On Writing and Storytelling, or: How I Spent My Friday Afternoon – Revising, Rewriting, and Re-Publishing ‘Reunion’

The paperback edition of “Reunion: A Story” Image Credit: Thomas Wikman

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Louis L’Amour

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Today I spent several hours revising – first on Word, then on Kindle Create – my short story Reunion, which I originally wrote in 1998 but waited 20 years till I could self-publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace (now Kindle Direct Publishing) in paperback and e-book editions.

The view from Kindle Create. This is the epigraph I chose for the “Front Matter” section.

Reunion: A Story has been available on Amazon for just over four years; I submitted it for publication in mid-July of 2018. Since then, it has earned 10 positive reviews (all five-star ones) and I’ve made some money through the royalties, although not enough to make me self-sufficient, much less Stephen King-level successful.

I did not make extensive changes to Reunion. I did not write any new scenes or change the plot, and I did not mess around with the themes or the outcome of the story. If you’ve read it, you know that Reunion is, as reviewer Thomas Wikman wrote, “a sad love story about regret and loss as well as friendship.”Changing the ending from sad to happy is not something I would do, even though I’m sure that there are people out there who only read stories with “happily ever after” conclusions.

“The first draft reveals the art; revision reveals the artist.” Michael Lee

The current cover for the e-book edition.

I did fix some mistakes that I should have corrected before I uploaded the manuscript to Amazon in the summer of 2018. I was in too much of a hurry to publish the book that summer; I wanted to impress the woman I cared about and show her that I could write something that people would be willing to buy on Amazon. I also wanted to start making some money from writing as quickly as possible, so I didn’t spend as much time as I should have to fine-tune the prose, make sure that my fictional world matched up to the real world the story is based on, and add the usual copyright notice and “this is a work of fiction” disclaimer…what Kindle Create labels as “front page material.”

I also changed the dedication and added an epigraph, as well as a table of contents for the e-book edition.

It’s not a recent photo of me, but it will suffice.

Oh, and on the “back end of the book,” I added an “About the Author” page and a selected review from Reunion’s Amazon product page.

No book is ever complete without at least one blurb!

“Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.” Neil Gaiman

I also changed the cover art; I never quite liked the image that I chose from the limited collection of stock photos and illustrations that Kindle Direct Publishing offers for free, but I couldn’t afford to hire a graphics artist to custom design a cover for Reunion, so I went with an image of a sad-looking young man holding a bouquet of flowers. It worked, barely, because the photo matched the emotional vibe of the story, but I never loved that cover.

I also raised the price of the e-book from $2.99 to $3.99; Amazon would have allowed me to charge up to $4.99 based on the story’s length, but I chose to make the price increase a bit more palatable for the average reader.

Amazon says the second edition will not go live today; there’s a 72-hour window in the publication process, so the changes I made today will not be published either in e-book form or the paperback edition won’t be seen till late Sunday or early Monday. Of course, since the book is not long and things move quickly in the digital world, it’s possible (but not likely) that the revised edition will be available before the 72-hour window.  

Updated to Add:

Amazon informs me that the second revised edition is “live” and available for purchase as an e-book or as an On Demand Printing paperback.

In any case, that’s how I spent my Friday afternoon. It was a bit nerve-wracking, even frustrating; I can’t, for instance, offer Reunion as a hardcover because it is too short; hardcover editions have a 75-page minimum length requirement. I didn’t know that; I had no idea that Kindle Direct Publishing even offered a hardcover option! But…I now know that if I ever write another book and want to release a hardcover edition, it must be over 75 pages in length. So…I learned something today!

On a Personal Note

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

Today is my older half-sister Vicky’s 73rd birthday.

If you are a regular visitor to this space, you know that Vicky and I are estranged, and have been so since our mother died in the summer of 2015. My move to the Tampa Bay area was a consequence of this estrangement, so even if I don’t consciously think about Vicky or the way she behaved during Mom’s last five years and after her passing, my presence here on the Gulf Coast is a daily reminder of a tragic (but necessary) sundering of familial ties.

My “core family” group before a social event circa 1989.

I sometimes find myself wondering how Vicky is doing; before he died unexpectedly in October of 2020 at the age of 75, her paternal first cousin Juan Manuel Pereira emailed me infrequently with brief updates about her. The last time that he wrote, Juan Manuel informed me that earlier that year, Vicky fell and broke her hip, which necessitated an operation to replace it. She was doing well in her recovery, but she then fell again and broke the replacement hip, so she had to undergo surgery and another replacement procedure.

Juan Manuel told me that his brother Mauricio was the one who was most involved in Vicky’s care and my half-sister was on the mend. This was in March of 2020, though, and as I said earlier, Juan Manuel did not write often, so I have not heard about Vicky in three years.

Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels.com

It’s sad, but I think we are better off apart.



Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

3 thoughts on “On Writing and Storytelling, or: How I Spent My Friday Afternoon – Revising, Rewriting, and Re-Publishing ‘Reunion’

  1. As you know I bought the paperback version of your book (a few times for me and family). However, I’ve never bought the Kindle version. I will do that once it’s ready. The new cover looks great. I should say that I never noticed any mistakes in the book. In any case, I certainly don’t mind rereading it.

    It’s sad but necessary that you cut your ties with Vicky. I should mention that breaking a hip is pretty serious business. My dad died after the second time that he broke his hip. However, he had other issues too, kidneys, diabetes, parkinson’s disease, and he was 79 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were a few places where my editing was not as good as it should have been. The errors were minor, so much so that many people did not notice them, but they were there. If I’d been in less of a hurry to self-publish, if I’d done a little research about a secondary setting, or if I’d asked for a “Beta Reader” to go over my draft on Word, I might have had fewer goofs.

      My maternal grandfather died in a similar fashion as your dad. Same age, too…79. Broke his hip when he tripped on his bathrobe’s sash on the way back to bed after visiting the loo at night.

      I feel, at some level, a certain amount of regret that Vicky is the way she is. I often wish I could have stayed where I was in 2015, but to do that, I needed a totally different person as a half-sibling to keep my former home in South Florida. Sadly, it was not meant to be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You were unlucky with your half-sister. My brother and I live in different countries and have very different viewpoints, outlook on life and very different interests, but at least none of us have a personality disorder, so despite our differences we get along. The kind of behavior you described your sister doing is not possible to deal with.

        Liked by 1 person

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