Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Konrath Kindle Stats

My horror ebook Endurance, written under my pen name Jack Kilborn, launched on Kindle on June 19th.

Amazon is working the bugs out of their new software, so my sales numbers for the 19th aren't currently showing up. I only have sales numbers for the last 60 hours.

So how have these last 60 hours been?

In the last 60 hours, at the new 70% royalty rate, Endurance has earned $1346 on Kindle.

Trapped, another Kilborn novel, went live today, joining the 15 other self-published ebooks I have currently available on Amazon.

In less than three days, I've earned over $2300. This is net, not gross. Money in my pocket.

I certainly don't expect these numbers to stay this strong. Eventually the sales of my two new books will slow down.

But my prediction from several months ago seems to be coming true. If I can sell 5000 ebooks a month (which I've already been doing without Trapped and Endurance) I'll make over $120,000 per year.

Now that I've learned that readers are interested in my new titles, I can continue to write ebooks for Kindle (and other ebook readers) as a full time job. But unlike the traditional print industry, which only wanted a book a year from me and then took 18 months to publish that book, I can now release several titles per year, as soon as they're ready to go.

Can every writer do the same thing I'm doing?

The Internet doesn't seem to think so. Everywhere I see people talking about this, they say I'm an exception, and no one else will have this same success.

As my friend Barry Eisler says, "The first-mover is, by definition, an exception." And there is a compelling school of thought about first-mover advantage.

But I'm not a company, and I'm not competing for dollars. I'm not cornering the Kindle market, or preventing others from succeeding. I'm not doing this in a supply-and-demand, limited resource business model.

In fact, I'm not the only self-pubbed writer in the Kindle Top 100. Others are doing the same things I am, and in some cases, doing better.

People believe I'm an exception because they don't know (or don't want to hear) about others doing the same thing. I'm the only one they've heard about, so I'm a fluke. I must be. I have to be. Otherwise, it doesn't fit their preconceptions.

Here's what I think is going to happen:

Those with closed minds are going to keep calling me an exception, because that will make them feel better.

Those with lofty dreams will try to do the same thing I'm doing, and the majority won't do nearly as well. Some may fail miserably.

But some won't fail. Some will follow my example, and do even better than I'm doing.

In the meantime, NY Publishing will continue to alienate both authors and customers with low royalties and high ebook prices and their dedication to print.

By the end of this year, we'll see $99 ereading devices. This technology is going to take over, just like mp3 players replaced the traditional stereo.

Some writers will understand this, take a shot, and make some money.

Some will wait around and see what happens.

Now, I certainly don't want to be responsible for a bunch of crummy writers flooding the Kindle market with crap. And I certainly don't want to take the blame if a writer voids his print contract in order to self-publish, and then sells poorly.

In fact, I don't want to tell any writer what they should or shouldn't do.

You need to set your own goals, learn as much as you can, and weigh the pros and cons. Don't blindly follow me, or blindly follow anyone. Don't think you can do as well as me, or as well as anyone else. You should never compare yourself to other writers.

There are no easy paths to success. It's always about hard work and getting lucky.

That said, I just rechecked my numbers. In the forty minutes it has taken me to write this blog post, I made $43 on Kindle.

It would take a great deal of money before I ever signed a print deal again. And that liberation is easily the most wonderful feeling I've ever had in my career.

Your mileage may vary.

173 comments:

Amanda Hocking said...

Wow. It's so fantastic to see how well this is going for you! Congratulations!

I'm doing fairly well (not nearly as well as you, of course), and it does feel really liberating.

And it's exciting, to be part of an entirely new landscape.

It's definitely a great time to be an author.

Joe Konrath said...

I'll do a screen shot at the end of the month. I'm not allowed do it now (and you'll know why on July 1.)

But surely you trust me. I've been revealing numbers for over a year. My sales are an open book... unless there's a non-disclosure agreement involved.

Joe Konrath said...

I'm curious about whether you will drastically cut word count for kindle-only books in order to write more per year.

My novels are all around 75k words. They'll continue to be that.

Nicole MacDonald said...

Woohoo Joe :) I'm thrilled at your success, I don't believe you're an exception - just the first. And I love watching how it makes publishers chew on their livers!

Professor Beej said...

I think it's great you're doing so well. I'm not going to say that I don't want to get in and try it with some fiction--once I've exhausted traditional agent/publisher print routes or as experiments with other projects--but my main fear is that I don't particularly understand the ins-and-outs of marketing ebooks without already having a print presence to fall back on.

If I can find a way to bring in just 30-40k a year, I'll be happy to quit my job and work at building my career as an author. My wife is a freelance editor, so I have no fear that the writing will be worthwhile when I get it out there. My main concern is being unable to market myself well enough.

