Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s never too late to figure out how to market your book the right way. That’s a fact.

The key is taking a critical look at what went wrong the first time, and understanding what you need to do to fix it.

And fixing it often means taking the leap into revising and re-releasing your book to give it a honest second chance at success. I know a re-release often sounds complex, and like a lot of work, but it really doesn’t have to be!

And naturally, I’m here to help, and will go over the most common reasons you’d want to consider a re-release and the simple steps to start down that new, yet potentially very lucrative path to success.

The Original Book Promotion Fell Flat

There are a variety of reasons that your book promotion fell flat.

Maybe you picked the wrong markets, or perhaps you focused on strategies that really didn’t serve you. Or maybe the book came out and you just didn’t have the time to market it – sadly I hear this from authors a lot, life gets in the way and you missed your window.

If you believe in your book and don’t want to give up on all the effort you put into creating it, but essentially no one really knows it exists, then a re-release is the best way to revive your title.

The Book Could Be Better

Did your reviews come in less than stellar?

Did readers comment on typos or editing problems?

Are you simply a better author now?

It happens to a lot of us, especially with our earlier books! We grow and evolve and get better at our craft and we realize we have that backlist title that really doesn’t do us justice anymore.

If you resonate with this in any way, a re-release is a great way to get the best version of your book back out on the market.

Current Events and Industry Changes

Things change, and these days they seem to change pretty quickly.

I once spoke to an author who had a five year old book but as luck would have it, her topic started really trending in the news. And while she certainly could have pushed the older title, she thought she’d have a stronger promotion by re-releasing it with a few updates to tie into current events.

If there’s a wave of something going on that’s pretty big for your topic or industry, it could make a lot of sense to re-release your book to dial into that revived interest.

The other side of this is that things get outdated.

If you’re looking to establish yourself as a thought leader for your topic or industry you can’t rest on the one book you released a few years ago (or more). I’m faced with this with my Amazon book all the time, because not only does book marketing evolve, Amazon is constantly evolving, and if I’m going to stay ahead of the curve, I have to make updates.

Suck it up and tackle that new edition, yes it’s work, but it’s easier than creating a brand new book from scratch, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to re-release the same book but as a new product.

Your Brand Has Changed

As we grow, and as our businesses grow, we also evolve and change – typically for the better – and this applies to both fiction and non-fiction authors.

I find that it’s often much harder to get a cohesive book promotion message or campaign going if there is no consistent look to the author’s brand.

So if you look at your Author Central profile and you have books with different looks and vibes and branding, and they don’t even look like they come from the same author and don’t match your website and social media branding, you could likely benefit greatly from doing an across the board scrub and re-releasing your books with updated and appropriately branded covers.

Your Cover Needs Work

It happens, authors release bad book covers all the time. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but try not to take it as personally as it sounds.

We’re often too close to our own work to make cover decisions in a vacuum. So one, don’t create your own cover. And two, work with a professional cover designer who has a history of creating strong covers for your genre, and then enlist input from other trusted friends and colleagues and take all their feedback to heart when deciding on the final.

It’s much harder (and often impossible) to do any kind of book promotion with a cover that’s less than stellar.

So if your cover doesn’t look like it belongs with the other books on the bestseller list, chalk it up to a rookie mistake and get that cover re-done and re-release the book with a fresh promotional campaign.

You Just Got the Rights Back

If you published a book years ago with a major house, you may be in a situation where your rights have reverted back to you. In which case I’d highly encourage you to republish it using the indie publishing model.

Getting Started

If one of the above seems to fit you, where do you start?

Well first, consider how much you’re going to need to update.

Some, if not most of the book may require a redo or an editorial pass. If you’re just changing the cover, you can skip over this.

What Happens to Your Original Book

Will it stay there? Will it ever go away? And what happens with all of the reviews?

Some authors don’t care if the book stays up on Amazon. And other authors really want it taken down – or want their new book to be published “over” the other title. In other words, the old book goes away but the reviews stay intact.

Amazon’s guidelines vary, so I’d suggest giving them a call. However, a rep told me that if the book is updated in excess of 20%, it’ll be considered a new book and will have a new Amazon page.

But this isn’t a consistent rule, because the rep also said, if the table of contents hasn’t been altered, or the page count hasn’t changed much, you could, possibly have it published over the other, original book. Which means that you essentially retain all of your old reviews, from the previous book.

And in basic book promotion language, this means that you’ll have a pre-populated list of reviews and depending on how many you have this could be a very good thing. But there might be cases where you don’t want to keep these reviews.

The Advantage and Disadvantages of Keeping Reviews

In some cases losing all of your Amazon reviews could be a real negative way start off. But other times, it could be a great boon to your book promotion success.

Why? Because if you’re revising your book due to bad editing, or a poorly designed book promotion campaign, then the reviews that are tethered to your book probably weren’t great anyway.

If you have enough low-star reviews that it’s dragging down your title, starting fresh might be a great idea!

But if the reviews are plentiful, you want to keep them. Make sure that you’re 100% clear on what Amazon will and won’t do in terms of replacing your old book with your new one. As I stated previously, the guidelines are generally 20%. However, we all know that Amazon is subject to change and often without any notice. I will say that in most cases, when a TOC doesn’t change, Amazon won’t consider it a new title and will easily replace the older edition.

There Are Always Options

If you really want to cover up your old book with the new one and it doesn’t happen, there may be some other options for you.

It’s a good idea to make the editions very clear as part of their Amazon book description. So, something like: Newly published July 2020 edition, or something like that, and then of course something similar on the original, instructing people to check out the new release on your Author Central page. If you have access to both books you can update the subtitles as well, to further distinguish between the two.

Revising and re-releasing your book can be a great way to reboot your book promotion and your entire author career, and proves there’s no reason to let a single title drag down your brand or make you feel all the effort you put in wasn’t worth it.

If you want to get more details on how the whole revise and re-release process works, with step-by-step tips and recommendations, you can find my book here:

And when you’re ready to promote your re-released book the right way, we’d love to help!

Resources and Free Downloads

Book cover design tips for your next release

How to market a book – a new release cheat sheet

Download our free monthly book marketing planner

Author Marketing Experts

Subscribe Today

Sign up for a free subscription to Book Marketing Alerts, our once-monthly roundup of publishing and publicity guidance for authors. As a special welcome gift we'll also send you our Monthly Book Marketing Planner, the organizer every author needs to succeed!

You have successfully subscribed! Check your inbox for details.