Monday, May 17, 2010

Shaken by JA Konrath Press Release

AmazonEncore to Publish Bestselling Author J.A. Konrath’s Upcoming Book

Amazon’s publishing imprint to release the next book in J.A. Konrath’s Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels series, “Shaken.”

SEATTLE—May 17, 2010—Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that AmazonEncore, Amazon’s publishing imprint, will release the newest book in bestselling author J.A. Konrath’s Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels series, “Shaken.” The AmazonEncore Kindle edition of “Shaken” will be available in the Kindle Store www.amazon.com/kindlestorein October, and the print version of the book will be available in February 2011. For more information on AmazonEncore and upcoming titles, visit www.amazon.com/encore.

“J.A. Konrath’s Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels series is one built on a memorable female lead who is always surrounded by a lively cast of characters and action,” said Jeff Belle, Vice President, Amazon.com Books. “Readers have come to expect Konrath to up the ante with each installment, and ‘Shaken’ delivers the thrills. It’s finely crafted, full of high spirits and accessible to new readers but rewarding for longtime fans.”

“Shaken” is the seventh book in the Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels series. Chicago cop Jack Daniels has chased—and caught—dozens of dangerous criminals over the course of her career. But she’s about to meet her match. When Jack wakes up in a storage locker, bound and gagged, she knows with chilling certainty who her abductor is. He’s called “Mr. K,” and more than 200 homicides have been attributed to him. Jack has tangled with him twice in the past, and both times he managed to slip away. Now Jack will finally have the chance to confront the maniac she has been hunting for more than 25 years. Unfortunately, it won’t be on her terms. In less than two hours, Mr. K is going to do to Jack what he’s done to countless others, and Jack is going to learn that sometimes the good guys don’t win.

J.A. Konrath is the author of the Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels series that includes “Whiskey Sour,” “Bloody Mary,” “Rusty Nail,” “Dirty Martini,” “Fuzzy Navel” and “Cherry Bomb.” All six titles are available to purchase in both print and Kindle format on Amazon.com. Konrath has also written under the names Jack Kilborn and Joe Kimball. He has published over a dozen books using Amazon’s Digital Text Platform (DTP), and has been featured in numerous articles and blog posts as an author who is making a living off of Kindle.

“My Kindle readers have been incredibly faithful fans and I’m excited to be able to release the Kindle edition of ‘Shaken’ several months before the physical version is available to purchase,” said Konrath. “Since it’s easier, faster and cheaper to create an e-book than it is a physical book, Kindle owners will get to read the seventh Jack Daniels before everyone else. The ability for authors to reach fans—instantly and inexpensively with a simple press of a button—is the greatest thing to happen to the written word since Gutenberg.”

Announced in May 2009, AmazonEncore is a program which identifies exceptional books and emerging authors using information on Amazon.com, such as customer reviews and sales data. Amazon then works with the authors to introduce or re-introduce their books to readers through marketing and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, www.Audible.com, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers. AmazonEncore is a brand for titles published by Amazon Content Services LLC.

Konrath will also be speaking at the Advance Your Career with DIY Publishing” panel during the DIY Authors Conference and Marketplace at the BEA Conference, Monday, May 24, 2010.

---------------------------------

Okay, that's the official press release. Now I'll take some questions.

Q: You signed a print deal? I thought you weren't signing any more print deals.

A: I signed a print deal with a company that can email every single person who has every bought one of my books through their website, plus millions of potential new customers. I've never had that kind of marketing power behind one of my novels. I'd be an idiot not to do this.

Q: Aren't you going to piss off traditional publishers?

A: Traditional publishers had a chance to buy Shaken last year. They passed on it. Their loss. Their big loss. Their big, huge, monumental, epic fail.

Q: Is Amazon going to sell the Kindle version for a lot of money?

A: Amazon is smart, savvy, and pays attention to my suggestions. The Kindle version of Shaken is going to be released for $2.99. Here's the link if you'd like to pre-order.

Q: The Kindle version is coming out four months before the paper version. Why?

A: It's easier to release an ebook than a print book. Print books require printing, shipping, warehousing, pre-orders from bookstores, etc.

Q: So Shaken will be available in bookstores?

A: If they order copies, yes. We'll see how the Amazon sales department does. I know for sure many of my bookseller friends will get copies into their stores. But I have no idea if the book will actually be stocked in any of the chains or indies. And, frankly, I'm not concerned. I believe this is going to sell well regardless.

Q: What is this going to do for your self-published Kindle ebooks?

A: I imagine it will give them a boost. A big boost. :)

Q: I thought AmazonEncore only published reprints of self-published books by new authors, not original titles from known authors.

A: As far as I know, I'm the first "name" author to have a new, original work published. Several other ebook writers who have self-pubbed on Kindle are going to be released through AmazonEncore over the next year, but I thought it would make a bigger splash to write a book specifically for Amazon. I like making splashes.

Q: What kind of money is Amazon paying you?

A: I signed a non-disclosure agreement, so I can't discuss contract terms. But I will say that my terrific agents have been involved from the very beginning of negotiations, and have been essential in getting me a very favorable contract. I couldn't be happier.

Q: Is this going to be the last Jack Daniels book?

A: Nope. And if anyone is interested in getting a sneak preview of Jack's new villain, Mr. K, he's in the first part of SERIAL UNCUT.

Q: This is potentially a game-changer for the publishing industry.

A: A game-changer? I think it is downright historic. And I couldn't be happier to play a role in the revolution sweeping the publishing world.

There will be a clear-cut winner in this revolution. The winner will be the group that deserves it the most: The Readers. Together, Amazon and I are giving readers what they want--inexpensive, professional ebooks.

I've been saying for over a year that readers don't want to pay a lot for ebooks, and I've been posting lots of data and numbers to back-up that statement. I now have a publisher who agrees with me.

175 comments:

Regan Black said...

Wonderful news...game changing, historical, fabulous news!

Way to go - you are an inspiration!

Regan
http://www.reganblack.com

Moses Siregar III said...

Wow. Cool. Congrats.

Edie Ramer said...

Congratulations! You're blazing the trail for the rest of us. And I still owe you a beer.

Blue Tyson said...

$2.99? Sold.

Btw, is Amazon's imprint here DRM-free?


Thanks,

bt

Joe Konrath said...

I dunno about the DRM. I'll find out.

Barry said...

Dude, WAY TO GO!

Hugs and Brass Clowns,
Barry

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Woo hoo! Leave it to you to turn this whole stupid publishing industry upside down! Having been e-published since before anyone knew what it was all about, the last couple of years have been pretty darn exciting.

Not a bit surprised that you're the one to do this ground-breaking! New York publishers just don't get it.

Big congratulations!

Marilyn

Zoe Winters said...

Big congrats!

I think you're totally right about the marketing power behind Amazon. To me a deal with AmazonEncore isn't the same thing as a deal with a trad pub who may or may not market you and has no real access to your reader base like Amazon does.

People may say Amazon is evil all they want to, but they aren't like Wal-mart... As far as I know right now Amazon is the only game in town that lets the little guy have a shot.

And I'm not saying you're "the little guy" so don't run me over with your car or anything. But you're the first known author to get an AmazonEncore deal, everybody else has been 'the little guy.'

L.J. Sellers said...

Congratulations on all your bold, successful moves. It will be interesting to see if other authors follow.

Jon F. Merz said...

Congrats Joe!

Karen from Mentor said...

*Wow* So happy for you. Thank you for blazing a trail.

*somehow feels that needs a stronger word than "blazing"....*

HUGE HUGE smiles!!
k

J.A. Marlow said...

Q: Aren't you going to piss off traditional publishers?

A: Traditional publishers had a chance to buy Shaken last year. They passed on it. Their loss. Their big loss. Their big, huge, monumental, epic fail.

What was so undesirable about your books? The lack of sales in e-book (snort)? Your lack of promotion (coughcough)? Your less-than dedicated fans that have kept you out of the Kindle top 100 (erk)? Your inability to show your genre sells (anyone else need headache pills?)?

Good grief. No wonder the big guys are having trouble. Definitely epic fail! You're better off without them. Even better, your books are getting out there to the people who count the most: the readers.

Congrats on the deal with Amazon. I hope it really works out for you. Imagine, a company who understands the need to keep the books affordable, readily available, and might actually promote it themselves!

I fear the world may be coming to an end! ;)

J.A. Marlow
http://jamarlow.com

Robert Burton Robinson said...

Wow! What a deal!

I would say you deserve it, but I know you don't like that, so...great job being lucky, Joe!

Seriously, congratulations! Couldn't be happier for you.

Marisa Birns said...

You keep on showing us how it's "done".

Congratulations on this new, exciting chapter in your writing life!

JoePike said...

Big Congrats Joe. I love that you're talking the talk AND walking the walk...

Silly new-to-e-books question... I don't have a Kindle, but if I put the free Kindle app on my iPhone and purchase SHAKEN, I can read away on my iPhone...right? If so, then SOLD.

I'm sure this will work out great for you...so are we to assume that ENDURANCE, TRAPPED, and eventually TIMECASTER are going to be paper-printed through Amazon also?

M.T. Murphy said...

Outstanding! Way to go on landing the deal and opening their eyes to power of an affordable eBook pricing model!

Moses Siregar III said...

Is there a way to submit a ms to Amazone Encore? It looks like they are publishing some books that haven't appeared on Amazon previously. There are some that they found in their novel competition, apparently.

Stacey Cochran said...

Congratulations! I've been following the AmazonEncore news for almost a year, watching how they've gained momentum and are building their credibility. Adding your name to their catalog is a big step in that direction.

When (or if) they have the kind of distribution that major publishers have, I think they'll have a competitive advantage over major publishers and literary agents.

Because AmazonEncore puts the power to decide which books get picked up in the hands of readers, it's the most democratic acquisition policy publishing has ever seen.

_______________
Stacey Cochran
Bestselling author of THE COLORADO SEQUENCE for 99 cents

Ann Voss Peterson said...

Congrats, Joe! You're all things to all people. ;)

WDGagliani said...

Excellent and interesting news, Joe...

Congratulations!

I think your experiments are supremely valuable to writers everywhere, and I wish you the best of luck with this one!

