Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Award-Winning Titles Finally Reissued

Despite the manic schedule at Moonlight Mesa Associates, Western Book Publisher, a few weeks ago I felt myself drawn to two projects I'd put on hold for the last several years. I was irresistibly drawn to Northern Escape, the first award-winning suspense novel Moonlight Mesa took back from another publisher, no names mentioned, and to Life Was A Cabaret, our award-winning sailing memoir.

Really, the reissuing of Northern Escape followed closely on the heels of the successful reissue of Life Was A Cabaret, another  book taken back from its original publisher. So what drove me to drop all the other pressing projects I had to work on these two reissues? Actually, reissuing the books was like visiting with wonderful, old friends. Many memories were stirred. (My staff, however, says I was simply procrastinating doing the job I had before me.)

As for Life Was A Cabaret, the text went largely, but not completely, unchanged. Of course, a few changes were made, but nothing dramatic. However, we changed the miniature font size used by the book's first publisher to a 12, and I added PHOTOS, something the first publisher had been very negative about doing. When the new copies arrived at my office,  for the first time I held the book in my hands and felt so happy with it. I'd always hated the cramped print, the overly-filled pages. Now the book looks real, feels real, and makes me feel real happy!

As for Northern Escape, I should probably be horse-whipped for allowing the book, at one time our best-selling title, to languish so long in its unforgivable first-publication state. For starters, the book was completely laid out wrong by the original publisher. Then, alas, the book never really had a close edit (this was before I became a born-again edit enthusiast). Not wanting to completely re-write the novel, I did my best to fix passive voice, eliminate point of view shifts, and clean up the excessive cursing (well, it was my first novel, and no one ever complained about the language, but...) The first half of the book had more changes than the last half, but the changes would most likely not be that noticeable to someone re-reading the book.

I am thrilled that I no longer have to forwarn  prospective buyers about the "offensive" language. For some reason I felt like I had to do so. And I regularly apologized for the incorrect formatting in the book, something most people would never notice. Now, seven years later I'm so much happier with this title. So happy, in fact, I issued it in a LARGE-PRINT EDITION. I also finally assigned the ebook version  its very own ISBN and re-uploaded the title on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. (Although I never like the looks of our books on Kindle, so I'll load the new, correctly formatted Smashwords copy onto Nook and Kindle.)

I'm happy with the time spent on these two projects. They were my first books, taken on by other people who disappointed me with the end product. Both sold extremely well - indeed, Northern Escape was our best selling book for almost five years until Saving Tom Black came along. Sales will surge again now that I feel like I don't have to apologize for the award-winning story!

The projects took far longer than I thought, and they set me back as far as our other projects go. But it was a wonderful feeling to revive these two, great old friends. In my mind, I'm thinking the two re-issues reflect the  growth of our small little publishing house. And I'm finally happy, really happy, with both books!

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