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Monday, November 14, 2011

Resurrecting an Old Book

It's alive!

Okay, I'm being a silly. I watched the Science Channel last Wednesday night about Mary Shelly and her book Frankenstein and thought the movie quote accurately describes my feelings about my own novel. A decade after its first publication (and several years after it went out of print), Switched has new life as an ebook.

Switched was my first published book. And, shh, don't tell my others works in progress but it's my favorite. Switched is the story of twins who were separated before birth. That's right, before birth. If you didn't guess that it's a futuristic by that description, I'm sure the cover confirms it. As you read in last week's blog post (about Pioneers), I'm fascinated by space exploration and love space opera movies (like, Star Wars and Star Trek). It seems natural to write my own space adventures. If you click on the Books tab above, you can read a longer description of Switched.

So, what happens when a book goes out of print? I thought that was the end of its life. Not so. Last April, fellow writers talked about self-publishing books where the author's rights had been returned. I was assured that it was easy. My first step was to dust off the old manuscript—actually, finding the digital file. As I read, I tweaked. I couldn't stop myself. (Those of you readers who are writers know exactly what I mean.) Then, ideas kept popping up on how to make good scenes better. You know what comes next. I edited some more.

In the meantime, I contacted the artist who designed the first cover for Switched, the marvelously talented Trish Lazarus. She outdid herself with the new cover. Then, I found a free book Smashwords' Style Guide: How to Format, Publish, and Distribute an Ebook which gave step-by-step directions. It scared me half to death. Holy cow. What if I make a mistake? It's going to spit back my manuscript and, maybe, I'll never figure out what I did wrong. I painstakingly followed each direction, reformatting the manuscript, hoping I didn't miss anything. I reread the revised manuscript until my eyes got bleary. Then, I reread the guide. This was so complicated. (I can see why some people will pay for a service to convert the manuscript.) But, I'm a do-it-yourselfer from way back so I plunged on.

I checked out how to publish on Amazon and thought "piece of cake". Better to concentrate on Smashwords. When I was finally ready—or as ready as I was ever going to be—I bit the bullet. Usually, I do the easy thing first to get it out of the way. Not this time. I entered all the information on the Smashwords site and uploaded the file. While the little circle-thingy went round and round indicating it was loading, I sat there and waited. Not really. I threw in a load of laundry. Checked the site. Not done yet. I checked email. Still not done. Lunch. Stomach in knots so that wasn't a good idea. Checked the site again and it was done loading. Wow. So far, so good. I didn't get a message saying "You idiot, why didn't you read our directions?" Then, they said it was up and it was! No errors. I did the follow-up checking and still no errors. Maybe this wasn't so bad.

So, I went to Amazon. If Smashwords was so easy, this ought to be easier. I have to say I was wrong. I made it through, though, and a day later Switched was up there, too. I breathed such a sigh of relief. So did my husband. After biting off his head for interrupting my concentration, he tiptoed around me most of that day. His only comment after I was done was "when do the checks start coming?" Is that a guy thing or what?

If you've gotten this far in this long post, you probably wonder why I even bothered jumping through all those hoops. I love that book. Would I do it again? You betcha. Switched has a sequel.

If you're interested in reading a free sample of Switched, go to:

Smashwords  For all ebook readers

Amazon  For the Kindle


  1. You changed SWITCHED, Doctor Frankenstein! Now I have to buy another.

    Like you, I love the sci-fi thing. The final frontier? Never say never.

    Keep on cranking out those stories. All the best, Annette

  2. Diane,
    Congratulations! I can feel your excitment and giggled imagining your DH tip-toeing around so as not to break your concentration. LOL. Love the new cover, too.
    Good job!

  3. Diane,

    Loved your post-especially about the head biting-no doubt he deserved it! I greatly admire your courage going through the technical stuff. What a woman!

    I'm like Annette. If you changed it, now I have to read it again.


  4. Thanks, Margo. After a day of frustration, your comment was a real picker-up.


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