Rewriting My Old Books: Lessons Learned

rewriting my books

I’m currently rewriting my old books even though that wasn’t in my writing plan for the year. I wanted to work on an untitled science fiction novel, and I started that, but after self-publishing two books this year through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), I got to looking at the old books I published through the platform about a decade ago. Oh yes, they are still there as you can’t delete a book from KDP but only unpublish it. A part of me didn’t want to look at my old books because I thought I would cringe from embarrassment. Turns out, I didn’t. Today I want to discuss the lessons I learned from this exercise so other authors won’t be afraid.

The Reason I’m Rewriting My Old Books

When I tried being a full-time self-published author I was in my mid-20s. I wrote a novel, a novella, several short stories, and a book of poetry. Due to my age and naivete my plotting and character development and overall story-telling wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad, I can objectively say that, but it needed improvement.

Fast forward to present day, I’m almost 40 and I have more life experience along with improvements to my writing. I understand plotting better, as well as character development, and I’ve read more books than ever before in my adult life. This prompted me to undertake the process of rewriting my books.

The Process Of Rewriting My Old Books

After downloading the files from KDP, I opened the file in LibreOffice Writer, cleared all the formatting, and started reading. I tried not to start the rewriting process then but I couldn’t as new ideas or dialogue would pop into my mind.

Surprisingly, I remembered the characters and the overall story-line even though these books were a decade old, or close to it. That made rewriting my old books easier.

Finally, I do the bulk of my writing on my computer but I will use pen and paper to keep track of the characters, bits of the plot, draw maps of the town or area, things like that. This helps me tremendously as it’s hard to picture everything and type it out at the same time.

Here’s My Lessons Learned

After rewriting my old books I learned the following:

  • I didn’t cringe from embarrassment from reading them
  • Rewriting a book is time-consuming
  • Don’t go into this process to delete everything and start over as that’s not needed

One book that I rewrote that’s currently available again is The Fall And Damnation Of Curtis Callow. That was the first novel I ever wrote and I’m very happy with how it turned out after completing the rewriting process. I’m currently rewriting a novella titled The Bishop’s Robe. Maybe I’ll have this done within a month or so.

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Naomi Lane
4 months ago

I didn’t know that you could clear all the previous formatting with the click of one button. This is kind of terrifying to me, as the formatting work took so long the first time around. However, I just asked my publisher for a reprint of one of my books and sent them a list of fourteen corrections I wanted to make. Then I realized that I had to create a new PDF with these same corrections to send to reviewers. This work is time consuming, but I will sleep better at night knowing it’s fixed.