Thursday, April 14, 2011

Your Backlist Is a Veritable Gold Mine

Posted by Digital Book World on 4/12/11
By Carolyn McCray, Author

So why isn’t every publisher or author mining backlist titles for gold?

With the seismic shift in the publishing industry and the explosion of the digital market, it turns out the Internet is a really big place full of people who have never heard of your book(s) and are eager to purchase it. They don’t care if the book came out two years ago or yesterday, they only care that it meets their educational or entertainment needs. This opens up an entire market for your backlist.

Yet when I get asked to consult on how social media can help boost sales whether it be for an individual author or a house, they are always eager to tell me all about the current release numbers. Usually they know the exact numbers off the top of their heads for sales, sell through, and royalties for that current title. This is great because I need to know how an author is performing on their marquee title.

Then I ask about their backlist. Frowns form. Eyebrows knit together. “The backlist?” they ask.

“Yes, how well are they performing?”

There is usually some shuffling of feet and a few phone calls made to research those numbers.
What most in the industry have not yet embraced is that with digital sales platforms and the power of social media, you can now market your backlist as nearly new material (it is, after all, new to that stranger on the Internet). Not only does marketing your backlist bring in a whole new stream of sales, but someone introduced to backlist title #2 and enjoys it is then prone to buy book #1, #3, #4, and so on. Imagine your backlist titles as gateways towards new readers for your next big release.

If positioned properly and marketed well, backlist titles can generate significant sales and help propel your next release higher up into the lists. A win-win.

Read  more at DigitalBookWorld


Sam Sattler said...

I have been saying for a while now that e-books and publisher backlists are a perfect match. What better way to maximize return on the original investment in those books?

Of course, it is possible that publishers don't have the right to publish some of their backlist in electronic format. I wonder how common that is to the industry.

transpressnz said...

Authors can do this themselves easily enough. In our case our standard agreement used to specify a time limit after a book has gone o/p when, if we haven't decided to do a new edition, the rights revert to the author. A couple of years ago that wording was revised for e-book editions.