"Backlist" refers to older traditional published works that are still available, not new releases (per Web11, but paraphrased in my own words). In this post, however, I'm using it more for an Indie's stockpile of stories not yet published.
For me, as of March 25, 2013, I had twelve WIPs (works in progress). In my mind, each was designated as a novel that I would finish when I had "free time." I had printed them all out earlier this year as a backup procedure mostly, but then I three-hole punched them, arranged each in its own notebook, noting the number of pages and the WC (word count) along with its working title on the spine.
Thereafter I ordered them per increasing WC. The shortest was twenty-five DS (double-spaced) pages, with the second longest my category of 50K and 285 DS pages (my 2011 NaNo project) and the longest being my mainstream of 92K WC and 432 DS pages.
Then it hit me. Those two finished first draft projects are designated by their length: category and mainstream. What if my shortest stories are actually that? Short stories.
As an Indie, there is nothing to stop me—OR YOU—from uploading a short story now and later turning it into a full-length novel if it tempts me/you so.
So that is what I have been doing. From 03.19 to 03.26, I spent forty-five hours finalizing my first three short stories (the shortest of my WIPs) and uploaded my first collection of them.
Now my WIPs total nine.
Beginning 03.28, I started working on my second collection of SSs (short stories). Yesterday, I reviewed the first one, found another notebook further down my stack that is actually more of this one but under another name (which brings my WIP count down to eight). Went through both the original story and its addenda, have a handle on what I need to accomplish to merge the two.
Today, I read through the next WIP. It needs more work to have a beginning, middle and end. But my subconscious mind knows to deal with that while I'm doing other things.
The last SS for this second collection, I plan to look over later today.
I've already prepared the cover for this one, and the front/back matter. My first collection had a total of 125 DS pp. This next one will incorporate 142 DS pp (as they currently stand; that page count may increase as I add stuff in, take stuff out).
The next three projects down the list (with 98, 140 and 162 DS pp, respectively, as is) may each be released as stand-alone novellas.
If it takes me forty-five hours for each 125-page segment (the length of the first collection and the time it took for that e-book compilation), then I need 9.5 weeks to finalize my WIPs.
Remember, I'm ALL INDIE. So that forty-five hours, while not including the original creation time involved for any of these writings, does count copyediting, proofreading, a "reader" read-through, design/production work, cover art work, front/back pages and actual uploading onto my three main platforms (Amazon, B&N and Kobo).
I am so looking forward to having all my WIPs moved over into the "completed" column.
Denise Barker, author + blogger + copy editor