I've just released a fiction novel last year. Unfortunately, I have found several grammatical errors within the manuscript. In addition, I've also extended a few of the 'lacking' chapters of the story.

My question is: what defines a 'new edition' of a story. Should a new edition come out on a regular basis, or just when the author sees fit to polish their work?

This question is primarily focused on fiction based novels.

  • 2
    I am not sure on this answer, but I would guess that it would be closer along the lines of when the author sees fit to polish their work or adjust some elements. Fiction doesn't seem to have the need to have a regular edition like a text book for school does. I would speculate that people in general don't really want their favorite story touched much and potentially made worse not better (in their minds). For comparison, Lord of the Rings seems to have about 4 "new editions" since it initially debuted in the 30s.
    – ggiaquin16
    Oct 31, 2017 at 17:43
  • " people in general don't really want their favorite story touched much and potentially made worse not better (in their minds)." - That is a good point that I hadn't thought about. Strictly speaking for this question, the changes would only improve the story, as the grammar/spelling issues would only dilute the reader's immersion. Oct 31, 2017 at 18:38
  • 1
    tongue in cheek answer: the new edition should be released at a time when it will maximize sales, generally accompanied with some other promotion & new artwork.
    – Segfault
    Oct 31, 2017 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


Just my opinion, but I think it depends on how many readers you have.

Correcting actual errors in grammar or spelling is always useful. The same goes for other errors: I once almost missed a line where I attributed a line of speech to the wrong character; e.g. "John said" instead of "Alice said".

Another type of error might be correcting some big logic hole in your story, if you can do it without a major rewrite. Like a character knowing something in chapter 15 and then not knowing the same thing in chapter 17 (perhaps due to rewriting in C15 after C17 had already been written).

If you don't have many readers, the extending the story or changing the plot or characterizations might be fine.

If you have lots of readers, I would not touch that. Like ggiaquin says, it might change the story or characters for the worse. Further it could produce a situation in which somebody recommends your book, and the new reader finds it worse, it drags, it is boring, it takes too long to get to the point.

I admit I am not familiar with online publishing or ebooks, so I don't know what the expectations are in that market.

The exception I can think of, which does not apply to a single year, would be cultural updating, to make a book acceptable to a new generation. A book intended to be "happening today" that was written before the advent of cellphones, the Internet, sexting, ubiquitous porn, acceptability of homosexuality and homosexual marriage, and a hundred other cultural developments in the last thirty years might still have a salvageable plot and characters, and the author could provide a new edition for that purpose.

Or even with more recent developments: A fictional novel finished in early 2015 that had a significant political component might be in need of an update already, to reflect recent political developments in the USA, even if the political component did not extend to the national level. Assumptions about the gravity of office and what candidates can and cannot do, and office holders would and would not do, have been broken, so the fiction might need some propping up if it depended on such assumptions, in order to continue to be plausible.

On the idea of "extending" scenes, I think that is generally a bad idea. If you did not need the material to tell the story in the first place, why is it needed now? What makes it NOT a waste of time and reading, if it has no real impact on the story?

  • 1
    Great! I figured this was probably along the lines of the answer... but since I have never had experience in this actual area I figured to leave it alone. Also to note... I did a minor edit.. You gave jerad credit for something he was quoting me on :) so fixed that.. other than that I really liked what you had to say here and glad my speculation seems to be in line with at least someone else's thoughts.
    – ggiaquin16
    Oct 31, 2017 at 21:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.