Every author reads their own work several times -- several exhausting hundreds of times -- during both the writing phase, and then again during the publishing phase. Editors and line editors and proofreaders also read the book. Still, errors manage to make it through into the final published book. If it's egregious enough, the publisher might issue a corrected version. Most of the time, though, the errors don't rate that kind of expense. Re-writing allows the author to finally correct those misused words, swapped names, floating body parts, etc. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief over that.
Showing What You Know Now vs. Then
Authors learn more about writing every day and, considering many contracts are for 3-7 years, there's a lot of learning happening for authors while their book is out there in the world (at least, there should be). Some of us might re-read our older books and be alarmed or annoyed by the things we did then. Who isn't regretting the 1-2-3 finger prep phase now, hmm? Re-writing gives the author a chance to update those adorable newbie author faux pas now that we're all grown up. Sometimes, presenting a much more polished and professional book is enough to warrant a re-buy.
Delving Deeper Into Character
This goes along with an author taking the chance to show what they know nowadays. Maybe they skimmed along the surface of some character flaw, made character growth too easy to achieve, or simply didn't go far enough into who these characters are to create a truly satisfying experience. Many authors know where these things happened as they grow into better authors, so this re-write is now their chance to expand. Get dirty, explore those psyches, and push into the world characters that are so nuanced they could be real people.
Delving Deeper Into Plot
Again, now that an author is more experienced and knowledgeable, they probably recognize where they could improve on their story's plotting. What is a bad situation can always be worse. We want those impressively nuanced characters to struggle for their wins, right? Like character growth that might read as too easy to achieve, if overcoming the obstacles of the plot are too easy to do, it makes for an unsatisfying read. Up the stakes, darken the dark moments, and make a win feel like a hard-fought achievement.
Giving Readers Their Wishlists
I'm firmly in the camp of reviews being for the readers, not authors. Yes, reviews help sales, but authors aren't the intended audience for reviews -- even if the review seems aimed at the author, it's still for readers. After a book is published, there is nothing a review can do to improve the book... Unless an author takes the opportunity to re-release that book. Now that review might contain something the author can add to the book to make for a more enjoyable reader experience. Common requests are for HFN to be more HEA with the addition of an epilogue, or for those delving deeper possibilities to be there and improve on character or plot. Knowing ahead of time what reader want makes it much easier to meet those needs, and reading reviews with this in mind can help an author during the re-write.
As I've re-written both MY SUMMER OF WES and YOUR BIGGEST FAN, I've done all of the above to help ensure that when a reader asks, "Why should I buys this book again?" the answer is a resounding, "Because it's so much better than the original that you have to buy it!" I'm doing my absolute best to make these books worth an additional investment, both of my own time and money, and especially of yours.
Missy Welsh writes gay, bi, and trans erotic m/m romance short stories, novellas, and novels.