At one time, or another, chances are an author has written a book, or two, of which they are not wholly satisfied. Likely, it is one earlier in their career. Whether it was independently published, or not, this book is languishing somewhere. In a locked drawer, or hovering in a dark and distant corner of cyber bookland.
Time passes, and we move on to other projects. Yet there is a nagging sensation in the back of our minds.
Reengaging with previous works, after weeks months, or even years, can be eye opening. In the elapsed time, as we continue to grow in our writing craft (as most writers will, continuously), we develop a new critical eye for details and nuances of our work. Our style matures and our writer’s voice strengthens. And looking at earlier work can cause us to realize it could be much improved.
Some may decide to leave it as it is, chalk it up as a learning experience and move on. Others may not be satisfied with having that book available to public scrutiny. It does not represent the writer they are now, and may decide to remove or unpublish it.
Another option a writer may choose is what I call the ‘Triple R’. Revise, Rebrand and, Reboot.
This method is effective if the writer is willing to take the time, spend some money, and put in the work to give their book a makeover.
What exactly is involved in carrying out the Triple R?
The process for the Triple R method is this:
1. Revise –
a. Locate your finalized file for your book in question and save a working copy under a new name.
b. Get to work with revisions! Begin by rereading what you have. Make notes as you go or change things as you go along. Keep working, changing, adding, deleting the revision until it begins to sing.
c. Perform several editing rounds. Once you believe you have brought your book or story up to your preferred standard, read it again, aloud is best. Listen for flow and tempo of the writing. You will likely find more things to correct, like awkward sentences, missing words, or loose, wordy or sparse writing. Correct and tighten things up.
d. Depending upon how you usually operate, you may want to send your revised manuscript out to beta readers for their helpful, unbiased feedback.
2. Rebrand –
a. Unless your book cover is an earth shattering ‘book mover’, you may want to update it. This can mean spending some money to hire a professional, or if you are skilled in software such as InDesign, you may be able to accomplish this effectively on your own.
You can find great ideas by looking for stock images that inspire and relate to your book. Also, check out covers from authors in the same or similar genre to get a feel for popular formats, themes, and color palettes.
b. In the process of rebranding, you may consider a change to the book title. Possibly selecting something more intriguing, genre appropriate, or appealing than the previous title. Think of the main storyline theme, important symbolism, or type of individuals that strongly represent your book. You can use these ideas to come up with your own list of potential titles, or use a book title generator online. Get some opinions from others when boiling down your top three selections.
Some authors will also change the pen name used for the book as another selling attribute. A different author name, seemingly relative to a particular genre, can be stimulating to the reader’s subconscious when making a book purchase. For example, a horror book previously marketed under author name Cindy Sweetwater, may perform better coming from a pen name like Sloan Blackstone.
Some may think this is a bit deceptive. I don’t agree. I know of several authors who have republished books under a different pen name and title, because it can make an effective difference in sales. And since your new book will list with a 2nd (or 3rd) edition notation, anyone who had read this book previosly should easily surmise what is happening with the book. Or you can simply be direct and notify your current fanbase of your changes and intent with the book.
c. A new ISBN will be necessary. This new version of your book is considered a new edition, and as such must be sold under a brand new ISBN. This number is what keeps track of published books, and will identify your revised edition as a new rendition with major changes (books revised only for formatting, grammar and spelling corrections do not need a new ISBN). If you have a digital version and print versions, they need separate ISBNs, as well as those sold through different retailers, i.e. Amazon and Smashwords.
My suggestion, when it comes to ISBNs is to buy in bulk if at all possible. It is much less expensive this way, since you can easily use at least three different number assignments for each book you publish. Ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audio versions of your book all require their own ISBN. And as I mentioned previously, if you sell through separate online retailers, they most likely will require their own ISBNs as well.
a. Now that your book has a new face and body, it is time to strut your stuff. Marketing, baby. And don’t be shy about it. You’ve practically got a brand new book at this point, considering all the work you’ve poured into it. Prance that pony around and be proud of it! You have accomplished something few have the desire to take on. But I believe it is worth it, in the long run. Not because of money. Dollar signs should rarely be the reason a writer is a writer. If it were, most if us would be living on the streets.
It is about being satisfied with your work. Satisfied and willing to hold it up and call it yours. More writers could benefit from taking on a Triple R, if for no other reason than getting the little nag out of their minds for good.
Sadly, I’ve also read some actual bad stuff out in cyber bookland. Writers barely able to string two coherent sentences, or thoughts, together. But some are clueless. They continue to pump out horrible books that make you feel like you would rather be chewing tinfoil.
I’m not trying to be rude or judgemental, it is simply a fact.
The best we can do as writers is to be honest with ourselves. As regular human beings, with any sort of sensibilities, we can admit when our work is not up to, at least, our own standard, We should not let ego be our compass and refuse to improve.
Conducting a Triple R maneuver is not for everyone, or every book we are not happy with. Sometimes it is just not worth the trouble. But if you have specific ideas for the beloved flop (*teasing here* ;), and the gumption to execute, then a revision, rebrand and reboot may be the right choice for you!
I’m excited to say my book, ‘Villainous Minds’ (Psychological Thrillers) has completed its ‘triple R’ phase: revision, rebrand, reboot’. My new edition of ‘Villainous Minds’ is quite a bit different than the original. For one, it is sans poetry pieces. This revision is strictly psychological horror short stories.
The mind is a monster we cannot escape…
Five gripping psychological thrillers will drag you into the dark side of the human mind and drop you in the deep end. Twisted stories will have you enthralled and flying through the pages as unexpected protagonists lead the way into disturbing scenarios.
A villain hides within each of us. Sleeping. Held at bay by rational thought, values and morals. But when the mind reaches its limit, the tables can turn, roles reverse between victim, villain, or possible hero.
When strength of will and even sanity are put to the most dire of tests, only one question persists. Who is the victim, the villain, or ultimate survivor by the end of their story?
Boneyard of the Fallen: Marriage is tough. Add the excitement of an inheritance, greed, and a plan (or two) and it can be murder. Will and Debbie are in for the camping trip of their lives.
Dukha’s Gifts: Warriors, whether man, woman or demon, enter the battle knowing they may not survive. Each side fights with the belief they are right, as is the case for a slayer and a demon. Both willing to give all to eliminate the other, in this battle of wits.
The Deep Dark: A woman resurrected from death strives to overcome her new visual handicap, paranoia for a killer, and keeping the person she once was suppressed. But sometimes, the parts of ourselves that we despise, are the things that help us survive.
The Cat’s Meow: C.B. made a new life for himself and he is ready to share good news with his ma. He is about to discover how difficult change can be for some people.
Rise of the Dragon: Mary and Scott enjoy a therapeutic weekend retreat. When the lines between doctor, patient, abuser and victim blur, things get hot and heavy, and more than a little messy.
Check out ‘Villainous Minds’, available now, on Amazon.