On Being Humble and Reworking an Entire Book

writing with cats

Dang! Mom’s ignoring us again for that white contraption we’re not allowed to sleep on. We’re so much cuter…what gives?

Writing a book isn’t easy. It’s a commitment unlike any I’ve ever known.

You need a creative idea, a decent handle on language, and time management skills to actually write the thing. Because it ain’t gonna write itself.

You’re showing vulnerability to the world, because every piece of fiction is the author’s soul in written form. You’re putting bits and pieces of your life out there—your weaknesses, your past, your intimacies.

Some will understand what your soul is saying, some won’t.

Every day you wonder whether or not you should keep going.

Am I contributing anything to society? Do I really want to spend Sunday cooped up in my pajamas madly typing away while my cats beg for my attention? Does any of this matter? Is it really worth the sacrifice?

Yes, it is. Because while others dream of writing, you’re doing it. 

Writing’s not all rainbows and unicorns…believe me. It takes dedication and love. It also means being humble, knowing that you are always learning and that nothing will ever be perfect.

For some time now I’ve wanted to revisit a work I published two years ago, Everything’s Not Bigger. Of the three books I’ve written, it’s the only one set in modern-day and it’s also my underdog.

Ask any actor, director, writer, dancer, or painter if they return to an old piece of work and most of them will say…Hell, no! That work, for better or worse, is dead to them.

So, I did the crazy thing. I went back—naturally, I cringed a lot—and after a major overhaul, I feel much better about my work.

I did some little things, like revising the description, cleaning up the chapter layout, and adding a Note From the Author at the beginning to touch on the inspiration for the book.

Major things involved a faster-paced beginning as well as chucking some scenes that were dragging. My characters were in dire need of body language during some of the heavy conversational moments, aka “beats”. After two years of blogging and a third novel, you can bet I did some grammatical polishing along the way.

And, my best typo I found must be shared…face to face was fact to face. Dude, WTF? 🙂

Today Everything’s Not Bigger is officially being rereleased on Amazon.

For those who already purchased it, you should be able to go to “Manage Your Content and Devices” (formerly “Manage Your Kindle”) and choose “Update Available” next to the book.

I know my good friend, Tim Dittmer, covered some Amazon issues with updated content when he rereleased his fantastic novel, The Valley Walker. (P.S. If you haven’t read this yet, it’s only $0.99 right now and totally worth your time.)

If the available update is not showing up for you, you might have to delete the damn thing and redownload it.

That brings me to my next piece of news…Everything’s Not Bigger will be totally free on Amazon next weekend…12/5-12/7. (Don’t worry, I’ll remind you then.)

As a writer and the insane human that I am, I know that I will never feel completely satisfied with anything I do. But remembering to stay humble, to give new life to something you left long ago, can be a beautiful thing.

I’ll leave you with a snippet from Everything’s Not Bigger. This is the non-date scene, when the main character, Jaye, agrees to go on a walk with a handsome fellow she just met in Prague. The non-date rules include no food, no candlelight, and no flirting.

Naturally, these non-date rules don’t last long.

Everything's Not Bigger Cover

He covered her eyes with his hands, but she wiggled out of his embrace. “What are you doing, Milan?”

“It’s part of the surprise.”

Jaye returned to her position and he replaced his hands.

“A little warning next time would be nice, Milan. Otherwise you come off as a kidnapper.”

He guided her forward with his chest, and she fought off the surge of lust charging through her body. His warmth electrified her like nothing else. She was acutely aware of every inch of him through their thick coats.

“How much longer are we doing this charade?”

“A few more steps, princess.”

His mild insult made her smile. Coming from him, she didn’t mind. It was all in good fun.

“I’m going to uncover your eyes, but you can’t open them yet.”

“Yes, sir.”

Milan rustled around in his coat pocket, then stepped in front of her. Her back instantly felt cold.

She perked up at the familiar sound of a wrapper.

“Open your mouth.”

Jaye thought the bit was peculiar, but did as he instructed. She smelled it before it landed on her tongue. Chocolate.

“You can open your eyes now.”

The chocolate melted on her hot tongue, its decadence gracing her taste buds. Luminosity reflected in her eyes as they lifted open.

It was a breathtaking sight.

They stood in between a far-reaching row of crystal shops. Bohemian glass competed with the moonlight, shining ferociously, instilling awe and brilliance in the antique windows. Jaye chewed the bittersweet morsel, sea salt sprinkled dark chocolate encompassing a creamy caramel.

It was the most incredible treat she’d ever tasted. It was the most incredible sight she’d ever seen.

Exquisiteness for all senses occurred effortlessly, leaving her overwhelmed and speechless. She roamed in a daze, in a chocolate trance, seduced by the sparkling display of beauty.

“This is what you wanted to show me?”

“Just think—you tried to stop me.”

Jaye turned around and cocked her head. She hadn’t wanted to surrender to him. Too many untrusting encounters had left a cold soul, a skeptical fortress dominating each pleasurable experience.

“Hey, thanks.” She reached her leg out and tapped his shin with her boot.

He mirrored the gesture. “Hey, you’re welcome.”

34 thoughts on “On Being Humble and Reworking an Entire Book

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Well done Britt. You’re right, I can’t imagine going back to re-work a book. My second book didn’t come off quite as well as I intended but there’s no way I’d go back to it.
    To your followers I’d say grab this book – if it’s an improvement on the first edition it is very good indeed.

