How many rewrites of their Book should an Author do?

2 to 4 rewrites is the ideal number

At that point you will hit the wall of diminishing returns, and should hand it over to a good professional editor

Note: Depending on your book category/genre, you might want to do 1 or 2 more rewrites (i.e. a total of 3 to 6 rewrites) BEFORE handing it over to your editor. Certain genres like Historical Fiction have very little tolerance for errors (especially historical errors) and might benefit from more rewrites

After your editor has given you feedback your book might need one more rewrite

After that you would hand over your book for line editing (if you are using a line editor) and for proofreading

Why does your book need 2 to 4 rewrites?

Well, you’ve written your book. Everything seems fine. You have read through it a few times and done fixes

Here is why you need rewrites

    1. First rewrite to cover the main things you would have missed
      1. Link up parts of the story that might not link up properly
      2. Work on polishing the first chapter and the ending, as those are the two most critical parts of the story
      3. Make the book have stronger hooks
      4. Fix any things that break the flow of the story
      5. Fix any things that break genre conventions too much. You do not want to stray far from genre conventions until and unless you are specifically looking to break them
      6. Polish the key story structure/arc and make sure everything connects for the reader
      7. Work on open loops, parallel threads, hooks, etc and make sure everything gets resolved by the end (unless you specifically want to leave some things unresolved)
    2. Second rewrite to bring it all together
      1. You’ve done a bunch of improvements and fixes. Now you need a rewrite to make it all mesh together
    3. Third rewrite to focus on what your core competency is and make it super strong
      1. Are readers reading your book for emotions? For the quality of writing? For strict adherence to genre conventions? for some specific reason
      2. In the third rewrite you should make sure The One Thing that is your identity (your writing style, your Core Value Proposition to your readers) is very strong and comes through very well
    4. (Optional) Fourth rewrite for selling and for getting reviews
      1. Focus on the key elements that sell the story
      2. Focus on the key things that get you reviews
      3. This is the rewrite that can elevate your book from ‘ gets a 4 star/5 star rating’ level to ‘Getting shared via email and Twitter with friends’ level
    5. (Optional) Fifth rewrite if you are in genres that demand a very high bar
      1. Certain Fiction genres such as Historical Fiction, and certain Non Fiction genres such as Textbooks and Science and History, have a very high bar for factual accuracy
      2. You have no choice if you are in such a genre. You have to have this fifth rewrite to make sure everything is accurate and there are no mistakes or historical discrepancies that pull the reader out of the story
      3. This also applies to Fantasy and Science Fiction. Every detail has to mesh with the story world
    6. (Optional) Sixth rewrite
      1. This applies in some special cases such as writing a book in a series, or writing a book when a very large reader base is waiting (your own readers, or you’re writing a movie or game adaptation)
      2. You take the book and make sure it matches the universe/series/world it is in. That it will satisfy and delight the people eagerly waiting for it

After this point you hand it over to the editor

(Sometimes) The Final Rewrite

After you get feedback from your editor you will either

  1. Have a book that is fine and just needs minor changes and then can be sent for line editing and proof reading
  2. OR
  3. Have a book that needs a final rewrite to properly incorporate your editor’s input

In this rewrite your focus should be on adding the ingredients that your editor has suggested as critical to the book’s success

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