Should you re-publish and relaunch your book?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

Pandora's box
Pandora's box art

by Jessa Barnes

"If only I did this and that, I bet I'd be earning more off of my book."

Authors often say these words—maybe not verbatim—but you get the point. And they would like to have a second chance on their book. A chance to skyrocket sales, reinvent or enhance brand, and turn a good book into a great one that gets the attention it deserves.

The good thing is, with the availability of print-on-demand services, re-publishing books is more convenient than ever. Online media can also help in spreading the word about your relaunch.

Should you?

If your current situation falls in any of the items below, then maybe you should!

1. If it begs for a new cover. So you published your books, but it was just there in the corner, unnoticed, just a part of the background. Or it was just so out of place people would think it was misplaced. Book covers should have the "look and feel" of the genre. And if you are unsure about how it should appear, then check out the covers of other pieces that excel in that same category. Some authors also redesign covers to have a uniform vibe with the other books in the series, add noteworthy reviews to gain more traction, or simply to improve its overall aesthetic.

2. If your title sucks at being a title. Your title and cover are the book's first attempt to grab a reader's attention. Often overlooked, titles play a part in book buying decisions. After all, it gives readers a hint on what the book is all about. If it doesn't make sense, almost or exactly the same with other books, contains inappropriate words for the intended audience, or just too bland, then it's a high time to change it. The more creative, clever, and relevant the title is, the faster it is for readers to get the vibe of the book. Tweak the words right this time that your readers will have a hard time skipping it over.

3. If the interior text needs major overhaul. Sometimes, you will realize the areas of improvement after you have published the book. There may be too many plot holes that need fixing, cutting off scenes that slow down the reader without a single contribution to the plot, correcting inconsistencies in the characters' behaviors, repairing insufficient or excessive descriptions, and copy editing the manuscript. Also, if the book is about a dynamic subject, such as accounting and law, chances are, it will be deemed obsolete if it won't be updated. Minor edits, especially in a self-published book, can easily be applied by the publisher. However, if it involves major changes, it might be considered a new edition which will need a new ISBN. For accounting, law, or any other books with similar subjects, it would be better to release a new edition so it will be clear for readers that it is indeed up-to-date. By republishing, you can also take advantage of the fresh feel newly published books have.

4. If want to capitalize on the current topics. If you have published about a subject a while back that just suddenly became popular, it would be a great opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in the field and let the readers know about it through relaunch. Your market is alive and ready (again) and is practically begging for your book.

5. If you retrieved your rights back. Your book had previously been published by a traditional publisher. Yay! But after the time limit in the contract, if there's any, you will then have the option of self-publishing it. In this case, the cover must be changed, as well as the interior design if stipulated in the contract.

6. If the first book's promotion was nonexistent or a flop. Sometimes, authors don't have the time and energy to promote their first book, or the promotional efforts during the release were not effective. Republishing your book, with the right promotional initiatives and other aggressive marketing tactics, could definitely be a game changer. It might reach new audiences and can get more attention and excitement, especially if you have built this excitement months before the release.

Maybe relaunching your book is the key to cutting through the noise, or maybe not. Either way, it has been considered one of the oldest book marketing tricks. And when you do, make sure to do it right.