Kate Frost explains how she came to the decision to rebrand an already published book, the process she went through and the results. This article highlights the freedom that Indie authors have in terms of being in charge of their own destiny and the learning processes required to make a success of it.
REBRANDING – WHY, WHEN AND HOW?
There are many reasons why I love being an Indie author. The freedom to create without restriction and connecting directly with readers being the main ones. Recently however, the ability to rethink, change and re-develop an existing book and series has made me realise how lucky we are as self-publishers that we have the flexibility to change our mind…
The Baobab Beach Retreat was published in 2017 as a second book in a series, although I always intended it to be read as a standalone novel too, because it’s very different to the book that preceded it. But that’s where the problem lies – it is different. Whereas Beneath the Apple Blossom is contemporary women’s fiction with emotional themes of infertility, miscarriage and loss woven into the story, The Baobab Beach Retreat is most definitely a romance, with an exotic Tanzania and Zanzibar location far removed from the Bristol, Bath and Cheltenham-set first book.
Any promotion I attempted fell flat because readers just weren’t tempted by a second book that didn’t visually appeal or let them immediately know the genre. And yet, the few people who did take a chance on The Baobab Beach Retreat loved it. But that was no good if I couldn’t entice readers to give it a go in the first place.
A review by TripFiction cemented what I already knew, in particular this paragraph:
“I enjoyed this book for all kinds of reasons and it is just as good as other romance novels I have read that grace the booksellers’ tables. For me, however, the cover is really unprepossessing – it is sand-coloured and therefore reflects the kind of setting but the genre just doesn’t come across. The yellow ochre colour is on the dull side and just didn’t entice me to pick up the book, yet the content is definitely worth reading.”
That was my light bulb moment and I had a complete rethink, finally deciding on not only a brand new cover, but totally rebranding it as a first book in a completely new standalone foreign-set romantic escape series. Although the process has been relatively straightforward and I’m certain that I’ve made the right decision creatively and financially, there was a lot to think about, along with the pros and cons of rebranding.
- It cost me money as I had to pay my cover designer again to redo the cover.
- It took a surprising amount of time to update the back matter, replace old covers with the new one, update my website and book pages amongst many other things.
- Because I’d published a paperback under a series name I had to completely un-publish it and then republish it with a new ISBN and series title.
- The old cover will forever remain associated with the book on places like Goodreads, and although it’s unavailable for sale, the paperback linked to the old ISBN can still be found online.
- The cover now reflects the genre beautifully.
- It’s easier to market and to promote to romance readers.
- I’m now able to create a whole new series of standalone books themed around the idea of romantic escapes – readers love series and like more of the same. Although each book will feature new characters and destinations, the underlying theme of romance and escaping real life will remain.
Back to the idea of freedom as an Indie author, if something’s not working you can change it and it doesn’t matter if it’s months or even years after you first published. The more books I write, the more I’m learning about what works (and what doesn’t!) and I’m adapting things as I go.
Last month I did the first promotion since the revamp and I got nearly 6,000 free downloads, subsequent sales, page reads, a couple of reviews and new signups to my newsletter, so yes, it’s been worth rebranding and it’s definitely made a difference already. But I’m back to having just one book in a series. The hard work begins now, building the new series and brand by writing and publishing the next few books that will take readers on a romantic escape.
Kate will have copies of The Baobab Beach Retreat when she joins us at the Oakwood Literature Festival on 18th May. Look out for it, and her. Over to you – what do you think of Kate’s rebrand?