Personally, as an Indie author, I’ve always been curious about the process of re-publishing a novel. I enjoy the creative freedom of self-publishing way too much to ever go for traditional publishing the first round, but what if a publishing company finds my finished work and wants to add it to their shelves? Well, that very thing happened to Kristen Brand, author of The White Knight & Black Valentine Series. She was able to re-sell her Steampunk novels, The Ghost Machine and Clockmaker, to Silver Empire publishing, and since she’s my sister, I took advantage and decided her to ask some questions that I’m sure we’re all wondering.
- Was your process overall positive or negative?
It’s still in the early days, but everything’s very positive so far! To give a little background, my first experience with this publisher was when I submitted my short story, The Strange Stairs at the Aldebourne Estate, to their Secret Stairs anthology.
The anthology is a collection of stories about the urban legend of mysterious staircases leading to nowhere found in the middle of the woods. I thought the idea was fascinating, and it inspired me to write a short story starring Ella Rosenfeld, the spirit medium protagonist of my steampunk novel, The Ghost Machine. The story was accepted, and Secret Stairs went on to be a smash success and bestseller in the horror genre.
Later, the publisher reached out to me about republishing some or all of my self-published novels. I wasn’t ready to part with all my novels, since I didn’t want all my eggs in one basket, so to speak, and I do like the independence of being a self-published author. But it seemed like a perfect fit for my two steampunk novels, since the publisher had already published a short story from that world and has a catalog of other steampunk books.
2. Did you make any revisions to the text before re-publishing?
Nope! There were no changes to the actual content of the book, only the packaging.
3. Talk about your new cover.
I think it does a great job getting across that this is a steampunk novel with an eerie atmosphere. The dark, decrepit hallway is perfectly creepy and straight out of Auttenberg Asylum from the story. Plus, I love the gear design behind the title.
While part of me wants the girl on the cover to exactly match every single minute detail of how I described the character and her wardrobe on the pages, the purpose of a book cover is to sell books, and this cover is doing just that—and doing it stylishly!
4. How involved were you in any changes made?
Since the changes were all on the book formatting and publishing side rather than editorial, I wasn’t involved much. Which frees me up to write more, so no complaints here.
5. How did the marketing and promotion differ from the first go-around?
It was much better planned, ha! Like a lot of authors, I kind of stumble around in the dark when it comes to marketing. I spent a lot of time contacting book bloggers after I first published The Ghost Machine, only to have a small fraction respond.
My publisher ran a successful Kickstarter to fund the book’s relaunch, getting publicity before it was even out. They grew my followers on Bookbub and put out advanced review copies on Booksrpout. I’ve definitely learned a lot from watching their process.
When I first published the book on my own, I didn’t really try to market it until after it was released. Now, I realize how important it is to plan ahead and put things in motion months in advance. I’m definitely going to put these lessons into practice for my future releases.