Great cover, btw. I like the subtle title shift to a different drink-related area. Will the next one be STIRRED? BLENDED? It's truly great continuity.

Question (opinions, anyone) about covers for ebooks:

It would seem counterintuitive that covers should matter so much on ebooks when one can't touch them, trace the embossing, or in the case of some readers, even see them in color. Yet it appears your experiments with your own covers, and especially Lee Goldberg's Ian Ludlow titles, have proven otherwise. Covers DO seem to matter.

Well, two questions:

Why? (Given that they are not hand-holdable.)

And is anyone interested in critiquing my ebook cover? The book is SAVAGE NIGHTS (a thriller) by W.D. Gagliani. I don't want to hijack Joe's blog, so if you'd like to give me a sense of your thoughts on whether my cover is keeping sales low, email me at tarkusp-at-yahoo.com. Thanks!

Mike Shatzkin said...

Does your new deal with an NDA mean that you won't be able to report your financial results the way you have been? Of course, if no NY publisher offered on your book, it will be hard to compare, but I'm wondering about the math on your share from AMZN versus what you would have gotten if a major had offered a deal. And will the print edition be cloth or paper? and at what retail price?

Anonymous said...

Great news. Can't wait to read Shaken.

Sean McCartney
Secrets of the Magical Medallions

Elizabeth said...

Excellent news! Congratulations!

Blue Tyson said...

Mike,

On the preorder it said paperback and $10.17.

CJ West said...

Congratulations Joe.

It is a great time to be an author or a reader. Thanks for giving us a front row seat to watch the changes.

CJ

Anonymous said...

I hate to be a wet blanket, but I feel the need to point out that you're really limiting your ebook audience for this release to Amazon Kindle owners.

No Nook, No Sony, No iPad, no other formats at all. I realize that Amazon probably paid a pretty penny for your book, but I can't help but wonder if you would have had better distribution in the ebook world with a smaller mystery ebook publisher who could have gotten you into all these other online stores and in various formats.

The limitations on your audience might not be visible at first, but I think it's sad that I won't be able to get your book on other sites in different formats.

*shrugs*

Bob Levinson said...

Three cheers!
Okay, four.
Five!

Bob

Blue Tyson said...

Anonymous,

I think at the moment you are missing the part where you say, oh wait, Nook, Sony, iPad do not sell anywhere else in the world, hardware, software or books for the first two, and software and books for the last one....

Pretty sure there's a Kindle for PC or Mac app, too, and one for the iPhone.......

If it is DRM free, even easier.

All those others you mention are currently a steaming pile of utterly useless when talking about worldwide reach.

Joe Konrath said...

Thanks all for the kind words. :)

@J.A. - Publishers didn't want to pick up a midlist series after six books, even with modest sales. Their loss.

@JoePike - Yep, you can read it on Kindle of iPhone, Kindle for PC, etc.

@Moses - I'm sure agents will figure out how to submit to Encore. I'm sure a bunch of them are planning that right now. I don't believe there's any way yet for authors to do it on their own.

@Mike - I'm pretty sure I'll be able to post my numbers, though I'll have to check. Also, I specifically asked for trade paper as opposed to hardcover. $25 is too much for a book, especially in the current economy.

@Anon - We'll see if this comes out on other ebook platforms. I suspect that eventually ebooks will be standardized.

John Rector said...

Congratulations, Joe!

I wasn't expecting it to be a JD novel. Very nice.

AmyShojai said...

I am waaaay jazzed! Fantastic news, and so happy for you (and the authors you'll inspire).

aliciamasters said...

As a bookseller, I always loved you. I personally handsold over 100 copies of your books, and had you for a signing where we sold many more.

With this move, I feel like you've turned your back on all of the bookstores, indy and chain alike.

We were there when you needed us; when you first started, and no one knew your name. We talked you up to your future readers. Now that bookstores are struggling against the behemoth that is Amazon, you've forgotten all those efforts from us.

I understand your frustration with your publisher, but I am deeply saddened, both for us, and all those new authors who won't have the chance to have booksellers do the same.

Julie Kramer said...

Congratulations. This deal has no doubt left the publishing industry "SHAKEN" as well.

Likari said...

"Shaken by JA Konrath Press Release"

that says it all.

Likari said...

to aliciamasters - yes, that is sad. But authors didn't kill the bookstore.

The direct path in the world of story is author to reader. Everything else is delivery system.

Blue Tyson said...

Alicia,

That makes no sense. All your suppliers failed to pick and deliver to you a product you could move.

That is completely on the publishers. They rejected him, not the other way around.

Amazon could of course offer bookshops some sort of deal if they bought multiple copies.

However, if this is now a book you can't 'buy', now you know how a lot of us get treated all the time....

aliciamasters said...

BlueTyson & Likari: I certainly didn't mean to imply that there is anything wrong with self-publishing or small publishers. Self-publishing and e-publishing are on the rise, and will be for a long time to come. These books deserve to be read, and in the widest distribution possible!

And, frankly, Amazon has huge distribution. I understand the appeal. But bookstores will be either shut out of these books altogether, or will have to buy their copies from the giant that is killing us in order to stock a book we love. It's an impossible choice for us.

Authors are not to blame for the death of bookstores. Without authors, we wouldn't have anything to sell. I'm just saddened that this time, we won't have the chance to keep promoting a series we enjoyed because in choosing the publisher, Mr.Konrath also chose the bookstore.

Lee Goldberg said...

Congratulations, Joe! This should generate a lot of interesting discussion in book-biz circles. I am curious... did Amazon approach you or did you approach amazon?

Maria said...

Joe--you've worked tirelessly and hard in your career. BIG FAT CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!

Joe Konrath said...

With this move, I feel like you've turned your back on all of the bookstores, indy and chain alike.

Hi, Alicia!

I haven't turned my back on booksellers. But publishing turned its back on me. Without this deal, there wouldn't be another Jack Daniels novel. No publisher wanted it.

Bookstores will be able to sell this title. And I hope they do. I hope they send a message to publishers that series shouldn't go out of print--especially series that sell well.

You know I love bookstores, and booksellers. But my first allegiance is to my family, and earning enough money to support them. My second allegiance is to my fans, to get them a new Jack Daniels novel however I can.

Zoe Winters said...

Joe,

You've been mentioned and part of this blog post quoted in Publisher's Lunch!

(Which you probably already know about, so now you're hearing it in stereo.)

Lee Goldberg said...

Alicia,

the book business is changing. Authors have to do whatever they can to support their families.

From what I understand, no publishers wanted to do another Jack Daniels novel. Should Joe have turned down the opportunity do to another because the book would be available on Amazon before it was available on bookstore shelves?

That makes no sense.

Should we also refused to release our out-of-print books in e-format because that's money readers aren't spending in bookstores?

I don't understand your logic. Yes, authors love booksellers and will do everything they can to support them. That said, authors also have to earn a living...

Lee

Steve Anderson said...

Congrats, Joe. I don't think it can be repeated enough how big this could be, though many still won't hear it. Stacey Cochran's comments above nailed it -- Amazon is recognizing that readers are the true customers and giving them a hand in deciding future books. That's big. As I understand it, trad publishers' customers have been bookstores, big chains, distributors and so forth, with readers far down the line. Whatever one thinks of Amazon and their end motives, this is exciting stuff for readers and us authors.

David Wisehart said...

Excellent. Congratulations!

Helen Hanson said...

J. A. Konrath — Poster boy of New York Publishing in the 21st century. A partial resume:

Six-week author tour with each release -- check

Top 101 websites by Writer’s Digest 2010 -- check

Articles written for Writer’s Digest-- check

Short Stories in Ellery Queen – check

Contest Judge for Writer’s Digest — check

Writing conference panelist — check

And they rejected his latest book.

Seriously, what’s left for him to do?

Ellen Fisher said...

Awesome!!! Congratulations! I'm going to buy this one, even though I haven't read the rest of the series. I bet I wind up buying the rest of the series, too. Which is kind of the point, isn't it?

At any rate, the really cool parts of this is that they're releasing it to Kindle first, AND that they're pricing it low. Amazon, at least, pays attention. Now if we could only get other publishers to do likewise...

Bush_Blues said...

Will Amazon release the book in an ePub format compatible with ebook readers that are not Kindles? Or are your future books going to be just for people who own Kindles? If just for Kindles, here's one reader you will have lost.

Claire Farrell said...

Congrats! Once again, Amazon have shown how savvy their business plans are. I'm not surprised at all. Trad publishers practically threw you into Amazon's arms. I'm really impressed with the price point - goes to show that Amazon are the ones listening.

Adam Pepper said...

Congratulations, Joe. You continue to blaze the trail.

Robert W. Walker said...

Jeremiah Johnson Joe...is all I gotta say; you are out there man on the Cutting Edge! I love it, absolutely love it. I can say I knew you when. Historic, game-changing, new model, amazing stuff all around. Amazon will have to change their name to AMAZingZon when SHAKEN debuts. Cool man, way cool.
I just want you to call me when you can so we can determine when and where to pop the cork on this!

Rob

aliciamasters said...

I swear, it's my last time commenting, because I don't want to continue raining on anyone's parade, especially not someone I like as much as Joe!

I just wanted to clarify, in light of Joe's & Mr Goldberg's responses, that I am not against e-books, self-publishing, or any of the various smaller publishers that are springing up daily. I'd be celebrating if this were a deal with Poisoned Press, Smashwords, or Lightning Source. Publishing is changing constantly, and the publishing world is getting flatter.

My only issue is with any bookstore having to buy books from their competition. It's specifically the Amazon part that is worrisome, from my point of view, since they are dominating all of us. As I said before, bookstores will be either shut out of these books altogether, or will have to buy their copies from the giant that is killing us in order to stock a book we love.

And, of course, I rightfully put the blame with your former publisher, where it belongs. They should've valued you more. You have to do what is best for your family and your fans. As a fan, as well as a bookseller, I can't wait to read it as soon as it's in a non-proprietary format. (Clearly, I can't bring myself to buy a Kindle. I have a Sony Reader.)

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Joe, this is great news. I'm so happy for you. The tax accountant in me is talking now-- I hope you have a good CPA or EA to help you and I hope you have incorporated already.

