The fall-out from changing publishers

picture of Changing the guard

Changing the guard

As I announced in a blog post a little while ago, I’ve had to republish all my books due to circumstances beyond my control. It has now been about 10 days since I started the process of removing the titles from the various sites and republishing them under the new D2D label, and I thought some of you might be interested in the fall-out from the process.

Administration

First off, if you had a contract with your previous publisher, you can’t just give them the bird and self-publish or go with another publisher. You’ll need a letter of rescission, returning to you the rights for the book. This is a legal requirement. In my case, the split was entirely amicable and I have that letter. You won’t be able to use any existing ISBNs, either. New  publisher = new version.

Sales Rankings

As far as Amazon and the other vendors are concerned, your newly-published book is a new listing. All my books had to start afresh at eleventy million, and work their way up from there.

Reviews

I thought I’d lose all the reviews – but in fact the vendors’ software has recognised the same title for the same author and ported the reviews over. The only non-starters were for my Iron Admiral titles. It has always been a problem with those books. The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy became Conspiracy on some sites. Then I confused the issue by putting The Iron Admiral Book one: Conspiracy on the cover. Anyway, while a human would immediately see the books are the same, the software program didn’t make the connection. I contacted Amazon and asked them to re-link the reviews by explaining that book ASINxxx is the same as book ASINyyy. You do that via your Amazon author page. It’s a little bit complicated to find the right place, so use Google to get instructions. The books (and the reviews) were linked within a day.

URLs

That has been the biggest pain in the posterior. Every URL for every book had to be updated, on every site. Authordb, Author’s Den, Bookbuzzr, my own website – oh gosh, I’d better do the ones on Facebook. What about Linkedin? I’ve probably forgotten a few. Needless to say, sites which reviewed the book and had URLs will now be wrong.

The outcome (so far)

I’ve been interested to see that, of all the books, Black Tiger is doing the best in sales. I was beginning to despair over this title. Not that it’s zooming along, but sales are better than they had been. On the flip side, Morgan’s Choice and Morgan’s Return, which had been my flagships, never slipping much below the 60k rank on Amazon US, are languishing. Fortunately, I have reviews (at a review site) in the pipeline for Morgan’s Return and Black Tiger. I’m hoping they will help increase exposure. I’ve temporarily reduced the price for Morgan’s Choice to $2.99 to try to gain some interest.

Advice

Quite a few small publishers are falling by the wayside, so the time may come when you’re in the same situation as me. The best advice I can give you is document what you do. Write it all down in a spreadsheet. Links to reviews on websites, interviews on websites, places where you’ve listed your books – anywhere you’ve sent a link. You might not be able to get all of them updated, but an email to the owner asking for an update will usually be seen in a positive light.

How you generate new sales I don’t know. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve found blog tours and paid advertising doesn’t do much. I can only hope it’s early days and sales will recover. Have any of you been through the process of changing publishers? If so, what was your experience? Do you have any suggestions?

15 thoughts on “The fall-out from changing publishers

  1. Anon

    Try being a small publisher whose author has gone behind your back to sign a new deal. The person has been behaving very badly anyway, this is just one in a long line of backstabbings from him, and I’m actually glad to see the back of him. Just getting advice now and working out how to break the news to him that he can’t just swan off with his book when I still own the print rights! I think his new publisher may have to formally acquire his title from me, or he will have to buy me out as I still have a sizeable stock of his books in print which I have paid a great deal of money to have printed. I started out as a self pubilshing author who has expanded into a publishing company and I want to tell you that it is not easy, and is filled with stresses when you end up working with people who are not very nice, or printers/wholesalers/bookshops develop attitudes. It’s great to be able to put books out there, but there are downsides you have to be prepared for as well, and there are times I almost regret it! Thankfully most of the people I have worked with have been brilliant, it’s just now and then you get a bad egg that you have to deal with. Being small it is difficult and scary when you don’t have the legal and financial resources to cope with a nasty piece of work that the bigger companies have, but I have friends… 😉

    1. Greta van der Rol

      I’m sure that’s no fun at all – but if you have a signed contract, you hold the legal whip hand. Actually, the person I published with was rather like you, but we had (and still have) an excellent relationship. I’ve heard some stories from her, though, about the other point of view.

  2. Susana Ellis

    Please do your readers a favor and indicate somewhere that these are NOT new releases. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a book by a favorite author and discovered I’ve read it before and didn’t remember.

  3. dalefurse

    I wish I did have suggestions but I don’t even know what I’m doing half the time. Although I think shifting the reviews would be a good idea. Good luck.

  4. Andrew McAllister

    That does sound exceedingly painful. A friend of mine went through a similar problem when his small publisher went out of business. He was able to get Amazon to shift the reviews over to the new listing – a simple email did it. This whole issue seems like just one more reason to consider self pubbing to begin with. Best of luck!!

  5. juliabarrett

    Your sales will recover. It takes time. I like the jumpstart KDP Select gives me– whether you stick with it after 90 days or not.

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