Joe Konrath said...

My sales have flatlined.

Write more. I've got 17 Kindle ebooks available. Some sell 200 a day. Some sell 5 per week.

I have ZERO idea why some books take off and others don't. If I'm a popular author, shouldn't all of my ebooks sell equally? But they don't. There are big variations.

My advice is: keep writing and keep posting. Eventually you'll find the 1 that takes off.

As for flatlining, I've seen your rankings, and you're doing better than many of my books.

Mamunur Rasid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
evilphilip said...

"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."

-Dale Carnegie

Congrats!

evilphilip said...

I would also like to share this bit of eBook inspiration:

iPad Sales Hit 3 Million

http://bit.ly/bPl6LM

This hot on the heels of the price drop of the nook, the announcement of the $149 WiFi nook and the price drop of the Kindle.

uppsalahansen said...

This has quickly become my favourite blog. Thank you for sharing, and daring.

Zoe Winters said...

Well the $2300 you made in three days, I should make this month. Of course, I never dreamed this soon I'd be making this kind of money. I don't know how long it will hold steady with just three little dinky ebook novellas out there, but we'll see. I've got other releases coming.

The exception talk annoys me too. When I first talked about wanting to self-pub, a bunch of people told me not to do it. They said I wouldn't make any money and I'd be lucky to sell 150 copies. They didn't even seem that confident I could get readers through free ebooks. (Never having read my work.)

I talked about MJ Rose and how she sold a crapload of ebooks and how there was a strong ebook market for romance. People said, "Yes, but MJ Rose was an exception."

Like I couldn't be an exception.

Well, how do they know what I can do? I don't even know what I can do yet. Kind of silly for someone else to say.

Now some people are calling me an exception. "Yeah, but Zoe Winters is an exception."

Screw that. People should get out there and try their best. And if you fail, either try again, or try something else. But don't sit around not making a move cause statistically you probably aren't an "exception."

Kathleen MacIver said...

I'm new to this blog, and I'm finding this very fascinating. I totally believe that more of us can do this.

I think the sticking point is going to be quality of writing, though. There are SO MANY aspiring authors who think their books are polished and ready to publish, yet they're not. Their sentences don't make sense. They haven't learned how to paint a clear picture in the reader's mind...things that are clear in their own mind are clear as mud to a first-time reader. Their spelling and grammar is atrocious. You get the picture. (And that doesn't even address plot holes and plots that aren't believable.)

You've published for NY, and you've learned the standards that a book must meet to satisfy the reading public. Most of us do not. Personally, I think I'm getting there...but I'm not going to consider that I HAVE arrived until I can go back and read something I wrote 6 months ago and still think it's good writing. I figure if my writing skills are still growing that fast, then I've still got too much to learn.

The thing is...for those who are clueless...what's going to make them realize that they need more work on their writing skills? Or that they need to hire an editor? When they think they're done and the ebook doesn't sell? (Probably...although they might just then take the "It's because I'm not the first" argument and still not realize it's their writing.) And if they do realize they need an editor, how are they going to figure out which editor really knows what they're doing, and which doesn't? (Cause I know of a few "editing" services that are taking people's money, yet the results I've seen are NOT good writing.)

Just as we authors are going to have to learn to navigate this new world, a new breed of editor is going to have to spring up, and we'll ALL have to figure out how to know who really is worth paying, and who's not. And I have no idea how that's going to happen, except by word-of-mouth.

Anonymous said...

But word of mouth is a pretty good system, isn't it?

I think most print-published books sell on word of mouth. I'm a print-published author with some excellent reviews in major trades. Unless it's a really passionate rave, those reviews make very little difference. I think someone telling their friends, family and co-workers about a great book they just read sells me more copies than a good review in a magazine. I think my online promotional efforts are more effective than all my publishers' efforts put together.

I am watching very closely what Joe Konrath is doing, as are many authors I know.

Stacy said...

Contrats on your sales, Joe. I've been reading your stuff for a long time. I downloaded free pdf versions of most of your self-published stuff from your website a couple years ago. Because I've read them I didn't buy them for my Kindle, but I did buy Endurance last night and so far love it! Keep it up!

U. S. Wanker said...

I'm with Kathleen. How do we get our work polished to a "New York" sheen for the ebook, without editors, line-edits, and galley proofs?

To go back to your mp3 analogy, the music labels had a standard of quality that you don't necessarily get with the garage band next door -- and we aren't going to have American Idol for novelists.

I think your success if not solely because you are a first mover. It is pretty clear your success comes from laying a strong fan base, ala Seth Godin's Tribe theory. You don't need an arbiter of taste for your fans.

The arbiters of taste/quality aren't going to be family and friends writing Amazon reviews either.

