I’ve heard from a number of authors recently how they wanted to wait until their new books came out to run features. As always, I offered to them the opportunity to run a Sneak Peek (book excerpt) for their book since it was more than 90 days old and therefore didn’t qualify for an announcement feature. Their response “Nah, that book’s time is over.”
No. I don’t buy that. Sorry. So, the book didn’t take off the way you’d hoped. That doesn’t mean you should give up on it. There’s no reason that you shouldn’t take advantage of book excerpts or guest posts or any other opportunity which comes your way to feature that book.
I have to say, much to my surprise (and chagrin), my first novel, Lust for Danger, is still my best seller – and it came out in 2001. It chugs along at a few copies per month, but saw a resurgence of interest when we ran a Book Brief feature on it here on Indies Unlimited. Not only did people purchase the book, it got a 5-star review – the first since 2002 I think! I’m eternally grateful for that review because it made me feel like the book doesn’t suck as badly as I thought it did. Thank goodness.
There’s absolutely no reason not to feature an older book. Not sure how to do it? Check out the IU submissions page. Check out other book bloggers and try to get some new reviews. Jim Devitt’s post here shows you how. Make a book trailer video. Even if you already have one, that’s okay – there’s nothing wrong with having more than one. Movies have more than one commercial “trailer” – why shouldn’t books? A fresh or different perspective may attract different readers. Do a book give-away on Goodreads. There’s no rule against it just because you think your book is old.
Speaking of Goodreads, a great way to get interest from folks who haven’t heard of you or your book before is by adding it to some lists in their Listopia feature. I didn’t even know such a thing existed – thank goodness Melissa Pearl brought it to my attention (tutorial here.) While I was checking out her article (yes, I really do test-run every tutorial!), I added Bad Book to a few lists, including “Funny as Hell” – next thing I knew it was #15 on that list and over 150 people had marked it “to be read.” How’s that for resuscitation? (Oh, and if you click through to check it out, please vote for it. Thanks.)
Are you on Pinterest? Have you made a board for your book? What about on Socl? Have you put your book up on Shelfari or LibraryThing? What about on LinkedIn? We have tutorials for these as well, of course.
I don’t know how long it took you to write your book. I started the sequel to Lust for Danger in 1991. You better believe when that book comes out, I will be launching a long-term slowly-but-surely campaign for it. Trust me, I know how easy it is to get discouraged when books don’t sell the way you’d like. Honestly, with sixteen published titles, I figured I’d be getting jig-inducing royalty checks by now. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to sell myself short. I figure if it took me twenty-two years to write the darn book, I can at least do it justice and take advantage of every opportunity that arises to get it out there. And if that means four minutes, days, months or even years after the release, then darn straight I’m going to. Books don’t have an expiration date. Thank goodness, right?
34 thoughts on “That Book’s Time Is Over”
Excellent advice, Kat. One of the great advantages of e-books is that they can’t get “returned” the way print copies do from the store if they don’t sell enough in the first few weeks. Authors should definitely not give up on a title after only a few months.
Thanks, Chris. I love when people resell Lust for Danger used – it’s cheaper than buying it new from my original publisher and I grab them up and use them to send out as review copies. LOL.
Thank you for that. It took me 30 years to finish my first one, and only 3 months past launch to decide I had missed the tide and was stranded with the crabs. (Here in Panama they are red and purple!) I didn’t know what I was doing, even though I called it marketing and made a 3 page list of things I had to do. Thanks to the generous way info is shared on IU and all the lovely tutorials, I have a firmer grasp on my greasy little piglet. OK, so back into the fray. Thanks again.
You’re very welcome, JK. I know, it’s tough sometimes. But if we plug away a little at a time, we’ll get there.
Great advice. I’m amazed when self publishers behave like trad publishers. Our books are in ebook and hopefully PoD format which means there are lots of reasons to keep promoting them. I’m frequently disappointed when authors have not taken advantage of Shelfari and ways it can be used in the books themselves.
Thanks, Tasha! 🙂
You know, Kat, you gave me my first break on My Two Mothers, and I’ll always remember that. Well, my publisher went belly up, and now I’ve decided to rewrite the book, change the title and make it a full book instead of threaded stories. I’m glad you’ve written this comment on FB. I needed a bit of push with 100 pages to go to revise. Thank you for posting.
Well, Patricia, everything seems to happen for a reason. Good luck getting your book the way you want it, and we look forward to hearing back from you when it’s ready! Good to see you here. 🙂
“Books don’t have an expiration date.”
Exactly. This is another great thing about being an indie (or ebooks, period), that a book doesn’t have to sink or swim in the first couple months. I’ve read a ton (I need a new word for a bunch, a lot, many, etc) of books that had died after their run through a traditional publisher that have had more sales (and presumably readers) where the author got the rights back and re-released it as an indie. Just because traditional publishers operate on the produce model doesn’t mean that an indie has to. That’s only self-defeating.
