Kristan Hoffman - Writing Dreams Into Reality
Sat Dec 14 2013

Explaining the “significant editorial changes” to Twenty-Somewhere

Some people may have received a notification from Amazon about “significant editorial changes” to the Twenty-Somewhere Kindle book. Unfortunately that message is a bit misleading.

To clarify: I did update the ebook (almost a year ago) to take advantage of Amazon’s improvements in formatting. Mainly I wanted to add a usable Table of Contents for readers’ convenience. I also decided to include an Author’s Note and dedication at the beginning, in the hopes that more people would understand they were about to read a compiled web serial — not a novel — because several reviews mention the “strange” episodic format and screenplay vibe (even though the narrative style is mentioned in the product description).

Those are the “significant editorial changes” to which Amazon is referring. As far as the writing goes, everything is the same. I may have cleaned up a typo or two, but I’m not interested in revising the episodes into a “real” novel at this time.

I purposely didn’t ask Amazon to notify anyone about the changes, because anyone who had already read 20SW probably wouldn’t care, and anyone who had downloaded but not read 20SW probably wasn’t going to anyway. I was content knowing that new readers would get the updated version.

But then Amazon introduced Automatic Book Update.

Opt in for automatic book updates to receive new versions of your books when we have confirmed that improvements were made. In order to retain your notes, highlights, bookmarks and furthest reading locations, ensure that all your Kindle devices and reading apps have the “Annotation Back Up” setting turned on.

I activated the new feature on my own Kindle account, and I assumed that my copy of 20SW would get updated. It did not. Disappointed, I contacted Amazon and asked if 20SW was eligible and could be included in the Automatic Book Update program. They said they would look into it.

I still did not intend for anyone to be notified of the changes, but I guess that’s how Amazon decided to proceed. I assume it’s only for people who don’t have Automatic Book Update activated? Because instead of a message, I simply received (at long last) a fresh copy of 20SW in my Kindle library.

So that’s the story, and I’m sorry for any confusion or bother!

(Big thanks to Anthony for letting me know about this.)

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3 Comments
  1. Anthony Lee Collins says:
    Sat Dec 14 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Glad I was able to enjoy of service.

    I was interested because I think sometimes about how easy it is now to revise e-books and keep on revising them. I’m not talking about the cover, the TOC, editors notes, etc. I’m thinking of people who revise the actual contents. I’m not sure what I think of it, though. My gut says that it’s a bad idea, that when things are done they are done, but that’s not a worked out theory. It’s just instinct.

    I’ve also had some experience with serials, since everything I write falls into that category. My second novel still bears a lot of the signs of its serial origins, and I’m fine with that, but since then I’ve worked to try to make the stories work both ways (so I don’t have to do a lot of rewriting when I’m done posting the serial :-) ).

  2. inkyclean says:
    Sun Dec 15 2013 at 1:37 AM

    Interesting! I got the same notification that Anthony did and was wondering about it. Thanks for the update.

  3. Kristan says:
    Sun Dec 15 2013 at 10:02 AM

    Anthony-
    Yeah, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to offer you much insight on your post about those topics. But I tend to agree with you: Once something is out, I’m not sure how “fair” it is to make significant changes. Clean things up? Sure. Add bonus content? Fun! But alter the story? Mmm, that makes me feel a bit … conflicted.

    Also, I don’t think writers get better by reworking the same material over and over and over. You have to move on and push yourself through new stories and characters and conflicts and words. That’s where the growth really comes.

    So, while I would and have considered putting out a “novelized” version of 20SW someday in the future, it would probably be a separate entity.

    Natalia-
    Happy to!

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