Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Brave New World

For all of my adult life, I wanted to be a writer. That meant finding a publisher.

So I wrote ten novels--over a million words--and those novels garnered more than 500 rejections from top editors in NY. Eventually, after twelve years of struggle, I landed my first publishing contract.

Since that point, I've been determined to succeed, and have worked pretty hard to sell my books.

Then, last year, some fans asked me to put my early, rejected books on Kindle so they could read them on their cool new device. I figured it couldn't hurt to try.

Fourteen months later, I've sold over 52,000 ebooks, and will earn over $100,000 this year on Kindle sales alone. On books that NY Publishing rejected.

So now I've taken the next, logical step. ENDURANCE (now available on Kindle for $2.99) is being released exclusively as a self-published ebook.

I've gone from desperately wanting to be accepted by NY Publishing, to completely ignoring NY Publishing.

In 2007 I wrote a horror novel called AFRAID under the pen name Jack Kilborn, and that landed me a two-book deal. My publishers wanted a book similar in tone to AFRAID, so I pitched them the idea for a book called TRAPPED and wrote the first few thousand words. They placed an excerpt for TRAPPED in the back of copies of AFRAID, hoping to release the book in the winter of 2009.

Unfortunately (for me), my editors hated TRAPPED when they read the whole thing.

Personally, I liked it. The novel was more intense than AFRAID, and probably a little meaner and gorier (maybe more than just a little), but I believed it kept to the same theme and tone of the first Kilborn book. Namely, regular people in a dark, confined setting, confronted with an overpowering, horrible threat.

Since I wanted to get paid, I rewrote TRAPPED according to the editorial notes I’d been given. I don’t believe it made the book better, but it did make it different. I toned down a bit of violence and sex, added a bit more violence in other areas, changed a few characters, cut a sub plot, and wrote a new ending.

My editors hated the new version as well. So I put TRAPPED away, figuring it would sell eventually, and instead wrote ENDURANCE, the third Jack Kilborn book in my two-book contract.

My editors liked ENDURANCE, but wanted me to make some significant cuts. Having been down that road before, I told them no, and I pulled ENDURANCE from publication.

So now I had two intense horror novels, ready to publish. All I had to figure out is what to do with them.

During the 18 months I’d been working on TRAPPED and ENDURANCE, I’d turned some of my older books (written under my real name, J.A. Konrath) into ebooks. To my surprise, they sold like crazy. Rather than pursue traditional print publication, I decided to do it alone and release TRAPPED and ENDURANCE myself. (TRAPPED actually did have an offer from a major publisher, which I turned down. It will be available on Kindle this week.)

I like ENDURANCE. So much, that I didn’t want to see it diminished by what I felt were unnecessary edits. Though it isn’t as horrific as TRAPPED (I don’t know if I’ll ever write anything as horrific as TRAPPED ever again) there were certain creepy elements to this book that weirded me out. In fact, the whole reason I wrote this book was because of an idea I had while on vacation.

We were renting a cabin in the woods in northern Wisconsin, and I was sitting on the bed when a disturbing thought hit me. What if the cabin’s owners were watching us, right now?

In fact, if you were a psychotic voyeur, it would be pretty easy to rig your house with hidden passages and peep holes, and then rent it out to unsuspecting guests.

I immediately became paranoid, and looked at the closet, the bathroom, the stairs, wondering if I was being spied on.

Then I heard something creak under the bed.

Could someone actually be under there?

No one actually was. But I kept thinking about awful it would be to stay in someone else’s house and suddenly realize someone was under your bed.

Of course, what could be even worse than that?

Someone under your bed, and you don’t have legs so you can’t run away...

I have a feeling NY Publishing will be watching this to see how the ebook does. While huge sales would be nice, I'm not really concerned. I sold over 50,000 copies of AFRAID, and earned around $30,000. I can earn the same amount on ENDURANCE selling only 15,000 copies. It may take a year or two, but I'm pretty sure I'll hit that goal. In fact, over the course of a decade, I'm pretty sure I'll sell a lot more than that.

And the coolest part it, I've done it on my own.

