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Group Questions? > Has anyone ever edited their book because of a review?

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message 1: by Quentin (last edited May 05, 2015 04:19PM) (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 380 comments I was just curious if anyone had ever edited their book because of something said in a review? I don't mean grammar or typos, but plot points? Or maybe something in the writing style?

I personally think it's a bad idea, but I would like to hear what everyone else thinks.

For example, if multiple reviewers hate a particular part, would you consider taking it out?


message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1696 comments I kinda sorta am doing that. I mean grammar and the such is included, but there were a few things story wise that I saw mentioned several times in several reviews (and private notes).
So I figured since i'm doing a whole grammar edit, I should take into account certain things about my style and the story itself.


message 3: by Amanda (new)

Amanda M. Lyons (amandamlyons) It all depends on what was said. There can be plot holes and issues that warrant a 2nd look. other times the reviewer just doesn't like the book and picks away at it.


message 4: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) No lol You'll drive yourself crazy every time you make a change based on a nitpick in a review.

That kind of editing is done before the book is published.

Personally, I would cut my losses and hope to do better next book. But! I will say, if I produced one book in my entire lifetime, and I know for a fact this is the only book I'll ever write, then I would consider second edition revised version.

Btw, this is not counting grammar/spelling errors.


message 5: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 380 comments Lily makes a good point. You can find yourself editing forever if you try to please everyone. I have cleared some things up by adding a sentence here and there, but nothing major.


message 6: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Forever and ever and ever....


message 7: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
No personal experience here BUT I think I would do an edit if something critical rang with too much truth for me. Not a negligible, to-each-their-own, eyes-of-beholder things but a serious "oh #$*& me..." moment.


message 8: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Yeah... but, putting on devil's advocate hat, that's the kind of editing you get from an editor, loooong before the book is published. Reviewers aren't guinea pigs, they're critics. They're suppose to be critical.


message 9: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
It would have to ring like gospel truth for me to bother. Mostly I just don't want hubris to get the better of me lol


message 10: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Courtney wrote: "It would have to ring like gospel truth for me to bother. Mostly I just don't want hubris to get the better of me lol"

Heh, fair enough.


message 11: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Stringer | 175 comments I don't think I've ever had a review that gave me specific enough criticism to do that. It would probably depend on what it said but I don't think I'd change part of the plot, no. I'd hope any problems there would be picked up in one of the edits my books receives before it's published.


message 12: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) I have considered re-writing the beginning of my book because some of my reviews have said it's slow to get into. Maybe I'll do it at a later stage, I dont know. Just busy trying to finish my second book and get it out. The second one I hope has a better start. Thinking of posting the opening chapter on Fringe (unedited or proofread) to garner opinions? Dont want to make the same mistake again.


message 13: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 154 comments Not on reviews, per se, but I might edit my work because of private feedback given by email.

For instance, someone with a fixation of names noticed that I over-used given names in dialogue, like:
“I’m seeing a shrink,” Matt said. “I know I didn’t handle our break-up in a mature fashion. I’d like us to part as friends, Pat.”
“Put Brandon on, Matt.”
“You can talk to me, Pat.”
“Matt, put Brandon on or I’ll end this conversation right now.”
I could almost see him grudgingly hand the telephone to Brandon. “What is it, Pat?”
“Is this your idea, Brandon?”


I also wrote Katla Sieltjes in the first chapter's beginning, then referred to her as Katla, only to suddenly in chapter ten write Katla Sieltjes again.

Those are the kind of oversights that can easily be remedied without 're-writing' the book. You remove an annoyance that has nothing to do with the integrity or structure of the story.

I also had some comments on how the remorseless killer protagonist 'didn't show a lot of emotion', which made her 'difficult to empathize with, but the emotion she chooses to convey is often muted, as most killers are not ebullient extraverts.


message 14: by Tabitha (new)

Tabitha Vohn Although it's not the same thing, I've taken beta reader advice before on revision. I find that, as my writing gets stronger, the suggestions for revisions have thinned out.

I've only had one review that criticized my writing style so far, but for that I don't think anyone should consider revising. Writing styles are as varied as the tastes of the readers who prefer them and you won't ever please everyone. it never ceases to amaze me when I read reviews of writers I love who are being torn down for being too wordy, too descriptive, too pretentious, whatever.

