A case for the revised edition

Why a revised edition?

In the recent past, Pluto has lost its coveted post as the ninth and last planet in our solar system. Subsequently, the mnemonic that we used to singsong to recall the order of the planets has changed. This from ‘My Very Educated Mother Just Shown Us Nine Planets’ to ‘My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Noodles.’ Sigh. This considering contrary evidence that Pluto is indeed a dwarf planet ((minor-planet designation: 134340 Pluto; in case you are interested in basing your sci-fi novel in the realm of this icy celestial body).

In light of the above, I imagine that school textbooks have had to be revised accordingly to reflect this. Indeed, we can think of books, more so, non-fiction literature, as living organisms in the figurative sense. And just like living organisms, they evolve over time as new information comes to light, technology advances, new terminology is coined (for instance, the adoption of human resource over labour, man-power or personnel at the workplace) and so on and so forth.

As an organisation, you may have published a report or study in the past. No doubt, it may have served its intended objective at the time. However, the report might have become obsolete over time or need revisions due to other developments.

The way forward?

Let’s imagine that your report was an advocacy tool advancing the interests of green energy. At the time, you may have used the report to lobby against a certain project, say, the establishment of a nuclear power plant. This had seen you seek redress in the courts. As such, revising your earlier report enables you to report to your stakeholders on developments on this. Obviously, they will be interested in the outcome of the case you filed. Perhaps, the courts allowed for the project to go through, which it did and now the surrounding community is adversely affected. As such revising your report and republishing it afresh may strengthen your advocacy efforts. Plus, collaborating with other stakeholders in revising your report might improve it considerably and give it the much needed appeal across the whole of your field or sector.

In regard to fiction, reasons to revise and republish accordingly include tightening plot gaps, correcting typos, and strengthening coherence and flow in sentences and paragraphs. Or perhaps, heeding the call by one’s dedicated readers to extend your novella into a fully-fledged novel.

In the case of a guide, how-to or instructional manual, there is need for regular revisions. This enables you to incorporate technological advances, best practices of the day or legislative concerns (for instance, a human resource guide has to reflect a change in labour law). The effect of such periodical revisions? Your guide, how-to or instructional manual enjoys currency – hence more sales – by virtue of being update and addressing the needs of their consumers.

Lastly, a revision helps your book look fresh. This can be achieved by way of a new cover, changing the font and layout, adding illustrations and imagery and so on.