As a writer of fiction, I’m always looking for new ways to keep my old work alive. Besides constantly producing more fiction work (I’m currently rapid releasing a serial), I want to find new ways to repurpose some of my old work.
My old material isn’t dead (yet), but that is mostly because it’s still fresh. I just released the third book in my debut series which means I’m still getting traffic into that series. However, I know that eventually that will fall off as more books enter the market. So, I want to be prepared but also entice new readers to find and invest in my work. Hopefully in doing so, the reader will commit to the entire backlog.
But how do we pull people into our old fiction work and bring them back to life besides spending an exorbitant amount of money on advertising? What things are in our control that we can produce and keep alive? Well, here are some ideas to help us repurpose our old fiction work.
Series / Spin-offs
Nothing brings people into an indie author’s collection like a series. Multiple books in a universe tells readers that you have an established story and they can commit for the long haul. Nothing breaks my heart more than reading a book, falling in love with the characters, and realizing the author tossed great potential out the window by stopping the series in the middle.
Now, all series must come to an end eventually, but that doesn’t mean the end of that world. Several authors create spin-offs, either with the characters or within the world they’ve created. The great part about creating a spin-off series is you can not only keep readers following a series, you can also create multiple entry points to that series. If you allow readers to jump in wherever they choose, you’ll increase your chances of bringing readers in. Plus, you won’t worry as much about read-through drop off, where readers stop following a series or lose interest. Multiple entry points into a world creates more money-making opportunity.
Serialized fiction has made quite a stamp on the podcast industry. There are multiple podcast hosts who either tell a new story every week/month or continue in the same world or the same story. Each podcast provides just a bit more of the story than the last, keeping listeners engaged in the story.
While a podcast is quite a bit of commitment, some authors are willing to jump in and connect with a new audience. You can find a story of yours that would do well as a serial podcast, you can start recording and turn it into an audiobook, you can hire your friends to come on and play characters, or you can even add a companion podcast to your old work. If readers purchase or read your book, they can get a commentary podcast to go along with their reading. I do this with my first series through Patreon.
Have you ever mentioned a story through your characters that didn’t actually happen within the book? Like backstory, or a little adventure that is casually mentioned to bring life into the current book? What about a character who does things off-page and comes back with information?
Short stories based in your world are always good ways to write new material but also encourage people to continue on with your work. Perhaps you can write a short story that explains your world and give it away as a reader magnet. You can also keep people interested with short stories that happen between two books set in the same universe. Maybe you have your characters cross into another world and introduce your newest series. It can be as simple or as crazy as you want, but as the author, you have complete control over what happens.
Have an old series that seems to be collecting dust? What about enticing new readers to enter a contest to get a copy for free? Or the entire collection for free? Using your old work as a giveaway is a great chance to get new readers interested or following your work.
Think about the options to tie your work into new material. If someone pre-orders your new series, they get the old series free. If someone enters your mailing list or likes a photo on Instagram, they can be entered to win copies. Any of these giveaway options are a chance to remind people of your old work and bring them into the new series as well.
For anyone who has an old piece of work that just flopped, there’s nothing wrong with unpublishing your work, polishing it, and repackaging it into something better. You don’t have to rewrite the entire series, but going in and doing another few rounds of edits, rewriting things that are unclear, or building in old things that you’ve learned can be a great way to give your old work life again. You can even use giveaways in conjunction with this — if someone purchased your first book, ask them to leave an honest review and send a screenshot of the review to get the brand new copy of the book.
Videos / Reels
TikTok might be losing steam as of late, but there are tons of options to turn your work into little videos. Consider making a trailer for one of your books. You can have your friends act out scenes or even do videos related to your work. Maybe even tape a reading of the scene, set it to music, or have fun with reading your work to listeners.
What if you turned your work into a new medium? Instead of rewriting the book, maybe you try to turn it into a video game script, a movie/TV script, or a play. Depending on your story, you might have multiple avenues to pursue on this. Just like your work might become a podcast, you can also adapt it for other things.
You don’t have to sit back while your old work dies out. If you’re willing to put in the work as an authorpreneur, you can breathe life back into your old material and find a new audience to bring into your world.
Laura Winter is a self-published author dedicated to helping your authorpreneur journey. She has launched her books on little to no budget to prove you don’t have to invest an exorbitant amount of money to be successful. Find her work on Amazon, Patreon, and join her tribe to get more articles like this.
This post was originally published on Medium.