Re-launching a book is never as easy as you think.


IT WAS A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME, and I was beginning again.

I chose to work with Evelyn Byrne and White Bird Publications to re-launch the paper book versions of my Ambrose Lincoln thrillers.

No problem, I thought.

Book’s written, I thought.

I self-published it once, I thought.

Give the thriller a few ruffles and flourishes and send the novel on its way.



No sweat.

I was wrong.

Evelyn takes her books and my books more seriously than I did.

I chose to work with White Bird for four reasons.

Evelyn Byrne
Evelyn Byrne

Evelyn is a real, old-fashioned, genuine publisher and a member of the American Publisher’s Association. She doesn’t charge authors up front. She earns her money on book sales, and that means she’s seriously dedicated to selling books.

Evelyn’s books are heavily edited, which is good.

Evelyn’s books look great, which is good.

Evelyn works harder than anyone I know to make sure the paper books reach a potential buying audience, which is good.

In fact, you can find her showcasing her author’s books at all of the big book shows throughout the country.

She’s in Chicago one weekend.

She’s in Tucson before the month is out.

Only Lord knows where the road is taking her next.

And that brings me to Conspiracy of Lies, the second book in the trilogy.

Evelyn had the manuscript edited three times.

I plugged in the changes three times.

White Bird Logo
White Bird Logo

Now, she said, read the book again.

You’ll find more changes you want to make.

I laughed to myself.

I had written the novel.

I had personally edited it twice.

I had read it several times.

I knew the characters.

I knew the scenes.

I knew the plot.

I knew the story word for word.

Why should I read it again?

Read it again, she said.

I did.

A lot of time had passed, and it was like reading a book I had never read before.

There were holes that needed to be filled.

There were cracks in the plot that needed patched.

In some passages, the point of view needed fixing.

Did I really head hop like that?

How could I?

I hate head hopping.

I couldn’t patch those.

I re-wrote them.

Sure, I edited the manuscript.

Mostly, however, I revised the manuscript.

I kept thinking to myself: “How could I have written a line like that, a scene like that?”

I shuddered.

What did I leave out?

What did I know that the reader didn’t know?

Was the bad guy really who I thought he was?

Were the puzzles as puzzling as I thought they were?

Were the puzzles too confusing?

Would the readers get it?

I shuddered again.

I thought the book was good.

It wasn’t.

It’s better now.

But I have one overriding fear.

If I read Conspiracy of Lies a year from now, will I want to re-write it again?


That’s the curse of those of us who write stories.

We’re never satisfied.

Nor should we be.


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