I've spent eight years working with publishers to make my books profitable. I've signed at over 1200 bookstores. I've sent out over 100,000 newsletters. I've mailed 7000 letters to libraries. I've toured 39 states. I've been to over a hundred conferences, conventions, and book fairs. I've blogged and MySpaced and Twittered and Facebooked before anyone in NY Publishing even knew what those things were.

As a result, I've sold a fair amount of books, made a fair amount of money, but never got that big push that would have helped me reach a wider audience. Without coop placement, and discounting, and wide distribution, my books have sold as well as they could have.

But the paradigm is changing. Now writers don't need coop and discounting and distribution. Now I don't need to tour for 68 days straight, or spend all of my free time friending people on social networks. Now I don't have to worry about what the sales reps or big box buyers think. Or advertising, or returns, or bi-annual royalties.

I can reach readers directly. No more gatekeepers. No more middlemen. No more decision by committee. No more people telling me what I can and can't do. No more boundaries. No more restrictions.

For writers, this is liberation. We can make more money selling far fewer books. And we don't have anyone holding us back.

This is good, and I'm going to be interested in seeing how many other authors do the same thing I'm doing.

My guess? Within the next few years: almost all of them.

77 comments:

The White Wolf said...

Do you still 'owe' your publishers two books, or did they release you from your contract?

AFRAID is still on the bookshelves here in Montreal - so that's like good, right.

rex kusler said...

I wonder who will be the first independent author to sell a million Kindle downloads. Even at 35 cents a pop--that would be a nice chunk of change.

Zoe Winters said...

I love the cover art for this book. (Though I don't read horror.)

Totally hear you on the "ignoring NY publishing" thing. Isn't it a nice feeling? There is nothing more liberating to me than knowing no one is standing at a gate giving me "permission to play". Succeed or fail I can at least play the game.

I also wonder how many other authors are going to jump on this band wagon. I'm not sure whether it's good or bad for me. On the bad side, it's a lot more competition in the same price range. One of the benefits for me in growing an audience has been the low cost.

Then again, a lot of people are putting out crappy low-cost ebooks and some readers may be starting to get jaded. So on the good side, if a lot of previously vetted authors who can actually write, are putting out low cost ebooks too... with my new pro-designed book covers, I will hopefully blend into "that" group, rather than be seen as a potentially crappy self-pubbed author as people get more jaded. (And wow that was a run-on sentence.)

Colette said...

I am really fascinated and impressed by what you are doing. I applaud you for taking this bold before anyone else. I have a suspicison that being 'first' to this party is a big benefit. But -- you mention no more social networking etc. You still need to market somehow, right?

Annmarie Kostyk said...

I applaud you sir! I have been self-publishing on Create Space (Amazon) and have books ebooks for sell. Not a huge amount of sales, but I figure that too will come. May you sell a million copies this year!

Anonymous said...

I read nothing but books on my kindle for the first year after I bought it, but about two months ago I picked up a paper book and realized how much better the experience was, and now I'm back to reading almost exclusively on paper.

Not that I don't still love my kindle, but I use it only for free ebooks from Guttenberg and the like. Any new book that I want to read, I buy.

I've heard others say the same thing, and while I agree ebooks are the future, that future still includes print. ebooks will just be another format to compliment print books, not one that takes over.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for the blog, the inspiration and the shear guts. I SO dig you.

Mike Dennis said...

Great post, Joe. Keep on rockin'.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Because readers knew you from your published books, they knew who you were when you started publishing ebooks. I wonder if an unknown writer can make it that way though. I am very happy for your success just don't know how many would have the same results.

Zoe Winters said...

@pattinase

An unknown writer can do it. I have never had a traditional publisher. I have 3 novellas out that I've independently released on the Kindle. In the past 20 days I've sold 4,000 ebooks and am ranked in the top 200 of the Kindle store consistently for all three ebooks.

I think with ebooks and the Internet it's possible for authors to find an audience. Platform is still built one reader at a time, whether you are trad pubbed or an indie author.

Zoe Winters said...

Oh, Karen McQuestion has also done it. Same situation. No trad publisher, released a whole bunch of ebooks. She's sold a bunch more than me. I'm sure there are others.

Cindy Carver said...

@Anonymous: While print and ebooks live side by side, it will always be great to have both. I read e-pub's the most, whether on my computer or my pda. The good thing about ebooks you can take your library of 1500 books with you on a trip and read whatever your mood is at the time. When I take (4)print books, sometimes I get to my destination and so not in the mood to read a mystery when I'm in a fun comedic mood.

