Rewriting a Published Book – with a poll

in Writing Life

I’ve been thinking about rewriting  Moonlighting in Vermont (MIV). I liked it when I wrote it. I was over the moon when it was published. Now I’m wondering if I should revise it. The e-book version which I have control of anyway.

I’ve been thinking about removing the sample chapter to CAS (California Schemin’). According to Bob Mayer e-book readers don’t like seeing that they are 80% through a book and then two chapters later the book ends at 90%  or something like that because there are sample chapters after the story ends. Removing a sample chapter would be an easy thing to do, I just have to get on it. (Sorry, Bob, I couldn’t find the exact blog post.)

But there is this other thing too. My daughter says CAS is much better than MIV. My brother said he enjoyed every page of CAS, which alludes to the fact he didn’t like every page of MIV. Whenever I read aloud from MIV I change things, because the way they are written makes me cringe. But I think lots of authors feel that way about finished books. Of course before the appearance of e-books there wasn’t much we could do about it. Now we can.

So what do you think? Should I spend some time re-writing an already published book?

The benefits, well benefit really – I can only think of one – is that a better written book will more likely result in fans, and people who want to read the other books in the sequel. Also, perhaps I will feel better about the book. Although it’s making me money so I’m not feeling that bad about it.

It’s just that it’s the first in the series. It may well be the first book of mine any reader is introduced to. I want it to be my best work. And at the time, it was. Now I think I can do better. But hopefully as I grow as a writer that could be true of every book. Does it follow I should then revise every book I’ve written? No. I don’t think so.

But I’m sorely tempted to rewrite that first one…  Oh and wait five seconds, there’s sure to be a poll!

And for anyone who thinks paper books are dead – I think not.

George Clooney Reading a REAL book!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Bylina July 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I’ve just finished your book, MIV, and my review goes live tomorrow. The writing is fine. Combine that with the fact that you won an award for it, and you should just leave it alone and move on to the next book. That is, unless, you want to pull a Walt Whitman and republish a different version of your work every few years. Your sales also seem good–much better than mine. However, the production value of the e-book is awful. In my reviews, I’m tolerant of these issues. As a self-published author, I know how difficult it is to “get it right.” But if you want to do one thing for future readers of your novel, fix stumbling/fumbling format of the e-book. It really disrupts the enjoyment of the story.

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Kate July 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

You read my mind, Rick! I’m in the process of having a professional redo the formatting. After doing everything the instructions said, twice, and checking on my kindle, I’ve decided my time is better spent writing and someone else can format for me… Really they should call them destructions as far as I’m concerned! But we all have our talents. Thanks for the kind words.

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kaye george June 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

No, don’t rewrite! Once you start, where would you stop? I could totally rewrite every single thing I’ve written, including short stories. Not a good idea, IMHO.

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londonmabel June 29, 2012 at 9:12 am

If it were a stand alone, I’d say no way! Because it’s a mystery series that you’re continuing to add too, and people might start from book 1… I can see more why you’d be tempted. At the very least, if you do it, give yourself a deadline–a certain amount of time in which to do it. So that you don’t get mired. Or maybe find the most efficient way to do it. Like get a few beta readers and ask them: If I changed/improved two things only, what should they be? Something to point the way. …Those is my two cents. ;-)

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Delia June 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I’d leave it. Unless you have hard evidence that it would increase your sales, it’s taking time away from new books. Onward and upward.

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Kate George June 28, 2012 at 10:54 am

I hate it when authors/publishers do that – rename books. Very frustrating! Not to worry no name change is in the works. I love that name.

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Julie June 28, 2012 at 6:16 am

Oh Sharon, good point, re-naming books = BAD!

The poll took a while this time, but it arrived. And I voted. ;)

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Sharon June 27, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Well I’m ready for book 3! I thought MIV was fine (yes, I noticed it was your first book.) The only problem I had with MIV was the Kindle formatting. I liked the action better in CAS. It was smoother (yes, I noticed it was your second book.) I like Hammie. He has real possibilities with Bree. I think she should call him Hammie some of the time and Richard or Richie the rest. The FBI lady was interesting also.

Whatever you decide to do DON’T re-title. Your readers will get all excited about a new book only to find out it’s and old book updated.

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Kate George June 28, 2012 at 10:58 am

Sharon, the question is: Is the writing getting better? That’s the most important point, in my mind.

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Sharon June 30, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Well yes! Your plotting is good to. The transitions are easier in CAS. The plotting in MIV was good but you improved on it in CAS… I enjoyed both books. The characters are not cardboard and I could relate to them. I would like to hear more of Bree’s stories (cause I know there are back stories) even short ones.

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Kate George June 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm

You know the funny thing about that? I plotted MIV to a T. CAS I just made up as I went along. The current book is a little of both – I’m trusting the Girls (girls in the basement) a little more, but I still get surprised by things. Like I thought this was going to be the last Bree, but it looks like there could be another, if I care to write it.

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