I'm reading (after purchasing) your Kindle version of this blog, but I haven't seen much on the issue of who provides the filters in this new system and who assists in quality control. I'd love to hear your thoughts on those things.

Joe Konrath said...

I haven't seen much on the issue of who provides the filters in this new system and who assists in quality control.

The readers provide the filters. The writers have to provide their own quality control. If they don't, they'll get bad reviews and poor sales.

Joe Konrath said...

And if they do realize they need an editor, how are they going to figure out which editor really knows what they're doing, and which doesn't?

I dunno. Can't say that I care very much, either.

I'm going to risk sounding callous here, but I believe writers should be able to craft a story without needing a great deal of help.

I have peers who give me advice and suggestions, and proofreaders who help catch mistakes. I think that's all I need.

If you're lucky enough to land a NY print deal, chances are you don't need that much editing to begin with--there had to be enough there for the editor to offer a contract.

Maria said...

You're an exception to a LOT of rules...just kidding. I agree with your article. I'm not making anywhere near your numbers, but I'm doing just fine.

Oh--and no, not every writer can do what you do. I can't write books as quickly as you do!!! No way, no how!!

Congrats again and thanks for sharing the info.

Maria

billie said...

Thank you for sharing this journey and congratulations on your success!

I'm revving up to put several adult novels and possibly a middle grade novel on Kindle and am very excited to feel some control in this business after 6 years of promises and reassurance and lots of waiting with no final results.

I haven't even got the books onto Kindle yet and I already feel liberated!

Jeff Quest said...

Does that mean we'll see a sequel to "The List" soon? I really enjoyed that one.

Joe Konrath said...

Does that mean we'll see a sequel to "The List" soon? I really enjoyed that one.

Thanks! I will eventually write sequels to The List and Origin.

Rabid Fox said...

Very good to hear the whole Kindle/self-pub thing is working out so well for you thus far. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Remember the good ol' days of the www? Recall when companies just started to get on the website wagon.

There were many industries where the talk was how you should be first to have a web presence and a web store, before others joined in and ruined the party.

Being among the first was considered critical.

Now we know it was just the beginning, and many successes came long after the first.

I believe the same thing is happening with ebooks. Ebooks are in their infancy at the moment.

There will be lots of opportunities for authors in the coming years. Being among the first is nice, but not at all necessary for success.

Many (most?) authors will fail (or at least be disappointed) at ebooks for the same reasons they failed at finding a publisher or an agent:

- Lack of perseverance
- Lack of interest in marketing
- Lack of writing skill
- Lack of professionalism

Derek Gentry said...

Congratulations Joe!

Has Amazon’s new 70% rate already kicked in? (I just thought it wasn’t happening until the end of the month...)

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Amazing--- I actually agree with an anonymous poster for once.

No manuscript is perfect. Not even the ones that are traditionally published. The problem is that most self-published authors don't have their manuscripts professionally edited before they publish. The result is usually bad reviews and poor sales. I know this from experience. Now I spend thousands of dollars on editing.

This year, I've spent approximately $10,000 on editing services alone. That's a lot of money.

And most self-published authors aren't willing to spend even $300 on proofreading for their manuscript, or professional formatting, or cover design... the list goes on.

Joe's books sell because he:

1. Writes well
2. Uses an editor/proofreader
3. Gets professional cover design
4. Has an established online presence

Anyone with writing skills can do what Joe has done. I'm not saying that they will have the same success, but it's easier now than ever for authors to publish and make a reasonable income on their own.

And isn't that why we're all here, reading this blog? We all want to be working writers.

Nic said...

"...I believe writers should be able to craft a story without needing a great deal of help."

Bingo!

It seems like there's a lot of hand wringing in the writing community over the threat of plunging quality standards as "self-publishing" takes hold. But how is this different from any other endeavor? If you want to start a widget business but have no strategic plan, no capital, no good and desirable widgets, then you'll fail.

This is your art and your business, and it's up to you, the entrepreneur and artist, to control your product and artwork. That doesn't mean you're alone -- you hire professional services when that's advantageous, just like any other business. Joe talks time and again about how valuable his agent's services are to him. But no one -- not an agent or editor or publisher -- is going to absolve you of risk. All entrepreneurship, all art, all life is managing risk.

rex kusler said...

I'm here because I don't feel like working.

PV Lundqvist said...

Great numbers!

You started your post referencing your (former?) pen name. I'm curious about that decision and whether or not you would do that again.

It seems you are now not trying to keep the brands separate.

Kathleen MacIver said...

I'm going to risk sounding callous here, but I believe writers should be able to craft a story without needing a great deal of help.

I have peers who give me advice and suggestions, and proofreaders who help catch mistakes. I think that's all I need.


