The other thing that happened is that I pretty much abandoned novel writing. Temporarily, at least. My plan had been to get 'Going Home: Found' out by last December, but clearly that didn't happen.
Going Home as a project has been fraught with problems. The worst of which I'll get to in a moment, but with about 15 months of distance, I've revisited 'Lost' and seen it lacking. But for a particularly appalling piece of news, I'd probably not have re-visited at all.
So, the story goes....
I had never self published before putting out the poetry book Absent Ginsberg and putting my fantastic new editing skills into practice for my novel, I produced a workable version of my Going Home Manuscript. I sent it to the printers, got a proof back and it was dreadful. I'd actually sent them a work in progress file.
So, I said 'nuh-uh,' sent an updated file, got a proof back and it was fine. I was deeply pleased. A couple of weeks later, they arrived and I started to sell them.
Did you spot my error?
It's a small one, but huge, too.
I didn't check the print. Despite being printed, supposedly, from an approved proof, what I actually got back was a consignment of books printed from the work in progress file. Having lived with the things for the best part of two years, I really didn't want to read it again. I assumed that having approved a proof, that is what I would get back. One year on, I get a message from a friend who finally gets around to reading it and... points out some typos. I'm a bit annoyed that one or two had slipped through... he said there was more than one or two. So I looked at a copy for the first time since receiving them.
Here's the thing. In my arrogance, I deleted all but the 'definitive' editions of the book. All I had left was an uneditable pdf and mobi file. So I had to download the final printed file and re-edit from there. The eBook is going to be easy to fix, they'll update on connexion to the Kindle store. But the print book? 80% of the print run has been trashed.
The book itself? Well, I've been through it and edited and corrected it and found, in less that 350 pages, 5800 typos. There are complete pages of utter gibberish. It is utterly, utterly heartbreaking. Of course, with the print run being over a year old before the discovery of the mistake, there's nothing I can do about it in terms of compensation. I just just have to take the hit to my wallet, ego, potential readers of book two.
And here's the other thing.
Eighteen months down the line, having read the whole thing back, and having done an MA in between, there are things I would now do differently. Some things, I'm being forced to change for fear of accusations of plagiarism... a lot of the themes, devices and denouement of part two are essentially the same as the movie 'Arrival'. While it's deeply disheartening to know your work has to be rewritten from the basement up, it's heartening to know that my ideas are good enough to get to Hollywood - hehehehe :-)
Anyway, re-writes over the two parts mean that I can lose two characters (one of whom is only there to be there) and combine two more, making for a much more streamlined story that loses nothing in terms of plot and personality. All the favourites are still there...
I reckon I can get the whole thing down to a single volume. A hefty one, for sure, but one book. No flab, 99.9% fewer typos and a much better reading experience.
And a new title...