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Indie Publishing: Revising After Publishing

As an indie author, you're in control. This comes with pros and cons. One of the positives is that you can revise your works even after you’ve published them. You usually can’t do this with traditional indie and traditional publishing.

Self-Publishing: Revising After Publishing

Major online sales platforms like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple allow you to edit and update your work after the fact without publishing a new edition. This gives us self-pubbers the opportunity to refine our books for our future audience.



WHY REVISE?

The main reasons to revise your manuscript after the fact are to improve the reader experience and maintain a reputation for high-quality books. Here are some compelling ways in which revising after publication can be beneficial.


Improving Craft: As authors, we grow and evolve over time. What may have satisfied us as a finished product in the past might not meet our current standards. Revisiting older books with more experienced eyes allows you to make improvements that reflect your growth as a writer.

Error Correction: No matter how meticulous you are during the editing process, typos and grammatical errors can still slip through the cracks. (They do even for books from the big publishing houses.) Thankfully, friendly readers point out these mistakes, giving you the opportunity to rectify them and maintain a high standard of quality in your work.

The Blurb: Let’s say you aren’t getting the readership you want. Your blurb might be the problem. You can change it after the fact, meaning you can improve it as you either iterate toward a better book description or gain experience with writing later blurbs.

Series Consistency: For authors writing a series, maintaining consistency across multiple books is crucial. If you discover inconsistencies or plot holes in earlier installments, you can go back and make revisions to ensure coherence and continuity for future readers. More about pros and cons of this below.

Enhanced Reputation: By updating and improving your books, you demonstrate your commitment to delivering a top-notch reading experience. This dedication can result in better reviews, increased reader satisfaction, and, ultimately, greater success as an author.

Author Bio: This might seem like a less important factor, particularly in the era of online purchases, but you want to give the reader your best so they might choose your book. A less-than-stellar bio can off-put some readers. So, if you have a better author pic or won an award, update it.

Improved Formatting: The formatting of your book can significantly impact the reading experience. Updating formatting elements such as font styles, spacing, and layout can enhance readability and make your book more visually appealing to readers.

Cover Art: They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in the competitive world of publishing, first impressions matter. Updating your cover art can breathe new life into your book and attract potential readers who may have overlooked it previously. If you didn’t have the cash on hand to get a professional cover when you released it and have it now, it might be a wise idea. 


You can promote each of these changes on social media to drum up more eyeballs. This is particularly true of new cover and interior formatting.


Note: You won’t be able to update your paperback’s size or paper color.



SERIES

While the ability to revise your book after publication offers tremendous advantages, it's essential to exercise caution and restraint, particularly with a series. Making large changes to plot points or character arcs can confuse readers who have already purchased and read your earlier books. It's crucial to strike a balance between improvement and consistency, ensuring that your revisions enhance rather than detract from the overall reading experience. Remember, people who have already read the first novel are your biggest fans and represent the majority of people who will read the sequel.



PUBLISHER

While you can change the publisher on eBooks, you cannot with physical copies. As an indie publisher, you have the opportunity to create your own “publishing house.” If you plan on doing so, do it now, not later. It can be easier than you think. 



RESOURCES

Now, let's explore some resources that indie authors can utilize to improve their manuscripts after the fact. Here are some posts I wrote on the subject:

Other Resources include:


Grammarly: Grammarly is a popular free or paid writing assistant that helps identify grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, and other writing issues.

ProWritingAid: ProWritingAid is another comprehensive writing tool that offers grammar and style checking, as well as in-depth reports on areas such as readability. It's available as both a free and paid service.

Hemingway Editor: Hemingway Editor is a writing tool that focuses on improving clarity and readability by highlighting complex sentences, passive voice, and adverb usage. While there's a free online version, the desktop app requires a one-time purchase.

Professional Editors: If you're looking for more personalized and comprehensive editing assistance, professional editing services can be a worthwhile investment. Editors can provide developmental, copyediting, and proofreading services tailored to your specific needs and preferences. While professional editing services come at a steep price, the benefits in terms of improved quality and reader satisfaction can outweigh the expense. Explore the different types of editing services and their respective benefits here.



THE TAKE-HOME

The ability to revise after publication is a valuable tool you can leverage to improve your novel as you improve your craft. The focus should be on enhancing the reading experience for your audience. By embracing opportunities for refinement and utilizing resources to strengthen our manuscripts, we authors can position ourselves for greater success at attracting eyeballs in the sea of books. Remember, the journey of writing is ongoing, and every revision is an opportunity for growth and improvement.



FAQ

Q. What types of revisions can I make to my book?

You can make a variety of revisions, including correcting typos, improving clarity, updating formatting, revising cover art, and even making minor plot or character changes.


Q. Will my previous readers benefit from the updates I make?

No, they won't automatically receive the updates. However, you can inform them of any significant changes through author newsletters or social media platforms.


Q. Are there any limitations to the revisions I can make?

While you have the freedom to revise your book, it's important to exercise restraint to avoid making changes that could confuse or alienate existing readers.


Q. Can I change all the characters in my book to cats after it's been published?

While the idea of a feline takeover sounds intriguing, it's probably best to stick with the original characters for consistency.


Q. How do I go about revising my book on platforms like Amazon or Apple Books?

You can typically access your book's files through your publishing dashboard and upload revised versions. The process may vary slightly depending on the platform.


Q. Will revising my book affect its sales rank or reviews?

Revising your book shouldn't impact its sales rank or existing reviews. However, if you significantly change the content, it may be treated as a new edition.


Q. If I accidentally made my protagonist a vampire, can I revise them back into a regular human?

Of course! Just sprinkle some garlic on your manuscript and watch those fangs disappear.


Q. Should I hire a professional editor to help with revisions?

That’s up to you. Hiring an editor can be beneficial, especially for major revisions or improving overall quality. However, minor updates are not always necessary. If your book needs that many changes, you might consider publishing a new edition. Here’s a post on indie publishing with an editor.


Q. Can I revise my book indefinitely, or is there a time limit?

There's typically no time limit for revising your book, but it's best to focus on meaningful updates rather than making constant minor tweaks.


Q. Can I replace all instances of the word "banana" with "sock puppet" in my book for a laugh?

While it might be hilarious, it's probably best to save the sock puppets for another story.


Q. What should I do if I receive feedback from readers after publication?

Embrace reader feedback as an opportunity for improvement. Address any valid concerns or suggestions in your revisions to enhance the reader experience. Read more about handling criticism.


Q. Is there a cost associated with revising my book?

There's usually no additional cost for revising your book on most online platforms. However, if you hire professional services or make significant changes, there may be associated costs.


 

As always, I appreciate your support of indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.



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