As for criticisms on plot points, not liking a character, etc., an author needs to decide whether it compromises their vision for the piece, as these are only highly subjective matters of taste. I'd never consider revising them unless someone offered me a darn-tootin' convincing reason.


message 15: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 517 comments nope nope nope. I edit it to death already once its sent out to betas and eventually for review. if there is the same complaint about something I keep it in mind but if its due to personal taste I ignore it. because they aren't writing the book. if I were to edit my weird books due to every complaint I got in all the few reviews I do have I will be rewriting these things forever (they already take a long time to write in the first place!)


message 16: by Lynne (new)

Lynne Stringer | 175 comments Yes, everyone sees things differently so someone is always going to have negative things to say about your writing style, etc. I guess you have to just consider how many reviewers are saying that and if it's the majority it might mean something has to be done, but whether that's with the book in question or just adjustments to future books you writer is the question.


message 17: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 503 comments I have to admit I tried. After two people told me breaking the fourth wall didn't work for them (well one was saying I was breaking the POV, which isn't true, but anyway), I tried to rewrite my story without it. I had about a third done, yet I wasn't satisfied with how it was turning out, so I asked my betas' opinions. Their answers were unanimous. First, they told me I couldn't please everyone, and second, that breaking the fourth wall was part of what made my book unique. They told me it was up to me and that they would gladly read it again with the changes if that was my wish but they advised me to reconsider, which I did.

In the end, they are absolutely right; you can't please everyone.


message 18: by Shari (new)

Shari Sakurai (shari_sakurai) | 87 comments No I wouldn't edit based on reviews. Everyone has different opinions and tastes and you could be editing forever and a day if you took into account everyone's thoughts on your work!


message 19: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1352 comments Mod
Nope, definitely not. I wrote what I wrote for a reason and someone doesn't like it or thinks it would be better another way that's there opinion. Even If I agree with their point I'm not going back to re-edit the book, it's done published and it's good to go.


message 20: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 245 comments Yes, writers do. I know this because Kristine Kathryn Rusch writes about it in The Pursuit of Perfection: And How It Harms Writers.

As you may deduce, she disapproves of the practice.

I don't do it myself.


message 21: by Claire (new)

Claire (Book Blog Bird) (clairebookblogbird) I wouldn't do it. When I published my book it was because, in terms of plot and characters, it was the absolute best I could make it. If someone doesn't like it, it's sad but I'd just try to do better on the next book. The only thing I'd change would be typos and major plot holes, like if in one scene I'd said my MC was illiterate and then in another scene I had her picking up a pen to write a note to someone.


message 22: by Jacek (new)

Jacek Slay Uhh... no, I wouldn't. That's why you have ARCs, beta-readers, editors and all that stuff - to eliminate such "plot points". So rewriting your story JUST BECAUSE someone didn't like it (even if there in fact are plot holes) is ridiculous.

I would, however, consider reviewers opinions, if I were to publish a second edition anyway - like, in 10 years or if the latest edition had been sold out.

So - I see nothing wrong with using reader's feedback as long as it isn't the sole (or the main) reason of editing your book. Because that should be done much earlier.


message 23: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 517 comments nope. the haters aren't writing my book. so I don't fret if they dislike a certain part. it means I'm doing my job if I got the same hate on the same segment. bonus.

I used to agonize and change my work on bad reviews - now these days I stopped worrying and keep producing. because these are my books not theirs. these are my visions not theirs. so unless they going to pay me for extra time and effort crafting a story to their tastes they can commence to step off into a corner and stay there. perfection is a lofty goal yes but you can't please everyone.


message 24: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1352 comments Mod
I asked to receive reviews for my book before it was released and a guy from India said he was interested. After he was done he wrote me back saying he edited the book for me...I was like um I just had it edited by my own editor and only asked for a review. He asked if I still wanted the review which was 3 stars but I honestly never got back to him because I was so taken back by his need to edit my book when I didn't even ask.


message 25: by Yolanda (new)

Yolanda Ramos (yramosseventhsentinel) I have just re written the first chapter of my book because a lot of reviewers said it was hard to get into - too slow. Editors don't pick up everything. Sadly, I didn't have Beta readers and the two I had for my second book let me down. I really think we can learn from what reviewers say, esp if its the majority.


message 26: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 274 comments Edited? No. To me that means revisions.

