Wednesday, July 9, 2014

101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing -- 015: Your Book is Not Static

I recently changed the covers for several of my books. I had been unhappy with a few of them for a while, and lagging sales prompted me to finally do something about the lackluster appearance of those books.

So far, I have received many great comments about the new covers and I believe the updated look had led to a boost in sales.

While I was updating the covers, I also took the opportunity to upload new eBook files with updated "Also Available" sections with hyperlinks directly to each book's Amazon page. The "About the Author" section also received an update.

It is important to remember in this digital age that your book is not a static entity. Uploading a new eBook takes only a few minutes, and with print on demand technology, even print copies can be easily updated, and there's no reason you shouldn't make those updates when you need to. (Note: minor changes do not require a new edition with a different ISBN number, but if you do a major revision, you should produce a second edition.)

If you do decide to give your books a bit of a makeover, here is a list of several things to consider:

1. Make sure your list of available works is up to date. If you release a new book, it should be fairly easy to go back and add it to the lists in all your other books. Remember that these days most people are reading on tablets, so hyperlinking to a web page about the book or even the Amazon product page is a good way to encourage readers to go for the next one.

2. Check that your author bio is up to date. If you've released the fourth book of a series but the bio only mentions three, or if you've received an award or made it onto a bestseller list, you can mention these things in your updated bio.

3. Some authors like to include quotes from reviews or other authors at the front of their books. If you do this, be sure to add any really good quotes that have come in since you first published. Once your book has been out for a while, you'll have a lot more quotes to choose from.

4. Re-check for formatting errors. There's always a chance something slipped through the first time, so giving your book a page-by-page check is never a bad idea. Look for proper indentation, chapter/section breaks and, in the case of print copies, page numbers, margins and proper spacing.

5. Fix any spelling/grammatical errors. When I re-did the covers for The Sullivan Saga, I did a complete read-through of each book. If you have the time, this is not a bad idea--plus, if you're writing an ongoing series, doing this can remind you of characters or plot points that you can still build upon. Also look for repetition of words in the same paragraph, awkwardly written passages and anything that may cause confusion. Even small changes in this area can greatly improve the reading experience. If you don't want to do a complete read-through, there's still a possibility someone has sent along a few typos they noticed. Don't forget to find and fix them.

6. Make sure the organization and formatting of each book in a series is the same. For example, if chapter numbers are left justified in one book but centered in another, standardize them. In print editions, make sure you use the same fonts throughout.


If you're enjoying the series so far and would like a single page to bookmark, I'll be adding each of my 101 Thoughts on Self-Publishing here. Also be sure to subscribe by email (see the box in the sidebar) to be automatically notified about my new posts.

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