Category Archives: self-publishing

Self-Publishing: My Book Isn’t Selling, Should I Rewrite It?

Self-Publishing: My Book Isn’t Selling, Should I Rewrite It?

Here’s a commonly asked question. An author’s been self-publishing for a year or three, and his earlier books have stopped selling. He’s too involved in his recent releases to promote the older books effectively. He’s not even sure that it would be worthwhile.

In addition at this stage, the author’s reread his early efforts, and winced. He’s a much better writer now.

What to do?

Self-publishing choices: relaunching your back catalogue

Older books do drop off your radar.

If they’re still selling, you wonder whether they’d sell more, if you gave them a little love. On the other hand, a book that’s stopped selling may do better if you took a fresh look at it, because you’re more experienced now.

Self-publishing involves constant decision making.

Your options if you decide to relaunch a book

You’ve got several options.

  • Relaunch with a new cover and blurb, without touching the contents;
  • Rewrite the book, and then relaunch with a new cover and blurb;
  • Treat the book as a completely new title. Rewrite the book completely. Give it a new title.
    Add a sentence under your copyright info. Some thing like: “Previously published as Freddy And The Big Green Creature From Mars, revised and rewritten, with extra chapters.”

You need to take a little care if you’re self-publishing an already-published book as a new title.

Self-publishing a previously published book as a completely new title

Vital: do you have the copyright?

If the title was published by someone else — a traditional publisher, or an online publisher — have the publisher send you a letter stating that you have all rights back in that title.

Assuming that you have all rights in the title, please don’t forget to add the disclosure statement when you publish your “new” book. While it’s unlikely that readers will remember the first version, one or two might.

Most importantly, check where the first version of the book is selling online. If you’re “wide” with the first version — that is, you’re selling on multiple retailers — it’s not a good idea to choose KDP Select for the new title. Amazon requires an exclusive. Withdraw the older version from the other retailers, just to be safe, before you launch the new retitled, and revised version.

Will your republished book sell?

Revamping older titles isn’t a guarantee of more sales. However, I’ve heard enough stories from authors who have tarted up older books and got them selling that it’s worth considering, if you have a back catalogue in your self-publishing venture.

Of course, keep writing new titles too. 🙂

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99
Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters. More info →
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Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular. More info →
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Self-Publishing Shock: “My Book Isn’t Selling…”

Self-Publishing Shock: “My Book Isn’t Selling…”

I hate receiving messages like: “My book isn’t selling, what do I do now?” Writing a book is hard, self-publishing is hard too. The fact that you’ve written a book wins you huge kudos — good for you. Now it’s time to buckle yourself in, and look on self-publishing as a business.

Here’s the good news. Just because your book isn’t selling right now, it doesn’t mean that it will never sell. In traditional publishing, if your book doesn’t sell, in three months it gets pulped. In self-publishing, your book is available forever.

The self-publishing competition is heating up: accept it (this is good news)

Well over 100,000 new ebooks hit the Kindle Store every month. I just checked, and in the past 30 days, 107,691 new titles have been added to the Kindle Store.

So, if you’re just hitting the Publish button, and are then sitting back waiting for sales, you need to be aware of the huge competition, and do a little more.

I talked about slumping book sales in this post, and advised:

You can start with doing more marketing, yes. However, that’s a slippery slope. You can spend too much on advertising, more than you’re likely to recoup in sales. My advice to “help! my sales are dropping” calls from self-publishers starts with advising them to go back to basics.

That post has never been more relevant. It’s no longer enough to publish, now you need to actively promote your books — and sometimes even that won’t help. Authors are reporting that their sales from Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) ads and Facebook ads are woeful.

What’s an author to do?

Two things:

  • Don’t panic — business operates in cycles;
  • Get busy: be ready for the cycle to move upward.

1. Understand business cycles: you’re self-publishing, so you’re a PUBLISHER

Here’s the thing. Amazon’s Kindle set off a gold rush. Check the freelance marketplaces. You’ll find many “writer wanted” projects there.

Buyers are willing to hire writers to write books. They’re investing a few hundred dollars in each book,and are then publishing the ebooks on Amazon. They wouldn’t be doing that if they weren’t making money.

