Monday, March 31, 2014

Changing a Title and Cover After Publication

When browsing on Amazon or some other e-book retailer, the first three things that the buyer sees are the cover, the title, the author's name. You hate to change those things after publication, but when a book isn't selling and all the other books by the author are selling well, it only makes sense to try something new.

The Western novel HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS J. AUBREY WHITFORD wasn't selling like all of Frank Roderus's other westerns.  Both the title and the cover fit the book, but neither immediately says western, and this is a western. Frank's main readership are western fans. Frank, being the agreeable sort he is, agreed to let me change the title and cover of this reprint to see if that would improve sales.

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS J. AUBREY WHITFORD is now TEXAS DOUBLE-CROSS and in the one week since the change has sold more than it did the entire month before.

If something isn't working, never be afraid to try something different. The new title and cover both let the reader know right away this is a western. Always add in the description what the original title was so fans won't buy the book twice, and you can expect a few returns because the description wasn't read.

What are your feelings about changing titles and covers after a book has been published?


J. Aubrey Whitford is a natural-born con man, so when he finds himself stranded in the wilds of Texas his first instinct is to figure out a way to fleece the citizens of that rugged frontier. He doesn't know that his efforts will soon land him in a dangerous game involving outlaws, Indians, and the U.S. Cavalry, with his only way to survive—and maybe even profit—being a perilous masquerade as a visiting British nobleman.

TEXAS DOUBLE-CROSS was originally published as HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS, J. AUBREY WHITFORD. This novel is a rollicking comedy adventure with darker edges from one of the master storytellers of the Old West, award-winning author Frank Roderus. See why Roderus is one of today's best-selling Western writers in this classic novel now available again from the Western Fictioneers Library.

Amazon link
B&N Nook link


  1. You pose an interesting question. We don't always get it right, so reworking is a given in this writing and other professions. If a person buys a book because of the authors name, they may be offended when purchasing a second copy. (Sometimes the blurbs don't always make it). Still overall, I believe it is acceptable. (This from a readers perspective, for with new or newly acquired writers on their list I will buy from the cover.) Doris

  2. Yes, I can see that in this case, the 2nd cover would be more appealing to western readers. Smart thinking!

  3. Something to be said for the shorter, more compact title, too.

  4. I do worry about offending readers, so I don't make changes like this often. But when an author has one book that's not selling, it says something needs done. Thankfully booksellers make it fairly easy to return ebooks, as long as the reader doesn't do it too often. Make too many returns to Amazon, and you can get banned for life with no warning. Can you image being banned from Amazon forever? Yikes!

  5. Covers are vital to sales.Sometimes you just don't know if there's something amiss with a cover until it's already out there. I imagine this is a rare situation. If it happened too often, readers would start getting confused.
    Yikes! Getting banned for life from Amazon would probably kill your career.

  6. Covers are definitely vital to sales. I'm quicker to change a cover than I am a title, but sales more than doubled in the short time this book was changed. Amazon has a easy return system, but if you return too much, you get a letter explaining you are banned for life. With no warning you lose all gift cards, all books on kindle, etc. No notice. It stops abusers permanently, but wow. Yes, being banned from Amazon would kill a career. So abusers take notice, Amazon does not mess around.