Saturday 21 May 2016

Backlist or not?

A poet friend of mine is on the editorial board of an online poetry publication. Such publications are pretty well there forever, though earlier works gradually disappear from the search engines. One poet asked if their work could be taken down. The publishers didn’t want to do this. They took the view that this was art of that poet’s work and should stay.

Arguably the same can apply to print-on-demand. The book need never go out of print.  However, that may not necessarily be an advantage. In my area of expertise we’re plagued with constantly changing technology. Books date very quickly. They could become historical fiction but they don’t date quite enough for that. One solution here is to keep the book in print for four years and then re-edit and re-title it. In fact, we’ve just launched a new imprint that does exactly that: Renascienta. 50% profit share with the author.  

Here are some other strategies we use:
  • We ask for exclusive rights for one year on stories in our anthologies though are open to them being republished before that.
  • We keep books in print until they stop making a profit.
  • E-books never go out of print – except single author titles at the author’s request after four years.  
  • We’re happy to take down online publications after one year at the author’s request.     

New titles can help to sell backlist. Backlist is part of the author and actually makes significant contribution to an author’s income though sales, PLR and ALCS payments.