At some point in their careers, most authors experience a glitch of some kind in their writing. It may be a factual error; the mistaken use of a title when talking about the aristocracy, or a geographical inaccuracy when a describing a place they’ve never been. Those of us who write historicals are particularly prone to this kind of error. After all, how many of us were around in 1812 London, or Spain in the middle ages!
It may be giving your blue-eyed hero brown eyes in chapter nine, or forgetting that after saying your heroine’s father was an only child, you suddenly give her an uncle with the same surname in chapter five.
Then there are the publishing errors; the ones over which we have no control. The wrong cover on a book—as in the case with one of my reissued Regencies showing my heroine sitting on a horse behind a cowboy wearing a Stetson and chaps, riding off into the sunset over a wide open, sun-baked plain. Or in the case of a good friend, a print book reissued in a foreign language that turned out to be a different author’s story altogether, even though the cover, title and blurb described my friend’s book!
These are the kinds of things that drive an author crazy, and this is where ebooks really shine. The ability to correct those mistakes—and trust me, they make you feel horrible when you find them—is a Godsend, because in most cases, that isn’t going to happen as long as the publisher keeps reprinting them. That western cover is still on my book, which is now available through my publisher on Amazon, and though my friend complained to her publisher, she doesn’t know if the issue was ever resolved.
Republishing print books as ebooks gives authors a chance to right those wrongs. We can put up covers that are appropriate to the stories. We can find and fix factual errors, or in the case of reprinted books, especially those of a contemporary nature, make the changes necessary to bring them into this decade. A story that cites technology that existed in the eighties isn’t going to ring true with today’s readers.
Electronic publishing makes it simple. Another friend who just epubbed her first book, found a mistake, took it down, fixed and uploaded it, and did it all within a couple of days. Try that in the world of print!
My first venture into the world of E was with THE LAST FORTUNE in our Pen Warriors anthology, IT HAPPENS AT MIDNIGHT, and I’m looking forward to getting my back list converted and available again. But what I’m looking forward to even more is having the chance to go back to those old books with a fresh eye and fix whatever needs fixing.
How often do you get to do that in the normal walk of life?
NO OCCUPATION FOR A LADY, coming in October 2012, Mills & Boon Historicals