Dracarys! (Backlist Burndown)

October 14, 2014



Backlist books. We all have them on our TBRs, many of them by favorite authors, but what percentage of those do we actually get to compared to new releases that we want to read? At least if you’re blogging? I know for me, the percentage is pretty darn depressing. When I look at some of the books I have not read yet, I really wonder what I have been doing with my reading time. It’s so easy to get pulled in to the new shiny things, the latest and greatest new releases. Especially when you can get ARCs of them from publishers in exchange for reviews and you hear other bloggers chatting about them, building anticipation. And it also doesn’t help when you notice a trend for lower traffic for previously published books (at least for me). So, it’s easy to put them off for “another day” or “after I catch up with ARCs”. Well, I think I have decided I need to change that, even if it means reading less ARCs and getting lower traffic. My blog is really about reading books I want to read, and posting my thoughts. I feel like I’ve just gotten a bit distracted. And I am not trying to downplay new releases, I still see TONS of books I want to read (and plan on reading). But I also want to start addressing my backlist books. Quit neglecting.

the_dragon_of_hell_by_benjja1-d37mdgiI need to make the time to read the rest of Robin Hobb’s books, to read more than one book by Guy Gavriel Kay. To read Tom Lloyd’s Stormcaller series. This last on is one that I only discovered because I had an ARC of his Moon’s Artifice, so I’m not complaining about ARCs (who in their right mind would do that??) and certainly don’t plan on quitting them completely. There are other authors, like Lauren Beukes, who I feel I really need to read her books that were published prior to her latest that I just read and reviewed. I think I just need to be even more selective in what I request until I manage to catch up on many of the books I feel are “must reads”, but I still haven’t read them. It used to be, when I read the first in a series, I would just read straight through and I kind of miss that.

I’m hoping to read at least one backlist book a month, maybe more. I just finished Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb and even though I have several books for review lined up that I feel I should read next, I’m kind of tempted to continue on with Mad Ship next.

How do other people manage this? I’ve only been reading the genre for about 4 years. That’s a good chunk of time, but given the number of amazing books I had to experience, it’s left a ton of things for me to catch up on. So, I’m curious, do other people have this problem? Do you have favorite authors, or new to you authors that you feel you “must read” more of? But just never seem to find the time? Anyone else interested in working on their backlist turndown?


  • Rabindranauth October 14, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    This! I have some monster sized backlists. SF and Fantasy Masterworks, Mieville, Steven Erikson, Robin Hobb, Brent Weeks, Peake, Jim Butcher, Neil Gaiman . . . . . it’s an abyss that goes on and on and on, I tells ya. That’s the proverbial tip of the iceberg. There’s really only one way to deal with it, I think. It’s the way I’ve been working as of recent, at least.

    Unless it’s an ARC of an author I love, or for a book/series I’ve had my eye on/started reading, I don’t bother with it. No more random reading of what “looks” shiny. That’s normally just marketing being done right. It’s hard to stick to at times, but so far I’ve generally had a better reading experience. In the coming months I actually want to read more Indie stuff, to support em. I feel like they’re generally being given a bad rap for the actions of a few bad eggs. But other than that, all my reads are backlist stuff.

    As to traffic; backlists don’t necessarily mean lesser traffic. It’s the opposite for me, at least. But then again, most of my backlist stuff are the highly regarded/popular genre stuff, so I actually end up with some pretty big draws compared to average whenever I post on one. Case in point, my recent review of Lord of Light. That book’s been out decades, and it completely blew past everything else on the blog, getting the most Likes. So it’s not so much backlist as popularity. Then again, your traffic’s probably better in general than mine, so you’d experience a bigger dip. I’m averaging between 30-40 hits per day currently.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 10:21 am

      You know, I think I pay so much attention to the number of hits I get when I first post, that I don’t always notice the overall stats for books as they get google hits over time. 🙂
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  • Romeo Kennedy October 14, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Im kinda the same. I think I read a hell of a lot and then when I look at other blogger’s posts and they’re talking about Peter F. Hamilton or Raymond E. Feist and Tad Williams, Im sat there thinking- I havent read any of these guys stuff, what the hell have I been doing? Then I start feeling like Ive only just begun reading sff as I havent read some of these, but I end up telling myself that Im being silly. So then it goes I track down the authors that I should have read ages ago and In some ways its cool because It makes me approach the genre with fresh eyes but in other ways it feels like Im back to the start. Neil Gaiman (as you know) was a recent discovery for me, sure, I was aware of him and his work but I think it comes down to this. There are so many great sff authors out there and I really would like to think there is no right or wrong way to discover the books you love. At least thats how Im going to approach it, and also, lists. I make a list on paper of books that I want and will get, like a booket list. Im rambling now. I’ll shush. 🙂
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 10:22 am