Please stop thinking of yourself as an “author”. Ditch your ego. Stop panicking and start thinking like a publisher.

Here’s how publishers think: they expect to publish duds, because no one knows what will sell. No one. As a rule of thumb, out of every ten books published, most will sell few copies. One or two might make reasonable sales. Out of a few thousand books published, one will be bestseller.

Depressing, right?

Not so. Self-publishing is a HUGE opportunity.

2. Get busy: self-publishing CAN be a gold mine

Look at it this way. Many thousands of authors are making great money on Amazon, because they’re writing good books, and are doing their best to promote those books. A few authors are making thousands of dollars a day; most are making nowhere near that.

However, when I see buyers hunting for people to write their books on the outsourcing sites, I know that opportunities exist.

So get busy: produce more good books.

Recall that you’re a publisher, and publishers publish more than one book a year, or one book a quarter. They publish as many books as they can.

Please realize that I’m not suggesting that you dump a lot of junk on the online book retailers. That helps no one. You’re wasting your own time. Write the best books you can, and keep self-publishing.

One dud book is nothing, and as we’ve suggested, it may take off next month or next year.

In the meantime…

Onward… 🙂

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

$4.99
What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

I’ve written about using short stories for marketing before, but since “can I really sell short stories?” is a question which keeps coming up, here are three more tips which will help. They may inspire you to make the most of short fiction; few authors do, so there’s a real opportunity here.

Something to keep in mind too — short stories help you to take advantage of the holidays to sell fiction. Christmas stories always sell. Consider that you can write a short story in a few hours, so short fiction is an excellent way to boost your sales.

In addition to Christmas, other holidays, like Halloween (spooky stories) and St. Valentine’s Day (romances) offer wonderful opportunities for you to sell more books.

Short stores are short: focus on the emotion

The big reason I love short stories is that you’ll learn things which you can apply to all your fiction. Such as:

  • Emotion is everything: deliver an experience;
  • Stop explaining, it weakens the story;
  • Tighten up: choose one word rather than ten.

“One word rather than ten” is a challenge for me. I tend to wordiness.

Here are the tips.

1. Use short stories to preview your current novel in progress

“I want to write faster…” There’s a trend at the moment with authors complaining about how slowly they write. The other side of the coin is authors bragging that they finished their novel in a week.

If you’re a slow writer, that’s perfectly fine. You write the way you write a particular novel. You may write your next novel in ten days, it doesn’t matter.

Short stories give you a simple and easy way to boost the sales of all your fiction. If you’re in the slow writer camp, consider writing a couple of stories to prequel your novel. Not only will that prime readers to expect your novel, they can pre-order it if you’re offering pre-orders.

2. Use short stories to test a new genre

I’m a ghostwriter. Occasionally someone will offer me money to write something in a genre that’s completely new to me. Unless I have an instinctive reaction like — no way, not with a gun to my head — I ask the client to give me a chance to test whether I can write in that genre.

If I find that I don’t like reading in the genre, and can’t come up with a mile of ideas after reading a couple of books, my investigation stops.

On the other hand, if I enjoy the genre, I try writing a short story of around 10,000 words. I can do that in a couple of days, and I’ll know whether I want to accept the ghostwriting commission.

3. Write short stories for collaboration marketing with other authors

Bundles of short stories sell well in various fiction genres, as well as in sub-genres of major  categories like romance.

Recently on Facebook, groups for author marketing collaborations with bundles have seen an uptick in members. I haven’t researched, but I imagine that if these groups are popular, there are assuredly others on Facebook, as well as on venues like forums and LinkedIn.

When you join a group, you’ll hear about bundles which are calling for submissions, and you can send off a story for inclusion.

Although I haven’t joined any of these groups yet, I’ve got it on my task list. Come October, I start writing Christmas short stories, for my pen names, as well as for clients.

Several authors I respect have told me that joining other authors in a bundle of short stories has worked well for them. They’ve gained subscribers, traffic, and sales.

How many ways could you use short stories in your self-publishing venture?

I hope I’ve inspired you to think of short stories as useful, and if you haven’t tried writing a story or two — write one today. 🙂

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

$5.99
Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. More info →
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