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Top Reasons to Rewrite Your Self-Published Book

Updated on November 1, 2016
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Heidi Thorne is a self publishing expert, author of 21 (and counting!) business books and eBooks, and a former trade newspaper editor.

Promotional marketing expert Heidi Thorne shows her self-published book, Business Competitive Advantage, which she later rewrote to include revised and expanded information.
Promotional marketing expert Heidi Thorne shows her self-published book, Business Competitive Advantage, which she later rewrote to include revised and expanded information. | Source

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.

Bundling previously published books into a "greatest hits" or box set can command higher prices and give new life to old material.
Bundling previously published books into a "greatest hits" or box set can command higher prices and give new life to old material. | Source

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

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    • heidithorne profile image
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      Heidi Thorne 9 months ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Tracy! You bring up an interesting issue. Your tutor may be referring to your agreement with Author House which might prohibit this type of republication. I've heard of some self publishing platforms that require exclusivity, restrictive, not allowing this type of republication. Consult an intellectual property attorney to review your agreement with Author House to confirm your rights. It might be a few bucks, but it's better than going through the process, time and expense of republishing, only to find that it was prohibited by your contract with this group and would get you in a legal tangle. Good luck with your upcoming books and Happy Holidays!

    • profile image

      Tracy marsh 9 months ago

      Hi I self published my romantic novel with author house which was a total waste of money and a very expensive learning curve. My novel is a really good story but since doing a creative writing course I feel needs tweaking. Can I republish this book under a new title and change some of the story line? My tutor at our creative writing class said I wasn't allowed to do this. THANKYOU for your help from a very confused writer

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi again, Perspycacious! Indeed, the Createspace platform is very cost-effective and efficient. Glad you found the info helpful. Good luck with those upcoming books. Thanks for the kind comments and have a great day!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Just published my second book and I have several others already ready to print. Building on work an author has already done, simply makes good financial sense, and you explained that so well.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi MarleneB! I was in the same situation and I'm so glad I decided to rewrite my already self-published book. It's way better than the original and provided more value to my readers. Thanks for stopping by and best of success in the New Year!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I self-published a book and wished I had included additional information. I wasn't sure about re-writing it. But, now after reading this publication, I understand that it is actually advantageous to do so. Thank you for your valuable information.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Glenn! I'm definitely a Createspace fan. Their tools and support are some of the best in the biz IMO.

      I went through the "changing platforms" challenge, too. But with Createspace I found it to be quite painless. And it gives an opportunity to do a book relaunch promo!

      Like you, I had written a whole bunch of relevant material since I had done my first book on Createspace. Adding it added value for the republished version. You see musical artists doing this all the time with their boxed sets which add a few special tracks just for the relaunch.

      Good luck with your republished book! Let us know when it relaunches so we can celebrate with you!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I before finding your hub, I was contemplating republishing one of my books on Create Space. I originally had used Lulu. But after publishing a second book on Create Space, I found that platform provided much better customer support.

      I was hesitant to republish just for the sake of changing publishing platforms. But now you gave me a better reason to go ahead with it. And that is to relaunch it as a newly revised edition with added information.

      Over the years I had written a lot more material that can be added to my original book. Funny that I didn't think of using that. I needed to read your hub to realize what I had and what I can do with it.

      So, thanks to you Heidi, I know what to do now. Your hub is very useful for any author who is thinking of republishing a book and doesn't know how to go about it.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello CMHypno! Wish I could say that true passive income was a reality. :) But republishing and updating are small investments that can pay off long term. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 3 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Very useful information Heidi - I guess there really is no such thing as passive income. Makes a lot of sense to keep updating and improving, which has the added benefits of giving a reason for a new promotion

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello CMHypno! You're so right on rapid change. Grateful that we now have these wonderful tools to stay relevant and current. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Happy Holidays!

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 3 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Great ideas and I agree that one of the benefits of self publishing is that you can rewrite, reformat and add to books already written. Things do change rapidly these days and it is good to update things every so often.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello carter06! Thanks for stopping by and kind comments. Glad you found it helpful. Cheers!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Thanks, Denise, for reading & sharing! Glad you found it helpful. Keep us posted on your publishing adventures!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 3 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Great hub here Heidi full of useful info..have bookmarked for future reference & will tweet this as am sure many writers can use it!

