Thursday, August 1, 2013

On Unpublishing

Like a coward I didn't promote the last post. Not really sure what prompted my reluctance, but the last post did help me come to a few realizations.

I am happy where my math books are and I am happy with Change of the Zombie (although it desperately needs a new cover and I would really love to finish its evolution into a visual novel—by the way, because of the formatting abilities of ebooks, planning on including the VN version within the ebook and not just the original story...ANYWAY).

And although I am proud of The Throne of Ao, I am not happy with it. So until I can put out the second edition, I will be taking it off the market.

This is something that I've been considering for a while, and in fact, I think I even teased that I was planning an "author's cut" version or something because the finished version felt more like an abridged book of what I imagined. When I first finished Throne, I had never done anything like it before. Yes I had been writing stories my entire life, but the longest I had ever written was a 60K word first novel to a world I was only a co-creator of.
Aside: That novel was more the novelization/plan of/for the comic we were planning and was never published or continued, although I still have ideas in that universe, WotA is my full-time obsession currently. 

I was proud of Throne and I loved the characters and story I told. I still am proud and still love it.

But I love it more than it's worth, I think. Even though I had been writing my entire life, writing Throne, which had a first draft of ~200K words, and the subsequent revisions and rewrites as it went through the editing process and beta readers made me a better writer than I could imagine I would be when I was first starting to write and create this series.

But there's still a lot of that first starting writer in Throne when I read it today. And it shames me when I think of it.

I recently got the opportunity to read some of the revised collection of Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi (it's free online at http://mangafox.me), and at the end of one of the volumes, Takeuchi-sama talked about how terrible Sailor Moon was and how embarrassed she was by it after coming back to it for so long. I think this is probably true of most writers and even of artists in other fields, but well, I'm not successful, and I think of publishing more like a software programmer than a traditional writer possibly.
Aside: I have no idea where this SM resurgence came from within me, but I feel like I've found my youth and some of the inspiration and energy that I lost upon my disastrous first year as an adult, so I am not questioning it. I was never the type of person to grow up, even though I was always the most grown up person I knew.

If there are bugs that need worked out, I could continue doing hotfixes, but the problem isn't really bugs or even grammar (because I think I managed to get 99.99% of those problems), so I'd rather pull the line and redesign it from the ground up. The worst possible scenario is that I start doing good enough with my other published works and new works that people start looking at Throne and decide it's terrible. Right now I'm still unknown enough to get away with such a gut-wrenching move as unpublishing.

So The Throne of Ao will be pulled off the market the second I hit publish on The Warrior's Way.

I'm letting people know because once it's pulled I do not know if you'll be able to continue downloading it if you've already purchased it (I would like to think the answer to that question is yes, but couldn't find an answer); if it's already on a particular device, then it should stay there after unpublishing; and once it is re-published, I've been assured you'll be able to download the new edition (since it will keep the same Amazon ID code). I'm also planning on the new edition to maintain both a new expanded version and an abridged version that is more in-line with the original (again, the benefits of e-publishing).

The plan is to unpublish and work on it simultaneously with Book 2 as I work through that. I'd like to think that I can still meet the deadline of late 2014 for Book 2, so Book 1 would obviously be back by then too. Of course, as you've probably heard if you regularly read this blog, I'm crap at deadlines.

I'm still hard at work writing and rewriting all of the other projects as well. No clue when they'll be done, but here is my to-do pile (including some previously unannounced):
Throne rewrite and expansion
Towers of Aeruen first draft
Warrior's Way rewrite and finishing work
ZAM #2 rewrite and finishing work
OFAD #1: Turn Off the Lights! rewrite and finishing work
OFAD #2: Wisps first draft
Change of the Zombie VN edition
Throne Prequel: Val rewrite
Throne Prequel: Hilde first draft
Throne Prequel: Deckard first draft
Throne Prequel: Iro Jad rewrite
Throne Prequel: Balolsur rewrite
Throne Behind-the-Scenes: The Imprisonment of Uriel Ardrest first draft
Throne Transition: Val rewrite
Throne Transition: Schaele rewrite
Towers Prequel: Gawyn rewrite
Towers Prequel: Tyria rewrite
The Forest rewrite and finishing
ZAM #3 first draft
Undisclosed title children's novel first draft
A Cross at the End of Days
When I say "rewrite", it means I have at least a first draft (I edit as I go, so a first draft is usually much closer to a final draft than a lot of people's first drafts). "Finishing work" is implied to all of these before publication and includes things like adding ebook hyperlinks and ebook formatting, designing/commissioning covers, etc. When I say "first draft", it means that I have something written for this story but I haven't written every scene yet. It could be anywhere from 5% complete to 99% complete although it's more likely it's between 20% and 70%.

These are all the things I am working on now. With the exception of the new-to-the-pile rewrite of Throne and the first draft of Towers, all of these were previously announced with a 2013 publication date.