An Indie Author’s Guide to Repackaging a Book

One of the brilliant things about being an indie author is that you can repackage your book whenever you need to. Covers, trim sizes, fonts, whatever you want to change, you can change it.

Traditional publishers do this for you, or without you, picking and choosing the cover (sometimes consulting you on the matter).

But for an indie, repackaging a book means a lot of work.

So, how do you know if you need to do it?

Without a team of experts in a big time publishing company to make the decision to repackage a book, it can be hard to tell. So today, we’re covering a few circumstances wherein you might benefit from repackaging your book, starting with the most dire circumstances.

Unprofessional

If your book cover does not look professional, something reviewers and bloggers will likely point out, you NEED to repackage your book.

Your cover is the most important piece of marketing material you have. It’s everywhere that your book is. It’s in all your promotional material.

If it looks like it was whipped up in a matter of minutes by someone with no clue as to what they’re doing, it will turn readers away.

Your cover doesn’t match your genre

It’s important to stand out from other books. But your cover should lend itself to your genre.

If your book is a cozy mystery but the cover looks more like a fantasy romance, first of all, how? Second, you’ll be drawing in the wrong types of readers.

People who would be interested in your book likely won’t give it a second glance, whereas the people drawn in by the fantasy cover will turn away after reading the blurb.

It has nothing to do with the story

Your cover needs to reflect the type of story the book contains. And this goes beyond genre. This gets into subgenres and tropes.

Magical orbs fit fantasy, but they should not appear on the cover of a low fantasy book (fantasy minus magic).

A sci-fi novel without a single romance subplot shouldn’t have a couple on the cover about to kiss or a topless dude posing for the camera. Those things draw in romance readers looking for at least a subplot of love.

Which might lead to disappointment once they start reading and find none in the book.

Now, on to the less dire circumstances that might require a book to be repackaged.

Branding

Whether you’re going for a consistent art style, color palette, or font choices, branding is important. It lets readers know that a book is yours before they ever see your name on it.

If they recognize your style on the cover and they know they can trust you, trust your work, that’s an easier sale.

If you’re redoing your brand (or just realizing that branding can apply to book covers), this is a good reason to pick out a new cover.

It isn’t make or break. It won’t destroy your career if your book covers don’t all match in some way. But having them look cohesive can help.

This is especially important in series. Outside of a series, it could just be a tendency toward a specific color palette and the use of a certain font for your author name.

New Edition

If you’ve added a significant amount of content to your book, enough to constitute a new edition, then a new cover could help readers differentiate between the two.

Book birthday celebration

If your book has reached its first birthday, maybe celebrate with a shiny new cover?

I’ve done this for most of mine, updating the covers as a celebration and to keep up with current genre tendencies.

Special edition/Limited edition

If you want to generate a bit of buzz and have a backup cover that you didn’t use, there’s always the option of running that cover for a little while as a special edition/limited edition.

Just keep in mind that if a seller has already ordered a few copies, they’ll ship those out first before ordering any copies with the new cover. A workaround for this is to set up a different book altogether, with a separate ISBN, to sell the limited edition cover copies.

Now, there are other times to change covers. This is not a comprehensive list, by any means. But keep in mind that you should do so strategically. Changing the cover every other week could drive your readers bonkers.

But doing so every now and then provides you with an opportunity to bring your book back out into the public eye. It’s an event, just like the original cover reveal.


Check out my series on making book covers the right way. Part One, Two, and Three.


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