I did get one review, a four-star, in which the reader really liked the book but mentioned that there were a few cases of a missing "a" or another small article, but that she hadn't taken note on which pages they occurred. I have the goal of a zero-errors book so this made me search for them and I asked other people who were reading the book to search for them. The other two people couldn't find them! I hunted through the whole book in e-pub and found--I think--three cases of a missing word and fixed them. My editor and proofreader and beta readers all missed them and so did other readers but this one reviewer saw them. Funny how perception works.
If I find little things like that in a book I just e-mail the author, I don't put it in a review, since I know the author can change it (unless traditionally published--they can't unless their publisher is willing to go to the trouble). If I found typos on every other page, though, rather than few sprinkled throughout a book, I would stop reading, of course.


message 27: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 503 comments Yes and no.

A generous GR friend offered to read my book once more to check for typos and wrongly used words. While at it, I did another pass myself and caught a few too, which I corrected. (The print version is still in limbo. I don't foresee any trouble. I'm just waiting for the mailed proof to be on the safe side.)

Since I was going to republish anyway, I took note of one particular review that stated I had a lot of info dump in the beginning. While I was trying to convey the MC's state of mind doing so, I have to agree I didn't need that much to show it. So yeah, the review made me cut down stuff that were unnecessary to the story itself. Would that be enough to change the reviewer's mind? Probably not. Still, I like it a lot better the way it is now. In the end, I did it for me.

So to answer the original question: Yes, I just did. However, I wouldn't change the story itself.


message 28: by Katheryn (new)

Katheryn Avila (katheryn_avila) I'm with G.G - I wouldn't edit the actual content/story, but for stuff like typos/grammatical slip-ups, absolutely! I've actually been meaning to do some fine-comb reading of my book (it's been so long since I've looked at it) to really catch typos and I intend to fix and republish.


message 29: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1352 comments Mod
I've had one person say my book was poorly edited and another say the book was error free and it was the same book! So sometimes you can't go by reviews


message 30: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 274 comments One reader mentioned the occasional missing "a" or "the" and I asked two people who were reading the book anyway if they could find them. They couldn't. My proofreader and editor and multiple critique partners hadn't seen the missing articles. (I'm fanatical about putting out a polished product.) Another reviewer had said the book was error-free. I doubted I'd be able to see the missing words, but I hunted them down myself with an eye for nothing but that problem and corrected them. It's amazing how perceptive some people are with the written word while the rest of us mentally insert a missing "a" and read it as if it were there. My new proofreader, who goes over my books post-editing, is a fan who used to e-mail me those tiny errors my previous proofreaders overlooked. I have a goal of zero errors, even though I've never read a book, indie or trad pub, that had zero errors. There are always one or two. I've never revised a book beyond that sort of little fix after publication. That's what critique partners who are other writers are for--finding the plot problems and character issues.


message 31: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1352 comments Mod
Yeah see? It's a constant back and forth and who knows who to believe but it shouldn't influence if a book should be edited.


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1696 comments Been a long time since my comment on here.
Would like to say that sometime last year i did exactly this. Jumped in not knowing a thing about self-pub etc. bad editing, too short all that fun stuff.
Anywho, wanting to be legitimate in everything, I went ahead and edited/fixed my book.
I think Quentin called it basically another book entirely, but i still call it an edit. New cover, new edits, all that fun stuff. Even went so far as pushing it from a 4 story book to 14 short stories. While there wasn't a rise in reviews or anything, the feedback i did get was plenty better.
Guess it all depends on how early in the career you are, and not making a habit to publish unfinished work.


message 33: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 0 comments I wouldn't go back and change anything unless I wanted to. Some like it, some don't, what's the point? You might rewrite, and then everybody hates it--LOL!

I will be changing the love scenes in my romance novels because I felt forced to write them in the first place. I've come to learn to write what you want, not what you think everyone expects you to.


message 34: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Rand It's worth remembering that just because something's gone through an editor doesn't mean it's perfect. Being an editor doesn't always mean your very good or even better than a very well read reviewer who, for all you know, might also be an editor. My dad's had a driving license for thirty years and keeps bumping the car into things.

If one person has a criticism, maybe think about it, but if everyone has the same problem, or a large proportion of your reviewers have them, maybe it's time to look at your editing and beta reading process. Is your editor a good one? Are your beta readers intelligent people who read your genre and read widely, or your mother, who may be all those things but will still be your mum?

