Top Reasons to Rewrite Your Self-Published Book
Self-publishing a book is a LOT of work! But it's really just the beginning of the lifecycle of an information product—and profits!—for writers. Rewriting a previously published book can open up additional sales and promotion opportunities. Here are some of the top reasons to rewrite your self-published book.
While the following discussion applies primarily to nonfiction markets, some of the strategies could apply to fiction as well.
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The World Has Changed
One of the benefits of writing a self-published book is that you can create a "product" that can earn money long after it's written. However, the world keeps changing. This can completely change the information presented, particularly for books in business and technology. To avoid the inevitable sales slump, a rewrite of a book featuring updated information makes sense and can make the title relevant again.
Example: Say you've written a book on how to use word processing software such as Microsoft Word. With every new generation of Word, an updated edition focusing on changes from previous generations would be welcomed by readers.
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Increase the Value, Increase the Price
When you published your book, you may have charged a minimal price to help encourage sales. Now you realize that your book is worth a whole lot more. You can up the price which is usually pretty easy on self-publishing platforms such as Amazon's Createspace or Kindle Direct Publishing. But a more public relations oriented move would be to add a bit more and/or updated information and relaunch as a newly revised edition. People want to have the latest and greatest... and are willing to pay for it.
Even if your book is still relevant and won't require changing, you can use the increasing value strategy relaunch to build sales. Instead of rewriting, repackage!
For business, educational, self-help or technical titles, consider adding a workbook, supplement or links to multimedia (MP3, podcast, etc.) that help increase understanding or make the book more useful. Sometimes this can turn a book into a training "program" which can command much higher prices than any individual book.
For fiction, think about adding a promotional product related to the subject of the story or poetry. This can be a fulfillment challenge since book distributors may not have the capability to package multiple products together for shipment. However, this could be a special package offered at book signings or other live events. A special book-plus-gift edition could also be sold as a holiday gift package. Also be aware of the added liabilities of offering a physical product; contact a commercial liability insurance provider for costs and details. This is especially the case if it is for children's works. Click here to see why promotional products are not toys.
Prior to adding additional material or products to an existing work, make sure to analyze the cost and profit margin. If the cost outweighs potential revenues, it's better to stick with a simple rewrite.
Reach New Markets
One of the most successful book series ever was the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of motivational and inspirational books. These compilations of stories and inspirational messages have been tailored for a vast number of markets such as teens, new moms, cancer survivors... even dog lovers.
If the material in your book is somewhat general, but could apply to many, consider revising or adding information and publishing separate editions targeting these special markets. The title would also be rebranded with a new, but similar title. The Chicken Soup series masterfully did this using the same title formula for each new edition. Example: Chicken Soup for the _____ Soul, with the blank filled in with the market the book intended to reach.
Sell Your Greatest Hits
Have you ever noticed that when music artists haven't done a new album in a while, they do a "greatest hits" or box set of their previous tunes? These re-released packages often include a couple new tunes not available on any other album, making it a must-have for even those that may already have all the original albums. As a self-published author of either fiction or nonfiction, you can do this, too.
If you have several self-published books, some of them may be more popular than others. Or maybe you have several shorter works that could be artfully strung together to create one larger work. Either way, you can repackage previous books in your own greatest hits or box set collection. Adding a bit of new material will make it attractive, especially to your most ardent fans. These collections can also command a higher price and help "recycle" old material for additional revenues and profits.
Self-Publishing Rewritten Book Promotion Strategies
Once republished, let the promotion begin... again! Treat it as you would a brand new book, using these low cost promotion strategies:
- Write a Press Release about the Relaunch. A revised edition can get as much attention as a brand new book, especially if it's been a while since the last update. Write a press release about the updated book and distribute to key press and influencers, as well as share on social media. And don't forget to post the news on your website or blog! Click here to learn where to send a press release so it gets read.
- Email Announcements to Previous Buyers. If you've sold your book direct, you should have a list of buyers of the previous editions available. Email them an announcement about the relaunch. Getting a list like this from large booksellers and distributors such as Amazon is usually impossible. However, Amazon's remarketing technology is so advanced that there is a good chance your book will appear in "Selected For You" lists for previous buyers.
- Email Announcements to Business Customers. For nonfiction titles, don't overlook the possibility of selling the relaunched book to your regular non-book customers. It'll help bolster your expert status by showing how you're sharing the latest information. Email them announcements or include information in regular email newsletters.
Disclaimer: Any examples used are for illustrative purposes only and do not suggest affiliation or endorsement. The author/publisher has used best efforts in preparation of this article. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and all parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice, strategies and recommendations presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional adviser where and when appropriate. The author/publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. So by reading and using this information, you accept this risk.
© 2013 Heidi Thorne