there is a next one, that will be very different of course. As well as the events in Thomas’s life, the way I have written the stories mirror his personal development, so from being gloomy and pessimistic he became happier and then with good fortune smiling on him he became positive and optimistic and reverted almost to the teenage boy he had never been – a bit silly, over-enthusiastic, a bit of a happy idiot, a show off… but this was as a result of his situation and new life. Over the next books he has calmed down and although still with a great enthusiasm for life, he has caught up with himself and behaves like the nearly forty-year-old that he is – well, almost! So the way the stories are written changes, as Thomas changes. I hope he doesn’t become too boring!!
With my other novels, they are all stand-alone and I was less conscious – if conscious at all of style or the way I was writing. Now I think much more carefully about how I write, as well as what I write. I am far more experienced of course, fourteen novels, countless short stories, the blog here, teaching my writing groups, working with my own writing friends – I hope I am a better writer! I am certainly more self-critical.
So here is my dilemma; some of the stories I published as novels were written anything up to ten years before, a couple older than that. When I came to get them ready to be published as eBooks I edited them and worked on them, I rewrote parts, I changed parts, but I was doing this nearly ten years ago – and now, I’ve changed so much as a writer in that time!
- Should I rewrite my eBooks to make them more like the writer I am now? Some of them are rather long, some of them have scenes in which I wouldn’t include now, some have other aspects which if I was writing the story anew I would change. It’s not just that technology has changed, or fashion, a book can be set in 2010 even if it’s written in 2020!
- Should I leave the books as they are except for correcting errors and layout? Should the new paperback be exactly the same as the old eBook except with fewer mistakes? (Honestly, I did edit and check and proof-read and double-check, and check again but still there are little errors!!)
So my dilemma – republish or refurbish? My decision? I don’t have time or the energy, or to be honest the enthusiasm to go over seven books and in essence rewrite them! So edit and correct, then publish and be damned!