23 September 2021

ILP Acquires
Patrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek Series

International Literary Properties (ILP), the global company that invests in, acquires, manages, and enhances literary estates, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Patrick Carman’s Skeleton Creek series. ILP negotiated an IP and revenue acquisition with an ongoing revenue stream going directly to the author.

Molly Cusick, Vice President, Literary at ILP, shared the exclusive details of the company’s investment in the property and its first year of development in her session ‘It’s a marathon, not a sprint: Extending the life of a book post-Covid’ at The Bookseller’s Children’s Conference, yesterday.

Skeleton Creek, an immersive middle-grade mystery/horror series set in a small former mining town, is a ground-breaking multi-media experience using alternating videos and text. Originally published between 2009-2014, sales of the series had started to slow in recent years before ILP acquired the copyright for it last summer.

ILP’s investment has seen a website relaunch with new content and SEO, strategic marketing to expand the audience beyond middle school readers, and enhanced classroom resources for teachers and librarians. The ongoing participation of Patrick Carman was an integral part of this expansive new work, with the author providing bonus stories for the website and a short series of videos on urban legends, all with high production values. So far, this activity has led to a 1,000% uplift in website traffic, a significant increase in orders for high school classes, and an overall royalty growth of 58% year-on-year.

Molly Cusick says:

“The pandemic has proved a challenge for selling backlist titles that aren’t yet at classic status, but by treating backlist like frontlist this can be overcome. At ILP, we felt that Skeleton Creek was greatly deserving of a broader audience. After we acquired the series, we set out to increase awareness and discoverability among key decision makers, including teachers, librarians and trusted adults in children’s lives. Central to this was creating resources to eliminate hurdles for teachers to use the books in the classroom, optimising SEO, and reframing the series as perfect for reluctant readers and teens through purchasing advertising key words. Not only is it a wonderful thing to support an author long after publication but there is also money to be made from this strategy: ILP found that a small financial investment paid dividends with substantial growth in royalties in the last year.”

Skeleton Creek joins a growing number of properties and estates owned and managed by ILP, including Georges Simenon and Margery Allingham, as the business continues to expand across the US and UK.