My Backlist Publishing Project

3 April 2014 in

Since last autumn, I’ve been working with TLP Collective on re-publishing four of my backlist titles as ebooks. This has been a lengthy and complex process. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of Joanna Ellis - lack of time, and lack of patience would have defeated me.

Where Does Kissing End?, The Last Time I Saw Jane, Weird Sister, and A Little Stranger will all come out in ePub and mobi over the next month. You’ll be able to buy them at all e-retailers, as well as directly here from me. Landing Gear will come out as an ebook and hardcover with Doubleday in Canada, Simon & Schuster in the USA, and here in the UK I will add it to my ebook publishing project. The Mistress of Nothing remains in print and ebook in all three countries, as well as in translation.

I’d been thinking about doing this for a couple of years, as more of my backlist fell out of print in the UK. However, the rights were still tied up in print editions in Canada. When my former Canadian publisher ‘ceased trading’ last year and released all the licenses back to me, I decided to go ahead. I planned to have these new electronic editions ready around the same time that new my novel Landing Gear will come out in the US and Canada.

And so, here we are, nearly ready. Turns out there is nothing straightforward about creating good-looking ebook editions. For one thing, several of the books existed as print editions only - I didn’t have word docs for three of them; I think at the time I couldn’t imagine that keeping a final draft word document of a book was necessary, once that book was published. So, we’ve had to go through a lengthy scan and design phase. Of course the books needed new covers, and the covers we’ve got now look great. Getting the ebooks distributed across all the various e-retailers, with the correct metadata, also has proven to be complex and time-consuming.

But the interesting thing is that now I have these titles completely under my own control. Out of print, they existed only in the vast secondhand market - I’ve frequently had to buy secondhand copies of my own books in the past, when I’ve run out of copies. But now they’ll be back ‘in print’ in perpetuity (and I could do print editions if I chose, but that does not seem like a good idea). Getting the four books in order, with a small budget for publicity, and updates to my website so that I can begin to do direct sales, will cost, in total, around £5000. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to make that amount back in sales. I’ll write more about the financial side of what I’m doing at a later date.

If you are interested, here’s a piece I wrote about re-publishing my own backlist, in November 2011.


Viktor Krausskopf, 10 April 2014, 11:30 AM

Hi Kate, congratulations on staying the course… we are just at the beginning of your journey and I have to admit it is a scary prospect; so thanks for recommending TLP. I will get in touch with Sophie Rochester and look forward to hearing more about your experiences, especially on the financial side wink

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