I know I’m getting old when I see an advert on television for a popular confectionary treat that’s got a new added twist (Peanut butter flavoured Kit Kat Chunky, anyone?) and I think to myself, ”Why can’t they leave products alone? Why do they have to keep messing about with stuff?”
However, there are times when an update is needed, and I’ve been working on two over the Christmas period (one is still under wraps at the moment).
The one I can mention is my self-published The Complete Article Writer, which first appeared in January 2015 and has far exceeded my expectations when it comes to sales (thank you to everyone who bought a copy).
About six months ago, I was looking through it and realised some parts of the text were beginning to look a little dated, in particular my references to some of the digital magazine stores (there are better ones around now) and also Chapter 14’s exploration of rights. The magazine world has changed in the last few years and understanding which rights you’re offering editors is even more important these days.
So over Christmas I spent time going through the text, updating it where I felt this was necessary.
During these last four years Amazon has also undergone some changes, deciding to merge its Createspace print company with its KDP digital services. There was, therefore, a slight delay in the update process as I got up to speed with what I needed to learn to bring this about.
But, the revised text has now been completed, and the eBook and print versions are now available to buy. (If The Complete Article Writer is new to you, why not download the Introduction and first chapter in PDF format, for free, from here?)
So even in this writing world, there are times when it is necessary to tweak and update our products (although thankfully we don’t have be like confectioners and merge two existing products to create a new one. Hiking for a Community Project anyone? Or what about Best Walks for A Dog To Train Its Human? Hmmm. Actually, there could be something there!)
However, as creators of content, we shouldn’t simply rest on our laurels once we’ve published something. We should think about how best to exploit it. That could mean offering our products in more formats.
The brilliant Alex Gazzola has published two writers’ guides aimed at beginners: 50 Mistakes Beginner Writers Make and 50 More Mistakes Beginner Writers Make. They were first published in eBook format some time ago. But he has now, through KDP’s print service, issued them in print format too (Priced £4.99/$6.49 from Amazon).
And I don’t doubt he’ll sell numerous copies in that format. People still like print books (sales of which have been rising over the last couple of years). In fact, looking back over my sales of The Complete Article Writer since it was first published in 2015, 51% of my sales have been in eBook format and 49% in print.
So, we shouldn’t stand still when it comes to the business of writing. We should update, adapt, and exploit new markets and formats. Although, we’re probably best leaving the product merges to confectionary companies. (Twix Creme Egg anyone?)