      You know what’s funny, I wonder how many of the bloggers that have read the ones that make you wonder what you’ve been reading, look at your list and wonder what they’ve been reading 🙂 Booket list! Love it 🙂
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  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) October 15, 2014 at 12:09 am

    I came into the genre late. But I have made good progress in the backlist. I have not read the LONG series much, a la WOT. But I try to read a classic every so often, a eighties/nineties book every now and then, and then thrown in the more recent ones. Fact is I want to read them all, new and old, and will never actually catch up.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 10:39 am

      WoT is also on my not read list, but I can’t decide if I want to read that one. Malazan on the other hand, I’ve read the first and think I would quite enjoy, but man! That would take a while. A few others that read it with our book club in January have been doing read alongs non-stop since then and they are still not done! There’s no way to catch up. Even if you were not new to the genre, I think there is just so much out there. I guess the point is to just enjoy what you can and pick the ones you think you’ll enjoy most. 🙂
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  • Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy October 15, 2014 at 12:16 am

    I definitely have the same problem, requesting way to many arcs, then feeling guilty if I don’t read them. And all the while the books that I really want to read are passing me by. The trick is to just let review books go sometimes and read those backlist books that you want to. Now if only I could follow my own advice!
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 10:42 am

      In the grand scheme of things, I haven’t been requesting very many, but I also don’t read as many books as many bloggers, so I feel like I really need to be extra careful. Its so easy to see all the book haul posts and be tempted to get all the goodies!! 🙂 Right now, I think I am going to read Liveship traders straight through then return to my review books. I haven’t requested any new ones in the mean time 🙂
      Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Ship of Magic by Robin HobbMy Profile

  • Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum October 15, 2014 at 12:58 am

    I have tried to fit in backlist books, as seen from my to-read lists I make every season, which only includes non-review books. LOL, well, you can see how well that’s gone. I’m actually quite glad I read a lot of backlist before I got into blogging. Not that I’m complaining because I love blogging/reviewing books and getting to review arcs, but it definitely has put some restrictions on my reading.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Yep, I don’t want to complain, I really enjoy the new books and the ARCs and blogging. But sometimes there are books on my TBR that are just begging to be read, but I never seem to get to them. Trying to make more of an effort because when it comes down to it, what I read is my choice so if I feel like I really should have read it and haven’t there’s only one way to change that. 🙂
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  • Miriam @ Inky Realms October 15, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I discovered (or more accurately, finally got around to reading) Robin Hobb a few months ago and promptly binge-read her first three trilogies. So I vote you read Mad Ship next! It’s pretty awesome.

    Good post though. I love Guy Gavriel Kay but haven’t read enough of his backlist. I keep getting distracted by recent releases.. which is great because they lead to more discussion, but also kind of a loss…
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Yep, I’m over halfway through Mad Ship, and think I will have a hard time not going straight into the final book of the trilogy, so I think I will likely just read all 3 back to back. It’s been so long since I’ve done that, and its so much fun!! 🙂 Especially when it is Hobb!
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  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) October 15, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    I totally have this problem! I think most bloggers do. That is such a great goal to read non review backlist books. I really need to set that goal for myself as well. There was a whole list of must read fantasy books I wanted to get to this year and look already the end of the year is near approaching.

    You might be right about the lower traffic on older books but I still think they get enough to make it warranted and hey it’ll encourage others to read their backlist or to read that book you just read.

    Looking forward to seeing which one you pick first. To me I consider anything that I’ve purchased to be backlist lol.
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 11:21 am

      I picked Ship of Magic, and absolutely no regrets!! In fact, I went straight into the second of the trilogy and think I may end up read the third one as well. It’s been so long since I’ve read a series front to back like that and really really enjoying it!! Which is the whole point! 🙂
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  • Danya @ Fine Print October 16, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I definitely get sidetracked by ARCs sometimes, but really the point of starting a blog was so that I had a platform to talk about the books I’d been wanting to read forever. I have a MASSIVE book collection from years of working at the library (taking home discarded items, buying from the annual library sale early, etc.) and so many of them remain unread. It’s true that older books usually means lower traffic…but traffic only really matters if you a) want ARCs or b) your blog is your job. Since I’m trying to cut back on the ARCs I guess that means I don’t have to worry about traffic. Besides, a lot of the big ARCs that I see floating around just aren’t my cup of tea. Makes it easier to concentrate on the books I actually do want to read!
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) October 20, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Yeah, stats are not really my top priority, just need to read what I want. Which still includes tons of new releases!! I do love most of the ARCs I get.
      Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Ship of Magic by Robin HobbMy Profile