Thanks, Al. I thought so, too. I hate seeing an author get discouraged. Even the stuff that “seems” to happen overnight doesn’t really. Just gotta keep plugging away.
Great post, Kat. Thanks to this digital age, our books can be online forever! Promoting your old stuff is sometimes the way to go. My big promotion for Golden Blood came a year after its release and it took off. It was a lovely surprise 🙂
Great, Melissa! And thanks for sharing all your knowledge about Goodreads Listopia. I never would have thought of that on my own!
Well said, Kat. No More Mulberries had been out for a few years before I discovered Indies Unlimited and you did a Book Brief. I’ll keep plugging on.
Absolutely. Keep plugging! You never know who you might run across. 🙂
Absolutely agree, slap on a new cover, use the others you have written (especially series) to reverse engineer the marketing and its all new to someone. Thanks Kat.
You’re welcome! Thank you for stopping by.
Great post Kat. I think we all need a pep talk once in a while and I thank my lucky stars you and Indies Unlimited are around to give it to us. I’ve got to resurrect my older books.
Any time, Marvin. The more the merrier – resuscitate them and get them out there.
Awesome post, Kat! Bad Spirits has been out since 2010 in various forms and I still get readers emailing me to tell me how much they enjoyed it. I can only hope it will still elicit 5* reviews like Lust for Danger in 12 years’ time!
Cool. I’m sure you’ll still be hearing from all your fans in that time, and think of how many more books you’ll have out! 🙂
We are the pluggers…. (There’s a hit song in there, I’m sure of it. 😉 ) Great post, Kat.
“We are the pluggers, my friend, and we’ll keep on plugging til the end…” Wasn’t that a Queen song? 😉
Great reminder that we ought to keep plugging the old as well as the new.
Thanks, as always, for your suggestions.
Great info- thanks. I had good results with a Goodreads givaway, got a couple of great reviews and a lot of people added my book to their to-read list.
Excellent! Glad to hear it. 🙂
Yes, and thanks for the memento. I’ve settled in with a five-year plan. True, I published with one year’s worth of patience… ‘How’s your book going?’ ‘Ask me in a year.’ That was my staunch answer, and my attitude from the 1st. It’s hurt a little to shift into the five-year plan… ‘Er, guys, ask me in five years’. But I have undiminished faith. Mine’s a slow type of book, not a fast type of book. By the time I get the last of my trilogy out – an estimated five years – people might have noticed the 1st. And I have a smile on my face, but I like to hear this sort of encouragement now and then. Ebooks are forever.
And…with P.O.D., print books are forever, too. Thank goodness we’re not married to a run of 1000 books or something like that. This certainly is a marathon, isn’t it, Bryn? Thanks for commenting.
Great tips and advice of course. A few things on there I had not known so worth the read. Do you know the more I read about the Do’s and Do Not’s on Indie Publishing the more confused and sometimes, to be honest, downhearted. It seems a mountain to climb at times. When one sets off on the journey of writing a novel or book it doesn’t enter one’s head the immense self-marketing task ahead.
Does anyone else feel that the Indie route is a trudge? Or do you enjoy it?
It’s all the same no matter who’s published you, Percy – while some of my books are self-published, the majority of them are through a small publisher, and I’ve been on panels with authors who were published through the Big 6 who pain about how hard they work at marketing. Unfortunately, until we get noticed, that’s the grind. Just do as much or as little as you want. That’s the beauty of being an Indie. You can hustle at your own pace — and there’s a great network of kindred spirits to support you. 🙂
Great article. I’ve done it both sides of the fence. Was published with Harlequin/Silhouette years ago, and then I got a new editor there and she didn’t want any more of my books. Their category life was 30 days on the shelf and on to the next month and author.
Now, doing this indie gig since 1/12 and absolutely loving it. It’s the same getting your name out there, from my experience, marketing yourself, writing the best you can. Oh, and that backlog of manuscripts HS didn’t want? They’re doing pretty well, all 9 of them. And I just got my rights back from them on my 2001 book. Most of my 9 books were written in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I redid them all and began putting them out 5/12.
I learned how to format both print and ebook for the various markets and I get to decide the great covers. Blogs like this one are an invaluable asset to the indie author and basically I get all my info from blogs and postings like this.
The indie market is great about that, sharing so we can all learn. If it gets overwhelming, do it in small increments. It will all come together in the end. And ebooks can be forever. No 30 day shelf life.
Perfectly said, Grace! Thanks so much for being here and for sharing your experience. 🙂
This is a wonderful post. Thanks so much for all the information.
You’re very welcome. I hope it’s helpful.
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