6 Reasons to Relaunch Your Book

Today’s guest post is by Penny Sansevieri (@bookgal) and is excerpted from How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book: Simple and Smart Strategies to Sell More Books.

Will and Grace, The Gilmore Girls, X-Files, and the upcoming Murphy Brown: Reboots are popular, and we need or enjoy a reboot from time to time. Books are no different.

Book relaunches can take a variety of forms. If done right, they enhance your overall brand, as well as your book sales. Their first and foremost benefit is the new publication date. Having a new book opens up access to bloggers and media who might not have been available to you with an older book. Unless you’ve already been getting some interest in the book, books six months or older are harder to work with. You need to have a new book, or newer book, to capture more blogger and media attention.

Let’s look at some of the reasons you may want to republish your book, because having specific goals is key. Wanting to sell more books is understandable, but it can’t be the only driver—it’s too broad.

1. Revise and Re-release

Last year I met an author at a writers’ conference who published a science fiction book about five years ago. The book was long, 400 pages, and he said nothing really happened with it. He told me, “If I had known then what I know now, my book could have done so much better.” And I said, “Why not re-release it?”

If your book needs another round of edits, your reviewers will likely tell you if it does! Editing may also involve adding content, changing some of the content to suit industry changes, or even updating pop culture references.

2. You Have Your Rights Back

In another instance, an author told me she’d just gotten the rights back to several of her books. The publisher didn’t seem to think they had legs anymore, but she did. So I suggested that she republish them. She’ll need a new cover, and will probably redo the interior design (because the publisher may own both of these), but it can be inexpensive to do.

3. Your Book Needs a New Cover

It’s not always easy to get covers exactly right the first time. A cover redo, even without a content redo, is a great reason to re-launch a book.

The biggest problem is that covers often don’t match the genre, meaning that covers don’t have the “look” of the genre. This is very, very important. Step back and take a hard look at how your cover compares with successful books in your genre or category.

Covers with lots of photographs or the wrong photographs are ideal candidates for a redo. Too many photographs don’t give the buyer something to focus on. And the wrong photograph can be anything from an image too detailed for online viewing to a big picture of you as the author when you’re not a household name or sales leader in your category. Hand-drawn covers and paintings are another no-no. I once had an author who was a child therapist contact me wanting to use one of his patients’ paintings on the cover. The book was about dealing with difficult children. The problem with the painting was that it wasn’t clear what it was. He had a connection with it, but why would anyone else?

4. Relaunch a Brand

I worked with an author who published a fiction series six years ago. When she first published, she planned to do one only book. But readers kept asking for more. The branding of the book evolved, and by books four and five she had a real mishmash of cover designs and storylines. Now she’s redoing the books and re-launching the entire series with fresh covers and enhanced story lines.

Sometimes brands grow faster and in unexpected ways; if you hit the reboot button, you can create a look that better gets the attention of your target audience.

5. Poor or No Promotion the First Time

Not having time to promote your book when it was first published is another good reason to reissue. Sometimes life happens—a family member or close friend gets sick and you need to help out, or some other personal emergency comes up—and your wonderful new book just sits there, neglected, and gathering dust. This happens more often than you might think. In such instances, you’ll need to re-release it, and start fresh with a new publication date and even a new cover to help it stand out.

6. Take Advantage of Current Events

What if you released a book years ago, and suddenly the topic is becoming “new” again? A refresh of the book can make it more interesting to newly aware buyers. Plus it can open doors to media coverage, which you won’t get with a publication date that’s more than 12 months old.

How to Upload Everything Again to Amazon

The biggest decision you’ll have to make when it comes to re-releasing your book is whether to put up an entirely new book or link the new book to the old, thereby keeping the reviews intact.

While the second idea is largely the most preferred, it’s sometimes out of our hands what Amazon will decide to do. In conversations I’ve had with them, Amazon staffers indicated that if the book has extensive updates, they won’t link the books, because the updated one is essentially a new book.

One Amazon rep said if the tables of contents are identical, they won’t even worry about the content and will automatically connect the editions on Amazon. This part can be a bit tricky, though, because Amazon says they want to create the “best possible experience for the consumer,” thereby making sure they have the most current book at the forefront. But even if your updates are extensive, Amazon likely won’t remove the old version.

If your book title is different, regardless of the table of contents, Amazon will consider it a new book. If the book is over half updated, Amazon will consider it a new book. I recommend getting in touch with an Amazon Author Central representative to ask about your particular situation.

If you found this post helpful, check out How to Revise and Re-Release Your Book: Simple and Smart Strategies to Sell More Books.

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Posted in Guest Post, Marketing & Promotion.

Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit Author Marketing Experts (AME).

