I have to kill a book. It’s a dog.
It’s not easy to come to the conclusion that a book you have painstakingly written is a failure, but sometimes you have to take it on the chin, let it go and decide to kill a book.
I made this decision after watching one particular book of mine fail at every turn. No amount of free ebook giveaways or promotion helped the poor darling, so I made the decision to unpublish it, and file it away under experience.
By some weird coincidence, though, when I finally got up the courage to hit the kill buttons, both Amazon’s KDP and Createspace sites were down! They are never down, are they? I wondered if this was some kind of weird omen. Perhaps I was being foolhardy.
However, I let all these spooky omens and portents go and took the rational view that Internet sites, even Amazon’s, do fail from time to time, as do books.
What went wrong?
The biggest disappointment with this book was that it was apparently so bad that it didn’t even get any bad reviews. Being criticised is one thing, but being ignored is worse.
My fault here was in trying to write in a genre that was not natural to me, and worse, having a female protagonist, who in the end was extremely shallow. The story revolved around her strained relationship with her father, but I think I missed the strained part and completely failed to construct any form of conflict.
As all writers know, conflict is vital to any story, so I failed, miserably.
Of course, I should have known this after I had written the book, but there are times as a writer when the obvious is very difficult to see in sixty or seventy thousand words of blood, sweat and tears.
In fact, I think I have often gotten it all wrong after writing a new book, as those which I thought would struggle have sold quite well, while others I was sure would do well, didn’t. It only proves how poor a judge writers are of their own writing.
What is to become of my failed book?
I could tear it apart, do a complete re-write and fix my basic mistakes, but I have the feeling this would be a waste of time, as there really are times to admit that it is impossible to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
So this poor book is to be filed, but not forgotten. Well, forgotten by the world for sure, but not by me. I will keep the manuscript as a reminder of what not to do, each and every time I write a new story. At least, it will retain some value in that respect.
7 thoughts on “Time To Kill A Book”
Personally, I think that decision took a lot of courage. It is the sort of decision where the internal torment is both painstaking, and long. Well, it usually is for me, so bravo and congrats, mate. :-)
This may sound a little odd, but if you ever find yourself facing the same decision in the future, I hope that it is no less difficult for you. I say that because more often than not, the biggest critic of a piece of writing is the sod who wrote it.
Lastly, the book in question, the description in this article doesn’t sound familiar so I don’t think I’ve read it. May I ask which one it was?
It was an easy decision in the end, Steve. But the book, Pelf, was just that. Me being a bit greedy in trying to write something that was out of my depth. I’ll go back to my odd little aliens. :)
A writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. If you felt that strongly, killing it was your only option.
It would be easier being a bricklayer, Darlene! lol
This post has made me ridiculously curious about your book. Are you sure you don’t want to sell one more copy? I’ll even review it. ;)
Thanks for the offer, but I think it best to let sleeping dogs lie. :)
Incredibly I have just published a book written as the female protagonist (I am male!) and it is very much in a genre I am not familiar with. Everything you said about yours applies to mine! The coincidence is painful and I fear mine will suffer the same fate. Should I just unpublish now and avoid the misery and frustration?
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