Several other bloggers have raised the issue of revising already published books and asked other authors, would you do it? My answer is definitely yes, especially after a recent discovery that a book I thought was safely in the can had been altered without my knowledge.
The Dead Sea Codex, my second novel, was published in 2006. It’s the story of a two young archaeologists who find part of a first century AD codex, part of a Gnostic gospel written by a female disciple of Jesus, in the Dead Sea caves of Israel. Scholars compete with Christian fanatics to find the rest of the codex, either to publish it and or to destroy it. I had fun researching and writing the book because of the subject matter and the setting, the places I lived in and visited as a student in the 1970s.
Both the print and e-book editions were edited and published, and I was happy with the “finished” book. Then the first publisher went out of business and a second one took over. At some point, the electronic files were converted to new formats, and all the quotation marks around my dialogue were removed. No one at the new company gave me a chance to review the new files, so the book was reposted for sale in two formats with the old cover. I had no reason to think my book might have changed during the switch from one publisher to another.
How did I find out? A comment from a friend and then two bad reviews on Amazon.
Yes, I did use the “Look Inside” feature of Amazon, when the book was published the first time in 2006. It never occurred to me to check again, months and years later.
The good news is, I now have my rights back and am reissuing The Dead Sea Codex with Wings e-Press in December. This decision forced me to re-edit the original manuscript, finding several bits that could be improved, and updating the story slightly because it takes place in politically volatile Israel. My new editor is very savvy, finding still more things that need fixing. The result will be a better book.
I also posted a comment on Amazon, thanking the reviewer who found the errors and informing him a new edition is in the works.
The more things change, the more they don’t stay the same…