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Donna Fletcher Crow

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Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more.
www.donnafletchercrow.com

Fay Sampson

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Fay Sampson (UK) is a writer of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including A MALIGNANT HOUSE, #2 in the Susie Fewings series, a British Crime Club Pick.
http://www.faysampson.co.uk

Keeping it Fresh, Renewing your Backlist

By Donna Fletcher Crow ~ September 9, 2016

In today’s electronic market yesterday is sooo gone. Everything has to be new and fresh and of the minute. That can be exhausting. And discouraging for writers who have a backlist of really good books that just aren’t getting any attention.  My advice is, don’t fight the trend—go with it. For all the frustrations of electronic publishing, it does offer the opportunity of instant renewal.

If you are self-published, you can, of course, do this any time you feel something on your list needs a refresher. For those traditionally published, you’ll have to wait until your publisher declares the work out of print, then ask for your rights back in writing and you’re on your way.

You can then, offer the work to another publisher or take the plunge, as I have recently done, and rise to the challenge yourself. Here are some samples of steps I’m taking to bring my backlist to a new generation of readers.

First, bring backlist books out in new formats: Ebooks for books only in print, offer print editions of your e-only books, consider audible, boxed sets. I am currently renewing my 1986 Cambridge Collection and 1998 Cambridge Chronicles as the Where There is Love Series. Some are now available as single ebooks and all six will soon be out as a boxed set.

Nothing can give your tired titles a fresh look better than new covers.  I plan soon to re-release my 1992 family saga The Daughters of Courage with new covers from the wonderful Ken Raney. Here are the original print, the old ebook, and the new (below right) covers for the middle book of the series:

                                                               

Consider how you can give a new focus to an old series. I am doing that by switching from the purely historical emphasis of the Cambridge Chronicles to marketing the same stories as historical romance as the Where There is Love Series. Another example is what we did in changing the subtitle of Glastonbury from The Novel of Christian England to A Novel of the Holy Grail for the e-edition.

For any changes you make to a book it is important to include new editing so that your work reflects your best writing now, not as it was a few years ago. High on my to-do list is re-editing the ebook editions of my 1993 Lord Danvers series. Because that series has been brought out over many years consistency errors, such as the color of the hero’s eyes, have crept in. I look forward to correcting that.

One of the best ways to bring attention to an older series is to write a new book for it. My Elizabeth and Richard literary suspense series has been growing like Topsy since 1992 and I have recently added new books at both ends of the series with The Flame Ignites as a prequel telling how Elizabeth and Richard met in 1984 and A Most Singular Venture, encountering a murderer in Jane Austen’s London in 2016.

And finally, keep trying new marketing techniques.  I have recently launched a newsletter to keep better contact with my readers and have designed new cards and bookmarks. I have also just put all the book editions to which I have rights on Kindle Unlimited so members of that program can read my books for free.

In today’s market it is almost impossible to keep up, but doing one’s best to keep from falling further behind can actually be fun. And one thing is certain— it’s never boring.

Donna Fletcher Crow (US) is the author of forty-some books, mostly novels dealing with the history of British Christianity. She is the author of The Monastery Murders series; The Lord Danvers Victorian True-Crime series; The Elizabeth & Richard literary mysteries, GLASTONBURY,A Novel of the Holy Grail and more. www.donnafletchercrow.com

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Reader Comments:

You are a wonderful example to us all. I'm just taking the plunge myself. I've started with a previously unpublished fantasy "The Red Lizard", now available on Kindle and I mean to follow this with backlist titles.
-Fay Sampson, October 4, 2016

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