Ah, Goodreads, guardian of our literary past, where even the missteps of our earliest publishing days remain etched in digital stone.
In 2009, curiosity got the better of me, and I unleashed an unfinished manuscript upon the world, titled “Love Lost on Cloud 9.” I was curious about this new way to publish your own work without needing oodles of money and a good print shop, and I couldn’t help myself from trying out the new technology, thinking it would help in the future when I was “ready for publishing for real.” I made a quick cover, filled out all the forms, and uploaded my document. Shortly afterward, I took it down from the Amazon store to keep working on it. Little did I know that Goodreads would embrace it with open arms, forever preserving the echoes of my impulsive foray into self-publishing.
In the spirit of reinvention, I decided to don a pen name when I finally published my now “finished” novel in 2011, once again titled “Love Lost on Cloud 9.” I put “finished” in quotation marks because while I worked hard on the story, that was a time when I had young children and very little extra spending cash for things like developmental editors and proofreaders. With renewed hope, I ventured forth, believing that this fresh identity – Amanda Sharon was my pen name – would grant me a clean slate. But Goodreads, ever the diligent librarian, uncovered my secret and connected the dots, forever intertwining my pen name with my true self. In 2013, I unpublished both that title and my other novel, Beware of Love in Technicolor, to await a day when I could indeed afford the professional help the novels so desperately needed.
Fast forward to the present, where I embarked on a new literary endeavor, a reinvented version of Love Lost on Cloud 9. When I was finished, I hired the developmental editor I could finally afford. I tried a few new titles, like Rose of Sharon and Thrill Ride, but they never quite worked the way I wanted them to. With renewed passion and about 97% fresh content, I believed it was time to reclaim the power of that unforgettable title, Love Lost on Cloud 9. I hired a cover artist. I created and purchased print bookmarks, postcards, and more to give out to people. I sent advanced copies out to reviewers. What I did NOT do is read the fine print at Goodreads before deciding to reclaim my title, or changing my pen name (again, I know!) to K.C. Brote.
Little did I expect Goodreads to resurface my previous iterations, attaching them to my name once more. Each time I check my author page, or my book page, there it all is, mocking me with its unwavering presence. The ghosts of Love Lost on Cloud 9 continue to dance on the virtual stage of Goodreads, reminding me of my earlier literary escapades. I find solace in the realization that they are a testament to my growth and journey as a writer. Each iteration represents a stepping stone, a milestone in my pursuit of independent artistic expression. While they may evoke a sense of nostalgia and humility, they also serve as a reminder of how far I’ve come and the exciting possibilities that lie ahead. Goodreads, with its vast catalog and unwavering record-keeping, keeps my literary history alive, a vibrant tapestry of experiences waiting to inspire both myself and my readers. So, I embrace these specters of the past with a renewed sense of gratitude and an upbeat spirit, knowing that they are an integral part of my unique writer’s story.