Can't Let Go: Putting out a 2nd Edition

Watermarked is the first book I published.  From start to finish, it took me ten years.  Before that, there was a few failed attempts at short stories and a hefty collection of fanfiction that I hope never sees the light of day.

When I say "ten years," I don't mean that I worked steadily on it for that length of time.  It was a lot of stopping and starting. Lots of restarting from the top as well. The version that exists today is a far cry from where it started, save for the essence of the Jack and Audrey plot:  boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, girl falls apart.  If I had to count, I'd venture that there has been at least seven versions of the story.

Being that it was my first novel, I made a lot of mistakes, the chief of which was that it was too ambitious.  Shifting character perspectives.  First person present tense.  Heavy subject matter. And the length - oh my goodness, the length.  The first published version was 763 pages.  In my defense, it was double spaced between paragraphs, but that still, it was way too much.  Seems all those little scenes that I'd grown to love because they showed different sides to the characters, instilled lightness into the dark subject matter, or helped to drive home my points were considered "fluff" to readers. Or worse, repetitiveness.

I proceeded to chop it down to 650 pages. Then to 584, and there it sat for about a year.  There were some people that loved it, and others that hated it. I get that. It's a book that differs from the norm, and that's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.  Still, I couldn't shake the idea that it wasn't getting read because it was entirely too long.

But Jess, you say, it doesn't matter how long the book is if you really enjoy the story!

Yeah, that may be true, but it's unlikely that the average person is going to take a chance on an obscure writer's magnum opus if they have to commit themselves to reading over 500 pages.  Even though I knew it needed another revision, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  I told myself that it was because I was working on Stolen and needed to concentrate on that because it would appeal to a wider audience.  But the truth is, when you force yourself to read and think critically about something over and over again (as I did for Watermarked), you start to prefer setting it on fire to ever touching it again.

I released Stolen and went through all the pains of begging people to read it marketing it.  Though my focus had shifted entirely, I never forgot about Watermarked. I loved the characters. I loved the setting and the themes.  I loved the narration style.  There is, and perhaps never will be, a story closer to my heart.  I couldn't just let it go, to wither and rot on Amazon.

Even though I try, I can't let gooooo.

So, I gathered all of my fortitude, took a deep breath, and spent a solid two weeks improving it.  What remains is a shorter, more streamlined story with a bright, shiny new cover and all the heart the original possessed.  And guess what?  I still love it.

What's been the result of all of my hard work?  Besides my own satisfaction, absolutely nothing. No book sales. No adding to the "TBR" list.  Nothing. Nada. Zilch.  But if the day comes when anyone cares enough to pick it up, it'll be ready for them.


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