Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Publishing a Backlist: Guest Post by Mike Befeler

In the May, 2008, issue of the AARP Bulletin Mike Befeler was identified as one of four authors in a new emerging mystery sub-genre, geezer-lit!.Mike turned his attention to fiction writing after a career in high technology marketing. Mike's published books include six book in the Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series and a stand-alone. Today Mike shares his experiences on publishing a Backlist.

Mike Befeler:
Publishing a Backlist 

The publishing industry constantly changes, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. We authors always face the consequences of publishers consolidating or eliminating parts of their publishing businesses. Six books in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series and a standalone theater mystery were originally published by Five Star (a part of Gale/Cengage Learning). Unfortunately, Five Star decided to exit the mystery publishing business. The good news is they reverted the rights for these books to me.

Since I wanted to keep these books in print, I contracted with another publisher, Encircle Publications, to release these as trade paperbacks. The original books were in hardcover, so the new editions are approximately half the price. This is a win-win for readers and me, as I can continue to offer these books in print and readers can get them at a more reasonable price.

For those of you not familiar with my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series, here is a summary. Paul Jacobson, the protagonist, is in his mid-eighties and suffers from short-term memory loss. Although Paul can’t remember the day before, he becomes an amateur sleuth and even has a romance with a young chick in her seventies.

In book one, Retirement Homes Are Murder (ISBN 978-1893035-85-0), Paul lives in a retirement community in Hawaii and finds a dead body in a trash chute.

In book two, Living with Your Kids Is Murder (ISBN 978-1893035-86-6), Paul flies to Colorado to stay with his son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter, and his seatmate on the airplane dies suspiciously.

In book three, Senior Moments Are Murder (ISBN 978-1893035-37-9), Paul moves to Venice Beach, California, and discovers a dead body in a canal.

In book four, Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder (ISBN 978-1893035-87-4), Paul takes an Alaskan cruise. He gets a massage but becomes implicated in murder when the massage therapist turns up dead.

In book five, Care Homes Are Murder (ISBN 978-1893035-88-1, Paul returns to Hawaii for a Christmas vacation with his family and once again happens upon a murder victim.

In book six, Nursing Homes Are Murder (ISBN 978-1893035-89-8), Paul moves into a nursing home to help the Honolulu police solve a case of sexual assault.

In Murder She Wrote, Jessica Fletcher seems to find more dead bodies in the small town of Cabot Cove than there are people living there. Since Paul is also a dead body magnet (the Jessica Fletcher syndrome), I move him to different locations so he doesn’t decimate the population in any one place.

Paul resorts to keeping a journal as a memory aid, and his twelve-year-old granddaughter, Jennifer, helps him solve several of the murders in the series. They also tell each other politically incorrect geezer jokes much to the consternation of Jennifer’s mother. Here’s an example of this sophisticated form of humor: Why didn’t the geezer cross the road? Because he was no spring chicken.

I enjoy writing humorous mystery novels. Two of the books in this series (Living with Your Kids Is Murder and Cruising in Your Eighties Is Murder) have been finalists for The Lefty Award for best humorous mystery at The Left Coast Crime Conference.

The standalone book, Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse (ISBN 978-1893035-90-4), introduces Gabe Tremont, a recently retired police detective who attends a performance at a mystery dinner playhouse where a real murder takes place.

I am delighted to keep these books in print, and I hope you readers will have a chance to sample them.


Anne Louise Bannon said...

These sound like fun. I'll have to look out for them. I may as well. I'm a geezer, too

Kay said...

I met Mike at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix. Heard about his 'geezer' series and came home and told my mystery group about it. I never got around to starting it myself, but I plan to soon. What fun!

Amy M. Reade said...

These books sound great! I'm glad you were able to re-release them.

Mike Befeler, author of geezer-lit and paranormal mysteries said...

Anne and Kay, thanks for the comments. I always enjoy speaking to mystery groups and have done so through conference or Skype calls.