Should You Update or Republish and Book Launch Your Previously Published Novel?

Houston, we’ve got a problem: should I update or republish and book launch my novel?

Updating a Book Differs from Republishing

You might think a book update is the same as republishing, but they’re miles apart.

Update: When you change something minor in a book (e.g., correct spelling from “their” to “there”), most service providers make it a simple process of submitting the information and pressing the update button.

Republish: In contrast to an update, when you republish, you go through the steps as if you were publishing the book for the first time. It demands everything a first-time novel requires (e.g., approval process, a new ISBN number, and much more).

Let’s identify the issues to determine whether I should update or republish my book.

Issues Signaling the Need to Update or Republish

When you hear crickets instead of cash register rings, that’s likely a symptom of one or more root issues.

Problems that can cause poor sales:

  • Book Cover Quality
  • Book Cover Aims at Wrong Audience
  • Book Title Targets Wrong Audience
  • Book Description Quality
  • Missing or Incorrect Keywords
  • Missing or Incorrect Categories
  • Poor Reviews
  • Insufficient Reviews
  • Launch Failure

My book, Below, Above, and Beyond, did not take off as I hoped. Instead of complaining about the outcome, I went to work studying the writing techniques and practices of bestselling authors. My notes and insights birthed this blog and website.

Now it’s time to adopt, adapt, and apply what I learned to either update or republish my debut fiction.

The Key Decision: Update or Republish?

I researched my book’s sales and reviews and found these issues:

  • The professional cover looked okay on a large screen, but the postage-stamp-sized image on Amazon made it hard to see the details. I needed a cover that worked on a small scale.
  • The cover did not aim at the intended audience: middle-grades (ages 8 to 12). The new cover should showcase an image designed for middle-school kids.
  • The title did not include keywords targeting the intended audience. The book deserved a new title that solved the keyword issue and enticed the right readers.
  • The book description worked okay, but it lacked connection to the supporting keywords and categories. A better description could not only draw the intended readers but also help readers find the book by embedding those keywords used in searches in the text.
  • The keywords input to KDP did not include the most common search terms for this type of middle-grade book. Research could identify the right keywords.
  • The categories did not optimize the potential to compete with similar books. Research could determine better categories.
  • The reviews were favorable, but there were not enough on Amazon to worry about their loss if I chose to republishing instead of updating. Also, a formal book launch could replace those lost reviews.
  • I released initially three novellas as a serial with cliffhangers. (Note: Rookie mistake 101.) I later merged the three novellas into a box set. However, no strategic book launch took place.

Based on these issues, I concluded republishing as a single book with a new title, a new cover, different keywords, three target categories, and a formal book launch could solve the identified problems.

My Decision: Republish with a Book Launch

Because I’m changing several significant things, it makes sense for me to republish instead of merely updating the novel.

Those changes include:

  • A new title, cover, tactical story changes, and interior formatting (e.g., images for chapter headings and sections).
  • A formal book launch to garner reviews and the potential to leverage Amazon’s algorithm.
  • Separate setups for Amazon’s KDP and Draft2Digital’s wide distribution.

What this means is I’ll use KDP for the Amazon sales and Draft2Digital for all other retailers (e.g., Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and several more).

Stay Tuned for the New Cover

In my next post, I’ll share the new cover, but the formal “reveal” may take place as part of the book launch.

The cover image and title will aim at the target audience, including keywords and categories. The research of popular books guides the writer to make informed decisions. I’ll share discoveries uncovered while sorting through the top books in this genre.

If you are interested in applying these techniques to your new or previous books, consider the benefits of a book launch.


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What resources will you use to launch your book, and do you know other authors who could benefit from learning more about this process?

If you answered “yes” to part B of this question, please share this link with them:

Note: Ayn Rand wrote the screenplay for the movie Fountainhead based on her own bestselling novel. Although she never said these exact words, many attributed this quote to her: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” For more insights on this quote, check out the source:

4 responses to “Should You Update or Republish and Book Launch Your Previously Published Novel?”

  1. Vera Day Avatar

    I didn’t know republishing was so involved. Good to learn the difference between an update and a republish.

    1. Grant at Tame Your Book! Avatar
      Grant at Tame Your Book!

      I kick myself for waiting so long to undertake this project. Once I cracked open the previously published book, I remembered the fun of taking kids on a romp with monsters, tunnels, and time travel. Today’s technology makes it a snap to add graphic images that will grab the attention of middle-schoolers. Those same methods are excellent for headers and page breaks for both digital and print books, especially mysteries and thrillers.

  2. D. Wallace Peach Avatar

    I’ve done updates for most of my books, Grant, including covers and editing. I’m certain I need to do a round of keyword and category updates. I like your methodical approach, and it will be interesting to see your results. Best of luck with the work ahead and your relaunch.

    1. Grant at Tame Your Book! Avatar
      Grant at Tame Your Book!

      Fantastic on your work, Diana! I appreciate your support on my relaunch.