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Friday, March 2, 2012

The Ghosts of Older Editions

Once upon a time, a long time ago (like, over a decade), an aspiring writer who was heartsick from her dealings with a dishonest agent, who is now featured in 'Preditors & Editors' (no, that is not a misspelling) read about a (self) publishing company that was stepping into the very new world of electronic publishing.

She thought it might be something to explore, so she sent her novel there, and it was placed online.  Later, she was contacted about publishing a paperback version of the book.  Although sales weren't stellar (sales?) she went ahead and paid for the process.
The book was published with this cover (left), and remained in circulation for over ten years.  The edition had all sorts of typesetting errors; it was a mess. 

The author sat up after ten years, looked at it, and now that things had changed in various ways, opened her manuscript, edited it, tightened it, changed it and, now that the publishing industry was in a state of change, decided to put it on Kindle.  She also examined the paperback possibilities and issued an 'Updated and Revised' edition through another publisher, with a far better cover (right).

  She contacted the first publisher and terminated their relationship, and she received confirmation of their actions.  It was quite a relief to be rid of the older, terribly done edition.  The book was made available on Kindle and in paperback, and was listed on various online sites.  Sales were fairly good.
This author had also written another book, published with the same group.  This book was put out with this cover (left).  Typesetting was equally atrocious.  She reviewed, revised, updated, and improved the text.  She also had another cover designed (she is a graphic designer) and, satisfied with it, placed it in the market both in Kindle/Nook and in paperback.
     As with the first book, she contacted the original publisher, directed that all publishing by them be stopped, and terminated their relationship.  After all those years, and after learning of the sort of operation that they were, she was very happy to have the relationship end.  Things were going well, she was now satisfied (as much as a writer can be) that what was available to her readers was the best that she could produce with those books.
And then, going through an online library site, she was astonished to see that the older editions were being listed as the primary ones, and that people were putting them on their 'to read' lists.
It was nice to see that people were interested in those books, but the thought of those poor people, expecting a good tale (and, dare I say it?, getting one but an earlier, rougher, poorly typeset version) made her cringe. 

I suppose it's something we learn to live with, but if anyone has one of those earlier copies, the author hopes that he or she will contact her.  She proposes to sell a paperback at cost.  Or lower the Kindle price as low as it will go.  Or something.

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