Barry Eisler on Discounting His Entire Backlist to 99 Cents

Hi everyone!  Today I’m happy to welcome Barry Eisler back to the blog.  If you’ve been paying any attention at all to publishing news lately, you already know about his fascinating publishing journey.  Barry started out traditionally published with his bestselling John Rain series.  Then, in 2011 he turned down a $500,000 deal from St. Martin’s press --  first to self publish, but then he then accepted a deal to publish the series with Amazon.  Since then, he’s continued be a leader and innovator in the digital transition.

About a week ago, Barry ran a special promotion where he offered his entire backlist for 99 cents.  As a fan, I thought it was awesome (and may or may not have dropped everything right then and there to run to Amazon).  As a writer,  I thought it was a really interesting strategy, and Barry graciously agreed to chat about the goals behind that promotion and how it went for him.

Great to have you back, Barry!  The last time you visited the blog, you’d just released The Detachment with Amazon Publishing.  Since then, quite a lot has happened.  Would you mind quickly catching us up?

Hi Livia, good to chat with you again and thanks for the invitation.  Let’s see, catching up... well, The Detachment earned out in less than two months, which was nice, and has sold a healthy six-figures worth of units since then.  I managed to get the rights reverted to my entire Putnam and Ballantine backlists, and have since repackaged and self-published those eight titles.  I’ve published a short story and a novella with Thomas & Mercer -- The Khmer Kill and London Twist -- and they’ve both been doing well.  And I’ll be turning in the new novel, a Rain prequel, this summer, to be published by T&M later this year.

So this past weekend, your entire backlist was available for 99 cents.  Can you tell us about the goals and reasoning behind this promotion?