When is it okay to change an existing work?

This week, I received an Amazon “Kindle Quality Notice.”  It stated that Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan had internal errors in which “at least one” reader reported.  The errors weren’t related to formatting or appropriateness in content.  It was about an alleged typo.   Now, to be fair, some of my readers have found keystroke mistakes before and their input is always welcome.  Still, a man is innocent until proven guilty, so I investigated.  

DISCOVERY

The Kindle Quality Notice stated: There are typos in your book. You can see examples of this error at the following location(s): Kindle location: 577; Error description: “I led.” should be “I lied.”

This seemed like an open and shut case until I opened the document and read the whole section.  It is at the start of Chapter 8, when Peter meets James for the second time.

“I’m Peter Pan,” the child said proudly. He was standing on the mast as if it were the floorboards of the deck. I had seen him fly before and although this was nothing new, I was still amazed.

“I’m James,” I told him. It didn’t bother me that I had to reintroduce myself. “We’ve met before.” His blank expression told me of his genuine surprise that we knew each other. “We played weeks ago in my room in Port Royal.”

“Oh,” was all he said, as if bored already. I decided to retell one of the adventures in my literature books as if it were one of ours.

“Did I say my room?” I led. “I meant we played in a magical forest.” His head turned and bent to the side with interest. “You and I had a jolly time robbing wealthy carriages and saving England from the evil prince and his sheriff.” His eyes burst with excitement as I retold the whole adventure.

This wasn’t a typo.  Although “lied” would fit, I purposely chose “led” because young Hook leads Peter in the conversation.  Looking  back, there are other things I would love to change about my writer’s voice from that time, but that word isn’t wrong.  The question is whether it is distracting.

WORD CHOICE

The problem develops from one of an alleged typo to one about a word choice.   James leads Peter in this conversation, but do enough people read it that way or do they see that word as an oddity?  If it gets in the way of the flow of the story, then it doesn’t serve its purpose and it doesn’t belong.  However, the story is nearly one year old and this is a change that is not necessary.  The Artist in me is offended a the idea of making an unneeded change to my work.  The part of me that wants to sell books is more eager to appease any request.  What to do?

VERDICT

I decided to keep it as it is.  If this were a genuine typo, I’d change it, but the section above is narrated by an older James Hook and his voice has to show through.   He would have no problem saying that he “led” his one-time friend this way and that, not as a boast, but to demonstrate his superiority without expressly saying so.  That is good form, after all.

Welcome to my new author platform.

The new year has begun and I am kicking off my new author platform.  On this site, I’ll keep you updated on my progress as an author and educator.  The link to my old blog is on the right column, as are the links to where my book can be purchased.

New Business for a New Year

After listening to several podcasts and reading blogs on self-publishing, I’ve decided to take myself off of KDP Select and diversify the availability of Captain James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan.  I have had no problems with KDP Select and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to get noticed.  Even though it is fair to say that roughly 80% of the 3000+ ebooks I’ve sold have been Amazon giveaways, the main selling point for being exclusive with Amazon is that I would not have reached so many people otherwise.  Through their free promotional days, I now have over a dozen free four and five-star reviews.

Amazon KDP Select has been good to me, but it is time for a change.  I am now less than a week away from when my ninety-day enrollment expires on January 18th.  The next day, I’ll be posting the book on Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.   My wonderful wife, Melissa, bought me Scrivener for Christmas this year.  I’ll post more about the necessary learning curve another time, but I generated .epub files through the program for immediate upload.  The day after my enrollment expires, I’ll be going live in more markets around the world.

Needless to say, I’m excited.