Do you Botox your books? It’s a question every author needs to face sooner or later.I write a series of books featuring P.I. Grace Smith; a slightly disreputable private detective based in a seedy seaside town. As the books continued the regular characters introduced themselves to me. Plump, efficient, but unlucky in love, Annie. Jan, the receptionist from hell, who was going to be famous one day. Vetch the letch: sly, slightly camp, and potential garden gnome model. Jerry, the detective inspector with a soft spot for Grace, and Terry who…well, you really need to meet Terry.

I knew them, I loved them, and I felt responsible for them. Then the suggestion came that it was time to put them on line.

With figures showing Amazon are now selling more e-books than conventional print books, it was obviously the way to go. However, we were then faced with the decision on whether the earlier books needed a make-over before they were launched into electronic publishing.

First test – did the story-line need its plot tightening and a scalpel taken to some slack sections. So I read them. And found myself laughing out loud and becoming hooked once more on the storyline. They didn’t need updating; the body was honed and eager to get out there and show off its pecs to its new readers.

Next up; did the appearance hold up or was it looking a little tired? Fashions in covers change; publishers regularly refresh theirs, re-releasing series with a new set of artwork and different fonts. For an ebook, the front cover becomes even more important. It has to grab the reader in the nano-second it’s on screen before they scroll on to the next title. With this in mind, new covers were created: a sexy beach scene for Who Killed Marilyn Monroe? And a striking cityscape for the second in the series.

So now my books were taut, tanned, and eager to show off their new make-over. Just one tweak left before they were released. Did we give them a new title? When books are released simultaneously as print and e-books, this isn’t an issue. But we had a gap. Like artwork, titles can date. Did the novels need that final procedure to give them a fresh new complexion?

The first book was titled Who Killed Marilyn Monroe? I liked that title. It was, in fact, the first thing I thought of, before I even started writing the book. (Though it did make me ‘an arsehole’ according to one Amazon reviewer who plainly doesn’t read book summaries before buying.) So we left it in place.

The second book had been called JFK is Missing. On reflection that sounded a bit dated now. So we went for a title that reflected the driving points of the story and re-christened it ‘Blindsided’.

Both books, Who Killed Marilyn Monroe? And Blindsided are now available on-line with their honed bods wrapped in their new, sharp, fashionable, jackets, just waiting for new readers to put them through their paces.

© Liz Evans 2014

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