The Backlist: A Key to Becoming a Full Time Writer

The Backlist: A Key to Becoming a Full Time Writer

Don’t think book, think “backlist”.

Worth keeping in mind that this article lends itself more to fiction and children’s authors than nonfiction authors, who can build a platform based on speaking and other products with having just one book.

Over the last few years traditional publishers and their authors have been capitalising on a massive benefit the advances in print on demand and e-book publishing has provided. The benefit of rejuvenating the backlist.

The backlist is essentially the author’s previously published books that once enjoyed appearing on the “front shelves” at bookstores.

A backlist of books is where traditional book publishers make a huge portion of their revenue, and without it they would go out of business. The backlist also allows authors to become full time writers.

In the past, once books were launched and had a couple of print runs they were put aside to make way for new “front list” titles. These books would then rarely (if ever) see any marketing and promotional investment, leaving the book to reside on the back shelf.

With digital and print on demand publishing, this is no longer the case, and authors and publishers are loving it! Content and products stocked and sold online in the digital space have a very long, maybe even an infinite lifespan.

Authors who have previously been traditionally published and have jumped on the independent publishing ship, are enjoying sales from their backlist of titles.

Independent authors who have began and remain independent, benefit from all their books being readily available on Amazon, Kobo, Ingram and iBookstore. They are able to promote and enjoy residual sales of their past books, amidst the excitement of every new book they release.

Because when it comes to print on demand, digital publishing and online book retail there really is no backlist. Every book is on the “current list” or “front list” due to the infinite store space and ease of accessibility.

Authors such as Scott Sigler, duo Sean Platt and David Wright, Lindsay Buroker, Joe Konrath, CJ Lyons and many others, are making a decent income and even earning a full time living as a writer.

What’s the one key factor they all have in common?

A backlist.

You see the more books you have available, the more doors new readers have to discover you. If they enjoy one book, they’ll buy another and the growth cycle continues.

Our clients at Book Cover Cafe are seeing a big difference upon releasing their second book, with some really hitting their stride upon releasing their third and forth books.

Add on the strategy of building an email list of readers who love your work and you’ll be able to launch and grow your author brand to new heights, with the aim of becoming a full time writer.

What about those starting out with their first book?

What does the backlist mean for the first-time independent author publishing without a body of work behind them?

Walk in the footsteps of these authors and work hard, keep writing and publish your next book. Getting more books out there is the best way to build your backlist and pursue your goal of becoming a full time writer.

Every author has to start with their first book.

Just make sure you have a professional author website which serves as your author platform home base. Make sure you add links to your e-books that drive readers back to your website to engage with you and subscribe to your email list.

Have a blog tour and organise additional targeted advertising campaign strategies to kick-start some visibility of your book. Drive sales to Amazon and take advantage of its internal algorithms.

Then work on publishing your next book. Upon release of your second book, be sure to update your first book with a link or mention of your new book. Chain them together so to speak. Be sure to promote your first book during the time of your second release.

I won’t go into a full launch campaign because obviously it’s going to be slightly different for everyone with different genres and audiences, but you see my point.

At the end of the day, it’s about availability and being discoverable, and the more books (doors) you have the more sales you can make. Getting you closer to the goal of becoming a full time writer.

Myself and the Book Cover Cafe team are here to help you publish your book and achieve your publishing goals. We’re just an email away.

Be the captain of your own ship.

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