That being said, I blogged about this post immediately this morning, because I think it's so important. This is big news, and I hope it throws some cold water on the big publishers.

Rob Walker said...

I should also say this although others are certainly aware of it...How many great series have been cut off at the knees by their own publising houses? How many authors, myself very much included, were hardly finished with thier creations-their characters when they got word that X publisher was done with the series. I have done more series characters than most and I know so many excellent authors out there who, like me, had not recourse but to suffer in silence as they watched their series die, characters fade off, books go to the reaminder tables at box stores to sell for two bucks so the publisher could collect ten cents on the dollar, the books go out of print and the author starves on a cabbie's or a teacher's salary and all of this is done in ISOLATION...nobody knows de trouble I see...nobody knows my sorrows....well not exactly, TOO many authors and readers know of such sorrows. But with the advent of the Kindle Reader and ebooks, I have now 44 Odd titles up for sale, most having been out of print for two decades, and like Joe my next book is going up immediately to Kindle, and the one after that will continue my Instinct Series which was killed on its 11th title. Can't wait to get started on #12 E-Instinct it just might have to be called. HA!

Joe's inspiration and leadership has been a godsend to this author. In the past 15 days I have earned on Kindle books more than I have earned all year on hardcover books - money in my pocket so's I can feed my dog, my cat, my geko, as well as my family and Geico.

Can you imagine the day when Trad publishers will be trying to woo us writers away from Kindle/Amazon?

Chris V. said...

Wow Joe, you really are out to conquer the world.... heh heh. Remember all of us knew you back then...

Chris Verstraete
Motherly Love: Love is Eternal.
http://cverstraete.com

Michelle Gagnon said...

Yay! I love this series, can't wait to read it.

Eric Christopherson said...

Joe has SHAKEN the pub industry methinks. Cool beans.

author Scott Nicholson said...

I knew all this was coming, and not surprised you're the one, Joe. I agree, it's historic, and I expect a landslide soon. The only thing Amazon can't easily do (and, really, there's no reason for them to even bother) is a huge offset run to distribute cheaply to bookstores. Where they gonna ship them? Barnes and Noble?

I know a few other Encore authors that came up through the ebook ranks. As Joe once again reminds us, never take "no" for an answer and never let anyone else control your dreams.

Scott Nicholson
http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

Joe Hartlaub said...

Congratulations, Joe! Love how you think out of the box and then function so well in another of your own unique construction! I wish you every success.

Re: Blue Tyson's question...books sold on Kindle are DRM protected. Sort of. My understanding is that if you purchase a Kindle file you can "lend" it to one (1) other Kindle owner. That owner cannot in turn lend it. To put it another way, you can make one (1) copy of your purchase and gift it to one (1) person. That's it.

If you own a Kindle you can easily access your purchases on auxiliary Kindle apps for PC, iPhone, etc.

Mark Terry said...

Congratulations.

And to the question of other formats, we own an iPad and use both the iBookstore and the Kindle app on it for reading and buying books. I think the B&N site has an app for it, too.

Anna Murray said...

Congratulations!

This is a huge deal. Amazon's business model is evolving, and I like what they are doing for authors.

Anna

Eric Christopherson said...

FYI, Shatzkin's already reporting on this:

http://www.idealog.com/blog/

bowerbird said...

blue tyson said:
> On the preorder it said paperback and $10.17.

oh, c'mon amazon. drop that price to $9.99...
surely $.18 per copy is worth the irony of it all.

the beauty of this is that the print publishers
passed on this book. they had a chance at it,
but they passed. now joe will rub their noses
in it, and brag about how much he's making...

and good for you, joe! rub their noses in it!

-bowerbird

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Congratulations, Joe. I'll be interested to hear how this venture goes. It sounds like a very promising deal.

I've seen very little on Amazon Encore, but I agree with their mission. I checked out their site but couldn't find any contact info, and I'm interested in discussing with them the possibility of publishing Whale Song, my bestselling, award-winning novel. It has been extremely popular in schools across Canada, the US and a NATO school in Germany, but my publisher went under and I don't have a new publisher for the print edition.

Could you please lead me to a contact at Amazon Encore?

cherylktardif (at) shaw.ca

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention
www.cherylktardif.com

Chris Bates said...

I already posted a comment on Mike Shatzkin's blog. I'll re-post it here so that Joe doesn't think his readers are talking behind his back!

------

Konrath is certainly no fool. So congratulations to him on this deal.

I’d suggest that the power of Amazon's email list is a total game changer for any author – possibly even more powerful an attractant than any standard advance.

This is a pretty big win for authors.

I wonder how an agent’s role will change after this scenario plays out?

If I was Amazon I’d simply greet every agent submission with a stock contract that stipulates an ebook release window with a further print book release dependent on sales.

Amazon has Konrath’s sales stats on both his self-pubbed and Hyperion titles so they could approach similar authors direct. Imagine making decisions to publish a novel on the back of hard sales data prior to actual print … what a novelty for the publishing world!

As for the print version: I too am very interested to see if it will be distributed sale or return. If they did it would be like buying a new Hybrid Camry and drilling holes in its fuel tank.

As for publishers passing on books like Konrath’s? Well, that is understandable. There will not be too many publishers keen to play in the mid-list with print, especially with the recent increases in paper prices. Most of these mid-list authors will eventually self-pub so why wouldn’t AmazonEncore just cherry pick the trending books on the back of their hard sales stats instead of seeking submissions?

Also, are we looking at zero subsidiary rights on AmazonEncore deals?

My guess is that Joe will be giving a 15% cut to his agent (30 cents off $2.04?). Konrath is quick to praise his agent, so I’m left to surmise that the front end of the deal was significant enough to warrant representation, especially when you take into account how proactive Konrath appears to be in self-promotion and sales. I would assume the minutiae of revenue percentages don’t escape such an author. And 30cents is quite substantial on a cover price of $2.99.

Anyway, like you said, Mike, this should be interesting to watch. Such a deal is an absolute no-brainer for a mid-list author. Best of luck to Mr Konrath. I hope he once again manages to inspire authors to embrace their new improved futures. That alone is reason enough to support the man and the deal.

---------

Stacey Cochran said...

Steve Anderson wrote: Stacey Cochran's comments above nailed it -- Amazon is recognizing that readers are the true customers and giving them a hand in deciding future books.

This one shift alone is so fundamental and so powerful, it could be the straw that broke the camel's back. Unless publishers can find an equally democratic way to acquire new talent, Amazon will be in a fundamentally stronger position because their system for acquisition operates from the premise of finding authors who already sell well.

By contrast, I don't know what the hell traditional publishing uses as its basis for deciding what new authors to acquire. I literally think they "go with their instinct" on debut authors, and as a result, 9 out of 10 debut authors fail to break even.

I am the poster child for how bad traditional publishing's instincts are. 3,000 rejections, 16 years of writing, 11 novels. On my own, my books sell extremely well. But no one in the business will/has ever given me a chance.

Because they base their acquisitions of debut authors "on instincts." Of who seems to be in the "in crowd" at conferences. Terrible. Terrible judgment.

___________________
Stacey Cochran
Bestselling author of CLAWS for 99 cents

Anonymous said...

Fascinating! Does Amazon Encore have an editor you'll be working with, or is the process more like self-publishing, where you're responsible for your own editing (or hiring an editor/copyeditor)? Also, for the book cover, did you get to choose your own designer?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Joe! You made the homepage of Publishers Weekly!

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/industry-deals/article/43200-konrath-moves-jack-daniels-series-to-amazonencore.html

Donna Ball said...

Clevvver!!! Amazon, of course! And yes, this is a game-changer--for everyone, not just midlist authors.

For those who wonder why traditional publishers may have passed on SHAKEN-- this is far from uncommon. I had a series canceled two weeks after the second book made the top-five of a bestseller list and before the third book was even released. My current publisher can't offer on the fourth book in a series despite the fact that the current books are doing "extremely well" because Book Two hasn't yet surpassed Book One and Book Three has yet to be published.... remember that numbers mean something entirely different in NYC than they do in the real world. Which is why this direct-to-consumer approach has me turning back flips.

In other words, YAY!

And congratulations, of course.

rex kusler said...

Wow! A press release in the financial news. How many million people read it? Sure beats a plug to the 36 readers on kindleboards.

Jack H. H. King said...

Joe,

This is win-win-win.

You win.
Your readers win.
Amazon wins.

Even bookstores and New York win, because competition evolves the world.

I hope your sales are mighty.

- Jack

Moses Siregar III said...

So, we all agree that this is fantastic news for Joe. Congratulations again to him.

But I don't see why this is such a great thing for the sea of other authors. AmazonEncore publishes very few books right now. It looks like 18 in total, including six new releases this summer, not including Joe. And authors cannot even submit their own books to Encore. I'm sure there are indie books out there doing fantastically well on Amazon.com, but Encore isn't picking them up for any number of reasons (maybe they only want one or two in each genre, for example).

As a career option, there's not much planning that an author can do to try to be accepted by AmazonEncore, except for try to sell books and get good reviews on Amazon, and cross their fingers and hope that the phone rings some day out of the blue. But the odds look somewhat equivalent to the slush pile at this point.

At least under the current system you can actually write a good query letter, which gives you a fighting chance. With Encore, your book might not ever have a chance with Amazon, even if it sells well, because you can't know what they are really looking for, and even if you do well, it might not matter.

Some of the Encore books have come from Amazon's novel contest, which is highly competitive.

It looks more like a lottery ticket that will fall into the laps of a handful of writers every year. Which is cool, but hardly a game-changer for more than a couple handfuls of writers every year.

Moses Siregar III said...

Some of the Encore books have come from Amazon's novel contest, which is highly competitive.

And I should add to what I said there, because the first four books that were published by Amazon Encore, which were submissions to the Breakthrough Novel contest, did not win any of the top three places in the contest. So their selection for Encore wasn't entirely democratic. They submitted to a giant pile of manuscripts, and they were mysteriously chosen, by shadowy latte-drinking elite businessmen at a mega-corporation, out of that mountain of submissions.

Sounds familiar, yeah?

Robin O'Neill said...

It is to weep. Congratulations and thank you. This is historic and you are the tip of the spear.

Wow!

(I sent the link to my agent)

Erik Williams said...

