It’s not usually something you hear from an author, but if you’ve been a long-time follower, you may be aware this isn’t the first time I’ve unpublished books from my backlist before.
What’s a backlist? Anything I’ve previously published and kept for sale at retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Basically, anything that I’ve published in the past. An author’s main source of income is publishing, and in the business sense every book we publish is an asset we profit from every time a reader purchases our books.
So which books have I recently unpublished and why would I do it in the first place?? I’ll break it down for you.
The four books I recently unpublished (books you can’t get your hands on anymore):
• Let Me Out (originally self-published in 2012)
• In the Enemy’s Arms (originally published by The Wild Rose Press in 2013)
• Her Fallen Protector (an angel and demon paranormal romance published with Entangled Publishing in 2015)
• Her Seductive Target (an angel and demon paranormal romance self-published in 2016)
Book I’ve unpublished prior to this latest round:
• Die For Me (The follow-up to Let Me Out)
• White Trash Beautiful (my very first published work originally published by Evernight Publishing in 2012)
• The Break-up Artist (a short novella published with an agent-assisted self-publishing firm in 2014)
That’s right. Retailer links have been broken, the landing pages on my website no longer exist, and you, my friend, can’t read these books anymore.
It wasn’t an easy choice. One of the best things I can do for my income and my business is have as many books as possible available to my readers, so if they read one book, they can easily find more of my specific branding and storytelling easily.
Well, that wasn’t happening with these latest four books.
They Don’t Fit My Vision for My Career
Over the past two years, I’ve been writing a very specific kind of romantic suspense readers have fallen in love with. My Blackhawk Security series has gained so many fans since I started publishing with Harlequin Intrigue, and for me, this series is where I believe I really fell into where I see my career going from here on out.
Let Me Out was the second book I’d ever written. It’d been rejected by so many agents and publishers over a two-year timeframe, I decided to self-publish the book myself. However, I wrote the entire book without a plot structure, character development, or any kind of guide. In short, I felt like it was a hot mess that readers either gave 5 stars or hated every word (which I can’t complain about). However, now that my entire career going forward and my branding are focused on romantic suspense, I couldn’t call Let Me Out a romance because it doesn’t have a happily ever after (a requirement of the genre), and with a heroine who suffers from sever schizophrenia, I couldn’t slap one on and hope for the best. The book would require major rewrites that I’m currently not able to handle.
Along those same lines, In the Enemy’s Arms is a motorcycle romance. While it’s still romantic suspense with a happily ever after, I’ve never written more books around an MC and I don’t intend to, so this book has always felt like an outsider to my backlist and not a reflection of my current titles.
And then we get to Her Fallen Protector and Her Seductive Target. I love these books. Of all the books I unpublished recently, these two are probably the ones I would take the time to rewrite and change from paranormal romance to romantic suspense. However, I’m in love with these books because of the paranormal elements. Once again, I don’t write paranormal romance anymore. I started here in the beginning of my career, but my heart 100% lies with romantic suspense and they no longer serve my branding.
They Weren’t Making Me Any Money
Kind of self-explanatory.
Of all my titles currently available to readers, these four books were making me the least amount of money (like close to none each year). I didn’t want to hang onto them for the sake of having more books for fans to consume when they were doing nothing to serve my business and my income.
There was no real read-though from one of these books to the others because they’re so different than my two biggest series, and it all felt very disjointed. A few dollars here and there wasn’t enough to convince me to put more work and time into these four books.
They Don’t Reflect My Current Writing Style
As you can see above, I published all of these books between 2012-2016 at the beginning of my career.
I’ve taken years and invested thousands of hours into perfecting my craft over the last four years when I finally decided I wanted to take writing romance from a hobby I worked on after a long day at my day job to a full-time career.
My writing style, characterization, pacing style and so. many. other. variables have changed dramatically (for the better, I think) in the past three years alone, and each of these books would’ve required major overhauls in revisions to bring them up to my standards today. Time I just don’t have anymore.
The decision wasn’t easy, but with inspiration from Lyra Parish and the fact she just unpublished her entire backlist to rework her books and bring them up to date is what finally helped me pull the trigger. It wasn’t pretty, but I know in the long run, this was the best decision I could make for my career and my future in writing romantic suspense.