Company went home

I've been on radio silence this weekend. My parents came to visit, and I really enjoyed them this trip. The weekend was mostly about visiting, shopping, and going to dinner. I even wound up at Bed Bath & Beyond. Nobody offered us a lotus cake, and we were able to actually leave before the bank account was empty.

My wife and my mother had to visit Trader Joe's for some cookie butter. This stuff is pretty good, and is similar to peanut butter. They don't have such things in Mom's small town, so it's a treat for her. I used the opportunity to slip away to a new brewery for a pint of Porter. The timing was about perfect. We all met back at the car at the same time.

We delayed our dinner out to watch American Pharoah win the Triple Crown. This is such a rare event that I'm glad we took the time. It was absolutely thrilling, and I see online that several of you paused to watch too.

After my parents drove away, I sprayed a little Sevin on the flowerbeds, and my fruit trees. This is the bug killer for vegetable gardens, so it's pretty mild stuff. Now it's just me and my iPad.

I am researching the book promotion sites you so generously provided. Part of me wants to sign up for all of them at once. I'm just anal enough to use one at a time and track the results for future reference. By the end of today I'll jump ahead with one of them. Thank you for your tips.

As far as the rest of my day, I'll probably read a book. I may add the final bits to a short story I'm writing, or an index card to one of my outlines.

Here's an update on another side project that might be good for some debate. I am going back through Wild Concept, and here's why. I wrote a short story for Lisa Burton, the robot girl. This will be part of my book of short stories one day. I decided to revisit Wild Concept just on the off chance that someone goes there after reading the short story.

It's a mess! I wrote this in 2008 and 2009. It appears that I've learned some things since then. I've been bouncing around like a ping pong ball about it ever since. Part of me thinks unpublishing it might be the best thing to do. Part of me wants to fix it.

This story has a great character and her story arc is solid. The plot and themes are great. It's my skill set that was lacking. So what's a writer to do? This story isn't nearly as well written as Will O' the Wisp.

I've invested a lot in Lisa Burton. She is a regular on this blog, and I've even bought some updated art to use occasionally. There is more coming, and it's going to be fun, it's even interactive to a degree. More on that later.

I decided to correct what I can, as a reasonable edit, and upload that version. I'm leaving it available in the Kindle store. There may come a day when I look back at Will O' the Wisp and feel the same way – because I've improved in the future half dozen years. I think unpublishing it is a descent into madness. At some point every book has its warts and flaws. (Maybe not quite this many.)

Lisa has become the spokes model for my writing career, and that's not something I'm willing to change. Steamboat Willy was a pretty awful cartoon, but Micky Mouse went on to bigger and better things. Walt Disney didn't fare too bad either.

On the plus side, it showed me how much I have learned since then. I work hard at this stuff, and take it pretty seriously. Apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Here's the point of debate today. What would you do? Is it best to never revisit the older stories? Would you do a complete rewrite? Hit unpublish? Edit it and write something new? Eat your cookie butter and pout? There is no right answer and what I chose might not be the right move for you. Let's discuss it.

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28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized, Writing

28 responses to “Company went home

  1. I don’t know what I’d do. Probably a redo — if not too many have read it.
    But then, I’ve seen many interviews with authors who say “Oh that book was rubbish!” or “I’ve never written a worse poem!” about works that are well-loved, and it’s too late to fix what’s done.
    I should think all experience growth through the craft, so isn’t some earlier work supposed to reflect that?
    People do go on about cookie butter…

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  2. Cookie butter is a staple in our house. They have cookie butter cookies now. They are terrific. Loved the race

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Once concepts are released into the wild, they can’t be called back. I would be tempted to do a complete rewrite and replace the current one with that. Maybe even put out a second version. But that way also lies madness. Putting out five books and rewriting the sequence every time you improve doesn’t get any new books into the readers hands. Do a quick polish, and move on.

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    • Thanks, Jim. That’s my plan too. I need the larger time slots to look forward, not backward. I may be able to do a quick sprucing up, but that’s about it. At least self publishing provides that option.

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  4. I revisit from time to time and the temptation to rewrite is strong. Though it’s already out there and leaves me feeling like unpublishing would be mean to those that enjoyed this version. A benefit of indie publishing is that you can upload a revised file without losing all of the reviews and stats of the older one. I guess it depends on how big a rewrite you’re planning and personal goals. As you said, what I would do might not be right for what you’re planning.

