My literary agent recently arranged for me to get the rights to several of my earliest works back, a “work” being a book. This sometimes happens when a publisher closes their doors or changes focus on the kinds of books they want to publish. When a writer sells book rights to a publisher, the publisher then has the “right” to publish the book for a specific time period in ways, shapes, and forms that are detailed in the publishing agreement, but that are also usually left up to the publisher.
This means an author usually has little to no say about what the cover looks like, or the size of the type, or whether or not it ever becomes an audio book. The tradeoff is typically excellent editing; the support of sales, PR, and marketing teams; and often, a hefty advance in anticipation of solid book sales.
One of the books I got back, Success Within, is eleven years old and used to be one of my most requested books at my horse clinics and at horse fairs and expos. Used to be, until I couldn’t get copies after the publisher sold out to a company that had no interest in this particular title. Long story short, I am in the middle of the last of the revisions of the book for an updated second edition, and it should be out in March. If you are interested, my website will have news of the actual publication date.
In doing the revisions, I was both thrilled and horrified to find how much I had grown as a writer these past eleven years. Granted, I had never been happy with the final edit of the initial book, but far beyond that, I really hope this second edition will be much better written, and far more engaging. I found some of the passages in the first edition simplistic and more than a few thoughts poorly explained. Horror rushes through me when I think of people reading this early work, but that feeling is mixed with huge pride that the book touched a great many lives.
As writers, we all constantly work to improve our craft. We, hopefully, learn to streamline words when needed, develop beautiful passages of prose and place them in the right places, and both cut to the heart of the matter and communicate our point in ways that leave the reader wanting more. That is not an easy task and writers struggle every day to make that happen. When it does, we rejoice! As time goes on, the idea is that we should improve in this and in doing this rewrite, I am very glad to see that I have.
This process of updating and revising, and the strengthening of my craft of writing, is not all that different than what most of us do with horses. We constantly learn about the horse and find new ideas that will improve communication. Periodically, we reject older methods for ones that work better for the horse, and revel in the beauty of those rare moments of perfect partnership. In that way, the craft of writing and the art of riding are not all that different.
Lisa is the author of My Horse My Partner and Horse Country, among many other books, and the award-winning Cat Enright cozy equestrian mystery series, now optioned for film and television. When not writing, Lisa is a therapeutic riding instructor who consults with PATH and other centers about their horse herds. She splits her time between Tennessee and Minnesota.