How I took The Treasure and turned it into The Moon

Okay, so this is a question that I get asked a lot: Why did I bring out a second edition of my first book? And why the change of title? My answer? It’s a little complicated. That’s why I have to devote a whole blog post to it. 

My journey from The Treasure at Bayan Bluffs to The Moon of Masarrah was a long and arduous one. And it didn't involve a rocket ship. The Treasure was published by a small company who was able to do just one print run before they dissolved. That pretty much threw a wrench in my scheme to continue publishing with them. In the meantime, I had written the second book in the series and needed to get it out to my readers. There weren’t any Muslim publishing companies who were willing to publish fiction books for free and the difficulties involved in doing it on my own turned me off.

I decided to query mainstream literary agents even though I didn’t hold out much hope of getting anywhere. With the rejections came the realization that writing the second book in the series was a double-edged sword. All the agents I queried told me that it would be impossible to get a publisher interested in such a book when the first one was already out. A few told me to write a brand new one and they would be willing to consider it. Well, I wasn't ready to write a whole new book when I had a completed one just waiting to go. End of that dream. I went into limbo for a while and stopped writing. I was disheartened that all the hours I had spent writing the second book had come to naught. What was the point of continuing?

But then I got a change of heart. I would meet readers from time to time who just loved The Treasure and wanted to know when I would write a second book. How could I tell them that I had given up on writing? Our young Muslim population is very much in need of books that are exciting, entertaining and enlightening. Books that make them feel good about themselves and their faith. Books that portray them as clever, creative, and enterprising as any characters in popular fiction today. Writing such books has been my vision from day one. It was what kept me going as I plodded through the first draft of The Treasure and onto the second book. So, after a long period of soul-searching, I decided to give my dream another try and get my second book out. Self-publishing had come a long way and as the only available avenue for me, I began to do some scouting around to find a company that would fit my needs.   

At that point in time, I found myself at another impasse. I was planning to publish the second book in the series but no more copies of The Treasure was being printed. If people couldn't get hold of the first book, then it made no sense bringing out a second book. Especially since The Treasure came out years ago. What was I to do? I was in quite a quandary. Then the answer came to me. I would have to bring back The Treasure. Start from scratch and have it published again. It was the only way to bridge the gap between the first and second book. I was quite excited.

So I dusted off the manuscript, intending to do a few minor revisions before I sent it off to be formatted again for publishing. Once I got started,I just couldn’t stop. I found so many things to change that I ended up practically rewriting the whole book. When I finally finished, it just seemed right to change the title too. So that’s the story of how I took The Treasure and turned it into The Moon. Now you know.  

Reyhana IsmailComment