No, it's not callous. I agree...a writer should be able to craft a story without needing a great deal of help.

That said...you admitted that you have peers and proofreaders who give you that bit of outside input. That's what I meant. I've got two people right now who give me that type of feedback...but both are where I'm at, with their skill growing as mine does. If we were in your position, sure...we'd all have published books under our belt, we'll know we can trust each other's judgment, as you trust your peers.

But what about before then? Debut authors with NY get an editor and copyeditor to help them that last little bit. That exact same author with a book that NY won't buy for genre reasons will have to find their own editor and copyeditor (since very few people have both the creative skills to be an author and the detailed knowledge of grammar to be a copyeditor).

Those in THAT circumstance, with peers in the same boat (since that's usually how it works)...they'll need to figure out what editor/copyeditor can be trusted, and who cannot.

Nic said... Nic said... said...

"It seems like there's a lot of hand wringing in the writing community over the threat of plunging quality standards as "self-publishing" takes hold."

First, self publishing is NEVER going to take hold. The reason why is because 99% of what's out there is terrible. These writer's might think they don't need help, but they're wrong, and that's why they couldn't get published in the first place.

I've read (or tried to suffer through) several books from people I've found here or on the kindle boards. Joe, Zoe WInters, Stacy Cochran, etc. Joe is probably the best of the lot. He at least has his moment, but even then I'd give his books C's at the most.

Zoe's book was ok story wise, but the writing was incredibly amaturish, filled with passive sentence structure, redundancies, and loads and loads of cheese. Granted, it was a vampire novel and I wan't expecting much, but still, it's obvious reading her work why no one would publish her.

Stacy Cochran was a train wreck. The Colorado Sequence reads like it was written by a drunk schizophrenic on speed.

If these folks are the ones claiming to be exceptions, then self publishing is in a bad bad place, and ebooks will not save it.

kristentsetsi said...

As my friend Barry Eisler says, "The first-mover is, by definition, an exception." And there is a compelling school of thought about first-mover advantage.

First-mover? Seems to me there were quite a few people ahead of you - back when you were coming out pretty strongly against self-publishing.

It's great that you're achieving success, but I don't think you're early to the game. (Unless it's in terms of former-best-seller turns self-published author, in which case, you may be.)

Grumpy Misanthrope said...

So, aren't you excluding anyone who doesn't have (and doesn't wish to own) a Kindle by selling on Amazon with a Kindle only book?

Thomas Brookside said...

Nic,

One reason I think traditional publishing folks are in for a rude awakening is because of the disconnect between what publishers think is a quality product and what the genre public actually wants.

Most Golden Age science fiction couldn't get published today. "These characters are flat and cliched!" "These situations are unbelievable!" "This is an empty spectacle without serious ideas!"

There is lots of self-published sci-fi in the Kindle store right now that I would never buy. The premises sound silly and derivative, the plots [when you can determine them from the description] sound hyperactive and unbelievable. And these books are selling. You know why they're selling? Because there is a fanbase that wants that kind of material.

In horror there's a huge group of fans that wants blood-splattering gorefests with limited character development. Coherent plots are optional. They want it.

I think a lot of what you think is "terrible" quality work is actually just pulp. Pulp got driven out of the market for a few decades, but now ebooks will bring it back. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that.

The material that I would put in the ranks of the truly terrible is instantly identifiable in the descriptions, because the author can't write a coherent paragraph. It takes virtually no effort to avoid that material.

So if the question is "How will the public avoid books written by crazy people who can't write basic English?" the answer is "With ease."

If the question is "How will the public avoid books that creative writing professors at major universities wouldn't like?" the answer probably is "You know what? A lot of readers don't want to avoid those books and will actively seek them out and buy them."

Joe Konrath said...

I'd give his books C's at the most.

I'm crushed. My entire reason for existing is to impress you, and I haven't, even though you feel a need to hang out on my blog.

(sniff) I guess I'll go count my money and answer some fanmail. Maybe that will cheer me up.

Joe Konrath said...

Seems to me there were quite a few people ahead of you - back when you were coming out pretty strongly against self-publishing.

I am still against printing your own books and trying to get into brick and mortar stores. That's a losing battle.

I'm all for self-pubbing ebooks. I have been for 15 months now.

Joe Konrath said...

So, aren't you excluding anyone who doesn't have (and doesn't wish to own) a Kindle by selling on Amazon with a Kindle only book?

The books will be available on other ebook formats soon, and on Amazon as print copies by the end of summer for those who want them. :)

Nic said... Nic said... said...

Don't be crushed, Joe. You've never made writing good books a priority. It's always been about sales and money and building a brand.

Remember when you used to brag about writing your novel in a month then spending the year promoting it? You can't write a good novel in a month. Well, some people can, just not you.

