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Self-Published Writers, Do You Reread Your Books?

February 7, 2021
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Reading through the Twittersphere, I’ve discovered a lot of self-published authors, and others, don’t reread their books. They write a book, edit it, publish, and archive it on their shelf as a trophy to the time they spent during the creative process.

I reread my books long after they are published. There are many reasons why this is important as part of the creative process. Here are the three top reasons I believe every self-published author, those working the creative journey on their own, should reread their books.

You Should Reread Your Books to Find Errors

Let’s face it, nothing is ever perfect. Even the most popular books with the largest budgets have editing errors in them. I’ve found more than one reading the works of Terry Brooks, Stephen King, or Michael Crichton. These are authors with large publishing deals where vast amounts of money went into the creative processes.

Focusing on perfection is setting yourself up for failure.

Nobody should focus on perfection, but they should focus on perfecting.

Rereading your books allows you to find errors. It allows you to approach the story with a fresh mind, an aged mind, and one that has learned on your journey. You can find errors you never saw a year ago because your mind didn’t know to look for them.

You can find errors your brain autocorrects from being immersed in the story. When you aren’t immersed, you see everything clearly without the story affecting your perspective.

As you find those errors, you can mark them, fix them, and reupload your work to your publishing services in the effort of perfecting your work while not focusing on perfection.

We’re human. Nobody is perfect.

Are You Writing A Series? Get Into Your Character’s Mind.

I write The Fae Awakening series. Fury’s conception came in 2018. Revenge started shortly afterwards. About six months later, I started Caged and released it in the fall of 2019.

Then came COVID, depression, and my immersion into my intuitive work. I kept writing short stories, my Fae Flashes, and other books in The Fae Awakening universe, but I took a break from the main series. It’s okay to take a break and work on other projects as long as we are staying productive.

Now it’s time to write book four, currently untitled. In order to do this properly, I need to make sure I understand all the characters in the stories, their motivations, physical descriptions, language use, and other aspects I haven’t experienced since working on book three.

Rereading allows us to immerse ourselves in our worlds. It allows our characters to climb out of the recesses of our minds and crawl into the light of our creative imaginations. This makes our writing more accurate, consistent, and keeps our creativity flowing.

It makes it easier to plot if you’re a plotter. If you’re a pantser, you’ll experience fewer issues with character and setting discrepancies. I do both. I plot my main books and pants my Patreon weekly flashes.

Overall, it’s just an easier creative process when you reread your work.

Are You Struggling with the Next Plot Line?

When we reread, we find those little threads we missed. I reread my books recently and made a list of character descriptions, events, backgrounds, tiny one-liners that hinted at other parts of a future story, and all the threads that needed to be tied up. They were left uncompleted with the purpose of being closed later.

Those threads were meant to be hidden in the stories to tie in and foreshadow the future. In rereading, I make sure my character descriptions, settings, and story stay consistent. The biggest benefit I’ve found is finding those tiny foreshadowing elements that give me more story for my future books.

It might be the smallest thing, like how Bonnie likes fire. It’s a hint in Fury, but it’s something that drove my creation of Revenge of the Brownie and will reappear in book four. Those tiny, seemingly innocuous elements, can refresh your mind on your thoughts at the time, allowing you to more easily create the next story and as always, keep things consistent.

So Reread Your Books and Take Notes.

Turn those notes into a reference document. Sooner or later, you’ll have more books than you can reread, and that reference document will become your guide for those past stories.

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