Sunday, March 27, 2011

Catherine Cookson: The New Agency Model?

When you have sold over 100 million books, been the most borrowed author for many years in UK public libraries and had many of your works turned in to TV drama films you may ask whether you need a traditional publisher to go digital?

Following the lead of the likes of the Ian Fleming estate, the Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust has now decided to release 100of her works as ebooks . This really starts to set a precedent that many major literary estates and authors whose contract are not digitally tied may well follow. The print publishers, Transworld Publishers and Simon & Schuster, now look to loose out on all digital Cookson sales and far from positioning her for the digital world look to have lost her.

Catherine Cookson’s agent is now publishing the 100 e-book works through her own company, Peach Publishing.

Back list authors such as Cookson have made a great deal of money for their publishers, but lately have attracted relatively little real marketing, or brand exploitation and this is stimulating them and agents to rethink the management of their digital brands and opportunities.

My father in law Deric Longden has also taken a similar route with two of his best selling biographies which were turned into internationally acclaimed the award winning films, Lost For Words and Diana’s Story. My mother in law Aileen Armitage is about to reintroduce some 12 of her 34 historical novels as ebooks having been told by her previous publisher that there is no longer an interested in the genre.

Perhaps publishers need to look a bit harder at authors such as June Barraclough, Jean Plaidy, Nora Lofts, Shelia McCullagh and recognise that these perennial and previous bestsellers could offer them much digitally.

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