Friday, January 20, 2012

The Author "Back Lists" Are Fading to an "Also Available List" by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

I'm sure agents often feel that new writers expect them to make an award winning deal with a major publisher with all the bells and whistles as soon as they sign a contract to represent them. While that may happen on occasion, the truth is, often it's a standard contract with a publisher that includes a boiler-plate publicity plan--the same one they use for all their new and midlist authors.

I believe the same expectation holds true for publicists. New authors often hope a publicist's efforts will skyrocket their book to all the major bestseller lists and all kinds of bookings on radio, TV and podcasts shows will start pouring in along with major speaking engagements. The truth is, this can happen, but isn't likely. You will receive more publicity than you might through your own efforts. A publicist will raise awareness about your book, sales may increase while your campaign is being launched, but as soon as the campaign is over and excitement about the book fades, so will the sales.

I'm not writing this to depress you, but to educate you on realistic expectations, and to equip you with how best to deal with this reality. Most of us, don't have the funds lying around to keep a permanent publicity campaign going. We would go bankrupt. Yet, for as long as our books are available, they need to sell--and thanks to the changes e-publishing has brought, our digital books will never go out of print. This means your efforts in building your platform will bring even more impact in long-term sales.

My point is this, continue to plan book launch campaigns when you have a new book releasing. These efforts will be crucial in getting your book started just like early preschool education does in a child's success in school and later in life through college and on the job. Early education builds the frame work in how a child learns, changing that becomes much harder later in life once those learning habits have been developed. It's the same way with our book launches as we prepare the frame work for future book sales after the launch.

Major reviews have already been established and uploaded on sites like Amazon, B&N, ChristianBooks, LifeWay and Cokesbury. Previous interviews, blog posts, and guests posts will be available on the web for future readers to browse when they are trying to learn more about you. Your presentation has already been established, and therefore, so will the perception of readers when they find your info.

Think beyond the book launch and how you can build on this established platform as you incorporate it into your overall platform with new books. Authors no longer have a back list, they now have an also available list. This is the angle you need to be thinking when writing a marketing plan or planning your publicity promotions.


Timothy Fish said...

I'm not sure I understand the distinction you are making between a back list and an also available list.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Timothy, the idea of a Backlist sounds more like previous books, including some that may or may not still be available. An Also Available List is very clear that these other books are still available NOW.