I hang out on your blog because you occasionally have a good idea or a position that sparks interesting debates, not because I'm a fan. Although, I will say I've enjoyed the hell out of your horror short stories. I'd even go as far as to say they're some of the best I've read among contemporary horror writers. I think that's where your talent truely lies, not in novels.

Enjoy your money and fan mail. You've earned the money, and if it makes you feel better, you can consider this a fan letter, too. Probably the most honest one you'll receive.

kristentsetsi said...

I am still against printing your own books and trying to get into brick and mortar stores. That's a losing battle.

I'm all for self-pubbing ebooks. I have been for 15 months now.


Oh, I see. You didn't make that distinction when you were calling self-published authors "delusional" and suggesting they should have taken it as a sign that traditional publishers weren't picking up their work.

If that doesn't count in the ebook world, does that mean ebooks can be crap, and it's all right?

Shouldn't we all strive to produce our best, print or electronic?

Joe Konrath said...

This is my house, Nic. You've worn out your welcome. Don't post again. Go play somewhere else on the internet.

You didn't make that distinction when you were calling self-published authors "delusional" and suggesting they should have taken it as a sign that traditional publishers weren't picking up their work.

If you go back and read my original response, I encouraged you to try Kindle, as I had. There's a difference between ebooks and print. With ebooks, there is no risk, no money, no hefty time investment. Big difference.

I would never start my own press. But I would POD some of my titles so people who want print can buy them. If you don't see the difference, I'm not sure we can come to a meeting of the minds.

Original Response

Joe Konrath said...

Original Response

Thomas Brookside said...

For a great many years the traditional publishers told authors that they couldn't strike out on their own, because if they did they wouldn't get any sales.

Now that Joe has struck out on his own and is getting sales, we have Nic to show up and tell us that it doesn't matter if you have a lot of sales - if you aren't with a traditional publisher it means you're no good.

That's the convenient thing about claiming for decades [centuries?] that your enterprise is both a business and an art - because when somebody is beating you, you have two ways to sneer at them! You can alternate, to make sure you always have a riposte handy, no matter the situation!

evilphilip said...

Joe, don't let detractors and nitwits get you down. There will always be people who are jealous of your success.

Rather than be jealous of your accomplishments, I choose to be inspired by them.

Joe Konrath said...

I don't let anyone get me down. Especially when I'm making $800 a day. :)

I like healthy debate and discussion, but I also demand respect, for me and for the folks who visit my blog. Insults don't fly here. I've turned on comment moderation in the past, and I'll do it again if people can't behave.

Anonymous haters can take a hike. This isn't the blog for them.

rex kusler said...

Besides, "...drunk schizophrenics on speed" usually act pretty normal. At least that's been my experience.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Joe, I won't respond directly to your troll, but I'll say that I agree with Thomas Brookside-- a lot of great pulpy fiction are coming back because e-readers have made it possible.

I wish we could have all the Golden Age and Silver Age comics scanned and available to read. In fact, I would buy an e-reader just for that. The early X-Men, the old Stan Lee Silver Surfers, the weird 50s horror comics... I loved them all, but I got tired of lugging 2,000 comic books with me every time I moved in college, so eventually I sold them. The only thing I kept was my Frank Miller stuff and the Sandman series.

And anyone that says that those comics were pulp, childish, etc, would be right. But I would still love them, buy them, and read them anyway.

Anonymous said...

Joe, I'm sorry you kicked Nic out, not necessarily because I like Nic, but because banishing someone because of their opposing viewpoint will probably not serve to promote the integrity of your blog in the long run.

Nic was merely expressing his opinions about books after reading them. You've said many times that all opinions are valid. I disagree with his statement that you deserve a C and don't value good writing, but that's not the point. The point is whether it's permissible for a commentor on your blog to express how they really feel without being censored.

You've chosen censorship. I hope you cool off and invite him back. Your blog will be stronger in the long run.

rex kusler said...

I'm reading NOTHING MAN by Jim Thompson from the 50s, which is a real bargain. Really a strange book, including the writing style. Some of it, I have a tough time figuring out what he's saying. But it's good. Never read anything like it. No way anything like this would get published these days.

It's good to read stuff like this--gives you new ideas. I mean, for writing.

Joe Konrath said...

I didn't kick Nic out because he gave me a C. He was downright insulting to both Zoe and Stacy, who frequent this blog.

I don't want a comments section that devolves into flame wars, and there are ways to state your opinion without being insulting.

Good arguments don't attack.

And while all opinions are valid, if a guest in my house is acting like a jerk, he gets shown the door.

Anonymous said...

@Joe

"I don't want a comments section that devolves into flame wars, and there are ways to state your opinion without being insulting.

