After all the hard work of writing, editing, and proofreading your work you’ve finally reached a point where you upload the file to the various publishing sites and wait until you receive word that your e-book has gone live. You happily tell anyone and everyone who will listen about your achievement and hope a few of them might be interested enough to buy and read your story. If they’re really nice, they might even write you a review. Unfortunately, that review mentions a major flaw in your work; missing scenes, the jarring POV shift you thought you’d fixed, misspellings, incorrect words, punctuation problems…the list is endless.
Finding out your work isn’t as perfect as you’d hoped can be humiliating. You may have done everything possible to create as clean a copy as possible to provide your readers an enjoyable experience: worked with critique partners, beta readers, editors, proofreaders, and maybe even someone who specializes in formatting your document for publication. Yet somewhere along the line those pesky errors still managed to slip through. These things happen to even the most diligent authors and publishers.
The good news is that self-publishing e-books allows authors to go back and fix those embarrassing issues. The trick is to determine whether or not a problem is bad enough to warrant the time and effort involved in making and uploading changes to the various publishing sites. Indie authors are often short on time in the best of circumstances so, in my mind, fixing a few missing words or punctuation marks wouldn’t be a great idea unless the author has a lot of free time on their hands. Major problems should, of course, be addressed as soon as possible after the author learns of the issue. The book can then be re-uploaded and made available to readers who’ve purchased the less-than-perfect version.
An author needs to be careful not to get too caught up in trying to achieve perfection in their writing because making revisions can be a never-ending process. if your story is good in a technical sense, but you feel it’s not quite what you’d hoped, the best thing might be to move on and create other works. Previous publications are a reflection of who you were at the time they were written and may not live up to your current standards, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable in their own right. The early works of famous authors aren’t always their best, but reading them helps show their evolution as artists, in the same way as the early works of famous painters, dancers, and actors.
Don’t be afraid to go back to make corrections and re-publish your works, when necessary. Your readers will thank you for taking the time and making the effort to ensure their enjoyment of your works. Just be sure not to get caught up in an endless loop that takes time away from creating your next masterpiece.