Friday, June 12, 2015

Recycling Books

When a book goes out of print, a publisher closes its doors, or a writer is dissatisfied with how the book is being handled, there are a number of publishing alternatives.

My first mystery novel was originally titled Shirl Lock and Holmes, named for my two senior women amateur sleuths, Shirley Lock and Dora Holmes. It was first published in 1999, but when my publisher and I parted company the following year I resold the book as A Village Shattered, renamed my characters Sarah Cafferty and Dana Logan, and agreed to feature them in a series. So the Logan and Cafferty mystery/suspense series was born. After the third novel was published, I formed my own publishing company and produced the rest of the series as well as the work of other writers.

Similarly, my first and bestselling novel to date was originally published as Escape on the Wind, the story of a 17 year-old girl kidnapped by members of Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch. My second publisher insisted on a new title so the book became Escape, a Wyoming Historical Novel. When the publisher went out of business, I indie published the novel in 2011, retaining its last title.

I then decided to write a juvenile series, The Hamilton Kids' Mysteries, based on my childhood in the Hollywood Hills. My first publisher and I could not agree on a cover or title (along with a number of other problems), so I decided to indie publish Mystery of Spider Mountain along with its sequel, Ghost of Crimson Dawn, both now available in audio editions as well as print and ebooks.

I began my writing career as a news reporter and my first five books were nonfiction: history, interviews with Wyoming’s famous people as well as writer interviews. My first writer interview book was Maverick Writers (famous writers of the West including Louis L’Amour), which was accepted for publication by a Chicago firm, who, midway through the production process decided that I should rewrite the book to attack academia. I refused and resold the book to a well-known publisher in Caldwell, Idaho, which released the book without changing a word.

My first book, Casper Country: Wyoming’s Heartland, was published in 1982, a coffee table book with 202 historic and contemporary photos, by a regional publisher in Colorado. It required two years of sitting behind a microfilm machine reading 97-years’ worth of old newspapers as well as other research. When the book went out of print, I decided to indie publish it again and it was picked up by the local community college as a textbook.

My point is that books can be endlessly recycled, covers and titles changed, characters renamed and new editions published. If a book has been previously published, it’s probably worthy of a second, third or even fourth life; much better than sending it to the publishing graveyard.


Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, it takes so long to write a good book. Why let that book go to waste?

Jean Henry Mead said...

I'm glad you agree, Morgan. : )

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Yep, that's the way to do it.