Thursday, August 20, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 68 -- 15 Rebranding Tips, Lessons Learned, etc. etc.

Okay, friends!

Well, the major efforts in my rebranding work are coming to a close and my brain is finally freeing up  from the business work to actually start getting creative again and finish up writing Book 4.

Before I dump this subject and get back to our regularly scheduled programming, I wanted to share my lessons learned, tips, etc., to help the next author who goes through the task of republishing a series with new titles and covers.

So, I'm just going to start at the bottom and work my way through. If you're thinking about doing this in the near future you will probably want to bookmark this page because it will also serve as a bit of a checklist for the initial work.  I did almost all of this within about 3 weeks...

So, here we go...

1. Lesson Learned -- Get it right the first time so you don't have to rebrand. If your cover idea feels totally self indulgent and something that no one will get except you or somebody who knows how your twisted brain works, you're probably right...your idea is not going to appeal to the masses. Let a designer with experience in YOUR GENRE help you brand your series. If you do not, you are asking for trouble and a whole lot of unnecessary rework down the road.

Also -- this is a great time to get a proofread if your readers have mentioned issues. A new set of eyes will really help point out some glaring issues. I know they helped me!

2. Hire the right graphic designer. Research, research, research, research. The best thing you can do is go to the bookstore and take your cover design to one of the booksellers and ask them would they stock your book and where. If they have a hard time figuring it out, back to the drawing board.

Ebooklaunch.com has super reasonable prices and a talented staff. I HIGHLY recommend Dane! He ROX!

3. Make sure you have enough ISBNs. Putting new covers and titles on your books means NEW ISBNs on your print books. You cannot use the same numbers.  Also, for free barcodes, use www.bookow.com.

4. On Amazon -- You can use the same ASIN. As a matter of fact, I've heard that if you try to upload a new book AND keep the same old book Amazon may very well snatch your book down and not allow you to sell either. The idea is to prevent any chance of the customer downloading the same book twice. So, don't create new titles. Overwrite the old ones.

5. Categories on Amazon -- so one thing I did this time around, thanks to advice I read on www.thecreativepenn.com was to add my book to as many applicable sales categories as possible. I researched other books in my genre, looked down at their categories, and then contacted Amazon customer service and asked them to add me to those. It's supposed to help with discoverability. We'll see. But if you've ever wondered how some author's books have like 10 categories listed in them, it's probably because they contact Amazon customer service separately.

6. Create all new files for createspace and Kindle -- Make sure you change your title pages, your headers and footers, and any marketing at the end of the books.  I forgot to swap out the covers in some of the marketing pages. It's not something you'll remember if you don't look at every single page.  And you will have to relink your new paperbacks to the kindle editions...all over again.

7. You also need to create a set of files with different specs if you're Lightning Source/ Ingram Spark. Here's a another tip if you don't have your own barcodes. If you have InDesign, you can get a FREE barcode with price, just by creating a cover template and having them mail it to you. It's print-ready and easy to copy in paste in other files. (Yes, I have InDesign. Yes, I generally suck at graphic design. Yes, I try anyway.) At IngramSpark, they won't accept the www.bookow.com barcode but createspace will.

8. Social Network Banners and Photos -- You have to create all new banners for all of your social networks, websites, blogs. And it's just not the front page of your blog, for instance, but if you (like me) used your book covers as a signature, then you have to change every place your old covers are posted -- that is if you don't want people constantly running into the old covers. I don't. But that task will be a little bit every day until it all gets done.

9. Goodreads, Librarything, etc. etc.  -- Don't forget about changing all of your books and covers on the reader sites. On goodreads, let me just forewarn you, ask for help right off the bat. I am a librarian on Goodreads and my files were jerked up for a couple of days. It's best to leave that to the professionals. But I don't have patience to wait for people--therefore I had to do it myself.

10. Your Book Trailer -- You didn't forget about that did you? Yes, you have to change the covers in your book trailers, too. Thank God, I only have ONE and I created it myself. So, I went into the file and just swapped out the cover pictures. For some of you out there, it will require going the person who created your trailer and asking for a revision. Might cost you. Might not.

11. The next on my list of things to do is ordering new a new books supply and new swag. I need bookmarks, postcards, and new retractable banners. I could probably use one for my romance novels and one for my spy thrillers. Definitely the one for spy thrillers for my upcoming speaking engagement.

12. Your Amazon Author Page. Yep. You will have to update that. Most of my books were missing from my Author page, I had to update the trailer link, as well as all the photos posted on the page.

13. You have to renew your books on all other sales sites and upload new files-- Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc.

14. You also have to take your old paperbacks down on Createspace and Lightning Source. On Createspace, you have to deselect the sales channels and they won't be delisted for a few days. I'm still waiting on one to come down and it's been almost a week. But there is no option to delete the file. On IngramSpark, you have to contact customer service. I'm still waiting to figure that one out.

15. If you're like me and you tweet links to your books, blogs, website, whatever, make sure they are all current links! Very important.

And I think that's about it. If you ever have questions, ask away. But if you get these items taken care of and scratched off the list, you will be well on your way to enjoying the fruits of your new brand.

Next week I'll get to talk about writing again! Aren't you excited? For tonight, I'm going to read my Writer's Digest which just arrived and learn something about craft so I can talk about it.


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