Saturday, June 12, 2010

Promoting backlist books...

Promoting Backlist Books

To an author, back list books are what keep you solvent while you are attempting to write that next big seller. Unfortunately, without any current new books out from that publisher, those back list books sit there unseen.

Most of us really go gung-ho on the new releases, hoping to attract attention to those, so that folks will automatically see and perhaps buy one of our back list books. But that leaves some of our best books languishing in the shadows, unseen and ignored.

For example, Dictated by Fate, my full length novel (240 pages) has been relegated to that dark corner of my back list, despite the fact that it is one of the best I have written. I have folks complaining about how short the novellas are, and how they wished I wrote longer books, but this is one they will never see, since it is from a different publisher, and is not displayed on my Ellora's Cave back list, where most of my back list sales come from.

This one is over at Resplendence Publishing. Because Resplendence is fairly new (barely three years old this summer), they don't have as much visibility as other e-pubs, but they do send the books out to a great many second-party sales vendors such as Amazon, ARe, Fictionwise, B&N and more. I just got a Google alert for my one and only print book from Resplendence, "Carnal Reunions Anthology", that is selling in Hindi, in India.

Needless to say, the shades need to be drawn up, light needs to be let into this particular back list, and the spotlight needs to be turned on bright.

Dictated by Fate

Fran Lee

Copyright 2009

Chris has been through hell, and is about to become homeless. Losing that great job has left her scrambling for pennies working fast food and working temps to make ends meet. But after many months of struggling, her rent is in arrears, and the landlord is evicting her. She finally got another good paying job, but they won't let her have another couple of months to catch up the arrears. She would pray for a white knight to rescue her, but there are no such things. She learned that the hard way long, long ago.

Antonio is in a pickle. His father's will stipulates that he must marry within a year of his death or lose the huge Rodriguez fortune. It will go to a cousin, leaving Tonio and his little sister with virtually nothing. Tonio has no desire to wed...not after his one horrendous experience with love. It all boils down to marrying one of his sister's friends, and being hogtied for life to a woman he can't stand, or quickly finding an acceptable alternative. One that will last only the two years required by the will. One he can get out of, and live his life free again.

She needs a rescuer. He needs a rescuer. Fate drags them together and offers them both what they desperately need. Now, if they can only get around their extremely inaccurate assumptions about each other...


At twenty-nine she wasn’t in the first bloom of youth, and despite all that crap about equal opportunity employment, she found herself fighting over scraps with busty young things fresh off the farm, scrambling to get a job until they could get that big break—and she had lost one hell of a lot of the battles. Most likely because she was unwilling to file a job app on her back in some sleazy store room.

She had managed to snag a few temps, a few fast food stints, and one or two short-term accounting jobs that had helped pay the bills and fend off bankruptcy. But the good paying, permanent job had come too late to save her this terribly embarrassing and depressing eviction.

She had managed to convince Mr. Anderson that she was far more efficient, and ten times more knowledgeable than the bevy of busty beauties applying for this particular job, so he had magnanimously given her a try, at half the salary she had been drawing with Erlinger and Dunn. But it was steady work, and the pay was better than she’d had for the past few months. If she could just have three weeks, she would have a handle on this.

Maybe she would try Mrs. Allen again in the morning. If she could only convince her to give her another month, she could catch up the back rent within a few weeks at the pay she would be getting. She drew another calming breath and decided to try again. Anything worth keeping was worth fighting for, even if it was going to be $200.00 more expensive next month. It would be terribly hard to rebuild her savings, spending another $200.00 on the rent, but what choice did she have? Of course, that was assuming that she was a good talker, and Mrs. Allen was a willing listener.

She sank down onto the bed and leaned her chin on her crossed arms. Maybe some miracle would happen to take her away from all of this. She rolled onto her back and closed her eyes. Some wildly handsome knight in shining armor, maybe, whisking her onto the back of his huge black stallion to ride off into the sunset.

Sure. Just like the last one.

She gave a groan and shook her head. There were no knights in shining armor. There were no saviors riding in and carrying the fair maiden away from a fate worse than death. Those guys had all been figments of some writer’s imagination. Lancelot and Arthur had been myths—chivalry had only been for the rich, not the poor—and if she had brought any naïve illusions out west with her at twenty three, they were all completely dispelled by now.