  2. T. W. Dittmer says:

    I don’t know if you’ll have the same issues with Amazon I did, Britt. Eden just woke me up to the fact that I hadn’t changed the price in Canada to reflect the US price. Or any other country.

    Whaaaaaaat the? I have to check all those little boxes?

    I’m dreaming on. 😛

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      It looks like Letizia is already reporting some issues with the update, but maybe there’s a delay. Otherwise, I guess people will have to delete and download during the freebie weekend.

      That’s crazy about the Canadian pricing! I figured that would happen automatically. Oh, Amazon…

  3. Letizia says:

    I admire you, reworking a book, like visiting with a past self, I’m sure. Your typo made me laugh. I don’t remember catching it when I read it – I’m sure it would have made me giggle (and/or starting using that as a phrase!). Love that photo with the cats.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Thanks, honey! I wasn’t quite ready to get going on new work, since I needed some time off after NFE’s release and now the new job. Reediting seemed like a good way to keep me moving. I’m attacking BtSG next with a quick polish.

      Glad you didn’t catch that typo! LOL! Yes, the pic turned out awesome. Mr. H rushed over with the cam to get that one.

  4. Letizia says:

    Hi again, Britt. I just tried to upload the new version on amazon but there wasn’t an “upload new version” button on the right side (like there had been for Tim’s book). I’ll check again tomorrow in case it’s a time delay issue or something wrong on my end perhaps but wanted to give you a heads up.

      • Letizia says:

        Good use of the word ‘Fiddlesticks” 🙂 Perfect opportunity to use it there! I’ll check again tomorrow that way we can know for sure whether it’s a time delay or not.

      • Britt Skrabanek says:

        Fiddlesticks is much more ladylike than what I really said out loud! 🙂

        I sent Amazon an email about the issue, because they may need to do something on their end. We’ll see!

      • Letizia says:

        Hey Britt, I just again this morning and still no way for me to update it so I’ll check again at the end of the week (and then I’ll just ask you to email it to me if there’s no change).

      • Britt Skrabanek says:

        Amazon responded this morning and said their review team has to look it over, but first I need to give them a step-by-step outline of all of the revisions. LOL!

        Then it may take up to four weeks. For crying out loud! Let’s see if they can get it together sooner than that. Otherwise, we’ll work something else out. xoxoxo

  5. Carrie Rubin says:

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with tidying up an already published work. Such is the luxury of those who Indie pub. And offering it for free for a spell? Well, that’s a treat for the rest of us!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Definitely an Indie luxury! I’m not going back after this round though. Toward the end of edits, I was ready to chuck my laptop across the room.

      I figured I play with some freebies. Branching out! 🙂

  6. danniehill says:

    I’ve gone back and ‘fixed’ typos and small items but never changed the context of things I’ve written and publishes. It is something to think about. Takes a lot of willpower, which you have. Great success on the new revision

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      This was the only work I felt that really needed an overhaul. I’m going to comb through my first book, Beneath the Satin Gloves, for grammar and probably add some more body language, but I’m happy with the story.

      After all of this, I can start channeling that willpower into a WIP! 🙂

  7. Browsing the Atlas says:

    I cannot imagine revising an old piece of work. Except– yes, I can. I keep thinking about going back and fixing a middle grade novel I wrote 12 years ago. I need to do it. I think about it that often. But it’s daunting. What if I discover the whole thing needs scrapped? 😦

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Haha…there it is!

      I swore once I published, I would never go back. But it happened and I’m glad it did.

      Twelve years ago is a while, so I imagine that would be quite an overhaul!

      Trust me, I wondered if I would reread ENB and want to pull it altogether. Instead I enjoyed jumping into my writer mindset from two years ago and making some tweaks. Good times! (But, I’m definitely done with it now.)

  8. Zen A. says:

    Given that I’m reworking my book too, I completely sympathize. At some points I want to stop altogether, thinking, “Hey, it’s already out there. What’s the point?” Then I remember that the point is for me to be happy about it. Well done for sticking it through! 😀

    I will be sure to check out Amazon this weekend… hopefully it’ll allow me to grab a copy!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Yes, you are! I think that post came out during my hiatus. I was going to read Puppet Parade, but I might as well wait for the new version.

      There were some points, especially during my final read-through when I wanted to stop. Then I would stumble across a new typo from revisions and kept trucking along. Like you said, just remember WHY you’re doing it and that will keep you going.

      Hopefully you can snag a copy this weekend!!! 🙂

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    Having the ability to revise a work is one of the advantages of indie publishing, I think. Of course, I need to finish one first…. 😉 I hope the Amazon issues are getting worked out for you!

  10. Les Petits Pas de Juls says:

    You’re a rock star, Britt! Writing a book must already be quite a job to do and you’re doing the same twice?!?!!! I’m sure you had your reasons and that the book is definitely better now that you’ve added more experience to it. Good on you! Congratulations on sticking to your goals and making things better!

    Now… what’s up with us?! how do we download that brand new version of your book?

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Aw, thanks so much! I feel much better about reworking it, even though it was a lot of work these past months. Totally worth it though!

      It’s free today! Sending out the info in a few minutes. 🙂

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