You've written your manuscript
You've had beta readers pick it apart
You've fixed all your plot holes
Your proofreader sends your manuscript back
You conjure a cover
As a published author, I know all about revisions. You make your work as perfect as possible, hit publish, and then wait in hope for a positive response from readers.
And then... dread.
Since your eyes are so tired from seeing the same words for weeks or months, you don't notice the little inconsistencies: your protagonists dress was red in the beginning, so why is it suddenly black in the middle of your story? Is that supposed to be "personal" and not "person"? OMG... Tell me I didn't use "your" instead of "you're"!
It happens. Even in traditionally published work that goes through the scrutiny of multiple eyes.
But what demands revision? How many errors in a story is too many? What's a good reason to go back and modify your already published work?
From my experience, there are really only three good reasons to modify/revise an already published manuscript:
1) You failed in the necessary steps of publication
- Your finished story lacks the basics: organization, plot... It sucks
- You had no beta readers or asked people with poor experience (i.e. friends who feed you the bullshit you want to hear because they're afraid the'll personally kill your dream of becoming the next great novelist)
- You skimped on the proofreading and editing, leaving a manuscript filled with incomplete sentences, missed words, missing words, typos, and improper grammar
2) You find a new publisher
- Sometimes you self publish a story, have miserable sales, and then decide to see what happens if you give it to a publisher. Sometimes you publish a story with a publisher, have the rights returned to you for whatever reason, and find a second publisher. In these cases, your new publisher is going to want a say in story structure and language to fit their already established guidelines.
3) You decide a story you've written actually belongs somewhere else
- You write several short stories and self publish, only to decide later that what you've written actually belongs together in one publication. You squish your stories together, revamp/polish them, and hit the "publish" button again