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Lynne Spreen

When you create an audiobook with ACX for Audible, though, the pre-publication review process includes making sure the A-book is worded same as the Ebook. So if you revise the latter, will it cause a problem with the former with Audible and Kindle, since WhisperSync wouldn’t match? I think if you’ve created an A-book, a revised relaunch isn’t possible. Do you know?

Lynne Spreen

It does. When you put it that way, I agree. Can’t imagine Audible going back and re-comparing.

Tonya Coffey

When you get all your rights back from a publisher and you decide to change the covers and the layout, do you need a different copyright? Do you need a different copyright if you just change the covers?

Jane Friedman

Hi Tonya – No need to refile for copyright if the original publisher did it for you, and you’re not changing the text (aside from corrections).

Joleene Naylor

Actually hand drawn or painted covers are very popular and necessary for Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and often urban fantasy/paranormal (if it isn’t a romance) – they key is that the artwork needs to be clean and well done. If you’re not an artist, you should hire someone who is to do it (and probably not your cousin/neighbor/friend unless you’re really lucky.)

Wendy Beckman

I am in the process of revising a book that was published with black and white interior photos. Since the book is about the National Parks, I am going to epublish with original and new color photos.

Sheila M Cronin

Excellent and informative article. Thank you. My novel needs a new cover. Can I still use same ISBN number when I republish book? I’m not changing interior, just exterior.

Jane Friedman

Yes, you can use the same ISBN if you’re just changing the cover.

Sheila M Cronin

Jane, thank you for your prompt and decisive answer. Much appreciated.

Marina Costa

Why paintings aren’t recommendable for covers? For my historical novels, they were considered as showing directly what the novel was about and introducing the readers into the athmosphere.

Stephanie Danielson

I am doing this right now with my older books, but it’s a slow, tedious process. Amazon keeps everything on file, so fyi! Great article and advice though 🙂

Hugh Roberts

I’ve just had my fist book of short stories reformatted and updated and was thinking of relaunching it. Do you think a ‘blog tour’ is a good idea for a relaunch? I never did one the first time round. The book is 18 months old, and I am planning on publishing my 2nd book of short stories by the end of this year.

Hugh Roberts

Thanks, Penny. That is really useful. The short stories are mainly LGBT, sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and murder mystery. I expect it’s a little like being invited to write guest posts and only accepting invitations from blogs that are high quality and which get lots of traffic? I get asked quite a lot to write guest posts (mainly about blogging), but have to turn down some requests because of time restrints and where I think my posts won’t be of any benifit.

Elyse Salpeter

Hi Jane, I just saw you at #indieauthorcon and I loved your advice. Great article above. I’m about to take down two of my fantasy books that just don’t sell. I think the covers of this series are poor and I think they need to be re-edited. Two questions. One book has 29 reviews. Do I even worry about this? I have sold maybe 2 books of this series the ENTIRE year of 2018 and I don’t even get reviews anymore. I think it’s time to rethink them completely and even change the titles. Thoughts?

Jane Friedman

I’m sure Penny will chime in here, but I encourage you to relaunch! If you heard Joanna Penn’s keynote at #indieauthorcon, then you know the power of changing titles – and while she was referring to nonfiction, I think it can make a difference for fiction as well. Do what you think needs to be done and don’t worry about retaining the reviews.


I just read your article and you seem to be completely missing the side of the consumer. I am an avid reader that follows a lot of authors. A few times now I have felt that I got taken to the cleaners when I buy a book that I perceive as new only to realize after purchase it is the same book I already purchased years ago. The only change is an updated cover. However, the same grammar mistakes in the book still exist and there is no new content. I don’t begrudge anyone from re-releasing a book but it… Read more »

Larissa Juliano

HI there! Thanks so much for the article….If I want to republish a book I did with a self publishing group (Archway, with Simon and Schuster) – Once i get the files back…is it up to me to find a new publisher to do this with? and it will cost me money to do this correct? I also heard that you DO need a new ISBN number if it’s with a different publisher?

Thanks so much….

Jane Friedman

Hi Larissa: Yes, it’s up to you find a new publisher or do it yourself (self-publish). If you find a traditional publisher, you pay nothing. If you self-publish, some distribution/retail services cost nothing to use (e.g., Amazon KDP). Yes, you will need a new ISBN number regardless.

Jerry Johnson

Thanks for this article. I enjoyed it and am considering republishing my first poetry chapbook. Reason #1 is my main focus. I want to remove sections that do not work and add my poems that were published by other journals (rights now returned to me).

Ivan Cordero

That was a very detailed article. Thanks for sharing. Issue I have is that if I pony back on my current edition keeping my comments intact then the published date will remain the same. So I end up with a second edition with a published date of 2 years ago. At least that is how I think it works in amazon KDP. Sometimes client are looking for the newest books… so my book will be updated but seem old. Maybe I’m missing something like just adding the new date on the copywriter page? And forget about the published date on… Read more »