Sunday, March 16, 2014

What happens to your reviews when you republish an older title? || A CAT'S TALE

Today, I'm continuing my exploration on the topic of republishing an older book as a self-published title. A couple weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and republish my first title, A CAT'S TALE, which had recently come out of a two-year contract with my publisher. 

Just to clarify, I love my publisher and my decision was based on a variety of factors that I've discussed in prior posts. I've also touched on process and obtaining a new cover. For reference, older posts can be found here:

March 3, 2014:  Republishing an Older Book as A Self-Published Title || A CAT'S TALE

March 9, 2014:  Republishing A CAT'S TALE: the Saga Continues

Initially, I didn't set out to turn this into a series of posts on the topic of republishing. However, I found myself with so many questions that I couldn't find ready answers to, or even received incorrect and contradictory feedback on. I figure that my experience may be of interest to my fellow authors.

I've only been a published author for just over two years now, so there's more I don't know than I do. My best piece of advice to anyone thinking about self-publishing is to find a writer's forum and network. I hang out with many of the lovely folks over on Accentuate Writers Forum where I've learned not only a tremendous amount about writing but also the ins and outs of publishing and self-publishing. I especially have to thank Michelle Devon. Without her encouragement and advice, I'd never have ventured out on my own in the first place.

So, today's topic is an important one:  What happens to your reviews when you republish an older title?  Obviously, it was a scary decision because I was afraid that I'd lose all of my existing reviews. I believed for a while there that all those older reviews were going to go poof.

 I'm going to discuss three major platforms and my experiences.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing:

First, I need to emphasize that I'm talking about a self-publishing a whole new edition of your book, including a new cover, new ISBN, and a new ASIN. In general, author name and the book's title must remain constant.  This is different from updating an existing edition of your book by uploading a new cover or content file when the ASIN doesn't change.

Immediately following the publication of A CAT'S TALE on the Kindle, both versions were showing. The publisher's 1st edition still hadn't come down and the 2nd edition showed but without any reviews. I emailed the KDP support team to ask about reviews and was advised that a merge would take place within five days. Lo and behold, it was true! Within 48 hours, Amazon had merged the two editions, adding my reviews to the new one. Everything appears to be intact, including the dates they were posted.

I really wish I'd taken a before screen capture, but here's the after:

All in all, I'm really impressed with the speed and efficiency of Amazon's software.

Barnes and Noble Nook Press:

I published the 2nd edition over a weekend when B&N doesn't have support hours so I didn't bother trying to make a query. Time passed and Amazon's reviews updated but the B&N version remained barren of reviews. Then, after about three days, the versions miraculously combined without me ever having emailed anyone. I'm guessing that B&N's software performs the same basic function as Amazon's, only slower.

Again, no before screen capture, but I do have an after shot:

Goodreads is a whole different matter than either Amazon or B&N because the tools for adding a new edition are put directly into the author's hands. From my dashboard, I went to the book's page and selected "Add a new edition" where I filled in the relevant information and uploaded the new cover. Under "Edit book" there is an option on the right for setting the new edition to be the primary edition, so the new cover displays instead of the old. Existing reviews are never affected.

If anyone has any questions about my republishing experience, I'd be happy to supply answers if I'm able. Just leave a comment!

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