Is a book ever finished?

Not if it’s an ebook! It really is possible to tweak it forever. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but let’s consider my novel ‘Taken by the Sheikh’.  This was published in 2012, and rapidly became my best selling book. Day after day when I checked the sales figures the Sheikh beat all the others. It outsold newer books launched and just kept on chugging. It’s the same with the Spanish translation ‘Raptada por el Jeque’. It’s only in the last few months that its rankings have fallen away and it has lost the top slot.

I presumed sheikhs had finally had their day. Fashions in writing do change, and my second one – ‘Desired by the Sheikh’ – never did as well as the first. This is despite me having more writing experience by the time I published it, and personally far preferring the story in ‘Desired’ to ‘Taken’. Maybe it’s just the state of the market – many more books out there to compete with?

I decided to go to cover designer Robin Ludwig and commission new covers for everything except the sheikhs. If they’d done their dash it didn’t seem worth spending money on them. Of course once the new designs started rolling in I couldn’t resist smartening up the sheikhs as well.

And… hmmm… new cover… maybe it was worth checking through the actual book file in case I could improve that too. I did find a pair of inverted commas where no-one was speaking, and blushed a bit and took them out. And then – horrors – a camcorder! Who uses a camcorder these days when cell-phones make it so easy to record things? So I swapped out the camcorder for a phone – three phones actually - and read on and on to make sure the continuity was good and no stray mentions of old technology appeared again.

I became totally immersed in the story. Yes, okay, I see why people like it. I liked it so much myself that I did a little tidying up as I went. Nothing that affects the plot, but things like changing an occasional verb for one that was more vivid… adding the odd action tag to make things flow better.

And then I finished it, and was disappointed.  I wanted to spend longer with Rafiq and Laurel. Quite without meaning to I started writing another scene that takes place a year later – an epilogue that gives us a glimpse into how their lives are progressing. Just a few pages, but I’m sure the book is better for it.

So is a book ever finished? I think this one might finally be – four years after it was first published!