There would be no rescuer to save her from this mess. She had been looking for him since she was sixteen, and she was quite certain she would die an old maid because the men she had seen didn’t even come halfway up to her slowly evaporating ideal. Of course, the only men she knew were either married but looking, divorced and on the rebound—or gay.

In her age group, the pickings were pretty slim. Oh, there were plenty of opportunities to hop into the sack with someone. But she wanted more than a one-night stand. She had those in her dreams. In real life she wanted more—so much more.

She had decided several years back that she didn’t want to get involved with married men, nor was she interested in nursing a sick ego back to health for some other woman. She was doomed to remain unplucked, as it were, rotting on the frigging vine. She flushed at her naïve thoughts, and punched her pillow into submission with an angry fist.

“Wake up, stupid!” she growled. “There is no such animal as Prince Charming!”

Sleep came unwillingly, and only after a long fist fight with her uncooperative mattress and pillow. At least in her sleep Prince Charming did exist. He was a welcome visitor to her restless nights, and as she sank into weary oblivion, he was there waiting in the silken darkness to help her forget.

He was standing where she always found him. He was looking out over the rooftops toward the black, roiling ocean, with the wind blowing his dark hair across his shadowy face, his body hidden in the mists of her dream. Strange, how she never managed to actually see him. Only feel him. Sense his intensity. He turned to face her as she floated from the door of the stairwell, and the only part of his face she could see were his lips, those sinfully wicked, curving lips that did such heavenly things to her body. Why couldn’t she see him?

As always, he said nothing. Reaching out to her, he pulled her close with lean, strong hands and took her mouth savagely, needfully, hotly. His tongue was strong, hot, decadently delicious, tasting of delights she desperately wanted to know. There was heat in his kiss. Deep, sizzling heat. Devouring her. Building within her an aching hunger as his mouth and tongue left her faint and desperate for more.

His hands—oh, those marvelous, strong hands. Hands that moved slowly, decadently, torturing every place they moved, making her hot and greedy for more. Hands that cupped her barely covered breasts as he demanded everything.

He was naked. He was always naked. His smooth bronzed skin hot against hers as her own virginal white gown melted beneath his searing touch. She desperately wanted to see all that seductive, sweat-sheathed skin. She could never see his body clearly, and it was so hard and strong, so completely masculine and hot. She could not see his rippling muscles—only feel them as her own hands frantically moved over his chest and shoulders. Her palms caressed the hard nubs of masculine nipples, and when she tried to look at his body, he kissed her again, passionately, hungrily, preventing her from looking her fill.

He smiled down into her face as he held up the black cloth that he invariably wrapped around her eyes, and she shook her head. No! She wanted to see him! And then she was lost once more in the black folds of cloth as he ran his mouth down her body to her navel, his hot tongue swirling over her skin as she clutched his thick dark hair and begged him to finish this time—just once—so that she would know what it felt like. Her body was aflame, her lips trembling as she begged him to take away the cloth so that she could feast her eyes on him.

He laughed softly at her cries, ignoring her breathless need to see. His mouth moved over her trembling lips then tracked lower over her aching throat as she moaned and clung to his shoulders.

His fingertips trailed over her aching nipples, to be replaced by his hot, wet mouth suckling, teasing—his tongue swirling seductively around her breast’s puffy tip, his hot breath making the painful tightness of her nipple even more desperately unbearable.

“I want you to—oh, please—touch me! Please, let me see you,” she sobbed as her hands dragged his body closer. Oh, the enthralling feel of his body beneath her fingers—under her aching palms. Her mind swirled in a miasma of unsated passion as he laughed and moved to the other nipple, tugging it deep into his hot mouth as his hands—oh, God! Those wonderful, talented hands—cupped her breasts as he licked, nipped, and nibbled until she wanted to die of the pleasure. Don’t stop! No! Please don’t stop.

He moved downward, his lips and tongue leaving a trail of devastation in their heated wake as he slipped down her body, his hands cupping her ass and lifting her hips to press a wanton kiss above her wet coppery curls. Oh, please! Yes!