Congrats, Joe!

jenny milchman said...

If trail-blazing is too meek a word, maybe it's more like the breaking of 'bergs by ice-breaker ships? Anyway, I've been following your inroads with great interest, Joe, and thank you for leading me to Karen McQuestion, who guests on my blog later this month. It will be fascinating to see how this all plays out. Congrats on your deal.

Beth Anderson said...

Joe, if anyone deserves huge success with this venture, it's you because you've worked your buns off and helped a lot of authors in the process. I'm so thrilled to see you doing this because how many authors have been burned by companies whose only interest is their bottom line no matter how they get it or how many people get hurt? I can't imagine how any publisher could turn down more books in your series, I've read them all and they're fantastic, every one of them. Can't wait to see this new one. Congratulations on being a huge, huge name in this industry and doing something that can help so many authors who otherwise would just go down in smoke alone. Thanks, big buddy. Thanks.

Susan Tunis said...

Congrats, Joe!

This will inspire me to catch up on the series before October. I'm a couple of books behind. My pre-order is in.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Great news, Joe. You've been working your arse off for years to get to somewhere like this. I'm sure this splash will make big waves everywhere!

Marti said...

That is wonderful! Congratulations and best wishes - you deserve many kudos for all you to and sharing the information with us.

Dan McGirt said...

Congratulations! An outstanding development, and a well-earned success. Thanks for continuing to blaze the trail in this crazy new world of publishing!

Lee Goldberg said...

Stacy wrote: "Because AmazonEncore puts the power to decide which books get picked up in the hands of readers, it's the most democratic acquisition policy publishing has ever seen."

I mean no offense, but I don't understand what you mean. All Amazon Encore has done, up until now, is reprint books that didn't reach a wide audience. This isn't something new. Publishers have reprinted books before. I don't see how this democratizes reading or puts the power back in the hands of readers.

And I don't see how this deal with Joe fundamentally alters publishing, either. A publisher (Hyperion) decided not to pick up Joe's Jack Daniels series and another publisher (Amazon Encore) decided to instead. This also happens all the time in publishing.
The only difference here is that the publisher also happens to be a bookseller.

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

I think this deal is great, and it shows that Amazon is willing to put their full marketing and promotional weight behind authors they think have potential to sell. That said, I don't see this as a paradigm shift or a major change in how publishing works.

Stacy Cochran wrote: " Amazon will be in a fundamentally stronger position because their system for acquisition operates from the premise of finding authors who already sell well."

Um, Stacy, that's how ALL publishers work, too. But in this case, for whatever reason, no publisher but Amazon Encore saw further potential in the Jack Daniels series (or not at the price they'd have to pay Joe to acquire it). Series get dropped and move to other publishers ALL THE TIME.

Stacy wrote: "By contrast, I don't know what the hell traditional publishing uses as its basis for deciding what new authors to acquire. I literally think they "go with their instinct" on debut authors, and as a result, 9 out of 10 debut authors fail to break even."

Amazon Encore is using the same criteria all publishers use -- they are going by their gut and what they think the sales potential is of the product. In this case, they have more faith in Jack Daniels than Hyperion or other publisher did.

Stacy wrote: "Because they base their acquisitions of debut authors "on instincts." Of who seems to be in the "in crowd" at conferences. Terrible. Terrible judgment."

What!? I have been a published author for over twenty years and I can honestly say that your perception has no relation to reality. Yes, editors buy books on instinct...and damn good thing that they do, or very few first time authors would get published. They also pick books based on concept, marketing potential, short-comings on their lists, etc. But they certainly don't publish based on who is in the "in crowd" at conferences.

Lee

Joe Konrath said...

The only difference here is that the publisher also happens to be a bookseller.

In this case Lee, it's a bit more complicated.

This bookseller is the number one online bookseller in the world, and they've created the number one dedicated ereading device.

Publishers need authors to write books, then booksellers to sell those books.

In this case, Amazon owns the bookstore, and the platform for the ebooks. And by cutting out distributors, publishers, and brick and mortar bookstores, they can offer a professional product faster and cheaper--and give the author better royalties--than a traditional publisher could.

In other words, Amazon is cutting out just about all the players in the traditional publishing industry, and directly connecting reader with author.

If ebooks, and Amazon, continue to gain popularity, will there still be a need for the Big Six? Or would authors do better by either self-publishing, or dealing directly with the sellers of the new technology?

I think this is pretty significant in the publishing world.

Blue Tyson said...

Joe Hartlaub,

What I meant was that Amazon DTP publishing gives you the option to use DRM or not as you choose.

However, Amazon mandates DRM on the commercial publisher titles as per articles elsewhere - so for their own commercial books like this, will they do likewise?

If they do not, then it becomes simple to move the book to another platform, as opposed to playing with tools to strip it first.

Lee Goldberg said...

Joe wrote: "In this case, Amazon owns the bookstore, and the platform for the ebooks. And by cutting out distributors, publishers, and brick and mortar bookstores, they can offer a professional product faster and cheaper--and give the author better royalties--than a traditional publisher could.

In other words, Amazon is cutting out just about all the players in the traditional publishing industry, and directly connecting reader with author."

I totally agree. That is a major difference and this deal is significant because it's the first time Amazon has bought an original novel. It's got to have the major publishers worried.

That said, how Amazon decides what to publish is no different than how a "traditional" publisher decides: instinct & taste, their costs to acquire the book, the author's prior success or failure, and what they think the sales potential of the book is. I assume they made a deal with you because your ebooks are selling enormously well and you have a large following and a promotional base. You'll notice they didn't make this deal with a complete unknown who hasn't already made significant inroads on the Kindle platform already.

What I don't see how this deal represents a new focus on, and dedication to, readers. That's not a claim that you've made but rather others commenters here.

Lee

Debbi said...

Way to go, Joe! You're beyond cutting edge at this point.

And I see you're giving a talk on DIY publishing? Interesting. :)

Moses Siregar III said...

That is a major difference and this deal is significant because it's the first time Amazon has bought an original novel.

Fwiw, they have picked up unpublished books before for their Encore program. I think those may have only been about a handful of books that they plucked out of their Breakthrough Novel contest, though.

With Joe, they're picking up someone who already has an extensive track record and backlist, though. That's one of the main new elements in this particular case.

Joe Konrath said...

@Blue - I'm pretty sure DRM is up to the publisher, not Amazon. Actually, I'm very sure.

Blue Tyson said...

Joe,

Ok, but here :- http://toc.oreilly.com/2009/02/at-toc-cory-doctorow-to-publis.html

For example - and I've seen this before, too - Doctorow and O'Reilly say Amazon (and Audible) demand DRM. e.g. they both want you locked in.

In this case, if I have to bet on one side being right, I'd go with the above two gentlemen.

I will also note the complete absence of Webscriptions books for the very same reason - Amazon won't come to an agreement with Baen and those other publishers who sell there to sell them DRM free. Toni Weisskopf has said similar to the above two gents, I believe.

Which would mean if they will for you, in a promoted arrangement as opposed to 'random work upload on DTP' that becomes more somewhat more interesting. :)

Joe Konrath said...

I think that's wrong, Blue. The publisher decides whether or not to use DRM.

In the case of my self-pubbed ebooks, I have the option not to use DRM, and I don't. I can't imagine why it wouldn't be the same with publishers, and I recall hearing that it was the same.

Here are some sites that state the same thing:

http://technologizer.com/2009/12/23/amazon-kindle-drm-broken-ebooks-set-free/

http://www.teleread.com/2009/03/16/drm-on-the-kindle-an-update/

Linda Pendleton said...

Congratulations...
Publishing is changing, that is for sure!

Jeff Bezos had a vision with Amazon and it continues...and I think these last few years are great for readers and writers...

More and more of us are stepping forward...

Blue Tyson said...

Yeah, I know you or Scott (or even me) can do it via DTP.

However, will Amazon let Random House or MacMillan do it (e.g. Tor/Doctorow, or whoever) - the latter gentleman of course being pretty well informed on this sort of thing).

Plus it is 100% guaranteed Baen wants to sell DRM-free - so where are all those books if Amazon is happy for this to be the case, and happy to have low prices? (Leaving aside any print publisher/supplier issues pricing issues).

Toni LP Kelner said...

You go, Joe! Here's hoping for ever increasing success.

Linda Acaster said...

This is fantastic news, not just for you but for all writers who have been thumped by their publishers. I am currently dipping my toe into ebooks with my rights-reverted, creating a trail for my next novel (the second of a trilogy) which will be going straight to ebook. You've been an inspiration, Joe, and your blog is my first port of call with my morning coffee. Enjoy!

Joe Konrath said...

This is awesome, for those who haven't seen it.

http://tinyurl.com/2e6y2pm

Chris Bates said...

Very clever.

J L said...

I've been with small publishers all of my published life (3 years) and have 15 books out, most in print as well as multi-digital. My publishers used to do the "ebook first, print later" model but now they release both on the same day. It's easier for them and for me for promotion.

I'll be following this to see how it shakes out. I'm sure you'll have a successful run with this simply because you've built a following, but the model itself is something I want to consider for some books my publishers have thought are too unusual for their various lines.

I wonder how this will affect writing organizations and their evaluation of what constitutes a 'real' writer. I'm not considered a 'real' writer by MWA, for example, because I'm not in mass market. I have to pick and choose my conferences carefully if I want to be on a panel or sign books. You will be grandfathered in, of course, because of your previous contracts with 'real' publishers. But what about new folks, I wonder?

Might be an interesting decade coming up...

Jude Hardin said...

Congrats, Joe!

Bookgal said...

Hey Joe your ears must have been burning yesterday. I was talking about you to with an agent I was having lunch with. Congrats on this, you are the post child for e-book success. :) Penny @ Author Marketing Experts, Inc

David H. Burton said...

Keep blazing the trail, Joe!! Congrats!!

Toby said...

Congratulations, Joe. Your blog has served as a strong indicator of how the digital distribution model is going to shake up the entire industry.

But I'm also a librarian, and Amazon's general indifference to my organization raises a lot of questions. We have a growing digital book collection. (Yes, that includes all 6 Jack Daniels titles.) And it's only getting bigger, both in terms of size and popularity with our patrons. How will we be able to lend Shaken if people want it as an ebook?

