The Secret Self-Publishing Button – How To Unpublish Your Book

Secret Self-Publishing Button

Your self-published book flopped. It’s time to hit the secret self-publishing button and unpublish your book.

If you are self-publishing, this is going to happen sometimes. Only a small percentage of books climb the sales ladder.

However, leaving your book to languish along with a million other forgotten books will do nothing for your reputation as an author or your income.

Instead of ignoring your book and simply putting your flop down to experience, why not do something positive.

Start again

Unlike traditional publishing, self-publishing has the wonderful advantage of being able to withdraw a book from sale and start all over again.

All the work and experience you gained from writing your book should not go to waste.

Let’s look at what you can do to resurrect your book and give it a new fighting chance at success.

Firstly, go to your self-publishing platform and unpublish your book in both ebook and paperback versions.

All self-publishing services have this button, so use it.

Don’t worry about lost sales because if it was a flop, it’s not selling anyway.


Now start work on making your book a far better book

Get to work on a re-write of your manuscript.

Write a completely new opening chapter, as clearly your original version didn’t grab readers’ attention fast enough.

Trim down anything that may have filled the first few pages of your book, such as a long table of contents or thank you credits that reduced the preview read of your book in online bookstores.

There is nothing worse than clicking on Amazon’s ‘Look Inside’ feature, only to see credits and contents.

Make sure potential readers get a good chunk of the story to read in the preview.

Rename some or all of your characters. Maybe the names just didn’t grab readers.

Come up with a few new plot twists and add more conflict.

Did your original manuscript do too much telling and not enough showing?

Take a good look at the dialogue. Was it stiff and unrealistic?

Edit, edit and edit and then proofread, proofread and proofread again. Then do it all over again.

Find some beta readers if you can and get as many opinions as you find.

Give your book a new title. This is an absolute must.

Get a brilliant new cover, which is another must.

Write a better book description, and this time, think about grabbing readers’ attention.


Find better categories and keywords

Think carefully about the categories (genres) and keywords that your new version will be listed under.

Be more specific, as listing a book under very broad and general categories is a sure-fire way of making sure your book is lost along with thousands of others.

So don’t list a book under a general genre such as romance.

Instead, dig deeper and look for a sub-category for your book.

For example, romance-historical romance-regency.

By doing this, you give your book a chance of gaining a good sales rank against far less competition.

Then, when you think you are ready, republish your brand new book, and keep your fingers crossed for better luck this time.

And if not, why not try again in a year?

Fail Better!

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent writing and blogging, as well as testing and taming new technology.

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2 thoughts on “The Secret Self-Publishing Button – How To Unpublish Your Book

  • Avatar for Connie Pillon
    February 5, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    An inspiring read! Sometimes after publishing a book and reading the reviews, an author can get a better sense of what readers want. Some books truly deserve to be resurrected with the author’s new-found wisdom.

  • Avatar for Adam Bolander
    November 19, 2018 at 4:57 am

    I always considered this cheating. What about the people who bought your books? Now they’re all stuck with an inferior version of your story and will have to spend their hard earned money all over again to get the “good” one. Do you think they’ll be happy you went and unpublished your book? When you hit the “publish” button, you should already know that what you’re publishing is the best it’s ever going to be.

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