Anonymous said...

Your typo has spawned a fabulous new term that made me laugh: "Oublishing".

A mix of "oubliette" and "publishing".

From Wikipedia:
"An oubliette is a form of dungeon which was accessible only from a hatch in a high ceiling. The image of dark, damp dungeons as the scene of lengthy incarceration and unspeakable cruelty is a powerful one in popular culture."

Apt.

D

Mary McDonald said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to "Trapped" as it sounds like the kind of book I might be interested in reading.

Luke said...

Zoe said: "I have 3 novellas out that I've independently released on the Kindle. In the past 20 days I've sold 4,000 ebooks."

Kept has sold 405 copies in the past 20 days, and Claimed has sold 361. Are you saying Mated has sold over 3000 copies in the past 20 days?

Max said...

Discounting the SHAKEN print release, will you be publishing digitally for the rest of your career? If so, would you now advise would be authors to publish their novels as ebooks rather than through print?

I know you've always said that ebooks should not be pursued instead of print, but rather as well as, but now I'm confused. What advice you would give now?

Zoe Winters said...

Luke, I don't know where you got those other numbers. Maybe you're looking at sales I quoted earlier in the month? Because in this post I said no such thing. This month I've sold 4,000 copies so far of all three novellas combined. And each of them has sold over 1,200 copies so far this month.

Mated IS selling the most, but it's sold around 1600 copies, not 3000 this month (I wish!)

I'll be screen shotting and posting my full numbers for this month at the end of the month from my blog for anyone interested.

Zoe Winters said...

Oh WAIT... I bet you checked on novelrank.com didn't you? Those numbers are notoriously VERY off. The only thing it's good for is tracking rankings. (Or at least it's closer.)

There is no way for anyone who isn't me or Amazon to know what I'm selling unless I choose to make those numbers public. Novel Rank is just "guessing". And they're guessing very badly.

Anonymous said...

So, the trad publishers didn't want these books (without significant edits), and now you're publishing them on the kindle.

Obviously you would've published them traditionally if they'd have let you, so how exactly is this an example of you turning down a trad print contract to epublish?

WDGagliani said...

Congratulations, Joe! Both books sound great... you know I'll be reading them, especially after your description of being paranoid in the North Woods of Wisconsin -- hell, that's how Wolf's Trap was born, really. I always felt paranoid in the cottage we shared with our friends, especially at night, with the blinds open and knowing someone outside could watch us without being seen... and those David Lynch woods all around us... Ah, good times! Really juiced up the old imagination. Four novels later, I guess it was a damn good thing, that paranoia.

Your Kilborn novels are tough, sleek as bullets kinds of reads, and I envy the ease with which you grab your readers by the throat from the start.

Needless to say, I'll be reading them -- devouring, more like.

Keep it dark!

Zoe Winters said...

And dude, I said the word "month" like thirty times in that comment. I should pay an editor to follow me around the interwebz.

WDGagliani said...

I forgot I had a question for you.

Do you foresee similar opportunities with books for younger readers? I have a middle grade series (with a cowriter) being shopped in trad ways right now. Are kids' books still better off with the agency model? Or is there a spike in Kindle ebooks with regard to young readers? Very serious question for me, given the product we've been told is highly marketable...

Joe Konrath said...

Obviously you would've published them traditionally if they'd have let you, so how exactly is this an example of you turning down a trad print contract to epublish?

In both cases I had the option to be published. In my previous print books, I had followed editing suggestions I didn't necessarily agree with. That's just how the biz works.

With Endurance, I could have published it if I made changes. Instead, I pulled it. And instead of shopping it around to other publishers, I published it myself.

With Trapped, I actually did have another offer to publish (I'm sure they would have taken Endurance as well) but I passed.

Joe Konrath said...

Do you foresee similar opportunities with books for younger readers?

I dunno, Bill. I have no data on how those sell. But I'm pretty sure ebooks are going to become widely adopted, including for younger readers.

Anonymous said...

I suspect kids ebooks will see their main uptick in sales when the cost of a portable reader comes down to something well below the price of a Nintendo DS - which won't be long I suspect. This christmas will see a raft of new devices coming out.

