“Mining Your Backlist” at NJRW

Since the publication of their first book in 1995, Jim and Nikoo McGoldrick (aka/May McGoldrick, Jan Coffey, and Nicole Cody, among others) have published over 30 books.  On Saturday, September 17, Jim and Nikoo spoke to the New Jersey Romance Writers in Iselin, NJ about their writing journey.  Their workshop’s title was Mining Your Backlist and they presented a wealth of information about self-publishing.

In this entertaining and highly informative session, Jim and Nikoo walked us through the reasons for self-publishing and the steps required.  Using hard facts and figures, they shared their own story and what worked for them in re-publishing their books.

In 1995 Jim and Nikoo’s historical romance The Thistle and the Rose was a double NJRW Golden Leaf winner for Best Historical and Best First Book.  They went on to publish more historicals, contemporaries, suspense novels, and thrillers.

In recent years they’ve struggled to get their rights returned on out-of-print works. It has been a long and arduous process, five years with one house.  With another, it has now been seven years and they’re still working on it.

In addition to their backlist, the pair have self-published other books. One of these, Ghost on the Thames by May McGoldrick, is a Charles Dickens sort of book, complete with ghosts, set in Victorian London.  Another work by Jan Coffey is Step Write Up, a workbook for hands-on teaching of 21st century creativity skills. Three thousand copies were purchased by the New York Department of Education.

Jim and Nikoo now have 21 works available on the Internet. For roughly every one hundred e-books sold, they may sell one print on demand.  Their e-books are available through Smashwords, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and others.  Print on demand are mainly through CreateSpace.  There is money to be made in self-publishing but the author needs to be aware of piracy.  And there is no guarantee that the profits will last into the future.

A writer looking to self-publish backlist title/s must first get his/her rights back.  After that, the process is about the same for a published author or a newbie.  An ISBN number is recommended, available either through Bowker’s or an indie distributor (i.e. Smashwords).  A cover follows.  Hiring a professional or someone experienced in cover design is preferred since a good cover can make or break a book’s sales.  The book must be typed on Microsoft Word and well-edited then formatted according to the requirements of the distributor. Pricing must be decided.  And finally, an author must determine “what’s the plan?”.

Self-publishing isn’t easy but by following the guides available online, it gets easier.

Nikoo and Jim shared many marketing tips, such as putting teasers in the backs of books and offering coupons. Traditional methods still apply. You must get your name before the public but without being obnoxious.

In the afternoon, the pair stayed for a Q & A.  “Ask us anything,” they said.  And we did. 🙂

A phenomenal presentation from a pair of knowledgeable, experienced, and amazing authors!  Thank you Jim and Nikoo!  

18 thoughts on ““Mining Your Backlist” at NJRW

  1. Deb, what a masterful summary of a fantastic presentation! Thank you! Nikoo and Jim have experimented with pricing for their e-books; I was fascinated to learn that pricing a book at 99 cents didn’t translate into a huge jump in sales. Evidently readers are willing to pay a fair price for the e-books they read, and don’t balk at prices around $4.99 and $5.99.

    • Thanks for adding that about pricing, Nancy. I should have mentioned it. Their pricing experiments were interesting, I guess people like lower prices but not at the cost of a good read!

    • Your presentation was terrific, Nikoo & Jim! And I enjoyed the time you spent with all of us after lunch. Your shared info was priceless. So was your company :smile:. Thank you.

  2. Deb, I’m so sorry I missed the meeting, but your summary is wonderful. I’m just about ready to dip my toe with my backlist and a never-before-published series. Reading your blog today serves as great inspiration to get with it. ;o)

  3. Pingback: Shall I ask you to walk on the dark side of the moon? « …At Your Fingertips

    • Thanks so much for stopping in, Judith. I love your blog, including the poetry quotes and the pictures of New Zealand. You send an important message. I’ll look forward to following it.

  4. I’ve noticed quite a few traditionally published authors doing this these days, and it seems like a great idea to me. No need to ever let something go “out of print” when it comes to ebooks! And since those old manuscripts were already professionally edited, even better. There’s little cost involved for getting them out there (again). 🙂

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