Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How to Make Painful Edition Changes into Pure Publishing Gold


By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I have been very busy launching two new editions with Modern History Press lately. Some of my other projects have slipped, notably my #Sharingwithwriters newsletter. I hope to get back to it by this fall, but I ran across an old issue of that newsletter . . . the feature based on the Ann Landers columns I remember from my first job in journalism. Occasionally my editor would ask me to edit what was then called the “society” page (meaning it was pretty much a women’s-only section) and I found myself having to edit parts of Landers’ column to make it fit into the space allotted to her after the paid advertising had been slotted in. They took precedence! After all, they paid the bills.

But I learned to appreciate Landers’ “Question and Answer” format. It allows communication between reader and the printed word. It lends itself to personal kind of sharing and storytelling. And, yeah. It’s easy to cut to fit space requirements when needed. So I adopted “Q and A a la Ann Landers featuring question my subscribers sent to me. This is one of my favorites because it  involves two subjects that seem to interest authors most--Amazon sales and getting reviews. Even though it was published years ago when I was publishing a new edition!

It is still useful for anyone who might be considering a second or third edition. I updated it, because I now have third edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter—yes the same one mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph! Ta da!

A a La Ann Landers

QUESTION:

Do you lose your Amazon reviews when you publish a second edition of your book?

ANSWER:

As difficult as second edition challenges feel, you’ll find the advantages far outweigh the challenges that seem so grim. You mentioned reviews. Yes, in spite of what you may have heard, you can get Amazon to post reviews from the first edition to the next edition and the next through Author Connect (now called Author Central). Amazon will put a referral widget from the first edition to the second, or—I’ve learned—third or beyond. They tend to move this widget around, but it's always been near the top of the first edition buy page (though not as prominent as I'd like to see it!).
You can see what it looks like on the buy page of he Frugal Book Promoter (first published in 2004) at bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo. Scroll down just a bit to see it. But please don't buy this edition! The new edition is expanded, updated and, if I do say so, lots prettier! and thisxthird edition is updated in still more important ways, like new advice on copyright and some useful backmatter with new recommendations, etc.

After you have asked for your forwarding widget at AuthorCentral.Amazon.com either in person or by email you can then ask the amazing Amazon elves to forward your old reviews. However, Amazon transfers all the reviews; you can not pick and choose. So if something in the first edition has been criticized and you fixed it in the second edition, they won’t discard that earlier review.

Luckily, you can still do a couple things that fit Amazon’s requirements and your concern that your readers get new, updated, more complete information or whatever else you added to or changed in your next edition.

- First, you can unpublish your ebook edition or have your publisher unpublish it. Amazon won’t let you unpublish the paperback and hardcover edition because they may still be available on Amazon’s new and used feature and that is a valuable income stream for Amazon. Unpublishing the ebook, though, makes it impossible for your reader to mistakenly get the wrong edition for their reader.

- You can also use the comment feature that is found at the end of each review on your buy page to dispute the inaccurate (or now-inaccurate) claim made by the reviewer. You might include —a thank you to the reviewer for helping you correct that in their review of the earlier edition.

There are some other ways to help fix the problem listed in the newest of the #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically (bit.ly/GreatBkReviews). Since my first edition was published, Amazon has added many benefits on books’ buy pages that authors and publishers are very nearly in complete control of. They include the ability to add your own most prestigious reviews (several of them!) yourself as long as you have permission from the reviewer to use them. You can also add back cover copy, author bio, and even a message from the author. I kid you not. You access that through your AuthorConnect.Amazon.com page. If you don’t have a list there, you definitely should have one! In one of the sections of this feature, you or your reviewers may suggest that readers will benefit from your newest edition.

Just an extra here: If you just update your old edition rather than publish a new one, you may be losing more marketing opportunities than you ever dreamed of.  Of course, a second edition should have something new about the cover (like the words “second edition” or a whole new cover and at least 10% new content).

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, is the author of how to books for writers including the award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; now in its third edition. Don’t miss the multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal is now in its second edition.  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically helps you take full advantage of magical book reviews to keep your writing career move faster than you have imagined. Carolyn also offers free review services at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. Explore the opportunities for your book in the tabs at the top of the home page. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .






4 comments:

deborah lyn said...

Great article Carolyn!

Terry Whalin said...

Carolyn,

Fascinating article about something rarely discussed in publishing. I've only had one of my books do a second edition (Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams) and my reviews on Amazon moved from the old version to the new one easily--relief because I know it is hard to get those reviews.

I will be putting out a second edition of my Book Proposals That Sell probably later this year or early next year--and that book has over 130 Five Star reviews--so yes I want them to move to the new edition.

With Gratitude for your wisdom and insights.

Terry
Get a FREE copy of the 11th Publishing Myth

Karen Cioffi said...

Great tips on keeping reviews if you create a second edition of your book. It's so good to know that Amazon will transfer your reviews to the new edition. Thanks for sharing.

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Carolyn, Thank you for your terrific article. As always, the information you share is helpful.

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