book relaunch at a bookstore

(Photo by Tuur Tisseghem from Pexels for Canva Pro)


I’ve decided to relaunch my novel Rock Gods & Messy Monsters. But instead of labeling it a book relaunch, I’m calling it the “hard launch.” It’ll be officially released in October in New York City (because everything’s harder in New York…haha).

Last September, Rock Gods had its Southwest soft-launch. I’ve spent the past eleven months gaining experience in the never-ending black hole of indie book marketing, and though I still have more to learn, I’ve come a long way.

I’m looking at this past year as the beta or soft-launch of the novel. 

I think every debut author, especially indie authors, should add a relaunch into their overall marketing plan. Your first year can be a soft or beta launch, especially if the book’s not selling in line with any positive feedback you’re getting from customer and editorial reviews.

There’s so much you’ll learn, and there’s so much you’ll need to learn, over the course of a year. I believe we only gain knowledge through experience – in other words, you need to get your book out to the public to know how to get your book out to the public. 

Watching YouTube videos and reading articles is not enough.

happy woman preparing for book relaunch

(Photo by Syda Productions for Canva Pro)

Updating Versus Republishing

There are two ways to re-introduce your book to the public, updating and republishing. They’re similar, but there’s a huge difference between them.

When you update your work, you keep your current ISBN and simply upload a corrected manuscript and cover to Amazon KDP, IngramSpark or wherever you choose to publish. Amazon only allows up to 10% of your book to change, so keep that in mind if you want to keep the same ISBN.

If you choose to republish or have a lot of changes to your work, you’ll need to get a new ISBN. That means your book will go online as a completely new publication. The upside is that you’ll get the new book bump Amazon gives new releases, but you’ll most likely lose the customer reviews you’ve received.

You also run the risk of having two versions of your book online. Trust me, you don’t want this. This happened to me (a story for another time…), and I had people emailing and telling me the book was out of print because they were looking at the wrong version. So, I lost sales.

Dave Chesson (Kindlepreneur) has a great article about updating versus republishing, so check it out for more details.

Who a Book Relaunch is Suited For

Relaunching is best when you:

1. Are getting great reviews but the book’s not selling much. If you’re getting great feedback on your book, but it’s not moving off the shelves (digital or otherwise), something’s wrong. A book marketing expert can help you understand what might be happening. (More on this below.)

2. Tend to throw spaghetti at the wall. If someone told me they used a certain service, or I read somewhere I should have a presence on a particular platform, I ran and signed up. I’d read this was the wrong thing to do before I published, but, of course, I didn’t listen.

Most of my marketing efforts haven’t been effective. But I’m the kind of person who learns through doing, so I needed to try what I could to learn what works, and what, for me, was a waste of time. Let’s not discuss the money spent!

3. Don’t understand your target audience. If you don’t know the type of person who’ll buy your book, you’re shouting into the wind. And no one will hear you. I thought my target audience was females affected by or interested in the MeToo movement. Then I thought maybe people who read satire. Now I’ve discovered my audience is most likely professional females who enjoy science fiction. And I was told I can find them on LinkedIn. Who would have thought?! 

4. Think you might have classified the book in the wrong genre. I tried the humor, contemporary fiction, satire, women’s contemporary, and absurdist fiction genres. Were any of these correct? No. Turns out my genre might be humorous science fiction. I’ll find out this fall after the hard launch….

book relaunch with books in a row

(Photo by Motizova from Getty Images Pro for Canva Pro)

When Your Book is Not Selling

Your book is on the market. You’ve gotten five, seven, maybe ten editorial reviews, and they’re all fantastic. You’ve gotten some good reader reviews from the few you’ve gotten. You’ve tried different marketing tactics but to no avail. What should you do?

Have your book evaluated. If you belong to the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) or ALLi (Alliance for Independent Authors), look for a book marketing expert you could meet with (in person or virtually). Pay for an hour of their time and get feedback on your novel and your marketing efforts.

Three crucial elements to a successful book are a:

  • Good story that’s professionally edited
  • Professionally-designed book cover that fits with your genre
  • Proper book description

There’s more to it than this (like knowing your target audience and genre), but, to start, make sure you have all three of these covered. I was informed that my manuscript was fine, but I needed to tweak my book description. 

I was also told that my book cover was a good image, but it wasn’t appropriate for a book. So, I’m currently having the cover redesigned. 

The Pros of a Book Relaunch

1. Re-energizing yourself. Let’s face it, writing is hard work, but marketing a book is even harder. It can get depressing and lonely, so a relaunch can reignite positive energy around your work – and yourself.

2. Starting over. Over the course of a year, you’ll learn a lot about your audience and market. Look at your relaunch as a new beginning or even a new book. 

3. Correcting mistakes. If you did something wrong, or didn’t do something you should have, now’s the time. You can correct that typo on page 230, put someone you forgot in your acknowledgements, fix your formatting, etc.

4. Building Buzz. A relaunch can help interest bloggers, podcasters, and other media to take a look at your book, potentially giving you more exposure. It’s also a reason to reach back out to any media, influencers, or professionals you originally contacted.

The Cons of a Book Relaunch

1. Money. You’ll spend money to relaunch and re-market your book. If you’re getting a new book cover, spend the money on a professional designer. And make sure you look at their portfolio and like their work. 

A friend of mine who’s getting ready to publish her first novel used 99designs and loved the designer she worked with. The Independent Book Publishers Association and Alliance for Independent Authors offer more options, though you might need to be a member (which I highly recommend).

2. Time. There’s a lot of work to do – think of all you did to get your book out initially – so you’ll need to invest your time and energy in creating a proper relaunch. The upside is that you know much more now, so your efforts won’t be wasted. But there is a commitment.

Stay tuned for more info – and if you’re in New York City on October 11th, please join me at my hard launch event! Details to come next month.

Diane Hatz is an author, organizer, and inner activist. Join her email list to get monthly newsletters that include blog articles from Diane Digs and much more. She’s also on Substack and Medium if you prefer those platforms.