Errol Williams said...

Congratulations MR KONRATH. I have been a long time follower of your blog and have read many of your books. You are the measuring benchmark of what can be achieved in the exciting world of digital publishing.

Here's to your continued success.

Sarah J. Bradley said...

Congrats on this monumental success! I learned more from sitting next to you at the book signing Saturday than I have in several of my writing courses. Cheers!

Terrill Lankford said...

Well, how about a couple of hard questions, Mr. Konrath?

You say the book was rejected by all the traditional publishers. Is it possible that this might be a statement about the quality of the book? Perhaps it is not very good. Publishers have, after all, provided a filter between the public and a lot of bad writing over the years. That's one of the pluses of traditional publishing: a book has to run a gauntlet to get published. Hopefully if it sees print someone somewhere other than the author thought it was worthwhile. Do a lot of bad books still get published? Sure. But a lot more don't. Do good books get passed over for bad reasons? Sometimes. But I haven't found many of them in the ranks of self-publishing.

Now, if the answer to the above question is, "No. The book is great. The sales figures just weren't good enough for Harper Collins to continue the series and no one wants to pick up a series from another publisher," then what does this say about all the many years of hard work you've put into promoting your books? No one has pushed harder. You've stated that you always spent more time promoting the work than writing the work. Was the experiment a failure and would you do anything differently then if you knew what you know now?

Yes, the publishing world is changing. E-books are changing everything. One day bookstores will be a thing of the past and publishers will soon follow. Eventually even Amazon will be unnecessary because you will be able to buy directly from the author. But the question then is how will we know who the good writers are? Once the filter system collapses and the structure fails, how will we know when the next Faulkner or Chandler has arrived? When the known writers of today die out, what will be the training and proving ground for the new generations of writers? And do you think the standards will lower along the way. (How could they not?)

There's no stopping the e-book, but I, for one, don't look forward to a future where books won't have to pass many a test before I have to decide whether or not I want to spend my time and money on them.

There's no point in arguing against the future. it's going to happen. But I'm not about to rejoice about it.

Another question: You seem extremely proud about going this route, but honestly, if you could have it the other way and have the book come out in hardcover with a nice promotional push, would you still prefer that?

I'm sincerely interested in these questions. What do you think the future holds for publishing? Not just in terms of accessibility for aspiring authors, but also in terms of quality for the reader.

Beth Ciotta said...

Amazing news, Joe! As always, you're an inspiration. Congratulations!!

Anonymous said...

"But the question then is how will we know who the good writers are? Once the filter system collapses and the structure fails, how will we know when the next Faulkner or Chandler has arrived? "

Amazonencore is the beginning of a new filtering system. Amazon is building the structure to find the best books, provide editing and cover art services, promotion that sets apart the best books -- basically repackaging the best and putting their Good Housekeeping Seal on them.

It's in Amazon's best interests to provide a high quality product . . . as they morph from retailer to publisher they are starting to offer these services (Amazonencore -- it will grow).

They are offering a special rating for those books that have gone through their editorial staff (Amazonencore).

Auality control and vetting will always be important . . . it will simply move to a different location (Amazonencore) within the system (no longer with the big 6).

The traditional publishers should be worried. The value they add can easily be built into the Amazon universe . . . editing, vetting, promotion. That's why this deal with Konrath is big -- it represents a shift in the industry.

Anonymous said...

PS: As the big 6 downsize, watch Amazon cherry pick the best editors to employ in expanding their publishing services.

This is a dislocation, but not destruction of the industry. Where there is money to be made (selling books) somebody (Amazon) will find a business model that incorporates services that were previously provided by the big 6.

Chris said...

@Terrill:

There doesn't need to be a gateway filter anymore. There's very little below the line manufacturing costs, virtually no distribution costs.

The public (readers/customers) will decide if Joe's book is successful - and any other book, traditional or self-pubbed, for that matter.

Isn't that the only filter that matters? You don't have to find the goods ones, they'll find you via your trusted sources. Same as it ever was.

Joe Konrath said...

Is it possible that this might be a statement about the quality of the book? Perhaps it is not very good.

They rejected an outline and two sample chapters. And I'm pretty sure they're good. After selling fifteen novels and over seventy short stories, I imagine I have a feel for this by now.

You've stated that you always spent more time promoting the work than writing the work. Was the experiment a failure and would you do anything differently then if you knew what you know now?

I'd do everything exactly the same. I never claimed my efforts would make me a bestseller, only that they would sell books. And they have. Which is why all of my books are still in print and why I earn royalties.

As I've said many times, only have goals you can control. Everything I did was within my control, and I benefited from it.

But the question then is how will we know who the good writers are? Once the filter system collapses and the structure fails, how will we know when the next Faulkner or Chandler has arrived?

I get it. You need to have someone in authority tell you if something is quality or not, and what you should enjoy and not enjoy.

Personally, and I'm sure I speak for a lot of others here as well, I think people can figure that out on their own.

People can vet the good from the bad for themselves. They already do, whenever they decide how to spend their entertainment dollars.

if you could have it the other way and have the book come out in hardcover with a nice promotional push, would you still prefer that?

No to the hardcover. I've tried that, and found something better. I've got two Jack Kilborn novels I'm releasing on Amazon myself this month. I could have let my agent shop them around. I actually had an offer for them. But I'm going my own ebook route. In the long run, I'm sure I'll make more money.

What do you think the future holds for publishing? Not just in terms of accessibility for aspiring authors, but also in terms of quality for the reader.

Throughout the history of media, people were told what to enjoy. Three networks on TV. Books in bookstores. Music on the radio. Movies in theaters.

But something interesting has happened over the last twenty years. So many media options have become available, that people have a much wider choice than simply MASH or DYNASTY on Friday night.

And guess what? People like that choice. My son spends more time on Youtube than watching 125 channels of cable TV, because he likes having that choice of what to watch when he wants to watch it. He also likes things made by people other than the gatekeepers with the money.

My prediction for the future of publishing? No more bestsellers. No more million dollar deals. No more waste. No more going out of print. No more relying on someone else to become successful.

I wonder what would have happened to my career if my publisher had spent two million bucks promoting my first book.

But now I don't have to rely on anyone to make money. Only my own talent, skills, and savvy.

This deal with Amazon is terrific. I've gotten more publicity in the last two days than I have in the last 8 years. But guess what? I could have released SHAKEN myself, and still made a nice amount of money.

What will happen to publishers? I have no idea.

But I bet they're worried.

Ask me if I'm worried about my career.

Chris said...

Feel free to ignore this if it is too intrusive, Joe.

I'm interested to know if you're giving your agent a cut of the self-released stuff?

Joe Konrath said...

I'm interested to know if you're giving your agent a cut of the self-released stuff?

No. That's all me. But my agent is in the process of selling audio and foreign rights to those books, and she'll make money on that.

If my agent brings something to me, or vets a contract, or lands a sale, she deserves a cut. But on stuff I write and release myself--I don't need her for that, and much as I love her, don't feel she should get a piece of that. It's a business relationship.

Blue Tyson said...

Terrill,

As Joe said, he has written a lot. I have read the majority of it. The chance that it is not of professional quality, given that evidence, is zero.

Certainly it might only be average, but publishers put out untold thousands of those every year.

author Scott Nicholson said...

I absolutely agree on trusting the reader, Joe. I commented on Jason Pinter's cautious post at Huffington on this issue, worried about what happens when the gatekeepers are gone (after admitting as an editor himself the process was subjective and that all editors missed winners).

I basically stated that readers do a pretty good job on their own of finding what they want to read. I don't see why editors are necessarily any more qualified than the average reader at deciding what that reader wants and deserves.

The irony of all this is I saw today how the sales rankings for the Hyperion books had all jumped, so they get to ride the Konrath train a little farther down the line!

And Alicia, I truly sympathize with the plight of bookstores--but it's not Joe, authors, the publishing industry, or Amazon that's doing them in--it's the people who are not getting in their cars and driving down there to buy books. Pure and simple. Joe drove to 500 different bookstores to meet readers and booksellers. Can't hardly say he's an enemy of the people.

(And I get to say, as far as I know, I'm the first person to publish a Konrath comics story).

Scott Nicholson
http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

Joe Konrath said...

Certainly it might only be average

Hey! I prefer the term "fair to middling."

rex kusler said...

Since the gates to publishing have been flung wide open, can I get some noir to read--in the style of Jim Thompson? I know that's a definite no-no these days.

Well, hell, maybe I'll write some.

Blue Tyson said...

All that particular series have been above average so far.

How's 'decentish' then? Not too shabby? :)

Terrill Lankford said...

Joe, you seem to completely misunderstand my comment about filters. Yes, I can very easily decide what I like and what I don't. No one in authority tells me what to do. I just have no interest in facing a slush pile instead of a book that has been vetted many a place before it enters my radar. And even with the current filters in place, the pickings can be slim. But in a sea of self published material it will be harder and harder to find the diamonds in the rough. And I really don't have the time or inclination to sample thousands of "books" that haven't even gone through a gauntlet of filters and diligent editing processes. (And Blue Tyson, why would you ever waste time - or money - with "average" anything if you can have something better?)

Great writers don't usually spring from the womb complete and ready to rock. They are forged in a fire of competition and scrutiny. (Certainly there are exceptions, but I don't think we are talking about that here.)

The publishing business is certainly a very flawed system. The way they handle returns and remainders is a business joke of epic proportions. The fact that the sales staff has more power than the editing staff nowadays is an outrageous affront to what publishing has traditionally been about: best sellers mixed with good books whether they would find a huge audience or not. Twenty-five years olds in positions of power that would have been held by far more seasoned veterans thirty years ago. And on and on. Yeah. It's messed up.

One day, I fear, we will look upon these times as a golden age.

Joe Konrath said...

I just have no interest in facing a slush pile instead of a book that has been vetted many a place before it enters my radar.

But you already do that, all the time.

There are 500,000 ebooks on Kindle right now. More than anyone could ever read. Yet people manage to find things to buy, and discover new authors, both self-pubbed and professionally vetted.

Certainly you don't browse every single title when looking for a book to buy. You have methods to find the types of books you enjoy.

