What is the best way to handle an overhaul?
Originally I was thinking of just replacing the chapters, but there are a large number of comments and reviews that might confuse new readers, since none of those will be applicable anymore.
So, what is the best way to handle this?
As I see it, I have three options:
1) Delete the chapters and repost, swapping around the order in the fiction. This is a lot of time on me, and does nothing for the reviews. Also, all followers will get updates which might confuse them.
2) Replace the chapters. This is a lot of time on me, and does nothing for the reviews or comments.
3) Retire the fiction as a whole and repost as a new one with the new chapters. This adds burden on the mods, and then removes all the current followers/comments/reviews and also means that no new work would be posted for some time as I work through the backlog.
None of these are really ideal. Is there an option I'm missing?
Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?
If its just a re-write for better readability, you could go back and update old chapters as needed. If your current readers aren't missing out on any drastic changes to plot or important details, then just updating past chapters is fine. You could include something like "This chapter was rewritten 12/31/2020" in the author notes so that readers know which comments are outdated and which are not. You could also include a larger author note on your most recent chapter saying "These chapters have been rewritten" etc. so readers have the option of going back and checking them out.
If important parts of the story change, and new things are being added and old things removed to the point the story or story arcs are drastically changed, then I think you should consider retiring the old fiction and reposting as a newer one. If you do this, please consider eventually deleting your older fiction. I've personally been confused by "duplicate" stories where one version is actually an older version of a rewrite. I've mistakenly read older versions.
There are no "royal roads" to reworking a novel, you just do what you set out to do.
Thanks for the feedback, folks!
Orz, yeah, sorry I wasn't more clear. This is a complete gutting. New plot points, pacing, story arcs. Characters are all the same, but even the chapters that aren't outright deleted and replaced are mostly re-written.
I’d do one big note on chapter 1, and then tiny notes referring back to chapter 1 on each subsequent chapter that has significant changes.