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Bring Back the Backlist to Your Readers, By Rita Gerlach

Posted by on November 16, 2012

clip_image002Ever hear the saying ‘take the bull by the horns’? Sometimes you have to do just that in order to make your dreams a reality. This post is about publishing a backlist of books that have gone out of print with your rights reverted back to you. Remember it is your career…no one else’s. It takes a tough skin in this business and you have to have initiative and passion to make it happen. No matter what rejections or delays come your way, know this—your out-of-print books do not have to languish in obscurity.

Back in the early 1990s, I began writing after my cousin, a world famous romance writer, handed me one of her books. I read it and the desire to write stories rekindled in my being. First I wrote a novella, just to see what I could do. Then I wrote my first full-length novel, and I was so wet behind the ears that I had no idea about word count and ended up with a 150,000-word manuscript.

In 2001, The Rebel’s Pledge went to a print-on-demand company, and was out of print by 2005. I went on to write and publish six more novels, and in the summer of 2011, I set out to revise The Rebel’s Pledge according to publishers’ guidelines, but had to set it aside for a time to work on The clip_image004Daughters of the Potomac Series. My then agent presented the idea of publishing my backlist of books, three in total, to Kindle and CreateSpace, since I now have a following of readers. When I discovered that well known authors, such as Robin Lee Hatcher, Kathi Macias, MaryLu Tyndall, and Lena Dooley, were reissuing their out-of-print novels, I was even more intrigued.

Late in the spring of 2012, I finished my revisions and tightened up the book to 93,000 words. I decided to go ahead with it, with the help of my husband Paul. He uploaded and formatted the file. My son designed the cover. When I found a Charles Igown on a website made by a UK designer, I emailed her and asked for her permission to use the gown on the cover. She was more than happy to oblige, and I gave her credit in the book. Now, with Kindle they have templates you can use that will upload your title onto the one you choose.

One piece of advice. Before you approve your Kindle copy, upload the book to Create Space for paperback. Order a review copy, and check your front and back cover, and inside layout. Sit down with red pen in hand and carefully read through your hardcopy, circling anything you want to change. You can go back to your book and make corrections before you approve it.

Here are the nuts and bolts of Amazon Kindle. Authors upload their book, cover, and go through the steps toward approving their book for Kindle. They set the price, although with Kindle Publishing Select there is a low and high end price you can go. You own all the rights but with KPS you keep your ebook version exclusive to Amazon Kindle. Authors received a 70% royalty. Amazon has the Lending Library, and for each time your book is acquired through LL, you receive a royalty depending on the amount Amazon has in an overall pot and how many books are loaned out that month. Authors are given a 90-day window to belong to KDP Select. During that time, you are given 5 days to offer your ebook for free. What? Give it away? That’s right. Your ebook will get into the hands of hundreds, maybe thousands of readers. You have a greater chance readers will want your other books. The Rebel’s Pledge hit the bestsellers list in its genre through this program.

clip_image006I am now exploring Amazon’s audio book program. It would be thrilling to have an audio version of The Rebel’s Pledge.

Rita Gerlach is the author of several novels including Surrender the Wind and The Daughters of the Potomac Series published with Abingdon Press. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons.


Other posts you might like:

An Interview with Historical Fiction Author, Rita Gerlach

Perseverance, Patience and Humility, By Rita Gerlach

Should You Self-Publish Your Novel?

One Response to Bring Back the Backlist to Your Readers, By Rita Gerlach

  1. Mildred Colvin

    Rita, welcome to Infinite Characters and congratulations on taking the plunge! I also have a few backlist books re-published through Amazon, Create Space, and Smash Words. However, I was only able to get four of my books returned to me. Of those, I’ve loved the freedom to add to the story and series and update my writing so the reader has a better experience – I hope. I’m working now on the last of those published books and hope to soon have them available again. It’s great to restore new life to old stories. I enjoyed your post.

    God bless,
    Mildred Colvin