I received an email early this morning, telling me that when they clicked on the link to see the first two Dark Breakers novellas on Amazon (The Breaker Queen and The Two Paupers), the link was broken.
I had expected this, as I recently took those books “off the shelf.” I thought the process would be a relatively simple thing: I click “Unpublish,” and no one will be able to buy them anymore.
I wanted those earlier versions to be out of print for a while, so that I would have a chance to refurbish them. Because I’d made Desdemona and the Deep a standalone novella for Tor.com–and because of the many discoveries and maturities of world and characters that occurred in the writing of it–there were a few structural changes I wanted to tinker with in the first two, so that all the pieces fit more beautifully together.
I did not expect the next thing the email writer said: that, remembering that they had already bought the first two books, they opened their Kindle app–and discovered the books they had bought were gone.
Now, I remember something like this happening in early in the Kindle publishing era . . . but I also remember there being an uproar amongst Kindle users, people who’d bought their books and rightfully owned them, to discover that they’d just disappeared.
This was not my intention. I don’t want to take anything away from people who have supported me and bought my work in the past. People have the right to their out of print copies and first editions! Just like I have the right to take my books off the market for a while! But just like I’d never sneak into someone’s house and steal their OWN BOOKS off the shelves, I’d never have intentionally taken away these older copies from them.
I have written to the KDP people, and hope to have a satisfactory answer for you. As for what I can do personally–if your copy of The Breaker Queen or The Two Paupers has gone missing, please email me at csecooney (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will email you a PDF of the older, out of print version.
Meanwhile, The Breaker Queen (a fully realized but slightly older version) was reprinted by Lightspeed Magazine here: Issue 89, October 2017. And Rich Horton reprinted The Two Paupers (again, the older, original version) in his Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016. Both are still in print. Desdemona and the Deep comes out with Tor.com this coming July.
I am really sorry for all this trouble. I will try to fix it. I am hoping to get to the refurbishments in June. There won’t be much to them–just enough that I didn’t want any more people buying them until I had a chance to look at them again.
As you can probably tell, my few tentative forays into self-publishing did not make me an expert; if I’d been one, I’d probably have known this would happen, and would have already tried to find a workaround. Please forgive me.
— C. S. E. Cooney