Good arguments don't attack."


Joe ~ Congrats for kicking Nic out! Most of us, come to your blog to learn from you and all the prolific contributors like Zoe & C. Pinheiro.

Thank you once more for maintaining your standards
~Ed

rex kusler said...

That's telling them, Joe. It's earlier here on the west coast, so I'll take the watch--you go on to bed. I figure those bastards from the east have to sleep some time.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

KFran said...

Joe, you need to change your blurb under your blog title, it reads "...Is it possible to make a living as a genre writer? Well, sort of.."

I think you should change it to "....Is it possible to make a living as a genre writer? Well, Hell YEA.."

Pale Rambler said...

Of all the objections or concerns raised about authors self-publishing electronically, the potential of seeing the Kindle market flooded with substandard writing seems to me the most ridiculous. A diverse audience requires diverse qualities of products offered.

Forget Kindle or iTunes or any other electronic distribution method. Back in the 80s I worked as a circulation page, stocking the shelves of my local library with what I considered a healthy mixture of high-quality literature and appalling rubbish. The regulars who came through weekly, if not daily, delighted in reading it all and took even greater delight from finding the diamonds in the rough, and each person's diamonds were cut differently.

Suggesting there is a standard to which all writers must comply for a finished work to be considered "of quality" is to negate the freedom so often necessary for artistic expression. And to suggest traditional publishing houses are the noble guardians protecting readers from substandard literature is to ignore page counts beyond imagination of trash printed since the invention of the printing press.

To remain a viable, exciting, meaningful landscape for literary artistic expression, it is the duty of anyone with a copyright and an ISBN to shove their work into the e-light of day. It may not save the world or make you rich, but it sure as hell won't do anyone any good buried under your old shoes in the bottom of your closet.

evilphilip said...

"I wish we could have all the Golden Age and Silver Age comics scanned and available to read. In fact, I would buy an e-reader just for that."

Lightly OT: Marvel produced digital editions of Spider-Man, Avengers, Iron Man & Fantastic Four that covered the entire comic run from issue #1 until the DVD was manufactured. You might still be able to find those at retail stores.

There are also *cough* other sources of digital comic books that span entire runs if you have a color eBook reader like the iPad and I'm sure that you will find legitimate sources for those same products becoming more mainstream if the iPad continues to sell a million units a month.

PanelFly is a great comic book reader for the iPad that sells legitimate digital comic books from several publishers including Marvel. Their selection is expanding all the time.

Joe Konrath said...

I've got the entire run of Fangoria magazine, and I was thinking how cool it would be to have those on my iPhone, and ultimately, iPad.

Guess what? Someone already scanned them and uploaded them to the net, so they're available free on torrent sites, or for sale on iOffer.com.

Those are illegal, of course, but it begs two questions.

First, there is obviously a demand for them, so why aren't the content holders exploiting this demand and making some money?

Second, since I already have legitimate copies of these magazines, would I be breaking the law if I downloaded the scans? I could scan them myself, and there would be no difference between my scans and the scans currently available, other than the labor involved by me...

Coolkayaker1 said...

Hey, Joe, I applaud your success. I do agree with US Wanker and Kathleen, above comments, however about sorting out the good from the bad. You say readers will decide. I think that is true only when there is a modicum of control for the quality of e-stuff out there. When every Tom, Dick and Harry can throw their unedited crap online for 99 cents a piece, and puts out dozens of ebooks, it’s going to make it more difficult for the reader to find your great work. It just is.
I envision a future where ebooks are not on proprietary software, and small “boutique” e-retailers will pop up, and they will sort the good from the bad, and readers will, in essence, find the “seller” that has the best sensibilities for their personal tastes—like an online book club, Shelfari or something, but is a retailer too—and that may help separate the wheat from the chaffe.
I give you credit, Joe, for being a very honest person and wearing your heart (and your wallet) on your sleeve about exactly how much you earn from e-publishing. Few would be so candid.

Joe Konrath said...

and small “boutique” e-retailers will pop up

Funny you should mention that.

Keep watching my website this summer. :)

Joe Konrath said...

Actually, why should I be cryptic and coy?

Amazon has an Associate program, where people can link to books and get a percentage of every sale that goes through the links.

I'm going to add a page on my website with all of my ebooks for sale, as well as ebooks by my peers which I've vetted. So people can confidently go to my site, knowing any ebook they buy has my approval, and I'll get a small bit of the sales.

I'm going to stick with ebooks under $3, so it will be one-stop shopping for cheapskates. I also encourage others to take this idea and list my ebooks.

Tim Sunderland said...

What you and others like you are doing is a game changer in the publishing industry, but her is my question. So far, in my limited experience, the two main genres I see succeeding in podcasts or ebooks are crime and horror/terror. Are there others out there I am missing?