In a future where the majority of ebooks are self pubbed, there will still be ways to decide what is worthy of your time and what isn't, just like there are ways to do that today.

Robert Christopher said...

Since the gates to publishing have been flung wide open, can I get some noir to read--in the style of Jim Thompson? I know that's a definite no-no these days.

Hey Rex, I wouldn't call it a big no-no.

I can't believe I'm doing what alot of blogs tell you you to do in not being ashamed to put yourself out there and do pre-promotion, but I had to respond to your post. I have a modern noir novel that I'm working on now.

Though it's more modern, gritty,and darker than Thompson. If I had to describe it has the flavor/tone of NYPD Blue (grittyness) and CSI:Las Vegas (tone, subject matter) but in the form of a Private Investigator. Hopefuly, it will ready for an Oct/Nov release.

As for Joe. Congrats on putting yourself in a position to take care of your family. With all the time away on your monster book tours, the wife and kids deserve a little more dad time.

A couple of questions if you don't mind. 1) Obviously, since you are friends with Carl he is going to give you the best deal for the book covers. I was just wondering which one of yours was the most expensive? Or had the most work done. They all seem to fit the content perfectly, especially the Kilborn novels; "Afraid" is an excellent cover. 2)How much lead time should be given to have the cover in time?

Thanks for all the info.

And if you're still a Sabbath fan R.I.P RJD!!! \m/

Terrill Lankford said...

Joe, you say there will be ways to find the worthy e-book material in the future, but you didn't get specific. That's my question. What are those ways gong to be? Or what are they now? I don't see it.

As for the 500,00 e-books available out there I can tell you how many I have purchased or read. Zero. It will probably stay that way because I have no interest in Kindles or e-readers of any kind. And no book that I felt I had to buy has been exclusively released on e-book so far. They've all run the gauntlet.

I still like the paper stuff. I know it's old fashioned, but I haven't seen compelling evidence to make me change my ways yet.

But I know the future is yours. Not because of any arguments about quality writing one way or the other, but because technology is moving that way.

This seems like good news to those who have a hard time getting published, but as a fan and reader I see very dark times ahead.

Luckily I have a great library of books to read and reread. For me, I will never run out of great reading entertainment. I still believe that future generations or readers and writers will suffer in this brave new world, but there's no stopping it.

I'm just spitting into the wind. (But at least I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid first.)

Chris said...

Terrill, embrace it.

Ebooks will make you rich.

Of course, if they don't, it will not have cost you a dime to try it!

Also, trust the public's sh!t filter. If Harry Bosch was only found in an ebook we'd lift him from the junk.

Terrill Lankford said...

Chris, you mean the same public that makes James Patterson a multi-millionaire (without him even having to write his own books), the TRANSFORMERS movies worldwide hits, and AMERICAN IDOL the biggest phenomenon on TV? I don't have a lot of respect for the BS filter of the masses.

I think I'd trust the "New York elite" a little quicker than the general public when it comes to publishing books. I know that won't win me any friends around here, but it's the truth.

And even Mike Connelly has wondered if Harry Bosch would have found a mass audience if he was starting out in today's current publishing climate (let alone tomorrow's).

But I will admit that the e-book is a great delivery system for short stories. Since the print and internet marketplace seems to value them so little nowadays, it seems like e-commerce is a good way to monetize them.

It just helps if you know who the author is in the first place so you can find the stories. That's my biggest concern. Not today, or tomorrow, while we still have some understanding of the players out there, but ten, fifteen, twenty years from now when the current structures have all died out. I think the waters will be very murky. And I think writing in general will suffer and devolve.

bowerbird said...

joe said:
> In other words, Amazon
> is cutting out just about
> all the players in the
> traditional
> publishing
> industry,
> and directly connecting
> reader with author.

well, it's a "direct connection
between author and reader"
with one very big exception:
a middleman named amazon.

and yes, on the one hand,
that's very close to "direct".

but on the other hand, it is
still a mediated relationship.

and the cost of mediation is
a cool 30%. now, i am _not_
begrudging them that 30%...

considering what they do,
and what it would cost you,
i'd be open to the argument
they earn every penny of it...

but we should recall the days
-- not so very long ago --
when this same middleman
was taking the _70%_ share...

simply because he _could_...

you got 30%, take it or leave it.

and he only changed his deal
when yet another middleman
appeared with the better offer.

so excuse me if i temper my
effusive congratulations to you
with a cautionary note or two...

and let me ask some questions.

one...

you have posted very openly on
your finances, to great interest.
but now this new middleman has
saddled you with an n.d.a. yoke?

what is it that needs to be hidden?

two...

you have also posted quite often
that your books are available on
your website at no cost to fans...

will this book be posted for free?

the answers to these questions
are important because they are
litmus on your ability to be free,
to choose who you choose to be...

***

unlike some, like lee goldberg?,
i see this deal as a death-bell on
the current corporate publishers.

so it's the kind of thing i have been
_expecting_ to manifest for a while.

yet, at the same time, when the time
comes to jump out of the frying pan,
one must take care to avoid the fire...

or else you just trade one middleman
for another; what is the sense of that?

***

amazon will -- i am quite sure -- be
a great partner for you. but do please
remember that it is possible for you to
have a _direct_ relationship with readers,
if that is what you want to choose to do.

-bowerbird

chris said...

Terrill, I don't think there is any change in gatekeeping taking place here.

I don't buy books based on which publisher produces them, I don't buy books based on advertising. I buy books based on trusted recommendations and prior exposure to an author's work.

Connelly's wrong to believe his books would struggle in the new world... unless he started writing crap.

Would you buy a James Lee Burke book based on Connelly's recommendation?

What about an unknown author's work based on his recommendation?

What about Peter Temple's 'Broken Shore' based on mine?

I read Connelly, Rankin, Burke etc, maybe I can be one of your trusted ebook filters via social media ... or blog comments? That's how this shit will work.

Also, I don't believe the old school method of filtering 'made' writers ... 'polished', sure. But writers naturally evolve. And in this day and age they will evolve even more.

Connelly could never have made a living from writing in his style 100 years ago. He, like all authors, reflect their culture in that particular time.

I'm sure each passing generation of authors lament the demise of their respective culturally defining styles. Same with film (1939 or 2010?) and music (60s or Nought-ies?).

At least with ebooks an unknown hack can self-publish 17th century iambic pentameter or 20th century mystery/thrillers without restrictions and for the enjoyment of anyone who appreciates it.

You suggest writing will suffer. I reckon it will stagnate, die, bloom ... but essentially it will grow.

I buy print books ... but I read all words.

BTW, tell Micheal to self-release [Note to Joe: see 'self-release', not 'self-publish'? I'll get rid of that stigma for you! ;) ] his unpublished stuff onto Amazon. I'll be his first customer!

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Wow - congratulations! You must be over the moon:) All this Amazon business sounds a bit confusing to me, I must admit; the Kindle craze hasn't really hit Europe yet, and certainly not Norway, but no doubt it'll come:) You're doing great work, and I wish you all the best:)

Jude Hardin said...

"Self-release" sounds kinda dirty.

David H. Burton said...

I just have no interest in facing a slush pile instead of a book that has been vetted many a place before it enters my radar.

As far as I'm concerned, all books are part of the "slush pile". This is a subjective arena. And what you may feel is worth reading, I may think is utter codswallop. It doesn't matter how well vetted a book may be, there are more important factors (description, genre, reading sample, price, etc) in buying a book. At the end of the day, you are still making your own choice of what's worth reading based on those factors first and foremost.

And if your book buying habits are based primarily on the publisher, you are in the minority. I did a survey recently on book purchasing decisions. It's unscientific, granted, but the name of the publisher was last on the list. Dead last.

I'm sorry to tell you this, but you are very much immersed in the slush pile every time you buy a book.

Roddy Reta said...

I suspect most of the people in NY publishing are like Terrill Lee Lankford. They have contempt for the popular culture, which is usually indicative of a broader contempt for the general public. They grit their teeth at Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer, much in the same way their forefathers used to grit their teeth at Mickey Spillane and genre fiction in general.

I have greater faith in the average reader. After all, Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke are bestsellers because people bought their books. Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy also sell well. Its true they all needed an marketing push, but in the end it was the general public that made them into stars.

kd easley said...

Congratulations, Joe.
Did I mention you're my hero?

Terrill Lankford said...

Hmmm... now I'm lumped in with those elitist snobs in New York. Those freakin' intellectuals! Oh lord. I see I've put my foot in it.

Roddy, I like a lot of trash. But I do have the sense to recognize it for what it is. I guess I actually need to apologize for not waiting breathlessly for the new TWILIGHT book or movie now? If not buying Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer makes me elitist, so be it. But hey, I like Mickey Spillane and I LOVE genre fiction. I just want it to be good. So sue me.

Nothing inspires contempt for the masses more than trying to bring a civil conversation - and a differing point of view - to a blog.

And a slush pile is not the same thing as a book that has run the publishing gauntlet. A slush pile is the 495,000 self published books out of the 500,000 that Joe mentioned that will never be read by anyone other than the friends and family of those who wrote them.

Kay Bratt said...

Welcome to the world of AmazonEncore. As one of the 19 books published by this new division of Amazon, I can tell you I am immensely pleased with the results. My book was relaunched by AmazonEncore on March 30 and when I received my first statement (of only 2 days sales which included all the pre-orders), I was ecstatic! And though I've sold plenty of paper books, the Kindle sales dominate and bring in the bulk of the royalties. In the last 'less than 2 months', I have sold more units than in the whole year of sales on my own, and remember during that year on my own, my self-published book hit #266 in Amazon rankings, so I've sold a good share of books!

Quality-- I was given the opportunity to work with a professional editor as well as choose between 3 awesome cover designs. The team at AmazonEncore has been awesome, and that is putting it mildly.

I knew my book was successful when it sold thousands as a self-published book, but it has hit a new level with AmazonEncore that gives me the confidence to keep writing.

Glad to have you as a fellow AmazonEncore author!

Terrill Lankford said...

