Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reinventing Your Story: Part 2: Types of Reinventing

2: Types of Reinventing

Let's talk a bit about types of reinvention.
There are three big categories, and we can deal with them each in new topics:

1. Reinvent the book. This happens when something has changed and the book that seemed just great no longer works. For example, my last book was written as a women's fiction, but sold as a mystery. Big surprise! The mystery plot was pretty lame. Why? Because I wrote the main plot to be the heroine's life journey to recover from a divorce. Sure, she had to solve her ex's murder along the way, but the big triumphant climax was her getting over her fear of disappointing or losing her son. Cough. I had to beef up the whole mystery thing, put in clues, motivation, suspects. All that stuff mystery novels usually have.

A friend of mine right now is trying to turn an old manuscript aimed at Harlequin (that is, a "category romance") into a "single-title" romance, which means, at minimum, adding in a subplot or two and deepening the interaction with other characters.
Another friend wrote a young adult novel in third person and the publisher likes it... but wants it in first person.
There are, these days, many reasons we might want to perform major surgery on what is a pretty good book (and complete too).

2. Reinvent the author. We used to just have to change our penname, you know, to let go of the baggage associated with our author name! But now, everyone knows that Jane Romance is really Bill Suspense, so it takes more than a name change.

Why would you need to reinvent yourself as an author? First would be after a long series of rejections if you're unpublished. But even published authors might need to start over after a long dry spell, or when the market for their type of book has dropped out, or if they've somehow screwed something up so that readers have started a boycott, or they were caught up in a scandal, or had some serious health issue that derailed them, and "Amy Author" is no longer a good person to be in the intense new publishing world.

3. Reinvent the career. In some ways, this is the adventure of the new millennium. We're all reinventing our careers, whether we want to or not. All the old verities are discarded, and what used to work to make for a great career might not anymore. And all the street savvy you might have picked up along the way might not do much to help you avoid all the new pitfalls.

Reinventing a career might involve discarding an agent or the entire "legacy publishing industry." It might be about changing genres or learning how to navigate social media or how to do your own negotiations. It might mean going from being just an author to being a business. It might mean finding and fixing a brand.

We'll just talk about reinventing the book now. For the moment, what would you say is your current situation? Anyone need/want to reinvent? Are there other categories?

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