Amazon sometimes informs me that a new version of an e-book is available. "Significant editorial changes have been made," the notifications usually say. The frequency of these has been increasing, but I rarely take them up on it.
The reason I don't is twofold. Partly, I don't want to lose the original version of the book, and the update is apparently an either-or proposition. If they'd give me the updated copy and also let me keep the first, I'd be more inclined to accept.
The other reason I decline is on principle.
Authors can whittle and buff all they want on a pre-published manuscript, but once they hand it over to the public, that's it. Or that should be it. Shouldn't it? I have no problem with an author making a change if the formatting goes wacky or something. But when it comes to copy- and content editing, the time for that is before publication.
Maybe I'm being harsh and unreasonable, but if a published work is poorly received, I think the author should cut his or her losses and move on. S/he should learn from the experience and do better next time. To me, waiting for the reviews to come in and then changing the book is cheating.
We writers should take the time to polish our work, test the waters with critique partners and beta readers, and then hire an editor to clean up the text. We should refine each story before it's published. And then stand behind it once it is.
(This post refers to works of fiction and does not include new editions that have added 'bonus' material such as glossaries or excerpts from upcoming books.)
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