If your book sales are lagging and a once-popular book isn’t performing up to expectations, you might be tempted to discount the price and run promotions. But you could get better long-term results by taking a different approach: revise and relaunch the book.
There are many reasons to publish a revised edition of your nonfiction book, including extending its shelf life, updating its content, expanding the focus, or meeting reader’s needs. I wrote about a few of the reasons and challenges in this post: Should You Publish a Second Edition.
A revised edition is also a great way to breath new life into an existing book. (Technically, the next edition is a different publication than the first. But you know what I mean.)
If you’re willing to do the work, a revised edition of an existing book can be a powerful book promotion strategy. It can strengthen book sales, recharge your existing customer and fans, and help you reach new readers.
The revision may take more work than you initially think, but don’t approach it as a solitary activity. You’ll want to enlist the help of others at all phases of revising and relaunching your book.
Activate Your Platform As You Revise
If your book has been out for a while, you have probably connected with many people, including:
- People you interviewed or quoted in the earlier edition
In other words, you’ve got a list of people interested in the topic and the book. Enlist their help in the revision process.
Get ideas for content: Let your mailing list know about the new version and ask for their input. Ask them if there’s anything you should add to the book – you might get great ideas.
Refresh your case studies and examples: Ask people if they have relevant stories to share. My second edition included an unusual case study that came in from my email subscribers.
Find someone to write a forward. A big-name forward can propel your new edition.
Doing this kind of content-specific outreach not only makes the book better, it gets other people invested in your new release. That’s going to help when publication day arrives.
Enlist Help at Launch Time
When the new edition hits the shelves, activate all of your friends, fans, and those contributors and supporters.
- Give people Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of the new draft before it’s published, and let them know in advance which parts are new, so they can skip to the fresh content.
- Discount the ebook on launch so friends and fans can buy it for 99 cents, even if they own the earlier edition.
- Help the people who already like the book share the new edition with prepopulated tweets and images.
- If you have done guest posts or a podcast tour, let the blogger or podcasters know that you’re releasing a new edition and will be re-promoting their content during the release.
- Once the launch is over, thank everyone profusely. You’ve just strengthened those relationships.
As soon as the book is up, let Amazon know that this edition is linked to the earlier edition. Amazon should move the reviews.
With the help of this expanded street team, your latest edition might just be a “Hot New Release” in your Amazon category.
Try Something New with the Launch
Published a revised edition doesn’t seem as stressful as doing the first one. The book is already out there, so you know how it will land. The stakes don’t seem as high. So take advantage of this book launch to experiment and learn.
- Play around with pricing or promotions
- Do a press release or get local media coverage
- Go on a blog tour, or contribute guest posts
Try a launch strategy you didn’t have time for the first time around! Then you’ll be in a better position when you launch your next, new book.
If you want more insight on doing a revised edition, tune into the May 16 teleseminar, How to revise and publish a new edition of your book.
Anne Janzer is and NFAA member and author of the books Subscription Marketing (now in its second edition!), The Writer’s Process, and The Workplace Writer’s Process. Find her at annejanzer.com.