Lots of challenges litter the path of indie publishing. Editing, cover design, formatting, interior design, marketing & promotion, building your own validation, bad reviews, confidence, sales numbers—there are pitfalls every step of the way.
I think it’s good and even right to fix minor issues like typos, perhaps even inadvertent, minor inconsistencies. But anything more than that, and you run the risk of the slippery slope of perpetual editing.
Author Ally Carter (one of my faves!) said it well in a recent Q&A:
Do you ever re-read your own books?
Not if I can help it. That sounds like my definition of torture—reading something I can’t fix if and when I find mistakes or things I just want to change. And, believe me, I would want to change things. All the things!
Ally is trade published, so she most likely doesn’t have the opportunity to change her works. Can you imagine the torture if you can change things? And if you can, should you?
In the new publishing paradigm, there might not be such a thing as a “finished” book. We can edit forever. And while, again, fixing typos is good, having 8 (or 800) various editions of your book out there just feels wrong. I think there has to be a point where we decide our books are truly polished enough—not to give up too soon and call it good, but to recognize that we’ve produced a finished product to the best of our (and all our helpers’) ability, and share it with readers without shame.
What do you think? How much are you willing to change once you’ve hit “Publish”?
Photo by Nikki L.