Chris,

No, I wouldn't buy a book based only on your recommendation, because I don't know you. And that's what I'm talking about. What will be our road maps to good books in the future Recommendations from strangers on the internet? I don't see how this is an improvement over the previous system of publishing gauntlet, reviews, and then word of mouth. As a matter of fact, what I've observed over the last ten years or so on the internet is a lot of really substandard stuff being huckstered by interlocking networks of cronies who scratch each other's backs. If this is the future of book promotion, it looks bleak. So the internet is only one part of my own filtering system when it comes to finding good books. I've found most of the books I wanted to read by haunting bookstores. Spending time in the aisles and perusing the shelves. It saddens me to realize this will soon be a thing of the past.

I know, to some out there, I sound elitist for wanting to spend my time and money on "good books" (whatever that means), but as you get older you start to value what time you have left very differently than when you are young and immortal.

Karen McQuestion said...

Yay!

As a fellow AmazonEncore author let me add my congratulations, Joe! I think you just validated the rest of us. :-) I can't wait to read Shaken (on my Kindle) and to hear more about this new venture as time goes on. Your blog posts are always entertaining and informative.

Anonymous said...

"A slush pile is the 495,000 self published books out of the 500,000 that Joe mentioned that will never be read by anyone other than the friends and family of those who wrote them."

I can tell you haven't been on the Kindle store. Of the 500,000+ books offered my perception is that less than 5% are self-published titles.

The vast majority, from what I see and hear from other writers, blogs, etc., are sticking with the old query system.

David Wisehart said...

As the gatekeepers lose power, the power will shift to respected recommenders, who may soon become their own kind of powerbrokers. Some will be celebrities like Oprah or Stephen King. Most will be bloggers, twitterers, top Amazon reviewers, etc. Publishers have slushpile readers now. Those readers (and perhaps laid-off editors and agents) could blog online and make money recommending the books to the public that they once recommended to publishers. If a new filter is needed, a new business will spring up to provide it.

Daniel W. Powell said...

I've only ever enjoyed Joe's body of work. I've read his work in multiple genres, formats and lengths, and it's all of the highest quality.

The big difference between Joe Konrath and Joe Lansdale (another amazing writer) and Stephen King and Lee Child (two other amazing writers) is arbitrary.

They all take pride in their work. They all provide a baseline level of quality.

Where do the roads depart? Joe's said it many times: you need good fortune to do well. He's had it, but not in the quantities Child and King have.

I don't put his stories in front of or behind the examples I used above. They all go into the TBR pile.

That said, I think Joe Konrath is going places in his career, and doing it successfully, that these other writers never considered. What's the word for someone willing to do that?

Oh yeah, pioneer...

DP
An Autumn Harvest

Joe Konrath said...

Joe, you say there will be ways to find the worthy e-book material in the future, but you didn't get specific. That's my question. What are those ways gong to be? Or what are they now?

Whenever people ask me about which self-promotion ideas they should do to sell their books, I ask them, "What works on you?"

If you've bought books on Amazon, you had a method for doing so. Could be you heard about the book elsewhere. Could be you were surfing the bestseller lists. Could be you looked it up by genre. Could be you saw the "customers who bought this also bought" link. Could be you were just surfing, browsing, clicking, and came upon it.

Then, once you're on a product page, you make the same decisions you always make. Do reviews matter? Cover? Genre? Description? Sample? Does this seem like a book you'll enjoy?

You do this with every book you buy (except for the ones you buy automatically.) Doesn't matter if there are 50 or 5 billion books out there, there are always ways to find what you're interested in. And if the book looks like a shitty, self-pubbed first effort, chances are you'll be able to spot it and avoid it pretty quickly.

As for the 500,00 e-books available out there I can tell you how many I have purchased or read. Zero.

You seem proud of that. Why? It's an easy, cheaper, faste,r more convenient way to read. Just like listening to music on an iPod is better than CDs.

Terrill Lankford said...

I'm not proud of not buying e-books. It's just a fact. I stare at this damn computer screen far longer than I want to now and I'm not adding more screen time to my schedule. (And like I said, I still like paper.)

Hell, if this e-book thing really takes hold I may even go outside one day.

Anonymous said...

Is Barnes and Noble feeling the heat from Amazon?

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/43228-barnes--noble-to-offer-digital-self-publishing.html

Terrill Lankford said...

Joe, I'll finish with one last statement before I go back to my planet.

If you really are pulling down almost five hundred bucks a day off internet sales, all I can say is... Congratulations!

Joe Konrath said...

I stare at this damn computer screen far longer than I want to now and I'm not adding more screen time to my schedule.

E-ink is passive, same as paper. Zero eye strain.

Robert Christopher said...

Terrill you should see this as an opportunity for the next to be. And that might be someone you enjoy.

Joe's covered the plusses and minuses of traditional pub and the E-book platform. Where else can a newbie author who isn't the most 100% mainstream palatable get to build an audience?

And as for Twilight and American Idol you should be savvy enough to undertsand these type of things. The women I dated in the 90's were all reading Anne Rice. Then it was Anita Blake. Now it's Twilight. In 5-10 years it will be someone new.

It's okay to stick to your guns and be a traditionalist. You don't have to agree with everyone's opinion. In fact, I applaud that you can make up your mind, and have your own opinion. But if you are totally closed to the idea of the Kindle, you might be missing out on finding the next Connelly or whomever tickles your fancy.

Jack H. H. King said...

My grandma refuses to buy a computer.

She believes the government will be able to use it to look inside her condo and spy on her.

She thinks Kindle is a computer, so she will only read "paperbooks."

I told her all my geek erotica is published on Kindle, at 2.99, and they outsell my paperbacks 3 to 1. And that money makes the wife happy.

My grandma asked if I ever watched my fans read. If I ever look through my computer, through their Kindle, while they're reading, and just watch them. And if I ever saw anyone famous.

I told her I'm a pretty busy guy, so I only do that on Wednesdays.

And I once saw Christopher Walken.

Grandma said she likes her privacy.

I told her that her new HDTV has a computer chip, and also her new coffee pot. A week later, she made my uncle take both of those back.

Grandma lives on fear and bacon.

Digital paper is a beautiful thing. But it's not for everyone.

I'm 35 years old. I figure I have a 20-year window. I don't write or market novels to readers below 25, or above 45. And my work is NC-17, which makes my niche even smaller.

Amazon.com and Kindle is the best thing that ever happened to the indie author.

Anyone can write a novel. Few people write multiple novels. No one can write a huge backlist of novels and not become good at it.

I have only one goal in my life.

Write 100 Badass Novels.

I have 7 down, and 93 to go.

I've been writing for twelve years. Each new novel is better than the previous, because of my ambition, and my dedication to craftsmanship. But I won't be "great" for at least another decade.

Joe is a great writer, a great guy, and a great cheerleader. He is pushing the world in the direction it needs to go. I will support his works in whatever ways he requests.

Joe is the only author blog I read. And I don't see that changing. 2010 / 2011 is going to be a hell of a ride. And the future is glorious.

Mr. Lankford, I'm not calling you an old woman. But you sound like my grandmother.

- Jack

Alastair Mayer said...

Jack King wrote: No one can write a huge backlist of novels and not become good at it.

That sounds like Bradbury's advice to wannabe authors: write a story a week for a year and you'll get published, because nobody can write 52 consecutive bad stories.

I have only one goal in my life.
Write 100 Badass Novels.


A laudable goal, I may copy it. But I've got a few years on you so I'll have to write faster ;-) (One down, one almost done, a third in progress -- and yes, I need to focus a little better.)

Lee Goldberg said...

Jack wrote: "No one can write a huge backlist of novels and not become good at it."

That's simply not true. If you are bad writer, writing a hundred, or even 500, bad novels isn't going to make you any good at it. Do something badly long enough, you might just start doing it even worse.

That attitude, that if you keep pumping out books you'll inevitably get better and become successful, is why there is so much unreadable, self-published sludge on Amazon and Smashwords right now.

I am not saying there aren't good, self-published ebooks out there, but from my experience sampling a lot of it, most of it is horrendously bad (sometimes bordering on incoherent) and no where near professional quality. Just because you CAN self-publish easily doesn't mean that you SHOULD.

Lee

Lee Goldberg said...

To my friend Lee Lankford...

You can love books and still love the Kindle. They aren't mutually exclusive. I still buy hardcovers and paperbacks, but I LOVE reading books on the Kindle, especially when I travel. I don't think this technology is the death-knell of publishing. It's merely an evolution. Has the convenience having all your music on the iPod ruined music? I sure as hell don't think so.

You ought to embrace the Kindle, Lee. You have a backlist of great out-of-print books of your own that are gathering dust...but that could be earning you good money in digital format.

The Other Lee

Susan Tunis said...

Hi Terrill,

First, I want to commend you on taking the time to express your thoughts. You've expressed views that are somewhat contrary to the majority here, you've done so civily and articulately, and you've signed your name. I've really enjoyed hearing your thoughts.

Unlike most people here, I'm a reader, not a writer. I totally understand your concerns. I may be repeating Joe a bit when I suggest that you will still be using some of the same methods for finding good books that you always have. I'm sure you have trusted sources that give you recommendations you value. I'm sure you have authors that are perennial favorites. And I'm sure that when browsing, whether in a store or online, there is occasionally a title or a cover that just grabs your eye and that you decide to take a chance on.

If the number of options out there expands exponentially, you may need to become a little more proactive in seeking help. For instance, I contribute to an online literary discussion through Shelfari with hundreds of participants. Every day, we post reviews of what we've read and discuss. I skim. And it doesn't take all that long for you to figure out what other readers you're sympatico with. Pay attention to what they're reading, and what they're saying about it. Ignore the stuff that's of no interest.

With regard to the choices of the masses, it's a double-edged sword. I, too, abhore those James Patterson playing-to-the-lowest-common-denominator titles. But sometimes the masses get it right. I finally read Water for Elephants recently. Gosh, I enjoyed it as much as everyone else. Not all reader-reviewers are created equally. Look at the literacy of the review. If the reader can barely string two sentences together, you may discount their opinion. I will say that a lot of thoughtful people are contributing content on sites like Amazon. We're even ranked. I'm not a strong writer, but I'm ranked at #234 out of 6,000,000+ reviewers. A lot of strangers find some value in my thoughts on the books I read.

