This month’s Insecure Writers’ Support Group gives me a chance to talk about pulling a published book and revising it. Not necessarily the technical side of it – more the emotional bit. That is what the IWSG is all about really, giving each other support, and maybe others can learn from your own mistakes. If you’d like to join up, or just visit other people in the group who post on the first Wednesday on the month just nip across here; Insecure Writer’s Support Group sign-up.
I’m sure most writers will agree that you don’t want to publish something that’s ‘okay’. You want it to be the best it can possibly be. You’ve slaved over it, redrafted it, edited it, re-edited it, and hopefully had good feedback from your beta readers as well as your editor. Well, I thought I’d done all that. Okay, my editor’s comments weren’t as helpful as they might have been, but I damped down my ego and set to work revising it as I thought she’d indicated. I confess I didn’t like the opening chapter any more, but… that seemed to be what she advised. I may have misinterpreted.
I suppose what I really should have done is ask her to look at it again. I got the impression that she simply didn’t like the book. And there we have the problem, really. I didn’t like the changes I’d made, and she didn’t get a chance to comment on them.
The people who gave me the most comments were the people who gave me two-star reviews on Goodreads (but fairly, with useful comments). Which, by Goodreads’ ratings, means ‘it’s okay’. Yeah, well. It’s not, is it? And from a steady add-to-reading-list daily, it dropped dead. I went back to my beta readers, I went back to the comments; I tried it on a Read2Review programme and asked for direct feedback if they would give it less than four stars, and I got good feedback. Thank you, all of you who gave me clear guidance.
It took me about an hour to get over the disappointment and pull the book from all its retail outlets.
I’ve nearly finished the first redraft. One of my beta readers has the first chapter to review for me.
And, you know, I’m quite enjoying it. It’s funny, because I’ve already written book 2 in the series, but I know these characters so much better now. And all that extra world-building I’ve done! (that was the theme of my A to Z Challenge, in case you missed it.) I can add nuances they didn’t have before. And really, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to launch books one and two more or less together next time.
The big question is – should I change the title and bring it out as a new book to lose those two star reviews? Or should I stick with it, which would ensure that all the people who liked the sound of it will be able to get the second edition free because they bought the first? Maybe I’ll just change the cover to draw attention to it. It doesn’t seem right to bring it out as a whole new book. And there aren’t that many poor reviews to overcome.
Anything like this ever happen to you? What did you do?
PS And the day this all happened a glitch on the website meant I lost my mailing list for the book. Still working on restoring it. 🙁