Saturday, June 22, 2013

When Our Books Become Outdated...

I write my share of contemporary romances or just plain ole contemporary stories, all genres. And lately, I've grown to wonder, what will I do when my title becomes outdated?

Think about this: 

In Love Request, the hero and heroine hook up via Facebook. I've already had to modify this book once to accommodate the new Timelines. Facebook changes its stuff every two weeks though. I can't modify the book every time they change something. So...week by week, my book is becoming outdated.

In a book I recently edited, the heroine had a flip-top phone. Does anyone still make those?

In A Healing Love, when I first penned it, I was told Cindy Crawford was awful old. Could I refer to a more modern model? So I replaced her with Megan Fox...but twenty years from now, will anyone know how that is?

My point: contemporary stories are only contemporary now. With technology constantly changing, with cell phones that eventually will probably even wipe our arses for us, our contemporary books will one day be picked up by a curious reader who just may think it's historical!

"Oh, how quaint! These people are still using toilet paper! Doesn't she know there's an APP for that?" 

Do we then change the genre? Twenty years from now when the world is like Back To The Future with flying cars and skateboards, will we need to change the genre of our now-contemporary titles or revise them to get with the times? I guess Carlos would have to have a flying Harley, Maria would wash the car using a car wash app, Ciara probably won't even be hard of hearing; stem cell research would have taken off.

But what if we're dead and can't revise anyway? Seems changing the genre would be easier. After all, if someone in 2030 releases a book containing a plot that occurs in 1990, it will be labeled historical fiction then, making ours technically historical fiction too!

That concludes my thoughts of the day.


  1. Most writers I know leave them as-is for various reasons. One, it's a hella lot of work to update, and if given the choice between updating and working on your current, new projects, new wins.

    In my case, I spent 15 years writing screenplays and my writing changed (and improved) in so many ways. It would have done the same if I'd been writing novels the whole time, but since I was writing screenplays, the changes seem more marked. It's hard for me to read the old stuff because all I see is what I'd change on every single page. So letting somebody else copyedit/proofread and implementing their suggestions and letting it go saves my sanity.

    But I'm currently going against my previous decision and am updating Beguiled Again instead of publishing it as-is, so we shall see how much difference it makes. And now that I've written a 'post' here in comments, I'll go ahead and accept your invitation to write more articulately on this subject. How about July 17, or the Sunday after?

    1. I'd love to have you! Send it whenever. :)