What prompts an author to kill her own book?
A few weeks ago my fourth novel, c3, was killed by own hand. It made me sad. I finished writing c3 in late 2013, and released it on Kindle February 6, 2014. I’ve been told its hero, teenager Teddie Zeitman with her exuberant heart and a talent for out-of-body experiences, is one of my best creations. Green happens to be my favorite color, and the ethereal cover for c3 was my favorite of all the six.
But times change. Goodreads shows only three people currently reading my novel. Sales have gone from small to nearly zero.
I’ve never totaled up the exact sales, because it’s hard to separate a sale from a give-away but I suspect I’ve been paid for about a hundred copies (if you don’t count friends and family.) 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.
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 professional writer 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 need a new ISBN number (no problem). I need to acknowledge to the new reader what has been done (just in case he or she is one of the 200 or so humans who already read this story.)
And …. I needed to kill c3. That is, it had to go 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 am. I’m giving more attention to point of view. I’m taking 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’m doing my best to fold those learnings into telling my story better.
It is still a work in progress, but so far I’m pleased with the result.
So while c3 will soon cease to exist, it will give birth to a new and better novel, to be called Layers of Light. I’ll be blogging all about it here soon.