I was using my chain saw to cut up some downed branches last Monday, when the third book in my historical series, Banking On Temperance, made its debut. It occurred to me that I had been in this same position last July, when my first book, The Reluctant Debutante, was released. What is it with release dates and chain saws, anyway?
I thought on this subject for several days before I found the answer. My woodpile takes time to build each spring and summer. Unlike most rational folks who buy firewood by the pre-cut cord, I collect branches from both my yard with its old trees that don't bend in the wind like they used to, and from my sister's 22-acres of trees. I use my little chain saw to cut these branches up, and build my pile slowly. And before you get the wrong impression, I'm not a muscle-bound, gas-powered chain-saw toting woman with tats and a cigarette hanging from my mouth. My saw has only a 16-inch blade and is powered by electricity. It should be painted pink, it's such a girlie saw. Every time I take it in for sharpening, I have to listen to the comments: "Let's see if we can get this bad boy fixed up for you," or "You sure you can handle that saw?" That's when the guys in the chain-saw sharpening place aren't snickering.
But, I digress. The comparison I'm trying to make is this: my woodpile is like my backlist. It's taken me a while to build one. Last week I celebrated the release of Book #4--three historical and one contemporary. A fourth historical is set for release in the fall, and I've just finished my second contemporary, which I'll start shopping around next week. Slowly, over the past year, the woodpile that is my backlist has been building. So on a day like today, when I see sales of books one, two and four, I can get a warm and fuzzy feeling that my hard work is beginning to pay off.
Kind of like the warm and fuzzy feeling I get each cold winter night when I light a fire using the wood I've spent the previous spring and summer cutting up and stockpiling. My father had a slogan that "When you chop your own wood, it warms you twice." For me, since I'm usually stacking and hauling it from my sister's house and then unstacking it from my car and stacking it onto the woodpile, it's more like three or four times...kind of like editing a manuscript.Wait--I'm sensing another metaphor...
So what do you equate your backlist to?