Re-Brand Without the Sex

In this rapidly changing industry, writers must adapt on a near-daily basis and continuously search for new ways to reach new readers. In that mode, I’ve decided to re-brand my Detective Jackson series by listing Secrets to Die For as the first book and creating a new cover for it. The old cover was never meant to be the final product, but that’s another subject.

For those of you who have read and loved The Sex Club, first I thank you for your support, and second, I ask your forgiveness… for pushing this story into my standalone thriller column. I do it reluctantly after much consideration and many discussions about changing the name. After thousands of people have read it though, changing the name was not an option. And a new title wouldn’t alter the content.

Which brings me to the Why? There are many readers who will never try my series because they can’t get past the name, and others who can’t get past the provocative subject matter. So now that I have five other Jackson stories, I’m setting The Sex Club apart from the series. The truth is when I wrote the novel, it was intended to be a standalone with dual protagonists.

Then at some point, it occurred to me the detective would make a great series character. I wrote Secrets to Die For three years later, based on the Jackson character and thinking I’d try to make a series of it. So Secrets is really the first book I intended as a series. Of course, readers can start with either one. But right now as part of this effort, Secrets to Die For is on sale for $.99  at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

In this very competitive market with ebooks selling for $.99 and $2.99, I can’t afford to alienate thousands of potential mystery readers with one little word. Don’t worry, The Sex Club isn’t going away. I’m very proud of this book and will continue to sell it as a standalone thriller.

Also, as part of my whole re-branding project, I’m also launching a new website that will be more search-engine friendly and will accommodate my growing number of books. I’d hoped to announce these things at the same time, but the website is a little behind schedule. It should be up and running in another two weeks.

One other bit of news: I finished the first draft of the new Jackson story, and I’m working on the rewrite. If my editor and formatter both do their part on schedule, I’ll have the ebook ready by Christmas and the print book shortly after.

So what do think of this re-branding decision? Brilliant or cowardly? Worthwhile or waste of time?

11 Comments
  1. Though I have not yet published, I am considering the same. My protagonist is named Titty (The Triangulation of Titty La’ Mente) and I’m afraid some will be offended by her name. Also those looking for titillation won’t find it here, the book is rather wholesome and the one sex scene is humorous. I am toying with the alternate name and title (The Betterment of Bitty La’ Mente).

  2. My vote is that this is a good decision. I agree the title is provocative and probably sold you many copies because of it (the one I bought, for instance, couldn’t resist). But because it could hold some people back from the series, this is a smart move! I hope both the stand alone and the series continue to sell well.

  3. I won “Sex Club” and loved it; even though I’m older I’m not afraid of racy if it’s a good read (didn’t think it was racy though). This novel was powerly and wonderfully written and it caused me to find the series. I now own all your ebooks, LJ, incl your foray into SciFi and will continue to buy all your write. You obviously need to do what you need to do from a marketing point of view because it’s a pity if people miss out on any of your novels. Thank you for keeping on writing and entertaining me/us. R:)

  4. As you know, I’ve loved all your books. I have many times written out a list of your books and given to my friends, a couple have queried ‘The Sex Club’, what’s that all about? The book belies the name really. However, on reading that one, they all went on to read the rest.

    Can’t wait to get into Liars, Cheats & Thieves.

    Well done, LJ, you’re the best crime writer I have come across.

    Sue Edwards

  5. I agree with you. The title alone almost kept me from reading it but I’m glad it didn’t stop me. I read it and gave it a 5-star; it’s that good!

  6. Sex Club could be considered a rather provocative title by some and certainly connote something other than what a reader gets for others. The rebranding decision sounds like a potentially good idea. I guess you will find out.

    Lee
    A Faraway View

  7. I thought THE SEX CLUB was a wonderful book. The title tells it like it is, and that’s as it should be.

    Anyone who has a problem with the word “sex” probably shouldn’t read the book anyway, right? 🙂

    My feeling is you just can’t please all the people all the time. Write from the heart about what you care about. Your readership will find you.

  8. LJ, THE SEX CLUB was recommended to me by a good friend and I read it based on what she had to say. I didn’t find it offensive (and I am not young…). I liked the book and loved your writing and I haven’t looked back. I am anxiously awaiting the next in the series, wherever & whenever it started. That being said, I do understand your reasoning–and I do hope it helps with your marketing.

  9. Thanks, Ray, for all of that. I’m on several mystery listservs and I’ve discovered that a lot of mystery readers are older and many do not like the title. There are also lots of conservative readers who don’t like the subject matter. It’s just too “hot button” for a first book in a series.

  10. Well, I’m not sure what to say. You obviously know your business better than I do. I never had a moments pause about reading the book because it was in the mystery suspense category and I was on the Amazon website and I guess I figured Amazon would not have some kind of x-rated book on their site.

    I find it hard to believe that there are people so uptight that they are going to not read a book because the title is racy but, again, you know your business.

    I like your books. They are suspenseful and they have great characters and they move fast and I just about never know who dun it. Thats all I care about.

    Keep up the good work. Can’t wait for the next chapter.

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