Basically, If you think changing it is the best thing for you and your book, don't let other authors change your mind by telling them what they do, and maybe think about asking that reviewer if they've ever tried beta reading?


message 35: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 245 comments the other things is that if you are endlessly revising your old work, you're not working on new stuff.


message 36: by Ed (new)

Ed Ireland (edireland) | 222 comments I have absolutely edited a book because of a review. Sometimes, we know what's happening because...well, because we are directing these paper lives. So it's easy to sometimes leave some needed tidbit of information out. I left out an entire section of HOW the evil was created in my antagonist. Had to write an additional chapter on that and it took a 2 star review to a 4 1/2 review. I would say it's worth it to listen to reviews. They might be right.


message 37: by A. J. Deschene (last edited Jul 08, 2018 04:23PM) (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 4 comments If something kept popping up in numerous reviews, I would publish a second edition and offer free exchanges for the people who didn't like the first edition, (that is if it wouldn't be too expensive for me:)

On a second note: before publishing my novel I would hire an expert to review my book. I'm kind of a perfectionist. Once you share your book with the world, you can't unshare it.


Mr. Blue


message 38: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1 comments Abram wrote: "If something kept popping up in numerous reviews, I would publish a second edition and offer free exchanges for the people who didn't like the first edition, (that is if it wouldn't be too expensiv..."

Amazon offers automatic update for changes to e-books. I don't believe automatic update costs the authors anything, but I'm not certain.


message 39: by Jason (new)

Jason Chapman | 7 comments I have edited a book because of review. Last year someone complained that I use the term, 'he took a deep breath' too many times. When I looked through the manuscript I discovered over 60 uses of this term. I deleted all of them. I also checked my other books and found that I use this term over and over. I have since updated my work.


message 40: by Jason (new)

Jason Chapman | 7 comments Shomeret wrote: "Abram wrote: "If something kept popping up in numerous reviews, I would publish a second edition and offer free exchanges for the people who didn't like the first edition, (that is if it wouldn't b..."

Amazon do automatically update books. However its a relatively new thing. Older e-books remain the same as when they were first uploaded.


message 41: by Erica (new)

Erica Forrest | 3 comments I'm only two months after publishing my debut, and I got a professional review, my first review, a week or so ago and I was absolutely devastated because the romance my 400 page novel was called dawdling. It's probably a valid complaint but it made me want to go back and strip about 50 pages of content that my beta reader told me was necessary.

I don't think it's worth stressing myself over it and trying to make changes to my finished project, but I think my style will change a little going forward now I'm taking it in mind with the projects I'm currently working on. Next time I'll take longer with the editing and maybe look for some harsher betas too.


message 42: by Bridget (new)

Bridget Chase (chasebridget) | 1 comments I wouldn't worry about it. You could edit a book a million times and you'll never please everyone. There has never been a movie, book, piece of art, food, or anything that has pleased every single person. Hell, even life itself has its disgruntled.
So, they said some negative things. Worse yet would be to take that to heart and let it change your art.


message 43: by Micah (new)

Micah Genest | 1 comments Ya, completely agree.

I think it depends on who you are writing for and what your goals are as well. If you want to make readers happy, well then give them whatever they want: If they think you use a word or a scene to many times, change it. If they think you should add a cyborg penguin that shoots corn from its fully automatic dust tickler, then do it!

For others, write what’s best for you. If some don’t like it, that’s great. Others will.

Depends on your goals.


message 44: by A. J. Deschene (last edited Jul 21, 2018 07:42PM) (new)

A. J. Deschene (ajdeschene) | 4 comments This is why I think it's so important to hire professional beta readers before you publish your book. Then you can make as many changes and take as much criticism as you can without worry.
Though second editions (re-edited versions) aren't uncommon.

Either way, good luck on your writing!


A. J.


message 45: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 245 comments Bridget wrote: "I wouldn't worry about it. You could edit a book a million times and you'll never please everyone. ."

Literally. Because some people are annoyed by your getting things wrong, and some, by getting them right.

And others think an attraction what some consider a flaw.


message 46: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 1352 comments Mod
I plan on going over my book thoroughly, having it professionally edited and have several beta readers go over it.


message 47: by Erica (last edited Jul 22, 2018 02:18PM) (new)

Erica Forrest | 3 comments My big issue is that I'm a starving student with no money to pay for any of that, unfortunately. Took me about four tries with friend's recommendation updating the ebook to get the formatting polished to where I wanted it!


message 48: by G.R. (new)

G.R. Paskoff (grpaskoff) | 2 comments In general, no, unless I completely agree with the reviewer's suggestion/criticism and it is something that, in retrospect after publishing, really bothered me. My beta readers provided plenty of excellent critique that I did put a lot of time into revising into the story. Like others who have commented before me, you can go around and around if you constantly try to please everyone. It is best to just learn from it and move on. The one review criticism I did incorporate I made because it was an easy change. I just had to change a few dates.


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