"Don't Lucas it, man," insisted Joe the podcaster during a recent interview. "Let it be."
Joe wasn't referring to The God Thought, but a fantasy book I'd written almost twenty years ago entitled Crusaders of a Dying Breed. Joel was one of the few people (and I do mean few) who read it back in the day. He enjoyed it. "It was a fun read," he told me. But when interviewing me about my most recent novel he and the others cringed at the idea of me going back and polishing Crusaders.
I've been tempted to do that for a long time. I recently re-read Crusaders while waiting for The God Thought to come online. Like Joe, I enjoyed the read - it transported me back to the 90's and my days as a high school student. It's a fun, over the top kind of read, and it's a good time. But when I wrote it as a college kid, I couldn't afford to have it professionally edited. It is remiss with errors. Every book has a few typos, but I felt that I more than filled that quota with Crusaders. And there is so much I've learned since then - all the things I would change!
Joe didn't care. He enjoyed it for what it was. He and his cohorts argued that the book stands as a moment in time, and an opportunity for people to see how much I've grown as a writer.
They may have a point.
Regardless, Crusaders isn't going away. I'll get several phone calls from I-universe publishing throughout the year hoping that I'll re-market Crusaders. Of course, this would involve me paying them to market the book for me. The sales woman on the phone this morning pointed out that the book hasn't sold for several years because I haven't done anything with it. "Exactly," I said. "I've moved on."
Have I? After all, I always meant to write the next book in the series at some point in my life.
The trouble is the audience for Crusaders of a Dying Breed is very different than the one for The God Thought. The stories are told in very different ways, so it's not automatic that one would enjoy the other. And yet, the one thing I couldn't help noticing when I reread Crusaders was how similar my voice as a writer was compared to what it is today.
If anyone has any thoughts on this matter as a reader or a writer, I'd be glad to hear it. Do I let it be? Or do I spruce it up?
If you're curious about Crusaders of a Dying Breed, you're welcome to check it out, just follow the link. Be warned, it was written in a time before iPhones, Netflix and 9/11. DVD's were just becoming a "thing" and people still watched TV on their TV. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that too, for better or worse.
In the meantime, I prepare for the Nook and iBook versions of The God Thought to be released this Fall. My experiment with the Kindle's exclusive digital publishing program will expire on September 11, and I look forward to branching out.