I was pleased to be given the opportunity to review HOW TO REVISE AND RE-RELEASE YOUR BOOK. I have been tinkering around on Kindle Direct for a while, but also putting off re-releasing about a dozen books that had reverted to me after the publishers closed.
Any book on a ‘do it
yourself’ topic is going to have a certain scope that determines who it
will be useful to. In my case this book was a bit hit and miss on that
front. For example, the focus is very much on Amazon, which is fine
because I am currently Amazon-exclusive – but it is very much as open
debate as to whether that is the most profitable choice. In any case
most self-publishers are likely to want to start with Amazon. In the
majority of cases where the book made a recommendation it was one I
agreed with or was inclined to believe. However….
On the other
hand the author really only address one option in relation to a lot of
other choices that don’t match my situation. For example: always
formatting for paperback first. In my case e-books are a heck of a lot
easier to start with and sell better so I always start there. The days
of most authors coming off print publishing and just starting to enter
e-publisher are probably pretty much over. The publisher that reverted
my rights were both primarily e-publishers (Samhain and Loose Id).
Also: use a freelancer for all internal formatting and cover design.
Not a bad rule for a beginner but formatting e-books is not that hard,
especially if you use a cheap generic service like Liberwriter. So I
don’t really see why directions couldn’t be on how to embark on that
part of it yourself. After all, the author does not hesitate to endorse
specific fee-charging formatters and cover designers. Why not also
point to good pre-made and automated sites and let the reader decide if
they will risk cutting that corner. After all, whomever provided these
services for this book missed a number of cases of misplaced punctuation
marks and typos (example “TThis is next-level bonus content. “) and in
the pdf format created a book with two blank pages in the middle .
Hopefully I saw a pre-pub version and further proofreading occurred
Somewhat ironically given the topic some of the
topics seemed out of date. Considerable space is given to book bundling
which is a less effective method since it was over-exploited by
for-profit bundling companies. Use of bold and header font is mentioned
when Amazon no longer permits this in blurbs. There is a strong push to
contact Amazon top reviewers. I am an Amazon Top review—at least
enough to get a dozen emails requesting reviews every day. And I ignore
them all because Amazon’s rules, as of last year, would penalize me for
reviewing free samples and give any such review a low value
“non-verified” status. And publicly thinking people for spontaneous
Amazon reviews is something many reviewers now consider intrusive and
creepy—because the review is not for the author. The suggestion of
rewarding people for proof of reviews is particularly dangerous as it is
directly against Amazon policy—reviews that are incentivized before or
after posting is not allowed. And the value Goodreads giveaways (let
alone monthly) is very different now.
And overall the advice is
not put in a wider context of the commercial value of books of different
types and therefore an appropriate budget to spend on packaging them.
It is also with some unease that I read they author promoting their own
fee-charging services in some parts of the book. It feels overall like
the focus is on things a professional book promoter would be good at and
focus on, and neglects the things a profession writer might be better
equipped to tackle on their own.
Ultimately if you are planning
to outsource book production and rerelease on Amazon to maximum effect
this book is likely to be extremely useful for you. And it is very
important for self-publishers to open their minds on this topic. The
KDP forums are full of people who devoted decades to creating a book,
and then just threw it together and jammed it up on Amazon—and are now
sad and disillusioned because they have literally zero sales. Many
would never even think about re-categorizing, strategic pricing, or
effective promoting without advice such as this book provides. But if
your focus is (or possibly should be) more on evaluating your books
commercial potential and budgeting accordingly, producing your own book,
carefully balancing the value or time spent writing versus time spent
promoting, or going wide -- much of it will not apply.