We all get input when we're writing our books. We get it from friends and family, and perfect strangers we never met. But a good writer gives equal weight to every word that's said about his work, whether encouraging, or harsh. Ultimately, the decision is ours. Can't blame the friends for not saying the right things in their critiques. Can't blame family for not rooting hard enough. We own the story. We the writers own the story.
I've added a new beginning. A 2000 word first chapter just finished that'll make it easier to sequence the parts I already had finished, and it'll add a little spark to the opening. It's a perfect catalyst for events that follow. I'd been keeping it as back story, but the great thing about self-publishing is that I really don't have to worry about word count. yeah, I worked hard to cut 20K words from the WIP, but I don't feel guilty for adding 2K back, because I don't have to convince any agent that the thing will be commercially viable. No agent has to worry about selling my book. That's a wonderfully liberating feeling. I own it. I'll live with the consequences of what happens if the thing is 2K words too long.
Probably meaningless to most people, but i think there will be authors out there who know what I'm talking about.