David Farland shares how he’s going to handle his backlist:
For example, some of us old-timers aren’t in as enviable a position as it would seem. I spoke to a friend yesterday who is a bestselling romance novelist. She recently went to her publisher and asked for a reversion on her out-of-print books. The publisher immediately took the books, converted them to electronic text, and put them up for sale, putting them “back in print” so to speak, but only offering the author a pittance in electronic royalties. (I’d heard of Harlequin doing this with other authors, but this was the first independent verification I’ve heard of this practice.) Other publishers are stealing OP books outright, not even offering the authors royalties.
. . . .
1) Get content up quickly. This means putting up books and stories that you own outright—short stories, novels, and series. For many of us, it means simply: write quickly. This might sound daunting, but it’s not.
In my own coffers, I have seven OP novels that I can put up—a single book, a two-book series, and a three-book series. By the end of the month, I should get all seven of those books up.
. . . .
But I have a lot more short fiction—some thirty or forty short stories and novellas that I can publish. I have already put up two little collections, but I need to get all of the rest of my stories out in the next month. Some of my Star Wars stories can only be re-published in a collection that has all of my short fiction in it, so I’ll have to bundle up all of my short stories into on large volume if I want to reprint these. So I should be able to generate about 50 or 60 sellable pieces of fiction this month.
. . . .
2) Get the books out at the right price. Those who are prospering electronically are often giving away free samples, or selling some work at roughly $1 per book, with higher prices for later books in the series—keeping prices low (at $2.99 per book). For myself, I’m proposing a multi-tier structure. I’m going to put out some short stories for free in order to attract new readers, but the bulk will be priced at .99 cents each. However, these will have links back to my web page where I’ll sell my OP books at low prices–$2.99 per book, while a few new works will be at a premium price—up to $9.99 per book. In other words, I’m hoping to build an audience by using a few free products to introduce people to my work. They’ll then have the choice of whether to buy my backlist (for cheap), or purchase books at a premium price. Right now, my books are all out at the wrong price. I’ll need to change this.
3) Validate yourself. Each book or story that you put up should have a decent cover, a good sales pitch, intriguing cover quotes, and so on. In short, each product will need to be a “total package.”
. . . .
4) Market after the fact. Every product that you put up—from a free short story to an expensive book, should link back to sites where the reader can find more of your work.
Link to the rest at David Farland