D

WDGagliani said...

Thanks, Joe. You're probably right. If you happen to run into any data, please pass it on. I think it could be of interest to others who read your blog.

Thanks, Anon, that's a great point. Maybe some company should design a kids' model reader -- you know, tougher, colorful case, kid-friendly, and price it at $99. Probably too early for that, but eventually... Clearly, anything that happens with adult books will eventually happen with those for children.

Anyone else here in the children's book biz? Any opinions welcome.

Joe Konrath said...

Do you still 'owe' your publishers two books, or did they release you from your contract?

We amended the contract, so it was only for Afraid.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Hey Joe; just wait until you start having nightmares about the big publishers putting a contract out on your life. The title could be "Indie Armageddon" "Kill Konrath" or "Get Joe."

Paranoia is the best cure for writer's block. Aaaaaa!

Robin O'Neill said...

After two months of sending my friend Joe's posts, telling her how inspired I've been by him, sending her links to all the books I have on kindle now, this week she confided she's started a novel intended for digital publication. After being absolutely abused by her publisher for over two years, she said she felt liberated. I told her to go to the first post on my blog--Jack Bruce singing "I Feel Free".

Thanks, Joe!

L-Plate Author said...

Like I said on twitter yesterday - I followed you but you are a leader. I'm on eleven years now and still not published (agent tells me it's down to the market but it does little to deaden the pain). So for me, watching and learning from you is great. I'm on my fifth book now so there are plenty to turn into ebooks...

As always I wish you the very best of luck. x

Mel Stoke on Trent, England

Marilyn Lee said...

Zoe

You're right about Novelrank. It says I've sold 9 copies this month of a book that's sold nearly 500 copies.

The ranking is generally right but not the number of books sold--at least for for me.

Zoe Winters said...

@Marilyn

Yeah a lot of authors complain about Novelrank. It makes us all look like we're inflating our numbers. I wish they'd stop trying to "guess" how much I'm selling and just stick to rankings, something they actually have access to info on.

Or they should put up a big disclaimer that says: "Note: these are only guesses and should not be construed as actual sales data."

John McFetridge said...

Here's an article about how the next DS, the 3DS may have an e-reader. As the article says, the screen is till too small but it's a step in the right direction.

A dedicated kids' reader might be good idea, too.

Joe Konrath said...

It's currently ranked at #183.

If you visit this blog often and I've helped and/or inspired you, I humbly ask you to buy the ebook. I'd love to crack the top 100. :)

rex kusler said...

#179. Let's get that thing up!

Robert Christopher said...

I was thumbing through a magazine and saw that ad for the Nintendo DS as an e-reader. Since it has two panels, you can flip it to read it like a traditional book.

Zoe: Tell novelrankl to kiss your grits. Or send you a box of thin mint cookies!!! LOL

Thomas Brookside said...

I hope this works out for you, sir.

At this point I have to imagine you'll be blackballed.

Thomas Brookside said...

The problem with Novelrank is that it watches for changes in sales rank, and counts any improvement in sales rank as the sale of a single ebook.

That works really well for books down in the 3000-20000 [and worse] range, but really poorly for books ranked better than that. This is because books in the top 200 are selling multiple books an hour, but Novelrank sees that as a single sale. And once you get high enough in the rankings - top 100 or 200 - you can have a bunch of sales in an hour, and have your sales rank go DOWN, because the rest of the top 200 did better than you did; Novelrank wouldn't even credit you with ONE sale in that circumstance.

wannabuy said...

JA,

Congrats on two more e-books. I'll have to buy a copy to 'push it up.'

Again, I read as a book lover. One who has converted to e-readers.

As to anon:
1. I haven't bought a paper book in over six months. I travel too much. It is too convenient having a backlog of books to read that weigh less than one "Wheel of time" novel. If I want something new, it is easier to download another book than to drive to a book store.
2. What are publishers going to do with the flood of Android and Iphones used as 2nd-string e-readers? I'll first encourage friends to download indi-books to their Androids. Then to buy a Kindle. :)

The Kindle will thrive, it will just grow by being the best e-reader. It will grow by having all those indi books.

