Do overs and revised editions
People keep saying it – the beauty of being indie is your book can always evolve. You can always repair and update your books. The indie world never stands still. People are forgiving.
But there are some mistakes that are very difficult to forgive. And what happens if you make one of them?
I was speaking to an indie author (who shall remain nameless) whose book had been edited, but for some reason she’d uploaded the wrong edition. I’ve had it happen with clients too – they’ve taken my changes and either applied some or all of the changes, been happy with the end product, and then uploaded some edition that wasn’t it. Track changes can be a pain in the ass, to be fair.
I’ve heard too, from editors, whose clients upload their books and then blame the editors when they’ve missed something and it’s gone up with mistakes. This is especially hard to take when we editors know we’ve fixed those issues, and we’ve done a metric tonne of work on the pieces.
And so, these people consider ‘do overs’.
And for most, this isn’t actually a bad idea. Except….
What I’m talking about when I say ‘do over’ isn’t updating the file – it’s breaking the flow from where it is now, taking the book and uploading it again as a revised edition – lose all reviews/rankings etc.
If you’re getting panelled because your book has gone up without editing (accidentally or on purpose), if you’re getting slammed for formatting, or your book cover, it might seem really easy to just go ‘I give in’, pull the book and start again.
I know of a few authors who have opted for the ‘do over’.
Do overs are almost always instantly alienating. People have to buy your book AGAIN if they want the revised edition.
And it’s almost like saying ‘I didn’t do it right – I didn’t follow advice’ . And sure, your new readers won’t know anything about it, but there will be some that remember your book – if they buy it again, they’ll feel tricked.
And the problem is too, many authors gaining their back catalog back want do overs – they clean up the book, update it and et voila. But often, because they’re only ‘cleaning’, they don’t bother with an editor or other services. Which means that though you’re an established writer, your books still might be mistake riddled.
And I’ve seen a very few of these writers blame the original edition/publisher. The mind just boggles.
KDP does kinda mitigate the edge of that, if you’re clever. You could use your five days during a ‘do-over’ to ensure that people got the new book. Promote the heck out of it, and give new readers your book free too. Again though, you run the risk of alienating people – if they miss it or whatever.
There’s a second option – one that more authors opt for – the rebrand. You can even call it a ‘revised’ edition, without removing it from the site. You don’t NEED to unpublish. Just upload the new file, et voilà!
And again, unlike traditional publishing, this is much easier to do. It’s also less likely to alienate, but you will have to take your lumps for the book not being ready for primetime and those reviews will *always* remain. It alienates less people but you don’t have the ‘clean slate’ people crave.
Either way – the best solution of course is to ensure your books are as close to perfect when you send them out.
What do you think?