      VUUA&I & shared..cheers

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a treasure trove of information. I intend on returning to it and considering the process of self publishing. Up/I/A/U and shared.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi Elizabeth/epbooks! I think all of us self-publishers should take an annual stock of our current titles and see if there are ways we can rewrite or repackage for additional sales. BTW, thanks for your article on book signings which I was able to link to in this hub. It fit right in! Have a great week!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This came at the perfect time because I was thinking of modifying one of my self-published books. I'm going to bookmark and read this again for when I decide to do it. Thanks so much! Sharing and voted up!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hi AliciaC! You're very welcome. Thank you for your kind comments and I'm glad you found it useful. Have a wonderful day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello Kathleen Cochran! So sorry to hear about your expensive self-publishing experience. I've been there, too! I did learn a lot about the process through it. But I'm so glad to have found Createspace & Kindle Direct! Thanks so much for reading and sharing your story with us. Keep us posted on your publishing adventures!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Hello again, rajan jolly! Thanks for the kind comments and recommendation on my self-publishing tips. Today all authors really need to think of themselves as publishers to take advantage of all these opportunities. Have a lovely day!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge and all the useful information, Heidi. This hub will be very helpful for self-publishers.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      If I had known about self-publishing on Kindle a month earlier I could have saved myself considerable amounts of money and had the freedom to tweak my works as the market for them changed - for free. AuthorHouse was a complete waste of money other than getting me started. CreateSpace is where I ended up and is by far the most user-friendly and least expensive - for me and my readers!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Useful information that needs to be read by all publishers in whatever media. Voted up, interesting and beautiful. Sharing this as well, Heidi.

      Have a great day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Great to hear from you, alancaster149! Glad to hear you're planning to republish on KDP. It is THE e-publishing platform of the future in my opinion. Viking Festival... that sounds like fun. And it's really savvy of you to marry your book releases with anniversaries and current events. The tie-ins are perfect. Yes, I think we have TONS of fun in the publishing, make that self-publishing, world. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      thanks to the original publisher - Authorhouse - overpricing my first book, 'RAVENFEAST', I've got to re-publish it anyway. I've also taken the opportunity to change the first two chapters, minimally. When it's become available in book format in the pre-Christmas or New Year period I'll re-publish it on KDP at a more realistic price as well. Hopefully I can take it to the Jorvik Viking Festival at York next February, and then when book four 'BETRAYED' comes out next summer I can promote all four to English Heritage at Battle Abbey next October in time for the 947th anniversary of King Harold's last battle.

      Don't we have fun in the publishing world?!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Mahalo, Joe/hawaiianodysseus! Glad you liked the ideas and thank you for kind words. Hope all is good with you. You have a great weekend, too!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Thanks, Chris Neal, for stopping by & your kind comments! Have a great day!

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Thanks, kat11! Hope you'll be able to apply the tips at some point in your publishing adventures. Of course, let us know when you book is done. Good luck with the new eBook!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      You're a terrific and prolific writer, Heidi, but your forte might very well be your marketing. Brilliant strategies here...and presented in such a reader-friendly fashion. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information. Aloha, and have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

      ~Joe

    • Chris Neal profile image

      Chris Neal 4 years ago from Fishers, IN

      Very helpful! Thank you very much!

    • kat11 profile image

      kat11 4 years ago from Illinois

      Yes I agree. Although I am in the midst of finalizing my first eBook as a self publisher through a company affiliated with a university. You have a lot of information for the writer that is not sure about writing a book or anything. Thanks voted up and shared.

    • heidithorne profile image
      Author

      Heidi Thorne 4 years ago from Chicago Area

      Howdy, billybuc! Thanks for the kind comments. There are so many marketing opportunities for writers. I hope some of our talented HP pals make the leap into self-publishing!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wonderful suggestions, Heidi! Your knowledge of marketing is top-notch and worth reading by any serious writer or business person.