Tuesday, August 13, 2013

12 Ways to Resurrect a Dead Book

A dead book is a book that has been published for months or years and is not selling well anymore. In traditional publishing, the company would probably just take this book out of print. But in Indie Publishing, we have so much flexibility. It costs us nothing to keep the book going since print books are only made when they are ordered and ebooks don’t take up any space and are around forever. It is never too late for us to breathe new life into an old book, and reach new readers. I have had to resurrect dead books on several occasions so I’m going to give a list of the things I’ve done that have worked in the past. I’m also going to talk about one specific book that I resurrected and has since died again. So I’m going to explain what I plan on doing to bring it back to life again.You can also listen to this info on my radio segment here.
1.      Get a new editor or proofreader. Your book may not be selling because there are too many grammatical errors. It is amazing to me how many people put their work out there without having another pair of eyes go over it. I usually four or five pair of eyes on each of my books and I still find mistakes on the final run-through. It is nearly impossible to get a completely error free book, but you should try as hard as possible to do so.
2.      A new cover and/or title. You may love your cover, but it may not accurately represent what your book is about. Or it may not be enticing enough. Go to Amazon, do a search of the books in your genre, and see if your book cover is comparable to the top books. If not, hire a professional cover artist. My favorite Leslie DuBois book that I’ve written called La Cienega Just Smiled. I personally felt that it was the best book I had written, but it was just not selling. It would do maybe four or five copies a month and I couldn’t understand it. I loved the title, I loved the cover, I loved everything about this book. But I took my pride out of it and sat back and took a look at the other YA books that were similar to mine. I realized that the title and the cover was all wrong. So I changed the name and the cover and the book started selling. 

I also changed the cover to Priscilla the Great

3.      Blurbs.  Make sure your blurb is enticing. This may be the most important tool for selling your book. Your goal is to make it impossible for someone not to buy your book after they have read your blurb. This is a difficult task and you may need to get SEVERAL people to read SEVERAL versions of your blurb.
4.      Tags. Many people are unaware of the importance of tags on the Amazon page. Go to your book page on Amazon and make sure the tags associated with your book are appropriate. Add popular tags that will make your book show up on searches. Do a tag exchange with other authors. I did this for a while and it was really helpful, but it gets time consuming after a while.
5.      An extensive free run. Once you made sure the cosmetics of your book are in order, try an extensive free campaign. I did this for my book Ain’t No Sunshine. It would only sell a handful of copies a month. Then I set it free and it was downloaded over 40,000 times in two months. This worked to raise it in the rankings. Then when it went back to paid, it started selling hundreds and hundreds of copies a month. The only ways I know of to go free is to use Smashwords to distribute your book to Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Amazon for free. Or let Amazon price match it when your book is free somewhere else. The problem with this method is that it is difficult to control when you want to stop being free.
6.      Try Kindle Select. Another option for the free method is to use Kindle Select program. When you do this, you make your book exclusive to Amazon for a number of months and then they give you the option to control when you’re free.
7.      Try a free preview. My book Ain’t No Sunshine has died again since its great run over a year ago. So one thing I’m trying to do is put up a 15 chapter preview for free with links to the full book in the back. I uploaded the book on Kobo and set it to free and now I’m waiting for Amazon to price match it to free before I start promoting it. I tried to upload it to Smashwords, but they would not allow me to upload a preview book.
8.      Write a short story. Another option is to write a short story that is related to the book and offer it for free. I have done this several times with my Priscilla the Great books. Almost every time I release a Priscilla the Great short story I will let it be free for a while and then start charging 99cents. I also did this with Nothing Else Matters. I wrote a short prequel to that book and included it in anthology with other authors. Now I offer the short story for free. The cover of it is the same as the book just a different color. I plan on writing a short story to tie in to Ain’t No Sunshine to offer for free. I want to think of a way to tie it in to the new movie The Butler since Ain’t No Sunshine ties in nicely with African American History and segregation.
9.      Google ad. I finally got another one of those Google coupons so I’m going to try a google ad to promote Ain’t No Sunshine with tag words such as African American historical romance, segregation, The Butler, The Help, just popular search words people may be using in the next few weeks with the release of this movie.
10.  Facebook ad. When my preview is finally free on Amazon, I plan on creating a post on my Leslie DuBois facebook page about it and then promoting it to a specific audience. Do a Facebook ad for your Book Trailer. I like the trailer for Ain't No Sunshine, but I need to update it since it references a book cover I no longer use.

11.  Guest blog. This is tricky. You want to do a guest blog on a hot button topic on a popular blog in order to draw attention to your book. But you also don’t want to alienate any of your readers. One of my fans offered to have me write a guest blog on her blog about racism. This is going to be such a tough post for me to write without potentially alienating or offending any of my readers. But it has to be interesting enough for people to want to read it and then share it.
12.  Paid advertising. Just be careful where you give your advertising money to. The most effective sites are Ereader News Today, Pixel of Ink, Kindle Fire Department. There is also cheap ereads, kindle nation daily, Goodreads and many other places. I haven’t paid for advertising in a long time so I’m not sure which sites are effective anymore.