Tim Sunderland said...

What you and others like you are doing is a game changer in the publishing industry, but here is my question. So far, in my limited experience, the two main genres I see succeeding in podcasts or ebooks are crime and horror/terror. Are there others out there I am missing?

Coolkayaker1 said...

Joe Konrath’s “boutique” bookstore—I love it! That’s precisely what I’m referring to in my post, and lo and behold, the king of e-book publishing is one step—no, make that a leap—ahead. I agree with the premise—if one is a “constant reader” of JA, and Jack, then they’ll likely get jollies from other ebooks that are “approved” by JAK. It’s great. Assuming, that is, that you actually read (or at least skim read, for God’s sakes) each book that you list. Maybe have a blurb of two about your thoughts on each. The entire premise loses steam if the author—in this case you—starts throwing books up there that have not been read and “JAK” approved, just to make ten cents of each sale. Keep it clean for us, and your e-bookshelf will have us all buying books through you.
See how profitable it is to be a likeable guy writing some unlikable characters—like those venomous aliens in Afraid that killed that kid’s doggie and rattled the collar to coax the kid out of the bedroom. Roof, roof.
Okay, let’s carry this notion out another step—when not, then, have another website were you retail the ebooks yourself. I think, other than Amazon and B&N and others having a lock on DRM, you could (and someday soon, you will) have an actual e-retail bookstore where you sell all JAK approved books, including authors you;ve mentored or personally apprenticed—like Frank Lloyd Wright teaching young architects—and get ALL the proceeds from the sale, minus the author’s cut. You become retailer (website), agent (procuring quality authors), editor (tweak their works to make them sell like cupie dolls at the county fair) and bookseller all in one! Put videos of your stable of authors on your website, you interview them, live “chats” on your website like an in-store type Q and A session—the ideas go on and on.

Alexis Harrington said...

Wait, wait--Derek Gentry asked about that 70% thing with Kindle and since I've got books there too, I'm also curious. Has Kindle/Amazon already begun paying the new rate? My royalty rate is unchanged.

dr. cpe said...

I didnt see that Joe was 'censoring nic'... he was putting boundaries around ad hominem attacks on others.

Just a little aside, I help run a large political news blog. We do the same; have a short list of commenters' policies that are clear about vulgarity, highjacking threads and ad hominems. It's to help commenters stay on topic, to ensure civility and to promote discussion instead of screed.

Joe was actually patient by telling the guy publicly. Lots of private blog owners, simply ban.

As another aside, I'd agree with Joe that everyone who can and wants to, should write their hearts out. Having a bestseller meself, and having a jillion people ask how to write a bestseller, I'd have to agree with Joe, just write.

Some of the best writers I know never went to school to learn to write. Some of the most stilted writers I've read, did.

Everyone will find their way. Dont be discouraged; given how difficult publishing w/ big has become even in last 6 months esp with all their layoffs et al, ebook self pub's have all open road and blue sky.

Like Joe said.

thanks

Zoe Winters said...

@Nic,

Why would you criticize me for a genre you don't even READ? You blatantly state you don't like vampire books. So why on earth would you read me and then bitch?

If my writing is "amateurish" you're in the minority of those who have been exposed to it. I'm writing paranormal romance, and the standard of the writing is equal to that of what is professionally published in this genre. (How do I know? Because I've had several professionally published authors in the genre tell me so. And I have a fairly rabid fan base.)

I think you're confusing a difference in personal preference with good or bad writing. You should probably stick to reading genres you actually like instead of trying to denigrate those who write in styles and genres you don't even read.

Read some trad pubbed paranormal romance, then get back with me.

Zoe Winters said...

Also, Nic, please get your facts straight. I sent Kept to ONE publisher. (A NY pub) That editor wrote me back a long letter to help me improve it, and I took the advice. Editors don't mess with writers with no talent. They don't have time.

It wasn't that "no one would publish me". It was that I WANTED to self-pub. Self-publishing was my FIRST choice, not some last resort. I just had to work up the nerve to do things the way I actually wanted to do them.

Zoe Winters said...

Thank you, Joe! re: Nic

(I replied before I got all the way down in the comments to where you kicked his butt out.)

Blue Tyson said...

C.P.

All the X-Men books have been scanned and are available digitally, just they won't actually sell them to you.

You can of course find them for free much the same as a lot of books, as per other discussions here.

File sizes are rather bigger, of course! :) Need a large SD card to fit every X-Men issue ever on.

Blue Tyson said...

Although for the X-Men, now that I think of it, there was a '40 years of X-Men' DVD available at one stage. Don't know if it is still sold.

A couple of others, similarly.

Ellen Fisher said...

