Saturday, August 1, 2015

Refresh an Old Title

Join the authors and friends of Not Your Usual Suspects for an occasional series of posts about their world of reading, writing and publishing.

Short and sweet, hopefully both informative and entertaining - join us at I-Spy to find out the how's and why's of what we do.

TODAY'S POST: I-Spy something beginning with ... Refreshing a "Stale" Title

This subject resonates with me, I must admit! I've posted here my own comments and opinions, but some of the the source material is gratefully credited to the Book Marketing Expert newsletter.


We'd all like higher sales figures - but for many authors, they're getting harder to find. Books are popular and in the public eye for a brief moment, then consigned to the backlist, as the readership looks for the new shiny.

But what about reviving some of those older books and starting to make sales on them again? Most of us who have been writing for a while are sitting on a lot of content and a lot of older books that are taking up virtual shelf space on Amazon. I know I regularly come across readers who've never heard of me (amazing, I know! LOL) or who don't know I have many more books in the market.

You have many options now to revive, renew and even re-release a book with minimal effort. Many of our books are with publishers, so at all times you'd need to check your contract before trying out a new scheme. But many publishers - especially the indie publishers who deal largely in e-books - are often open to suggestions that will benefit both you and them with higher sales.

Release it in eBook: Many authors with older titles haven’t done anything with them digitally and now is the time to do this. If you are someone who’s been published by a traditional house, see if they have the rights to your digital content. Many old contracts don’t have this provision so be sure and check. Maybe you have the option to take back those rights, or at least re-negotiate them with your publisher. And if you're in self-publishing, you'll have worked out the logistics of producing an ebook already. Find a new cover, consider a new edit, add some review quotes - and there you are.

Release it in Audio: This is an increasingly popular market. It's relatively expensive to do as an individual, but you may consider it an option - or one to discuss with your publisher. Many readers are re-finding joy in listening to books, even ones they've already read in print!

Bundle eBook:  A long book can be separated out and put up as separate novellas on Amazon. Make
sure you have a page in the back of each book that leads the reader to the next book in the series. This will also open up new options for promotion and reviews, too. Consider virtual "box sets" too, if you have a popular series, or your publisher can group similar titles together in a new version. Here's a picture of a box set my publisher recently launched, including my older suspense novel "72 Hours", grouped with other novels published in that same year.

Change the cover: I combined two earlier books into one in 2010 - "Branded" - with a brand new cover. Sales started moving up again. It’s not an Amazon algorithm thing per se, but it’s often the newly, refreshed content that helps to spike visibility of the book because it looks new to readers, especially if your book is genre fiction. Readers are always on Amazon looking for a new book to read so it’s a great way to grab their attention. "Branded" is being re-issued again in 2016, under a new imprint at my publisher, as it's more suitable there. It's been an opportunity to re-edit it, too. So now it's going for its third launch LOL.

Short is the new long: The joy of e-publishing is that you can publish works other than novels. Consider novellas with your popular characters; seasonal short stories; interview posts. Make sure all of the new product offers links back to the older books. Over a period of 4 years, I followed an old 2009 novel "True Colors" with 3 sexy short stories for the main romance pairing, and then a follow-up novel for the secondary characters. In all cases, sales of the original novel bounced back up.



In conclusion : There’s a lot you can do with a book that’s been out for a while. As long as the content is still relevant there’s almost nothing you can’t do to it to revive it and give it a second chance. Keep in mind that once you do revive it, you can start to pitch it or, in some cases, repitch it to reviewers. A new book is like a clean slate. Make the most of it!  

Do you have any ideas on how to revive a "stale" title? Let us know!

~~Clare London~~
www.clarelondon.com


Credit to: 
Book Marketing Expert newsletter/Author Marketing Experts

7 comments:

jean harrington said...

Food for thought here, Clare. Thank you so much for the insightful tips. May I contact you across the pond if I have any questions regarding old titles?

Marcelle Dubé said...

Excellent suggestions, Clare. Thank you!

Clare London said...

Jean, contact me any time if I can help :).

Rita said...

Wow! Great ideas. Thanks Clare.

Shirley Wells said...

Great stuff, Clare. It's so easy to sweat about the book we're currently trying to write and forget (along with the rest of the population, lol) those that we've actually written.

Clare London said...

That's such a good point Shirley. We're always chasing the Brand New that the backlist gets neglected. And I'm sure there's more life in it for the readership!

Anne Marie Becker said...

Great info - thanks, Clare!