I love certain types of fiction. Types of fiction that do not sell well enough for more than 2 or 3 'published authors.' But at $2.99, I bet a hundred history professors emerge from the woodwork with excellent works to read.

I see only one of the big six publishers adapting. This market will be interesting in six months when enough high quality cell phones are out there to rock the market. (100million+ Android/Iphones).

The Kindle is interesting and I love mine. But the change has just started.

Neil

wannabuy said...

"At this point I have to imagine you'll be blackballed."

Because he has proven he can sell and market himself? The publishers are not one entity. There are hundreds of VP's each with their own strategy. At least one would jump for the easy money.

That one seems to be Amazon. ;)

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Bought it-- I'll leave a review in the next few days. Rank is #177.

Good luck Joe.

Jody said...

Would you consider making your books available in formats other thank Kindle? If you made your titles available on a site such as Smashwords, you could have them available in multiple formats, including Kindle, to reach a wider audience.

As you can probably guess, I do not own a Kindle, but I do own an eReader.

I would buy your books in a heartbeat if they were available in ePub format as I believe strongly in what you are doing.

Either way, keep up the good work.

Zoe Winters said...

@Robert Give up the dream. I would never utter such a hick phrase. :)

@Thomas Thanks for explaining how novelrank works. That's a pretty convoluted system.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

WDGagliani... yes, I'm a published writer/illustrator of children's lit... Google, Robert Wahl Pyxx or http://www.jacketflap.com/profile.asp?member=PYXX or my much neglected blog, http://robertwahl.blogspot.com/
And I can be found by googling "Haste yee back" where I've some banter with NY City Kid Lit Agents. I know humor's subjective, but there's some funny stuff there.

The Apple IPad is probably the way to go for COLOR and TEXT in kid's lit... Kindle offers color ebook covers, which I can create either digitally or traditionally, but I'm not sure they offer illustrations within a chapter's text - looking into it, however! No one, I know of, offers a full-out Picture Book format.

I'm waiting for color technology to catch up with text abilities and also dedicated ebook reader(s) for children which include interactivity. Like I said, IPad is most of the way there now and I'm sure others are "in the work."

I'm not aware of any "platform" I might have so I'm just gonna do my best artwork and writing and see what the ebook world brings. I've got nothing to lose.

Thank you Joe for showing us a way!

Haste yee back ;-)

WDGagliani said...

Hey, the Nintendo as an eReader! Wow, I didn't know. That's pretty close to being a dedicated kids' eReader... so maybe we WILL see kids' books sales shooting up in the next year. Interesting... thre always is something to learn in Joe's blog! Thanks for mentioning that.

Robert Christopher said...

@Zoe You win. I give up.

@Wannabuy I bet a lot more than 100history professors emerge. Amazon has created an environment where creativity can flourish in any shape,size,color,or flavor.

You are no longer trapped in a box or told to tone down the sex or violence. Or told it't too hardboiled. Or that its not the right time in the marketplace.

Anonymous said...

@Robert : Was that possibly "100 Classic Books"? It's a cartridge for the DS that has them preloaded.

I've actually been using the Kindle for PC software to download books, samples and research material. It's free, works well, just isn't portable. My wife uses it on her netbook too.

The iPad book reader has nearly identical functionality to Kindle PC (that is to say, the bare minimum necessary).

D

Joe Konrath said...

If you made your titles available on a site such as Smashwords

All of my books are available on Smashwords.

rex kusler said...

#129

Once you enter the top #100, the current will pull you up.

Robert Christopher said...

@anon You might be right. I only briefly looked at the ad; just noticed the Nintendo opened like a book.

PJ Friel said...

Hi Joe!

I've been lurking for the past few days, reading your blog and the comments. I just wanted to say that you've really changed how I feel about publishing to ebook vs traditional publishing.

I'm currently writing a fantasy fiction novel (book 1 of a 6 book series that I have mapped out) and I'm really excited about the opportunities that are opening up for new authors.

You are truly an inspiration and WHEN (not if!) my book gets published, you'll be getting a nod in my dedications. :)

wannabuy said...

@Robert,

I bet you are right. But my post was too long as is. ;)

Neil

Morgana Katz said...

Joe,

#154.

Purchased my copy.

May you continue to rise in the ranks!

Sarah J. Bradley said...