In addition writing my reader-reviews, I spend a lot of time reading them. If you pay attention, you will notice that you start to see the same reviewer names reviewing the titles that interest you. People's tastes overlap. So, just as you have trusted friends in your life, I think if you're open to it, you'll find trusted voices in this new world of electronic and social media. And this from a girl who refuses to be on Facebook, and who really has minimal time or interest in any of that crap.

Incidentally, I own a Kindle. I didn't buy it, Amazon gave it to me. I NEVER would have bought one. I wrote a review called "The Dinosaur and the Kindle." It's one of the most popular reviews for the machine because it seems to speak to a lot of bibliophilic, technophobic readers like me. I still live in a tiny apartment with thousands of paper books, but I have to tell you, Terrill, I'm completely won over. I freakin' love the thing. I still go out and buy a first edition hardback of my favorite writers' novels, but I may choose to actually read the book on my Kindle. It's a fantastic reading experience. So, never say never.

Generally speaking, more options is a good thing. You'll develop your own coping methods to deal with the glut, and you will win in the end. Sorry to drone, and happy reading to all.

Natasha Fondren said...

I couldn't be happier for you, Joe! :-)

Alastair Mayer said...

Lee Goldberg said: If you are bad writer, writing a hundred, or even 500, bad novels isn't going to make you any good at it.

Well, there may be cases where the person isn't even trying to improve. But my and Jack King's and presumably Bradbury's assumption was that the writer was learning something with each attempt. It takes a very special kind of stupid (perhaps even psychopathology -- although to hear slush readers talk, that may not be uncommon) to not improve at all.

Terrill Lankford said...

Jack, your grandma and I should hang out. I also live on fear and bacon.

Susan, thanks for your comments. I know that right now we live in pretty good times for the e-reader. We have a lot of good writers out there with proven track records who have run the gauntlets and are worthy of purchasing in one way or the other.

My concerns are more long range, probably past my own life time and maybe that of most others around here as well. I know I shouldn't be worried about things like that, but if everyone had that attitude in the 50s and 60s about, say, the environment, think of the mess we'd be in right now.

Um....

Jack H. H. King said...

Lee,

You took that quote out of context. My plan has two parts.

(1) Write 100 Badass Novels.

(2) Every Day, Focus On Craft.

I began as a playwright in college. My writer / director / actor peers produced indie theater for friends and strangers. We sold $5 tickets. We evolved our craft In The Arena. Because a paying customer is the best teacher in the world.

For young authors, self-publishing is a genuine learning experience. New York doesn't give them notes. Classes and writing groups are almost always useless. And "self releasing" on Kindle hurts no one. It can even buy pizza. Every writer starts Bad. What the newbie needs most is encouragement and practice, not insults and predictions of doom.

For professional authors, Kindle is Free Money.

For readers, Kindle is bliss.

It's win-win-win.

- Jack

Lee Goldberg said...

Jack wrote: "For young authors, self-publishing is a genuine learning experience. New York doesn't give them notes. Classes and writing groups are almost always useless. And "self releasing" on Kindle hurts no one. It can even buy pizza. Every writer starts Bad."

Oh. My. God. That is all so wrong-headed and ignorant I almost don't know where to begin...or how to do so politely.

What you are saying is, essentially, "you don't need no schoolin' to learn nuthin', just do whatever you want to do and figure it out along the way." It's equating ignorance with intelligence.

Classes and writing groups are vitally important to learning the skills required to be a writing and for honing your craft.

Every writer does not start out bad...unskilled maybe, but some show remarkable talent very early on, they only need to learn how to harness it.

Self-publishing is not a substitute for actually learning how to write. And self-publishing can hurt you. Joe has built a reputation based on his work, and that is what has led to his success. If the work you put out there is unreadable slop, that's what you will be known for. The readers won't come back and sample you when you've finally written something good.

Lee

Chris said...

@Lee: “Self-publishing is not a substitute for actually learning how to write. And self-publishing can hurt you.”

I dunno, Lee. What’s it matter? I mean, who is gonna find your crap work anyway?

I say let everyone have a crack. Those who impose self-restraint and learn some craft before self-publishing will obviously be more successful than others. But by and large, it shouldn’t hurt their chances of success at a later date. Hell, Joe’s selling stuff he wrote before his craft was ‘worthy’ of publication. It doesn’t seem to be ruining his income levels.

As for learning the craft: again, I dunno. I’ve sat in on a few story meetings and wondered what the hell we were going to do with that ep’s guest actor, his crap story arc, the constraints of too many interiors, etc etc. You know how it plays?

Those experiences are probably as effective a tool for learning craft as digesting a hundred books and penning a dozen self-pubbed novels in free-form conversational Na’vi.

Ditto the worth of writing workshops.

How many punters rock up to McKee and leave with not a clue on how to successfully imbed that info into their work? Same goes for Donald Maas advice.

You can teach people a ton of writing craft and still they fail to create an interesting tale.

Anyway, I’m not saying you’re wrong … actually I don’t know what I’m saying, probably talking in Na’vi.

Maybe: Aspiring authors, go write and publish. You’ll learn something somewhere. Well, one hopes you will!

No drama if you don’t.

Jack H. H. King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Konrath said...

Let's remember to play nice.

PokerBen said...

Great discussions, but as a Jack Daniels fan, I'm just glad we get a new novel.

Congratulations Joe.

Moses Siregar III said...

Jack, your initial grandma response was epic. 5 stars, and much respect.

Joe, you might need to create a handy page with answers to the same frequent objections that pop up in every blog post now. Like ...

Your initial Kindle success came from your prior name recognition, how will anyone find books in the future, reading ebooks means you'll never get laid again, etc.

Casey Moreton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Congratulations Joe! but I am going to miss you!! You are losing a whole demographic. There are many of us who just aren't going to buy the readers; the expense, the small screens (for old eyes), not technically savy. Who buys more books, the 25yo or the 55yo? I work for a very small library and we still check out 2000 books a day. Books are still a viable commodity. Sigh!!You were the best!!

Joe Konrath said...

You are losing a whole demographic.

My book is coming out in print in February.

Also, ereaders have big screens with no eyestrain, and the font is adjustable. So no more Large Print editions--ereaders can do it better.

Ellen Fisher said...

Anonymous, one of the things I love best about my Kindle is the large print. I need bifocals (quite badly now) and still haven't gotten them. I read books with a huge font on Kindle. Even my ninety-three-year-old father, who's suffering from macular degeneration, can see the largest font with no problem.

Based on what I've seen around the Amazon boards, it seems to me that a lot of Kindle readers are in fact in the demographic you mention, but I could certainly be wrong. In any event, it's a moot point, since as Joe pointed out, his book is coming out in paperback, too... although the print will be too small for me, I imagine:-).

Lee Goldberg said...

Casey,

You can *already* get on the Nook for *free* using Smashwords. They can also put you on the iPad and the Kindle, too.

Lee

Casey Moreton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Casey Moreton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moses Siregar III said...

The royalties with PubIt will probably be better than you would get if you go through Smashwords to get onto the Nook. PubIt says that their royalties will be competitive with other major services. So, it's probably in the 60-70% territory, or close to it. Amazon is 70%, of course, and iBookstore is 60% when going through Smashwords.

Moses Siregar III said...

I should've said, the current rate that you get when going through Smashwords to BN is 42%. PubIt will almost certainly be higher.

Alastair Mayer said...

To address some points made above:

Learning to write well takes practice, lots of it. Why not self-pub your practice works and get feedback (and maybe beer money -- or tuition) from real users? Sure, once you have an idea of what you're doing you can learn from McKee and Maass and Block and the rest, but it's just book learnin' without practice.

And in a business where it's routine to write under multiple pen names, ruin which reputation?

(That said, the smarter you are about this business, the better you'll do -- as with just about everything else.)

Lynda Hilburn said...

Amazon is 70%, of course


I thought that was after July 1? I didn't think Amazon was paying 70% now. What did I miss?

Bookwhirl said...

Can't wait to read the kindle edition! Thanks for sharing!

Casey Moreton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kiki said...

I'm so torn here...on the one hand, I think it's great that there is now the option for an author to secure a good deal on a book that publishers passed on. You obviously have a readership and a fan base of people eagerly awaiting this novel. I think that if the system isn't working, reform is good. Reform here might be too small a word--total re-envisioning, perhaps?

But I got really stuck on the $2.99 price. I'm the biggest bargain shopper ever, so this is a great price. I'd buy about anything for that price. I know that there has been much discussion about the low pricing of ebooks and how this affects the paper trade and also what it goes to say about the value of books, and the value of authors. I love a cheap price, but it scares me that this could have a very negative backlash as well for the bookselling industry. There's not always a great margin of profit in selling books, and they are priced way above $2.99. and what about smaller booksellers, like alicia masters(who commented above)? They've already had a hard time competing with super stores that can slash prices. How will this affect them?

So, I'm feeling happy for you, excited to see how things are changing, but also nervous about what this could mean.

Joe Konrath said...

Kiki, I'll probably make more on $2.99 than I've made on any of the other Jack Daniels books. Artists can earn more money on a low priced ebook than a high priced ebook controlled by one of the Big 6 publishers.

Kiki said...

I believe it! I think I'm worried about where that leaves everyone else--booksellers, etc. But I don't know that I SHOULD worry about all of them....it's more the small booksellers and such. I'm just torn and don't know what to think yet about all this change. That makes me sound waaaay older than 32. But really, congrats to you and I will be eagerly watching to see how this ripples down through the industry.

Connie Shelton said...

Joe, I'm so glad to see others doing this! I, too, broke with my traditional publisher last year. With rights reverted to me on my eleven Charlie Parker backlist titles, books that were languishing are now reaching a whole new audience. Best move I ever made!

We all have to keep in mind that readers come first. It used to break my heart to answer their question about when my next book would be coming out with "I don't know" simply because my publisher wouldn't commit to a new one. I decided that if the old publisher-distributor-bookstore model wasn't reaching my readers anymore, I could find a better way.

Congratulations, and thanks for blazing the way!!

Joan Hall Hovey said...

You have been a tremendous inspiration to so many authors, including me. I am now #24 in Thrillers & Mysteries on the best selling Indie list, http://ereadercorral.com/uncategorized/mid-may-top-indie-author-list/
in part because of what I learned reading your book. And following your blog. Thanks, Joan