He was pressing her thighs apart—seeking, teasing—until she lifted her hips and threw her head back, panting in desperation. She felt his delicious fingertips slip into the wet, swollen cleft between her legs—felt the heat swelling—that hot, sensuous beginning of ravening passion. She felt his long, lean fingers dip and swirl over her clitoris and into her throbbing center, felt the sweet, hot torture of his mouth as he kissed her wet sex, his tongue swirling, dipping—offering paradise! Almost—there—please—oh, please—oh—yeah…

Oh, shit!

The alarm brought her up from her bed with a strangled curse. Damn him! Even in her dreams, Prince Charming was just a frigging tease! She calmed her raging pulses and closed her eyes, falling back onto her damp pillow with a groan.

How many times had she felt him in her dreams? How many times had she so nearly felt the explosion she desperately craved? Oh, yeah, he was a damned tease.

But at least he wasn’t gay.


  1. Fran, this is a really good point I haven't seen anyone else address. I have been promoting the heck out of a book that just went to print, but all the time I have this pervasive sense of unease that I ought to be doing more for my backlist books. Hopefully, you have motivated me!

  2. I think you're right, Fran. I concentrate so much time and effort into promoting the next release or writing the next book. I have lots of older titles that are really good books and they need a little push.

  3. It's hard to figure out how much promo to do for backlist books, but it's definitely something we should be doing. I too do promo for the current/latest book...and sometimes forget the others.

  4. I'm trying to battle this as well. I'm doing some promoting on Are for Deadly's a full length and with the second in the series only out a couple of months, I'm trying to regenerate interest in it. I'm also promoting Worlds Apart, my new RP release... trying to go by the wisdom that for every new release I promote, promote a backlist as well.

    We'll have to see if it works, lol. But you can only do so much.

  5. As a reader, I think it is important to list all your books on your website, with the book covers linked to excerpts and/or pubishers. Also, when you are promoting a new release, it would be helpful if you also list all or some of your backlist books (with links) at the bottom of the promo message, especially if it is a series.

  6. It's funny you blogged about this. I just had a chat over at Whipped Cream and I shared excerpts from my backlist instead of mine new release. I wanted the chatters to know I had more than the new release.

  7. Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your kindness. Tamsyn, as you can see, I do list every one of my back list books on every one of my websites and blogs. I started doing that when I first began to blog. Has anyone here read any of my books from RP? Just curious.

  8. Fran, as a matter of fact, I have Dictated By Fate. And I love the book!

  9. I loved Dictated By Fate too, and the longer length was perfect.

    Once I catch on to a new to me author, I always track down their back list and slowly add those books to my library. Highlighting those titles in a post like today, is a great reminder to us fans. So thanks, Fran, I just added A Brief Moment of Pleasure to my FW weekend buy list.

  10. Fran, this sounds AWESOME:) I just finished reading your 'Out of her Dreams' and LOVED it! I'm putting this on my TBB list. Finally getting around to your books:)

  11. I always check into a 'new to me' author's back list.

  12. Once a month I have a chat scheduled. Do a lot of people show up? Not necessarily. However people do read though the excerpts--sometimes up to two weeks later.

    Each month I choose a couple books from my backlist to focus on at the chat. I've kept a careful record of sales vs. focus books. And....guess what? The focus books sales pick up for the month I featured them.

    I rotate them so that every book gets it's highlight at least twice a year.

    And of course, I also rotate the highlighted books every month on my website!

  13. Great blog and very timely subject. I've been wondering about the same thing. I have a small back list and try to promote at different times of the month on a couple of the yahoo groups I belong to.

    Like Tessie, I always check out an author's backlist if I like what I've read. And Anny's chats are fun:-)

  14. Great idea, Anny...sorry that I have been such a lousy chatter. :( I keep planning to join your chat, but then I just sit at my dumb computer and play games. I promise I will be a good girl next one and actually show up and chat for ten minutes. I promise. I promise.

  15. Thanks for entering the comments contest on this RP back list book! And the winner is...Fran Lee. Psyche! LOL! The real winner is...Molly! Congrats!


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