Are our books etched in stone?
It used to be that once a book was published, that was it. It was done. It was as if it had been etched in stone. Once it went to the printer, there was no changing it – unless your book happened to get a second edition, which most works of genre fiction don’t. So you wrote your book carefully, edited it even more so. You read it through as many times as possible and the publishing company did the same. If there was a typo or a bit of information that you later discovered was inaccurate you were stuck. It simply could not be changed.
But… hello self-publishing!
Now, if an author publishes their own book and then later discovers typos thanks to the eagle-eyes of some of their readers, they can correct those mistakes and upload a new version without a moment’s hesitation. If there are enough mistakes that have been corrected or the changes are major enough, Amazon will even inform the people who have already purchased the book that a new version is available for download.
Poof! Your mistakes are corrected with very little bother. So easy!
This is one of the advantages of self-publishing. It’s amazing. It’s wonderful! I get my formatting clients coming back to me often with corrections that need to be put into their books. I pop in the corrections, churn out a new file, and boom, all is good.
But what happens when those corrections are more than just fixing a typo or adding in a few commas where they should have been? What if you found that you made a major mistake with your research, or got an opportunity to learn more and have discovered that what you read on the all-knowing internets was wrong? Or what if you just want to change something—a plot point, a character, anything.
Can you do that?
It was a discussion that was recently held by a group of authors I’m a part of. One author realized that some of her research had been wrong and wanted to correct it, but the book had been published for a few months. Could she go in and make the correction?
Without one dissenting voice, everyone who answered her said absolutely, yes! Go ahead. Make the correction. Especially since it was a matter of correcting for historical accuracy, everyone agreed that that was just fine.
But what if it’s something else?
I’ve got another client who published a YA Fantasy meant for kids 10 and up before I began working with him. The book is over five hundred pages long! Are kids that young really going to read a five hundred-page book?
Well, this client’s sales say no, they’re not.
I recommended that he unpublish the book and split it into two. He wasn’t so sure about that. How could he republish a book that had already been out there in the world for a few years? Is it possible? Is it right?
I think it is. I think if he is open and honest with readers that these books were previously published as one so that those who’ve already bought it don’t do so again, it’s fine. So long as he isn’t tricking people into buying the books a second time, why shouldn’t he republish his book? If he does, it will also give us the opportunity to work on it a bit, edit it, and make it even better (he’s learned a lot since he published this first book).
Is there anything wrong with making a good book better? I think not.
This is the beauty of self-publishing. This is the fantastic thing about publishing in today’s world. What do you think?
Just a quick note: I don’t know what’s going on with my WordPress Site but this is the second week in a row that it’s missed posting my blog when it was scheduled to post. I don’t know why, but I hope I’ve fixed the issue. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if my blog hasn’t posted on Sunday morning as you expect it to. Thanks!!