I’m not sure whether or not this is a friendly debate in writing circles, but for this post’s sake, let’s just assume that it is: Should authors reread their own books after publishing?
I’ve read a few social media posts where some authors claim they don’t reread their own books after the books have been released for the public. Others, like myself, enjoy rereading their book babies after they’ve grown up and transformed into adorable little paperbacks.
So, is this right or wrong? Hmm…
Reasons Why Authors Should Reread Their Own Books
The main reason why I support authors rereading their own books is due to the fact that it allows authors to see how far they’ve grown as writers from their debut to their most recent release.
Even though I published my debut novel at age 23, I was 17 when I wrote the bulk of the book. Reading back over the novel now, over a decade after writing it, helps me realize what mistakes I made earlier on in my career, and how I can continue to improve my craft. It also reminds me how much my writing style has developed over the past decade, which can be a much-needed confidence boost.
It Helps When Writing a Series
I’m not sure if there are any authors of series out there who don’t reread their own books, but I, personally, would go insane if I tried to remember all that happened in books one and two on my own when trying to write latter books. Arguably, some writers keep a “series bible”, where they log all the important details for continuity, and it is difficult to go back and read 10+ previous books if you’re writing a saga; however, I just can’t foresee myself trying to release a book without fully checking over the previous books to see if I’ve missed anything. I just think it would be easier to stay sane if you were reminded of the characters’ journey in its full-form.
It Can Be Fun
What’s the point of writing the book of your heart if you plan on never revisiting it again after sharing it with the world?
My fellow authors, if you love the story you wrote, there is absolutely no shame in hanging out with your characters again and enjoying their journey.
While, yes, parts of our earlier works can make us cringe (I honestly did that a lot after rereading Can’t Beat the Heart of a Carolina Girl), it can be fun to relive our own thought processes from our younger days, and be reminded of the joy we’ve always found in crafting characters and stories.
Reasons Why Authors Should NOT Reread Their Own Books
Looking for Trouble
Okay, now it’s time to play devil’s advocate. If you’re an author who struggles with doubt and negative self-talk, beating yourself up over your “lack of abilities”, then it may not be the best idea to reread your published books as long as you have that mindset.
I’ve been there, and if you reread your own books looking for issues, you’re guaranteed to find them. To dissuade further self-doubt, just seek to improve your craft without comparing where you are now to where you’ve been.
It Can Be Time Consuming
Going back to the “It Helps When Writing a Series” section above, if you have written a saga of multiple books, it could take months to plow back through them for research purposes, especially if the books are lengthy. If you’re an author of a multi-book series, making the decision to not reread your own books may save you a great deal of time in preparing for your future releases, as long as you’re able to keep a detailed continuity log elsewhere.
It Could Be Seen as Pretentious
Sometimes, I feel weird for rereading my own books, because I realize it can come off as pretentious to others. While I don’t personally think this is a strong enough reason to not reread your own books, if an author is extremely self-conscious of what others think about them, I could see him or her using that as an excuse for deciding against it.
I just want to add that, authors, you wrote the book, and if you want to reread it, you shouldn’t let the opinions of others stop you. Many of us aren’t rereading our own books because we think we’re so great; we reread our own books because we enjoy the stories!
Talk to Me Arrowheads
Authors: So, are you an author who rereads their own books? Why or why not?
Readers: If you were an author, would you read your own books? Why or why not?
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.