Ebooks. A Chance to Right the Wrongs.

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

www.gailwhitiker.com

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  1. Vanessa Grant
    Vanessa Grant at | | Reply

    Great blog, Gail. And as that friend who had “her” book reissued in Portuguese and discovered dialog on page 1 – which I couldn’t understand but knew couldn’t belong to my book because nobody spoke on my first page – I agree with every work you’ve said.

    I’m thrilled to be a writer in 2012, because authors have more choices than they’ve ever had before. After three decades writing for traditional publishers I’m finding the indie world a great adventure. Do I believe everyone should opt for indie publishing? Not everyone, only those who want the control indie offers and are comfortable with the uncertainty that comes flying with it. Whatever a storyteller chooses today – indie, traditional, or a foot in both camps – I applaud that author’s right to choose.

    In the way of small worlds and Internet magic, I have to wonder if one of the people reading this is the author of a Mills and Boon novel that could have been translated to Portugeuse in late 1986 or early 1987. If that description fits YOU, did your book begin with someone talking on the telephone about money? if so, was “The Call of the Wild” mentioned in italics on page one or two?

    If the answer is “yes”, then M&B issued a translation of YOUR book inside MY cover, with my name, title, back cover blurb, and copyright page.

    I wonder, did my book get bound inside your cover? I asked M&B that question, but never got an answer. It would be fun to meet you, whoever you are. We can laugh about it – especially if we find out that we actually know each other and never put ths together until 25 years later. So if you read this, tweet me @vanessa_grant or answer here.

    Just imagining our meeting is making my evening :))

    Vanessa Grant
    http://www.vanessagrant.com

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

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