After Nietzsche’s breakdown in 1889, and the passing of control over his literary estate to his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, Nietzsche’s friend Heinrich Köselitz conceived the notion of publishing selections from his notebooks, using one of Nietzsche's simpler outlines as a guide to their arrangement. As he explained to Elisabeth on November 8, 1893:
Given that the original title appears as: The Antichrist. Revaluation of All Values (and therefore not ‘The first book of the revaluation of all values’), you may think that your brother at the time of his incipient madness, thought the book completed. [. . .] Notwithstanding, the consequences of this revaluation must also be explicitly illustrated in the field of morality, philosophy, politics. No one today is able to imagine such consequences — that’s why the vast preparations by your brother, the other three books of the Revaluation, must be ordered according to my suggestion and gathered in a kind of system.

Between 1894 and 1926, Elisabeth arranged the publication of the twenty volume Großoktavausgabe edition of Nietzsche's writings by C. G. Naumann. In it, following Köselitz' suggestion she included a selection from Nietzsche's posthumous fragments, which was gathered together and entitled The Will To Power. She claimed that this text was substantially the magnum opus, which Nietzsche had hoped to write and name "The Will to Power, An Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values". The first German edition, containing 483 sections, published in 1901, was edited by Köselitz, Ernst Horneffer, and August Horneffer, under Elisabeth's direction. This version was superseded in 1906 by an expanded second edition containing 1067 sections. This later compilation is what has come to be commonly known as The Will to Power.