    As far as the marketing sites, I’d recommend going at them in pairs. I’ve done the single promo site thing before and it never seems to do as good as hitting multiples. You have to assume that there is some overlap of viewers and a lot of authors on there. So the more places you’re in at once, the higher the chance of being seen. Not sure if that helps or makes things worse. Maybe you can pair a free/small scale one off with a big one?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It gives me another marketing item to consider. There is so much to learn, and even then it’s hit and miss. I’ll do something for sure.

      I can’t dedicate a bunch of time to old projects. Time is scarce and better used forging ahead. It’s a good story, even if my skill was limited. Some folks will still enjoy it, and might appreciate a little added polish.

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      • We’ll call it ‘Classic Boyack’. πŸ˜‰ I actually have a really old book that I published through a Vanity Press. People found it when I published Beginning of a Hero and I’m mortified every time. Not that it was terrible, but I wrote it in high school. Though sometimes it’s interesting to leave an old project out there to let people see how much you’ve grown.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s it! (Best Charlie Brown imitation.) it’s classic Boyack.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hit Publish, my answer every time!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I thought this was one of the benefits of self-publishing, the ability to go back and update. I know exactly what you mean when you talk about how your writing has changed. Even stuff I wrote six months ago isn’t as good as today’s. But I’m not a good person to ask. I could pick at my writing all day, always seeing something else I could improve. Sometimes you just have to learn to walk away, which can be the hardest thing of all to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s a tough one. I have two books out there right now through my publisher that sorta/kinda/quasi bother me. Not because I don’t think they’re well-written, but my style has changed. I write PG-13 stuff now and both of them are R-rated (going by movie standards). I’ve never done erotic or erotica, but I’m written some pretty steamy romantic scenes in both Weathering Rock and Twelfth Sun.

    If those rights ever revert to me (which they likely will at some point because they’re both older books and aren’t selling strongly) I’ve often thought of indie-pubbing them and making them PG 13. I love the characters, I love the stories, but the content doesn’t fit my target audience now.

    I imagine it’s the same way as wanting to change a novel that you don’t feel is up to your standards of writing. I know a lot of indie authors who have done that. I agree that you shouldn’t change a book every time you grow as an author, but if you’re building a brand around Lisa, and she’s going to figure prominently into what you do in the future, I say change it. It’s one thing to have a book out there that has no future impact on what you’re writing, but it sounds to me like she’s going to be a core part of what you do as you move ahead. From a purely marketing perspective, if it were me, I’d put a new edition out and pull the old.

    Just my .02

    Still Snoopy dancing over American Pharoah (thanks for commenting on my post).

    There is no Trader Joe’s in my neck of the woods. I feel deprived 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if I’m saying what’s already been said. I loved the story and I love Lisa Burton as a character. Personally, I would not change a thing. It was your first published work, and it is what it is. That your writing has transformed and you have learned from the experience you have gained is awesome and inspiring. (Even though it, too, is awesome.) It’s one you can be proud of.

    Red Clay and Roses has it’s share of issues. Despite extensive edits after it was published, there are things about it that I cannot and will not change, but once thought about unpublishing and trying to change. Then I thought, you know,some people (including me) are going to find issues no matter what I do. Let it go. If only for posterity’s sake, I’m leaving it alone and it will stand as my first published work, even though I am writing in an entirely different genre now.

    Just my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am going to correct some spelling errors, and add the missing quotation marks. I may add a transition or two, because it ought to have at least a few. I’m leaving it out there. It was a moment of triumph for me. It’s pretty easy to see me watching too many movies and not reading enough. I’ve remedied that in current projects, but won’t take the time to make those huge changes.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. One of the benefits of being an indie is that you can go back and update. I’m considering that with book2… there’s a bit of it that’s really bugging me, and I’m determined to fix it, but not until book3 is done and dusted. Its quite a small thing, but it needs doing. I do think though that there is a point where you just have to let it go and move on to bigger and better things.

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  10. I’d love to see a post with pieces of the old writing you don’t like anymore, followed by your new version.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting. It might take many pages to reveal the transition issues. The rest is spelling and punctuation. I won’t be able to cure all the passive writing. Bits and pieces yes. I’ll consider doing it.

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  11. First, I would definitely eat the cookie butter no matter what. Yes, I’d republish, but I wouldn’t unpublish until the moment the new one is ready to go. Can you possibly just replace the old one with the new one, or will that affect your ratings, etc? If so, then your links would stay the same, etc. I think books, movies, even music albums (and of course software) have had updated versions that replace first versions. I wouldn’t look at is as a negative thing. I think it’s actually good in that you recognize how much you’ve grown as a writer. Didn’t I hear a rumor that Stephen King even re-released some reworked early stuff not too log ago? (Don’t know if it’s true or not.) Good for you! πŸ™‚

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