The death of the author was a phrase coined by Roland Barthes and essentially he said that after the novel was published the author was dead. It doesn’t matter if the author gives some statement days later about how their published novel should be read because it doesn’t matter, only what the novel itself contains is important.
I studied that in my literature degree and I agreed to an extent and so when I published my own novel in November 2017 I suddenly got this cold feeling along with the I actually did it feeling. I was dead now. My novel was out there and it is no longer my own, but other people could read it and interpret it differently.
I couldn’t shake this feeling. I put it down to nerves because this was the first time I had published anything I had worked so hard on and cared about and I’m a bit critical. However, in February I opened up the document on my computer that held a version of the novel and went over it with a fine tooth comb. I edited phrases, rewrote sentences, deleted paragraphs and rewrote entire chapters. I killed the beginning that the rest of the world could see. And I began to feel so much better. There were things I had overlooked after staring at my previous story for so long. The break I’d had after publishing it and the before was about a good 4 months. A lot had happened to me too and so I felt like I had a fresh pair of eyes. I finished the changes and I’m far happier with the version I created it.
So, I re-published my novel with the newer version. Stats aren’t always the easiest to follow on Amazon, especially for the inexperienced like myself. I feel slightly guilty to those who did invest in it and I don’t know how to recorrect that. But I personally feel so much better that this is the work that I want out in the world and I think it will be far more enjoyable for those who read it in the future.
I think especially in the ERA OF THE INTERNET it is a lot more difficult for the author to die as the internet brings us closer than ever before. Also for a self-publisher like myself that urge to correct things is a lot harder to stop because there’s no one else telling me to stop. But I want to promise here, that I’m never going to do such a large edit to something I’ve already published again. If someone alerts me of a small error, of course I will go in and fix that but I won’t drastically change a story again. It’s irresponsible and unfair to anyone who purchased the previous copy. But I needed to fix my first novel. The first is always an experiment, it goes through every test – how to publish, how to market. There was this point I hit after publishing that made me feel like I never wanted to write again. I felt powerless. That’s not something I’m used to – not writing, not wanting to for months.
So thank you for your understanding.