Hi Joe: You dared me to read "Afraid" at the WisRWA book signing in May (You sat next to me...) I read it. Loved it. And I can't wait to read the next ones! You've inspired me to adjust my dreams a little and look at a different path...one where I can actually support my family doing what I love! Thank you!

Café Lopez said...

Fantastic post! Thank you so much for sharing!

Story Teller said...

Good for you, Joe! I've gone through a similar experience with rewrites, only in my case, it was my agent who kept ordering them. These so-called rewrites only made the books worse, and I really hated that I either had to do what she said, or face the fact that my novels would not be submitted.

I applaud you for putting the power back into the hands of the readers. I'm sure book lovers will take a chance on ideas and topics that traditional publishing is afraid to touch.

www.thekickboxingwriter.blogspot.com

Moses Siregar III said...

I picked up a copy, and you're currently at #104. Good luck!

Stitch said...

I was going to buy a copy, now that I have the Kindle app for my iPhone, but for some reason Amazon inflates its prices for non-US buyers. For instance, your $2.99 ebooks are $5.74 for Europeans. Most free ebooks in the Kindle store are actually $2.30 for me.

Is there anything you can do, as the author, to influence this at least for your ebooks? Or is this completely controlled by Amazon?

/S

Robert Christopher said...

I'm sure book lovers will take a chance on ideas and topics that traditional publishing is afraid to touch.

@Storyteller I whole heartedly agree with the above. I bet there are a lot more people/readers looking for exactly that than the publishing world believes exists.

Ellen Fisher said...

Oooh, you hit #81!

CGriffin said...

I've followed this blog pretty consistently, so I know how Joe feels about this but it's worth the repeat conversation: quality. With a barrage of self-publishers hitting the e-shelves any second now, how are readers to know if a book has been edited, reviewed, proof-read, any of those 'gates' a traditional author must pass through before publication?

I know just because a book is in print doesn't make it good, but if the publisher has a higher financial stake in the game, I'd expect them to want to put out a professional product of a certain quality. Or am I just smoking crack?

Anonymous said...

CGriffin: reviews on Amazon, reviews on blogs, word of mouth. And price. For 25 dollars, you can buy one hardback by a novelist you have never heard of. It is published by a major publisher, so they have a big stake, and gates. But it could still be crap - many are. Or you could buy, say, 25 novels for a dollar each. If you browse around a little and check they suit your taste, I suspect out of those 25 you'll enjoy quite a few of them.

But yes, to survive in the new industry, you will have to not just have great design and price, but also great books.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Is there an approved organization of qualified free lance editors... if not, there should be!

Haste yee back ;-)

evilphilip said...

"I'd expect them to want to put out a professional product of a certain quality. Or am I just smoking crack?"

I respectfully suggest that you are smoking crack. The problem here is that you (and millions of other people) assume that if a book has run the gauntlet of the mainstream publishing industry that it is "good" or at least "better" than you can find from self published authors.

That isn't true. There are massive tons of books that are published that are complete crap even with the help from the publisher and editor.

(I think the mash-up books from publisher Quirk fall into that category -- hastily edited books with a clever premise, but the stories range from poor to complete crap.)

It is true that the reader may have to do a little more research to find those diamonds in the rough, but I hardly think you can assume that anything from a big publisher is better than anything released from an independent author.

(I suggest we stop using the phrase "Self Published" and start using the phrase "Independent Author".)

Zoe Winters said...

Joe,

Congrats on breaking the top 100!


@evilphilip I agree independent author or indie author, not "self-published author"

JaxPop said...

"But I'm pretty sure ebooks are going to become widely adopted, including for younger readers."

Hope you're right. I write YA ... for boys. Yeah that gets the pub houses excited. Have no clue how the ebook version of my book sells. Need to check that out.

CGriffin said...

Well, Phil, I DID say "just because a book is in print doesn't make it good, but..."

I suspect there will be a great many 'independent authors' rushing to self-publish because they've been declined by a few publishers or are afraid to submit PERIOD, not to mention those who feel their work is perfect just the way it is and needs no one's advice or revision. There will be an onslaught of poorly finished product. If an author is looking to pinch pennies, will he hire an editor? A good cover artist? Doubtful. I like Haste Yee's notion of a freelance editors' guild, though. That has some real merit!

