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. 🙂

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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.