Oct02

Why a series reboot is a bad idea and why I did it.

Reboots, we’ve all seen them. Sometimes we like ‘em, sometimes we hate ‘em.

I think we can mostly agree that when Batman & Robin got rebooted into Nolan-verse, Batman Begins that was an improvement.

When Robocop (1987) was rebooted to Robocop (2014) that was a downgrade.

Your mileage will vary with reboots. I personally liked the reboot of 3:10 to Yuma, others preferred the original. A reboot, especially a series reboot, needs to be handled with care.

I wish someone had told me this before I published my first two books, which is why I’m telling you now.

Don’t reboot your series. If you do, have a game plan.

SITUATION:

You wrote and released two books. They’re part of a series we will call, The Dagger Crown.

When you wrote your first book, you didn’t have a clue what you were doing. You hired the wrong people, wasted a lot of money, and you wrote flowery prose to prove you knew how to write.

You publish book one and it bombs.

Book two, you learned from some of your mistakes. Somehow you still hired the wrong editor, but you improved your prose and watched your budget. Unfortunately, the editor you hired didn’t read the first book where the king was assassinated by the royal jester. In book two, you wrote that the king was assassinated by the Captain’s Guard. Whoops.

You learned a lot after releasing the second book. You spent more time refining your craft and this time you hired the right editor. But you have a problem.

You wrote The Dagger Crown books on a plot hole. Without a rewrite, you won’t have a strong foundation to write book three. And if you haven’t heard this before, you’ll hear it now.

If you’re struggling to figure out why your third act is failing. Look to act one.

Or in this case, you need to reboot book one.

How do you reboot a series?

  1. Do you start a new collection of books and call it, The Crown’s Dagger?
  2. Or do you simply rewrite the first and second books and replace the original novels?

The answer is 1, but I stupidly did 2. Let me explain why 2 is a bad idea and why you shouldn’t do it.

On paper, replacing the original novels with your new ones is easy. You can change the cover artwork, adjust the layout, replace the interior copy, and update it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

But there’s one thing you can’t get rid of. The bad reviews.

Even if you unpublish your book on Amazon, the reviews will remain. And Goodreads has a DO NOT DELETE policy even if the book is no longer in print.

Let’s say you uploaded your rewritten book to Amazon. You revamped the characters, made huge structural changes to the story, made the plot more exciting, but your original book had several one star reviews. Those reviews will transfer over to your newly released book.

How the hell are you going to convince readers to buy your book when you have 1 stars on your new novel?

Is it fair that your brand new, re-written book has to wear the scars of the previous one? No, it isn’t.

In retrospect, I should have made The Silver Ninja into a new series, but I didn’t because of one reason.

I had trademarked the name, “The Silver Ninja” and built my website and brand around it. Starting a new series called The Legend of The Silver Ninja or, The Ultra Silver Ninja, wouldn’t fit with my domain name.

A Bitter Winter” couldn’t be the third book in the series because it was a rewrite of the first one. I couldn’t replace “The Silver Ninja” with A Bitter Winter because it would inherit the bad reviews and meta data from the original. And I couldn’t delete the original book because of what I stated earlier.

A Bitter Winter needed to be treated as a new book, but I needed The Silver Ninja series name due to trademark and branding. Later on, if I chose to write an else worlds novel or side story, then I could do something like Legacy of The Silver Ninja or something like that. But for a book I want to promote, advertise, and sell, I needed the original series title.

Now I don’t recommend you do this, because this was a huge pain in the butt that required a lot of begging and pleading. I sent a request to the Goodreads librarians and asked them to please rename The Silver Ninja into The Silver Ninja Prototype. I then had to update all entries on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, Smashwords, to place both books under the new series name.

If I hadn’t paid for a trademark and a website, I would have changed the series name. It was that much of a headache.

How can you avoid a series reboot fiasco?

  • Don’t buy your trademark right away. Make sure you are absolutely confident you won’t change the book. If you are a prisoner of your whims, hold off three years before getting a trademark.
  • Don’t brand your web domain with a series title. It should be your author name or the name of your publishing company/imprint.
  • Go with a new name for your series, seriously. For instance, Superman rebooted into Man of Steel. The Silver Ninja rebooted into A Bitter Winter. You get the idea.
  • Treat all of your books as permanent. If you release a shoddy product, the review rating will stay with it for life. Don’t rush to put your book out there.

I wish I had known these tips prior to publishing my first book. Oh well, that’s the learning process. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Otherwise you’ll have readers asking, “Should I read the two books in The Silver Ninja Prototype series?”

Yeah.

Don’t reboot.

Do you have a question about series reboots? Something I missed? Comment down below or tweet me @WilmarLuna

Wilmar Luna

Wilmar Luna

Couldn't be a superhero in real life so he decided to write his own. When he's not creating empowered female characters he can be found watching films, reading books, and playing lots of video games.
Buy his books here: https://www.thesilverninja.com/purchase/
Wilmar Luna

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