By John Gilstrap
As part of our larger plan to carpet bomb the planet with Gilstrap fiction, NATHAN’S RUN, my first novel, originally published in 1996, is once again available–first as an eBook, and then next year as a mass market paperback.
My publisher, Kensington, is trying a few cool marketing gimmicks for this release. Most notable is the fact that it will be exclusive to Barnes and Noble’s Nook for the first five months–through the end of 2011. Then, in January, it will be available on all eBook formats. I guess this is a way to gain favor with the world’s only remaining behemoth bookstore.
When the Kensington team and I were discussing the plans for the rerelease, we came up with another idea that I thought was exceptionally cool: the alternative ending. My original ending for NATHAN’S RUN was significantly different than the ending in the published book. Readers of the new version will be directed to a site where they can read my original version. It will be interesting to see what kind of response I get.
Truth be told, I’m not one hundred percent comfortable doing this. A printed book lives forever locked in the version that was printed and distributed. There is no alternative version, and part of me thinks that’s the way it should be, with the artist’s vision locked down and reflecting his or her world view at the time.
On the other hand, I’ve always been fascinated with the process that produces art. I love, for example, reading the line edited works of the masters to see how their thoughts evolved over time.
What do you think? Is it intriguing to see what “might have been” in a work of fiction, or would you prefer that the original version stand alone forever?