Because of my entrance into the independent publishing world (which I wrote about last week), I've had the pleasure of going through my backlist and evaluating which books would be appropriate for publication. There are lots of reasons why a book doesn't fit for the traditionally published world. As an unpublished author, publishers need a book that will fit their list and have a certain amount of universal appeal. That's why it's so hard for a new author to break in to the New York publishing world. A tiny issue, a close-but-not-close enough moment.... and a book won't sell.
Does that mean these books aren't good? Nope! Just look at some of the breakout stars of indie publishing and you'll see books which didn't make that first blush cut for traditional and yet sold like crazy and had readers fall in love with them when they went the indie route.
But many of these books I wrote years ago. In a different time of my life, in a different place physically for some of them. I wondered, would ANY of them be appropriate for publication? And then I started reading them. And I felt like I was meeting up with old friends and catching up. I still loved these stories and these characters and I really wanted to share them.
Were they perfect? NO!! NO NO NO NO. I actually dove into editing and matching them to my writing sometimes ten years later (has it been that long???). It has been challenging and exciting and I hope eventually readers will see that and fall in love, too. Still, old friendships don't have to be perfect. With work, they can be strong.