I’ve been thinking about my backlist lately. Probably because I just finished editing Dead World 3: Crimson. Crimson marks the final book in my backlist that I have the rights back on. It took a LOT of work to get it into better shape. (Note: Not great shape, but better.) Having done so much work on the book, it’s made me want to take a look at my other titles. What I’ve
known for a while discovered is that there are books that were professionally published that I no longer feel comfortable having on my list. (i.e. SELLING TO READERS)
I know that I can be hard on my work. Far harder than the most vicious reviewer. (Believe me, your worst doesn’t even come close to touching my inner writing demons. Mine would make the devil quake.) That said, there are a few books in my backlist that I feel no longer represent me well. When I wrote them, I certainly did the best I could with the knowledge I had. But I know more now. I don’t like the idea of an unsuspecting reader picking up one of these books and thinking that it’s a good representation of me as a writer.
In this VERY competitive market, I don’t believe any writer can afford to make a bad impression. It’s okay if a reader doesn’t like your book. That’s just part of the game. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about books that do not showcase your talents. This does not necessarily mean older books. I have some older books that I wrote that are no longer my style, but I still find them entertaining. I feel perfectly comfortable leaving them up for readers to try. If they get the spirit of what I was trying to do and they’re entertained, then I’m happy.
When I first started self-publishing my backlist, the goal was to get everything up. Not a bad goal, but not a smart publishing strategy. The way I originally looked at the big picture was that these books had been professionally published so therefore they were fine to be republished by me. It’s not that I was wrong, but my logic was flawed. I was going for volume and grateful that I had a big enough backlist to do so, but I should’ve considered other things along the way like: Does this book represent me well as a writer? Does this book tie into my goals? Does this book fit with my other releases?
The answer is no. Some of my books do not fit that criteria, which means it’s time to clean house. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be removing some of my titles. Not a lot, but a few I don’t believe represent me well. It’s all part of my bigger plan to organize my writing career. Put my best foot forward so to speak. I appreciate your patience and understanding. This hasn’t been an easy decision for me to make.