Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What to Do With Reverted E-Books? by @KarynGerrard #SelfPublishing #Editing #Patience

Ah yes. The fork in the road thing.

I now have more reverted e-books than I have published. I know there are a lot of authors in this boat with me, especially those who had huge backlists with the now defunct Ellora's Cave and the about-to-close-for a second-time Samhain Publishing.

These two erotic romance/romance publishers were big back in the early days of digital publishing. The money poured in. Let's buy big honking rock star buses! Buy/rent fancy office space and hire full staff! Go to all the conventions and throw swag around! Well, the gravy train has come off the tracks. Many people (a lot of experts as well) believed e-books would take over and squash print into the dust.

Nope. Not even close. The digital bubble has burst and smaller e-pubs are struggling and/or folding their tents. A lot of authors have given up. Trying to make a living at this is not for the faint of heart.

So what to do with all these manuscripts sitting on your back burner? I firmly believe the best advice is "Don't rush to get the books back out there." Is there an exception? Sure. If it is still a big seller and you rely on the income, by all means, slap that puppy back up for sale. Or here is an option, shop it to other e-publishers. Do check their guidelines, many pubs do not take previously published manuscripts.

But if it isn't, then take the time and look over the manuscript. Chances are your writing style has changed. Perhaps you don't write as hot as these previous releases (I know I don't) Maybe the love scenes are cringe-worthy to you now because a publisher insisted you use crude, filthy terms. (Hello, EC) Maybe the particular genre doesn't appeal to you any longer as an author.

Turning a critical eye to previously published stuff is a must. I am looking at one I wrote 4 years ago and I am embarrassed and also wish I had a better edit. But, water under the bridge, I am glad it is back in my hands because damn, it needs a lot of work.

So, going to self-publish all this backlist stuff? Watch your costs. I'm sorry, but if I am going to re-release a ebook with minor revisions, I am not hiring an editor. The $$$ does not justify it. Cover art alone is anywhere from 95.00 to 150.00. And if you are selling the ebook for 99 cents, you would have to sell hundreds of copies just to recoup the cost of the cover art. But that is an individual choice. Just know the higher the cost, the more you have to sell to make a profit. But also be sure you put out a clean product. No glaring spelling or grammar errors.

Look at your backlist. What genres are selling right now? Put those books at the top of the list for revision. I know its scary to have very few books up for sale, but don't rush out a re-release just because your backlist is thin. And what to charge? JMO, but if this is a re-release (and you should state it is in the blurb) you shouldn't charge what the publisher did. Example, my one and only book with EC was 28,000 words and they charged 4.99! (had to pay for that bus) When I re-release it, I will be charging 1.99. If I hire an editor, I will charge 2.99, but no more than that. 4.99?? No wonder they went out of business.

Patience is the key. Set your priorities. Make a to-do list. And don't buy cover art until the product is finished and about ready to re-release. Trust me on this. Because plans can change.

Cheers! ~Karyn


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