With the rise in number of independently published material, the reader can only hope a reliable array of reviewers, specializing in the e-published arena, will grow as well. I know my position will be unpopular in this blog; does any author really want to go through the headache of submitting to traditional publishing houses? Of course not. It can be very dispiriting among other things. But don't forget the importance of quality and extremely hard work. Joe didn't get as successful as he is by NOT treading the publishing gauntlet. He used his hard-earned experience to build a better machine for himself. I simply fear there will be writers using self-publishing as a short cut.

Indie writing, freelance fiction, self-publishing...it's all the same beast. A rose by any other name…yadda yadda . You have the freedom to write and publish whatever you please, without boundaries! Or without a rewrite if it so moves you…

Zoe Winters said...

@CGriffin I worry about it as much as you do (crap being rushed to publication by indie authors). But I worry about it because as an indie I don't want people looking at my work with suspicion because of my chosen method of publication.

Sadly most indies aren't going indie because they're super excited about font choices. They're doing it as a shortcut. There is no shortcut to awesome. I think people who publish too soon figure that out fast. Unfortunately there is always a new batch of people learning it the hard way and readers then have to wonder if a book is worth buying or not.

Lee Goldberg said...

Great cover. Did Carl design this one, too?

Lee

evilphilip said...

" I know my position will be unpopular in this blog; does any author really want to go through the headache of submitting to traditional publishing houses? Of course not. It can be very dispiriting among other things."

I think most people here do agree with you. Having publishing as a platform "open up" to independent authors will result in a lot of people who are not ready to publish (and who might never be ready to publish) rushing to put their products out without editing or without the little goodies like a professional looking cover.

Those people will fail, just as they would have failed if they had gone with the big publishing houses.

That said, there are also a TON of talented people whose ideas don't fit into the cookie cutter mold that agents and publishers are looking at.

I've been reading Agent blogs for a couple years now and what Agents are looking for boils down to "Exactly like something I previously sold." How could anyone with a unique idea thrive in that kind of environment?

I read one Agent's blog and it said she wouldn't represent Sci Fi unless it was exactly like a Sci Fi book serious she had previously sold. Um... what?

I'm thinking that genres that are not huge with mass market publishers (ie, Horror) might find that there is a huge audience waiting for them with Kindle/nook/iPad readers.

10,000 sales doesn't mean much to a big publisher, it means making a living to an author.

It is going to be tougher as a reader to find the gems when everyone can self publish, but it does mean that there will be some great books out there finding readers and finding an audience who never had a chance in the current marketplace.

Anonymous said...

@WDGagliani: Funny what we were discussing like just the other day. Kindle vs Nook price wars are on, and Kindle is now $189.

We haven't even reached holiday season yet...

D

Robert Christopher said...

@evilphilip I totally agree there is an audience out there that is tired of the cookie cutter books. That is looking for some depth and isn't afraid to be challenged with topics/themes. And that applies to all genres as well as horror.

CGriffin said...

I don't own an e-reader yet, but I likely will eventually and when I do, I certainly hope to discover those non-cookie-cutter books, Phil! I hate that publishers won't often think out of the box. So on that front, go indie author!

Blue Tyson said...

As Stitch etc. said, good to have Smashwords or another option for people not in the USA, that get the $2.00 AT&T tax. An extra 2 bucks being a lot on a $2.99 book.

I haven't seen your new books you mention recently there - which name are they under?

And are they all under Konrath not Kilborn?

You should be able to have a page/section of your books list that goes directly to each title there, I believe.

I don't think their search engine is the most brilliant thing.

Gary Ponzo said...

I just published my ebook on Amazon 3 weeks ago and have struggled with sales even though it's an award-winning novel and priced at $1.99. It's still early but wondering if advertising is fruitfull and if so where?

evilphilip said...

" I certainly hope to discover those non-cookie-cutter books, Phil! I hate that publishers won't often think out of the box."

Finding those hidden gems is almost a full time job. As a reader I'm always on the lookout for books that break the mold and you can find them -- some of them are even a huge success. (ie, House of Leaves)


I think that these emerging markets will open up the doors for a lot more quirky ideas like House of Leaves or Raw Shark Texts.

Anonymous said...

What does your agent think about all of this?

Tom