New books published have been on a steady growth curve over the last decade or so while traditional publishers and bookstores struggle to figure out what to do about it.
Smart authors have done just fine.
Savvy writers – especially those with an online following — are reveling in unexpected profits by self-publishing their defunct backlist titles as new e-books.
“In six weeks, I’ve made three times the advance I was paid initially,” says Carolyn Jewel, an author of historical and paranormal romances who has reissued the first of her backlist titles originally published by Hachette and Penguin-Putnam. I spoke with Carolyn recently about her surprise bonanza.
“I’ve also made more than I did in royalties while the book was in print. My out-of-print titles weren’t earning anyone any money — except used books stores I suppose. Today, my backlist has value to me.”
Bestselling author reissuing archive of 40 books
“I’m more excited than I’ve ever been,” says New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer, who wrote in a recent blog post about plunging into self-publishing and reissuing his defunct titles as e-books. The former Green Beret wrote the first of 40 military thrillers and historical novels in 1991, which he says have sold more than 4 million copies over the years. In addition to self-publishing his entire backlist, Mayer has opted to reject his longtime publisher St. Martin’s and their six-figure advances. Instead he’s publishing his new epic novel Duty, Honor, Country, a Novel of West Point and the Civil War, himself.