Back to the backlist as crime author Faith Martin sells over a million Hillary Greene ebooks in a year

British crime author Faith Martin has sold more than one million copies of her Detective Inspector Hillary Greene novels over the past year.

You won’t find her titles in many bookshops as she’s a best-selling Kindle ebook star in the UK and US whose books are also available through the Kindle Unlimited subscription ebook service.

The Hillary Greene books are set in and around Oxford and the novels were originally published by a traditional publisher Robert Hale, starting way back in 2004 with the first in the 17-book series.

However, Robert Hale’s 80-year history came to an end in 2015 when it ceased trading. Faith Martin’s titles were then picked up by Joffe Books, a new and vibrant force in British indie publishing which launched in 2013 as a crime, mystery and thriller digital-first specialist, although it also publishes paperback editions.

Since then, Joffe has republished all 17 of the Hillary Greene books under new titles which all start with ‘Murder…’ and has marketed them to the extent that they have been dominating the Kindle best-sellers’ lists for the past couple of years.

Now Joffe is turning its attentions to another Faith Martin mystery series about a caterer called Jenny Starling who becomes involved in various criminal cases on her travels.

These books were also originally published by Robert Hale and were written under the pen name of Joyce Cato. They are now being retitled by Joffe Books and published under the name of Faith Martin (which is also a pen name as the author’s real name is Jacquie Walton).

There’s more where that came from as well as Faith Martin is a very industrious author who has written across different genres under several pen names. She is also currently writing a new police series that’s proving very popular, set in Oxford and featuring police officers Loveday and Ryder.

Faith Martin says, “I never in a million years thought we’d sell over a million copies in just over a year. I just want to thank all my readers, wherever on the planet you live, for taking Hillary Greene to your hearts the way you have. I really do feel very humble and frankly stunned for the great response there’s been.”

This is Joffe Books’ second author to hit one million copies as British crime author Joy Ellis was the first to hit seven figures with her crime novels set in the East of England.

Joffe Books has been growing fast and has sold over two million books in 2018 so far, a substantial increase from 2017’s 1.4 million sales and over 300 million pages read on Kindle Unlimited, reckoned to be the equivalent of another 1.5 million sales. In 2018 the company says it has now reached a cumulative billion pages read through Kindle Unlimited, which means a total of around the equivalent of more than 5 million sales just on KU since launch.

It illustrates vividly the power of an author’s backlist combined with smart ebook marketing. If you’re an author with books that are out of print, you should certainly look to self-publishing them as ebooks.

The first thing to do is to check that the rights have reverted to you. You will need to produce a new cover as the original cover will be covered by copyright through the publisher and/or designer/artist.

Non-fiction books may well need updating and rewriting but fiction is meant to stand the test of time so you should be able to republish in ebook format without too much added work.

Or perhaps you should consider getting in touch with one of the new breed of indie publishers like Joffe Books, which is open to submissions from new and published authors.

The company focuses on mysteries, crime fiction, psychological thrillers, detective novels and suspense. They do not charge any fees for publishing and marketing and offer ‘a competitive royalty rate on sales’. They do, however, point out that they get a lot of submissions and only select a small percentage of authors to work with.

You can find out more at the Joffe Books website.