Can't build without publish, but publishing will break existing clients

I can’t be the first one to have this issue, but here goes.
I’ve recently added some new modules to my expokit project, and they required using react-native link and hence I need to build a new APK which I can release to my clients. The problem I’m having, is before I can build, I need to publish, but publishing would break my existing clients. Has anybody found a work-aound for this?

Make a new release channel.
https://docs.expo.io/versions/latest/distribution/release-channels/

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I have a question regarding release channels…
If I already have apps on the Play Store or Apple App Store, how would I be able to test a certain release channel from my phone? Or would this have to be done through QR installation, rather than the store?

You can make a build that tracks another release channel. That way you can have your current prod build reading one, and a beta/testflight build reading another.

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@gillesbbot probably creating a new release channel like what @gaboleskul said.

I elaborated a bit more here Expo eject: how to avoid expo publish This approach may work for you.