Reader's Corner: Glomming Author's Backlist

If you’re an avid reader then you are already familiar with the term glomming. The term refers to a reader’s need to search for an author’s backlist when they’ve enjoyed their newer works. I just threw “need” in there as some readers feel compelled to find a new author’s past work. I used to do this but no longer.

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After glomming a lot of new author’s past works, I noticed something. I noticed that their backlist wasn’t actually a pot of gold waiting to be rediscovered. Harsh statement but it’s the truth. I learned the hard way that just because a new to me author has a book that I just recently loved, loved, loved, that doesn’t mean that their backlist is just as good. There are exceptions, of course.

You see, most authors hit their stride or find their voice after two or three books especially if it’s a series that they are writing. Some authors will have a _great_ first book but the second may not live up to expectations or vice versa. The third book may show some improvement over the second and from then on the writing will continue to fluctuate. If an author I just discovered has a long-standing series associated with the book I just got through reading, chances are little to none that I’ll go find and read the rest.

I’ve developed a hard and fast rule that relates to series or standalone books and that is: just pick up and go. IOW, I just start with the latest book and keep on trucking. If a series is just getting started then chances are slightly better that I’ll go back and read the others. Usually the magic number for me is three in that regard.

Admittedly, glomming a past author’s backlist can be risky business. You may hit a pot of gold or a pile of shit. I’ve had more of the latter to make me stop doing this completely. There are exceptions of course. I often hear readers talk of glomming even today. Guess some of us have had success with it. I’m just a bit curious to know if many of you still glom an author’s backlist and which author’s have a backlist worth a look?

Photo Credit: waffler

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Avid Musings, Reader's Corner and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Reader's Corner: Glomming Author's Backlist

  1. Bev Stephans says:

    If I read a book by a new author and enjoy said book, I’ll buy the 1st book on their backlist (usually at a used bookstore). If I like the book, I might buy the next one, but I think long and hard about it. I too, have been burned by backlists.

    On the other hand, I have found a few pots of gold. Linda Howard and Nora Roberts come to mind.

    On your recommendation, I started the Julia Spencer-Fleming series with the first book and never looked back. I love her writing. I love her characters. I love the setting. What more can I say.

  2. Janicu says:

    I still glom. When I do it’s a rare occurence though, because it’s probably only once or twice a year I find an author I want to glom onto. I go online and research how big the backlist is and if they’re in the same genre. Sometimes authors come in from other genres I’m not as interested in and I just don’t glom. I read what the other books are about and if I’m interested I’ll go get one. The glomming takes time. So far I’ve glommed onto Linnea Sinclair, Wen Spencer, Patricia Briggs, and Michelle Sagara. Sometimes you can lose a little interest after some glomming time. Like I have all of so-and-so’s books but I just need to read the last 3 they put out. And sometimes you get lucky, you find someone you want to glom onto when they only have like 2 books out (Robin McKinley, Sharon Shinn I’ve been glomming onto for years), and now I’m following Julie James and Emily Gee. I’m sure there are other names I’m forgetting because I haven’t woken up yet. But there.

  3. Tee says:

    QUOTE: I noticed that their back­list wasn’t actu­ally a pot of gold wait­ing to be redis­cov­ered.
    Loved this column and it’s so true. I totally feel that way now about backlists. I may try some of them, but only if I have the time and desire to do so.

    QUOTE: I’ve devel­oped a hard and fast rule that relates to series or stand­alone books and that is: just pick up and go. IOW, I just start with the lat­est book and keep on truck­ing.
    This is becoming my philosophy quite quickly these days. And I may have to attribute a lot of that to you, Keishon. When recommending authors and/or books in the past and asked about their backlists, you didn’t always think that was the best way to go, depending on the author. Reading the current book and then going on is so much less stressful. And one always has the option of going back.

  4. Tania says:

    I glom selectively. I haunt the second hand book shops and the bargain boxes in book shops. I have no problems reading the third, 5th or even 8th in a series, I’ve always done that, same as I’ve always re-read my books so finding out I love an author and going looking for their old books is not a problem for me.

    Recently I glommed Christine Feehan and have just finished buying every single book I can get in Australia and prior to that I’ve been glomming Sherrylyn Kenyon. Feehans first book I read was Dark Possession, then went back and started from Dark Prince.

    I tend to buy one at a time then keep on buying if they are good. Haven’t been burned much.

  5. SarahT says:

    Is selective glomming valid? If I like a new-to-me author who has a substantial backlist, I find out which ones are particularly popular, or sound interesting, and buy a couple of them to try.

    When it comes to series books, I’m your opposite. I’m a stickler for reading books in the correct order, even if it’s not strictly necessary.

  6. willaful says:

    Excellent points, as attempting to read Jo Goodman’s first book will quickly prove. ;-). I do glom when I can do so cheaply (via paperbackswap and library sales) but I don’t have any “auto-buys.”

  7. Janet W says:

    Not, as in I don’t do it anymore. I do selectively go backwards in time to expand my backlist of certain author’s previously written books. Like today I bought Joan Wolf’s “A London Season” because Sarah of SB recommended it and someone else mentioned it a while back and it just hit that threshold for me. I have all the Baloghs and Heyers and Beverleys … I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t stop until I did. BUT, some authors, like Quinn, Laurens, Brockmann, Crusie, I keep some, give away others but I now have the “power” to break up series and just keep my faves. I make mistake — like giving away Howard’s Mr. Perfect or Crusie’s “Bet Me” and have to re-buy them but it beats, for me, being tied to everything*ever*written*by 🙂 an author.

    I do love reviews of long-ago published books — like someone like Guhrke, for instance. Her recent books haven’t been doing it for me so it’s great to go back in the time machine and pick up a wonderful older title like Conor’s Way.

  8. Avid Reader says:

    willaful: Excel­lent points, as attempt­ing to read Jo Goodman’s first book will quickly prove. . I do glom when I can do so cheaply (via paper­back­swap and library sales) but I don’t have any “auto-buys.”

    Thank you all for your comments.

    @willaful Jo Goodman’s greatness continues to elude me.

  9. Kaetrin says:

    Hello, my name is Kaetrin and I’m a glommer….

    I have discovered so many great reads this way – Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley, Suzanne Brockmann, Nora Roberts, Jenny Crusie, just to name a few.

    After reading If His Kiss is Wicked by Jo Goodman I went back and found the Compass Club series which were excellent. When I get some space in my TBR pile, I plan to take a look at some of Liz Carlyle’s backlist.

    I’ve been disappointed occasionally by a dud but mostly, glomming has been successful for me.

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