An Author’s Guide to Backlist Marketing

Seth Godin suggests that when thinking about backlist, “It really ought to be called the core list, because it’s fundamentally misunderstood as something in the background, an afterthought.”

Backlist is any book or resource you have produced that is one year or more older. It may not be the newest thing, but it is still valuable work to be shared.

How can you reinvigorate your backlist titles and help your work reach even more people as they come in contact with your previous work for the first time? Here are five suggestions…

Offer Review Copies

Through social media, email lists, launch teams, etc., give away free copies of your backlist title. Ask those who receive the copies to leave a review of your backlist title on a retailer site and It sounds like a simple ask, but it can have a powerful influence on your backlist book. USA Today reports that “even a single [Amazon] comment increases the rate at which online window-shoppers actually click the ‘buy’ button by 65%.” More reviews communicates trust to potential readers so they can more confidently click that buy button.

Build Your Email List

Offer a handful of copies of one of your backlist books to new subscribers to your email list. Not only can you keep your backlist title in front of your audience by shining a spotlight on it again, but you can also grow your email list for future launch teams and the release of new books. Win, win!

Share a View Into Your Writing Process

Talk about where you write, when you write, and what tools you use to write. Show pictures of your go-to writing space or a playlist of the music that helps you get in the writing zone. If you want to be really brave, let readers into the editing process, red marks and all, to show how you moved from initial idea to the backlist book that your readers love.

Discussion and Reflection Questions

If your original manuscript didn’t already include them, consider writing discussion or reflection questions for each chapter of your backlist title and post them to your site for use in book clubs or personal readings.

Use the Content for Today’s Purposes

Post excerpts from your backlist book on your site to keep the title in the minds of your audience, especially around special events, holidays, or key times in the church calendar.

Backlist may not be front of mind, but with a little effort and attention, it can continue to be read for years to come. Looking for more opportunities and ideas? Connect with your Lifeway/B&H marketing team representatives to continue the conversation!

Other Helpful Resources

For our team, serving you well includes the responsibility to share resources and tools for growing in your ministry. We hope the following are helpful.


Ordering Your Resources is Easy

You can order your Lifeway and B&H titles through a single point of contact by calling 1-844-647-4409 or emailing [email protected]. Our author care specialist will be ready and glad to help.