Eyeing the Backlist

I’m reading Chris Fox’s book, Relaunch Your Novel: Breathe Life into Your Backlist.  With The Unity Wars launched, and so far doing just about as well as Brannigan’s Blackhearts (rather than exponentially better, as I’d hoped), I’ve started thinking about the fact that my backlist isn’t quite earning as much as it should be.

I’ve already done a little bit along these lines, with the new cover for Kill Yuan.  Reading Chris’ work, however, it could probably use some more tweaking, mainly in the blurb, keywords, and marketing aspect.

American Praetorians and Jed Horn get a bit thornier.

At this point, I think that a full relaunch of both series would be in order.  Jed Horn hasn’t ever done as well as the Praetorian books, in no small part because I simply marketed it to my fans, such as there are, and they were looking for military action.  It didn’t really make it in front of the more MHI/Repairman Jack sort of audience.  So, in addition to new covers for the first two at least (and probably new type for all four), it would benefit from a full relaunch.

The Praetorian books get a little more complicated.  Task Force Desperate was my first novel, and even going over it for the audiobook, I was seeing some of the rough spots.  Even worse, it has become dated by my use of real organizations and a geopolitical situation that was current in 2011, but has faded into the past.  It could do with a bit of a rewrite.  Similar problems apply to Hunting in the Shadows and Alone and Unafraid, especially since Daesh is currently on the run.  That problem wouldn’t be too hard to fix; simply rename ISIS in those novels to a fictional resurgent Sunni insurgency (which is inevitable, especially given the current Iranian domination of Baghdad).  I was getting my feet under me by the next two, so they shouldn’t need much.  The first two also definitely need new covers; Derrick was learning at the same time I was.  All of them are definitely going to need new blurbs and keywords.

The trouble with this idea is the fact that it is going to take time, time which will have to be carved out of an already busy writing schedule.  Not insurmountable, by any means, but it would take some extra scheduling.

What do you think, readers?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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5 thoughts on “Eyeing the Backlist

  1. Spend the time on the Jed Horn novels and figure out how to get them in front of MHI fans. While I am a big fan of the all of the MHI novels, I don’t think that I’ve ever read even one of the Jed Horn novels. (I am addressing that – I just bought Nightmares and will leave a review on Amazon when I’m finished.)
    Yes, the Praetorian novels are a little dated but I don’t think that is a problem for anyone who is looking for military fiction. They stand on their own and if you start updating them now, you’ll have to repeat every 10 years or so to keep them current.

  2. timothy smith

    I think that you should expand and extend the Jed Horn books. The genre is lush with ideas and you should be able expand beyond the elemental evil. The Praetorian novels should be left as is, other than re-editing as you see fit. I believe that this is a platform for you to create anthologies within your sphere, as well as using it as a platform for new writers to be introduced. There are guys with stories to tell that are just getting back to… their new normal, something that you have already done. I just finished the Unity book, and am torn about it. I’ll need to re-read it before writing a review. Keep up the good work.

  3. Bryan m

    Work on the Jed horn books, with a possible kill yuan universe continuation. Leave the Praetorian series alone where it is.

  4. Don’t get me wrong; the Jed Horn series is far from done. I’m going to be starting in on #5 before too much longer. The first couple books in both series definitely need at least new covers, though.

    As for Kill Yuan…I am considering folding it into the Brannigan’s Blackhearts universe.

  5. Alex Shishkin

    Having bought all your books except for the Unity Wars (will get that, too – I simply haven’t had much time to read anything lately), my first impulse is, of course: don’t spend any time on the old ones, just get new ones out faster! 🙂

    On the serious note – Jed Horn could definitely benefit form more MHI crowd’s attention. I have no idea how much relaunching with new cover can help in this regard – but if you think it will, it’s definitely worth trying.

    On rewriting the Praetorian series I have to second previous commenters: I don’t think it is a good idea. Some editing – yes. Trying to bring them ‘up to date’ with current world situation… no.

    Merging Kill Yuan into Blackhearts universe, OTOH, sounds like a workable and promising plan.

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