This is a short Sunday morning rant inspired by a discussion on Kindleboards. A member asked whether he should revise a “book,” knowing that it would affect his ranking. The “book” is actually a 30-page short story, hence my quotes. Why is he considering a revision? Because it’s full of typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors, and was poorly formatted. It was his first published work and now he wants to add it to a series of which two parts have apparently already been published.
His only concern is ranking and sales number. Acknowledging that the story was a mess implies his understanding that quality matters, but he doesn’t address that in any way.
Why would a writer even ask whether he should revise something that basically cheats any reader who paid for it. (Let’s hope no one did.) Why would he be more concerned about his ranking on Amazon than about his readers? Why did he publish it in the first place? Ignorance? Laziness? Whatever his reasons, he produced something that supports the continuing negativity that surrounds indie publishing.
When I decided to revise Privileged Lives, it wasn’t because it was a shameful mess. It was spell-checked, proofread, and edited multiple times. I obsessed over word choices and sentence structure. It wasn’t a mess; it wasn’t even a bad novel. But it wasn’t the novel I would be able to write now, with more experience under my belt. So that’s what I’m doing. Turning it into the novel I’m capable of writing now.
Anything we publish should be the very best we can do right now. Most early work isn’t worth revising and republishing. Some of it is satisfying enough to readers that it isn’t worth the effort. But if it sticks its hooks in you because you know it deserves better, then revision is the way to go. Because your reader deserve better.