Clean Up Your Old Messes! @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA @nonniejules #RRBC #RWISA

I recently read a review of a book written by one of my favorite authors.  The review was written on one of the first books they published years ago, in 2009, and there were references made in the review of many editing issues.  If the review was honest and accurate, the writing in that book is not at all indicative of the author’s writing as I know it today.

A few years ago, I opened up a copy of the second book I ever published, to read a bit of it, and was mortified! Not because the writing was that bad, but, let me tell you, in my opinion, it wasn’t all that great, either.  In some areas, the writing was so extremely passive, I couldn’t help but cringe with every paragraph I read.  I wrote that book as a newbie author without any support in 2013, and today in 2021, the differences in my writing then and now, could lead you to believe you’re reading from two different authors – a newbie one and a more experienced one.  I am one who cares greatly about what I offer my readers, so it should come as no surprise to any of my new followers, that I removed that older book from purchase over 4 years ago.  (I only recently realized the paperback copy is still up so I’ll get to removing it soon).  Once I’ve had the time to give it the proper attention in the editing department, it will be returned to Amazon, but only when it has been clearly polished and perfected.

As authors, especially those of us who are proud Indie authors, we have the ability to take our books down, especially the old ones we published years ago, and make them new again.  We can change the book cover, have the book professionally edited (because back then when we edited it our self, or had our sister to edit for us the first time we published it), we didn’t realize the importance of professional editing and proofing – how crucial it was back then and how dire it is today.  We can even update the story with new material, if we want; but the greatest thing of all, is we can make those old books better! We can clean up the messes of our past with the simple stroke of a pen and some hard learned lessons behind us.  We can do these things anytime we want and without anyone’s approval.

Because of the freedom, the beauty of Indie publishing is without the restrictions and loss of power you have over your creative works as you would be under as a traditionally published author.  And, if you are one who values honest reviews, especially the ones that are often times difficult to hear, you are always in the best position to present another first impression of your writing skill.  There aren’t many areas in life where you can get that kind of second chance, but, lucky for us, writing is one of them.  (I have also begun the process of cleaning up and rewriting some of my old blog posts, too.  This is how important my writing reputation is to me.)

Although I had to distinguish between the two for the clarity of my message here, this post is not about Indie vs Traditional publishing.  It’s about caring enough about the writing you put out, to take the time to pull your old books down and improve upon them.  There are so many things that I know today that clearly went over my head back when I first began my writing journey. I didn’t have the skills, nor did I have the support of any who cared enough, to tell me the truth, or point me in the right direction, so I wouldn’t make the mistakes I did back then as a first-time published author.  This is the reason I advocate so strongly for supporting others, honesty in reviews, and caring enough to give only your very best to the world.

Your messes don’t have to remain messes.  Turn those messes into the best messages ever written!

Have you taken down some of your old books to have them re-edited, the cover improved upon, or the blurb touched up?  If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts on how you feel about the importance of spending time cleaning up your old published messes.  Do you value your writing reputation enough to put in the work it takes to ensure that your writing, no matter how far in the past it was, is at its absolute very best?

9 Comments

  1. Hi Nonnie,
    This is excellent advice. So many times we let our mess up define who we are and move on. However, it is good to clean up the mess because you learn from it.
    Shalom aleichem,
    This

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  2. I did what you described: took an old book, revised it, and submitted it to an Indie publisher. That book is So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids!

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  3. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    Yes Nonnie. I have had to take down my works on more than one occasion and I’m still not satisfied totally. That’s because the editors I have used, particularly in formatting, seems to require more expertise on my part. I don’t have it all together yet and that is why I was willing to pay someone to help me. There seems to be this elephant in the room when it comes to editing. The editor can charge high or reasonable fees and not be responsible for assisting you in giving them what they or you require. I know it is the author’s responsibility to give the editor his intentions (what he wants) but that should be at a bare minimum. When I published my first book, I turned in my manuscript and paid for a complete editing job which included suggestions that I could accept or reject. It also included formatting according to industry standards. The works! My first book was praised for being so professionally laid out and I didn’t do the work. I paid to have it done. Now, publishing has become a mess. And its more expensive. I don’t know what happened that all the work was turned back to the author but it has. Also more books are lacking in the editing department. I don’t know what is going on but its gotten bad.

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  4. Nonnie, great info and advice here. An editor is certainly a necessity for any writing endeavor, one that, sadly, some indie authors skip. You can spot those books right away, and I usually stop reading them. Life is too short! I have certainly had that cringe experience, too, with some of my earlier works, but thankfully, I hadn’t gotten to the publish stage with them. I had, however, entered them in contests or sent them to magazines. Rereading them sure made me realize why I hadn’t heard back! Oh – the adverbs!!!! Yikes.

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  5. I recently changed the covers and re-edited several of my books. When I read the original versions, I cringed. As time goes on, I am certain this won’t be the last of the revisions. It is all part of an effort to improve as an author, and I think most serious authors make similar adjustments to their work. Experience is a wonderful teacher, but I also believe in continued education and thick skin.

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  6. I’m working on all of my previously published books to make them the best they can be. As we’ve discussed before I set this as a goal for 2021

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  7. I also revised and re-edited my Diasodz series. I cringed when I reread some of the repetition and head-hopping, but I showed myself compassion for just not knowing when I first started. There weren’t any flagrant grammar or spelling errors; it was mostly stylistic issues. I got rid of filler words and tightened the perspective writing. They definitely read much better now than they did when I first published them. That’s the beauty of self-publishing – our works remain our own to do with as we please. Great post, Nonnie! 🙂

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  8. petespringerauthor

    I think that should be the normal progression of things. If our writing ten years from now looks like it does today, then I’d say that shows that we’re not paying attention and learning.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, Nonnie! Thank You! I did pull all five of my books down and revised them all. I changed the covers on four of them and reformatted them. I went from traditional publishing to Indie publishing for that purpose – to regain control over my work. I agree with every point you made in this informative article. Professional editing is important, even when we think it’s as good as it can be.

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