The Backlist Blues by Lynn Lorenz

I have an extensive backlist. For those of you who don’t know what a backlist is, it’s all of the books before your latest book. I happen to have over 40 books and novellas in my backlist.

Years ago, having a backlist with my publishers was great! Readers would buy one of my current books, like it, and then buy more from the backlist. Lots more.

Now, not so much.

It didn’t take me long to figure out why…the price. It all comes down to money. Many of my readers will pay the price my publishers ask when a book comes out. Those prices are set by the publisher, not me. But a large, very large, group of readers will not pay what my publisher is asking. So many readers new to the genre in the last 2-3 years have never read one of my books. They don’t know me. And that isn’t good.

They don’t have a lot of money, for one. I so get that. It’s tough financially.

But the biggest factor is that they don’t need to pay $6.99 for an ebook. With Amazon and other third party vendors, they can download free books, $.99 books, and often refuse to pay over $3.99 for a novel, much less a novella.

I’m going to skip over the “quality” issues, just focus on financial, because I believe in the quality of my books. Enough said.

Only a few of my books, mainly novellas, in my backlist are at $3.99, and none are less.

So, my glorious backlist is pretty much worthless to me.

Times have changed, so must I. And I don’t like it, because I’m basically lazy. It means I have to salvage my backlist by taking back my rights so I can self-publish them at a much lower price, while incurring more costs, like cover art and formatting.

This is a business. I’m very aware of that and what I have to do to survive and make money. I don’t like it because I’m very happy with my publishers. They are my partners in my publications. But if I look at this frankly, the books I’m taking back have made both of us plenty of money over the 4-6 years they’ve been out there.

So I made a decision to take back many of my older gay romance books from my publishers and self-publish them. So far, I’ve taken back three books.
The first foray into this will be Best Vacation That Never Was, a book I wrote in 2009. It sold very well when it came out and did for several years. Now, it languishes. Like a turtle on a log in the hot sun. Like a fat dog in the shade of an oak tree.

And it shouldn’t because it’s a great book! Well reviewed and one of my bestsellers. And I’m hoping at the new lower price, new readers will discover it and me. And I’m hoping they’ll like what they read and want more.

Yes, it took a bit of money to get this off the ground, but with time I’m hoping to lower those costs by eliminating formatting fees. I’m just not going to take on the cover art right now. And I’m very happy with my new cover, by Lex Valentine! She captured the fun and lightheartedness of the book perfectly. Here’s her cover… BestVacationthatNeverWas_200

So, this November, along with a new release from Loose Id of the fourth book in the Rougaroux Social Club, Bayou des Enfants, my Cajun werewolf series, I’ll be releasing Best Vacation That Never Was at Amazon and others at a new low price.

I hope readers who haven’t read my books will give me a shot. And like what they read. Because I have two more books to release in the near future.

2 thoughts on “The Backlist Blues by Lynn Lorenz

  1. Smart move, Lynn. I was at the NINC con in St. Pete Beach just over a week ago and back list should be KING. By pricing yourself for the market and taking advantage of the much more indie receptive e-retailers, I am darn sure your back list campaign will succeed and help float all your other books’ sales upward. And I’ve been told that $3.99 is the perfect pricing for novels. A little PR birdie told me that.


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