Several years ago I met a guy at a writer’s conference who had a 400-page science fiction book that he had published five years ago. He said “When it comes to book promotion, I wish I knew then what I know now. I think this book could have done considerably better than it did initially.” I suggested to him at the time that he maybe consider re-releasing it. Update the cover, maybe modify some of the content. And, I also suggested that he take this 400-page book and divide it into four segments. Because genre fiction readers love a series, I suggested that if his book fits this model, that he should consider dividing the book into four 100-page segments. He could in turn release them as a series on Amazon and then bundle the entire four-book saga. A book series is a great book promotional tool, and also a great visibility booster on Amazon.
This is just one example of a re-release and how it could work. You may not have a fiction book or a long, 400-page saga that you’re eager to breathe new life into. Your reason might be very different. Let’s look at some reasons that authors decide to reissue a book, and why it makes sense to your ongoing book promotion efforts.
Your Original Book Promotion Fell Flat
There are a variety of reasons that your book marketing fell flat. Maybe you picked the wrong type of book promotion, or the wrong markets. Or maybe the book came out and you just didn’t have the time to market it. But if you believe in your book and you want to give it a second chance, then maybe a re-issue is the way to go to revive your title.
Your Book Could Have Been Better
Did your reviews come in less than stellar? Did readers comment on typos, or maybe you pushed the entire book to the wrong market? I heard an author tell me this story. A book that wasn’t intended for the Christian market was pushed there during the publisher’s book promotion efforts, and wound up upsetting a lot of readers who voiced their concerns on Amazon.
Whatever the reason, if your book could stand an improvement, maybe a re-release is the way to go.
Current Events, News Items, Seasonal Trends
Things change, and these days they seem to change pretty quickly. I once spoke to an author who had a book that published five years ago. As luck would have it, her book topic started trending in the news. And while she certainly could have pushed the older title, she thought it could be fun (and better for her book promotion) to simply re-issue it to tie into current events. (Read this article about media hooks to learn how to tap current events!) If there’s a wave of something going on that’s pretty big, it could make sense to re-release your book to dial into that revived market.
The other side of this is that things get outdated. If this is the case, maybe your book could use a refresher. Especially if your content is subject to a lot of changes. It could be a good time to refresh it and relaunch it!
Your Brand Has Changed
As we grow, and as our businesses grow, we also evolve and change. Maybe we updated our logo, our colors, our look, whatever that is maybe it’s time for a refresh of your books, too.
If your book cover no longer matches the look and feel or message of your business, it could be a good time to get them all aligned so everything looks more consistent and uniform. I find that it’s often harder to get a cohesive book promotion message or campaign going, if there is no consistent look to the author’s brand. So consider doing this if you feel you fall into this category
Your Cover is/was Bad
Sometimes we launch a book and think: Well, that cover could have been stronger. Or maybe your book is older and the cover could stand an update. Whatever the reason, a new cover is a great chance to refresh your book, and relaunch it, too. It’s much harder (and often impossible) to do any kind of book promotion with a cover that’s less than stellar. (Read this article to learn if your book cover needs a makeover.)
You Just Got the Rights Back to Your Book
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 this using the indie publishing model.
Revising Your Book, Getting Started!
If one of the above seems to fit you, maybe you’re ready to revise and re-release your book, but 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. But many of us want to consider what happens to the first book, the original that’s up on Amazon, too. And this is a consideration as you’re making updates to your book.
What Happens to Your Original Book on Amazon?
If you’ve figured out what if any portion of your book needs an update, you may be wondering what happens with your original book on Amazon. Because if you’re going to relaunch your book promotion, when you relaunch your book, it’s good to know what to expect. 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.
The answer to that is: it depends. 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. And let’s explore that next.
The Advantage and Disadvantages of Keeping All of Your Amazon 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.
Once Your Revised Book is Re-released You May Have Other 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. First off, there’s a chance that Amazon may remove your old book (and fold the reviews into your new one) even after the book is live. If not, it’s a good idea to add a mention that this is a new book to your Amazon book description. So, something like: Newly published July 2018 edition, or something like that.
Revising and re-releasing your book can be a great way to kickstart and reboot your book promotion and your entire author career. I just published a book on this topic, so if you want to get more details on how to do this, you can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C6V6NRF. And, if you would like to kickstart your new or re-released book, we’d love to help! Click here to start.
How has it worked for your to revised a book? What are your book promotion plans after you re-release your book? Share your experiences in the comments!