On Updating Previous Books

With Invasion of the Ninja for sale now, I’m reminded of my reasons for being here. Why am I re-publishing a book that was already released ten years ago?

Simply put . . . proper editing.

When Invasion of the Togakura was released by my previous publisher back in 2003, I was so naive about the industry that I expected them to do everything but write the book. Granted, marketing was something that I probably shouldn’t have expected. But I at least expected an editor. When the book was released, my Sunday School teacher’s wife, who had been an editor, sent me a list of errors that she’d caught, including the fact that I’d spelled one character’s name two different ways over the course of the story. My home town newspaper had run an article about the book and my high school speech and debate teacher, Mr. Hager, even bought a copy. Since he was the teacher who encouraged my writing so much in high school, this was a real embarrassment. Also, they charged a horrible price . . . $19.95 for a 181-page trade paperback. Ouch!

But, for some reason, I was dumb enough to submit the second book to the same publisher. This time, I got my own editor, Karen Griffiths. She rocked and the second book looked much better. Then my parents asked me to pick up an old footlocker from their house that had a bunch of my old toys and magazines in it. Included was an old issue of The Original Ninja magazine. Reading it, I discovered . . . to my horror . . . that the Togakura is a real style of ninjutsu.


So I sent a pleasant email to the acquisitions editor at my publisher and politely asked them to release me from my contract long enough to change the name of my villains in the first book and remove references to “Togakura” from Book Two. The response was an offer to make my books “non-exclusive”. Considering the complaints that I was always hearing about my publisher, most people would have been jumping for joy. But it didn’t solve my problem. I didn’t want to offend a ninja clan. So I stopped promoting the books.

In 2010, I had just published Lily’s Redemption under my own imprint (I’d learned my lesson) when the contract was up on INVASION. I pulled up the seven-year-old email from my Sunday School teacher’s wife and made the corrections. I changed the villain clan’s name to Waruiyatsu, which will NEVER be the real name of a ninja clan. Then I gave a copy to my editor.

She told me that I needed a complete re-write.

After having just edited LILY, she felt that I could do better with my ninja book. After moping around for a month, I realized that there had been so many things that I’d wanted to do with that original book that I hadn’t gotten to do. This was a chance to release a far better book. The changes?

The book clocks in at almost one hundred more pages. The cover, with art by the talented Jason Richardson and a layout by TW Johnson, is far superior to the original, green cover. I wrote an unnecessary character out of the book completely and changed my use of another. I used flashbacks to tell the story of Jamie’s training. And the greatest change?

The paperback is $12.95 with an ebook of (currently) 99 cents.


1 Comment

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One response to “On Updating Previous Books

  1. I enjoyed the article, Jeff. Yeah, we had a lot to deal with all those years ago–trying times for sure. I remember them well. Thanks for posting a link back to my site, by the way.