Interesting, Joe. I've glanced at the Amazon associate program, but I doubt there's enough traffic to my blog to make it worthwhile. You, OTOH, probably easily get enough traffic to make it worth your time.

Re comics, there's a new free DC Comic app for the iPad which is apparently very popular. It looks like right now they're issuing newer stuff (All Star Superman-- I have GOT to get an iPad!), but I imagine they might get around to gold and silver age stuff fairly soon. Hope so, anyway.

Joe Konrath said...

Don't ever respond to critics, Zoe. Professionals are above that.

Re: 70% royalty. It doesn't begin until July 1. But I've heard rumors there is a beta program that those involved aren't supposed to discuss.

U. S. Wanker said...

My understanding was that the Amazon Associate Program won't pay for Kindle books -- has that changed? This seems to be a slight hitch in the e-book rating game, since the economic incentive is eliminated.

I also agree that readers are the final arbiters -- always have been. In the past the publishing industry has provided for a modicum of quality control and as a platform for introducing authors (which I know you took full advantage of earlier).

The problem I see may not be a problem, but the market will get fractured into smaller and smaller groups making the e-book enterprise more difficult to remain profitable. Hope I'm wrong, but it seems to have happened in the music industry as it has digitized and it is a lot tougher to tour a book.

Zoe Winters said...

Joe, I'm not above it yet. But you're right, I need to be. It just makes me look defensive when I reply. As unfair as that is.

But it drives me insane when someone goes "looking" to find fault with my work. I get not everybody is going to like my stuff. I have dissenters among para romance fans,too. Nobody has a 100% approval rating. And that's fine. I don't think I'm above criticism. But it seemed like Nic wasn't being a critic so much as trying to tear someone down because he could.

Anonymous said...

Joe, not to belabor it, but kicking Nic out for what he said, and then letting Zoe take licks at him, is troubling.

Zoe takes every opportunity to tell the world how many books she's selling, how much money she's making, how great her books are and how she snubbed NY to selfl-publish. In fact, on Lee Goldberg's blog, she recently proclaimed that she actually STARTEd the self-publishing trend [ie. not you, her].

I've never read one of her books, but have wondered if they are really any good or whether the sales were prompted by the cheap price point. It was informative to get information from someone who had actually read one of her books to the effect that it really wasn't very good.

She then responds about how glad she is that you "kicked his but out." She also implies that since Nic does not regularily read in her genre, he is unable to tell if her writing is amaturish or not. That's a slam on him to the effect that he does not have the cognative ability to read a book and make and evaluation. That comment, however, has no problem being on your blog.

I was never aware that your blog was "your house." I always envisioned it as more of a public place where issues could truly be discussed.

It looks like it is turning into more of a place of nepotism, i.e., the people who slobber over you are welcome, those who have different views are not.

Joe Konrath said...

But it drives me insane when someone goes "looking" to find fault with my work.

Get over it. Fast. It screams "I'm new and insecure" which is not the impression you want to give.

No one is truly, honestly confident. We all bridle when we're insulted. (Except for me--I bleed antifreeze I'm so cool.)

The trick is to fake confidence. That's the public face you want to show.

The response to all opinions about your writing, good or bad, is "thank you." Unless it's on your blog. Then you can remove the riff-raff.

I've been told to my face, many thousands of times, how much people love my books. I've also been told a handful of times how lousy my books are, to my face. My response is always the same.

"Thanks for reading. I hope you give my new book a try--it's a lot different than the you you hated."

Kirkus, a major reviewer, once said about one of my books, "Konrath's prose is as careless as it is wretched." It's the only review of mine I can remember and quote, because it made me laugh so loud I had to tell everyone I knew.

I used that quote as a blurb on the back of one of my books.

That's how you respond to critics.

Besides, you shouldn't let any stranger, either positive or negative, dictate how you feel about yourself. A good review is nice, but writers accept all praise with a grain of salt.

The only opinions that truly matter are those of your family and close friends and trusted peers. Everything else is just background noise.

Heed my advice. I'm right.

Ellen Fisher said...

I agree, Zoe. The best answer to any critic is "thank you for reading my book." If you can't honestly thank him, then ignore him. It saves you from being drawn into public arguments, and it's easier on the blood pressure besides.

Joe Konrath said...

those who have different views are not.

Everyone is welcome. Different viewpoints are great.

But I simply won't let my comments degenerate into insults. That's uncool, and make this blog a hostile, unfriendly place to hang out.

Simply stating, "Your writing isn't for me," or "I read it and wasn't impressed" could get your opinion and your point across without being a jerk.

I think I've kicked out maybe five people in over five years of blogging, out of tens of thousands of comments and over a million hits. ANGTP isn't close to becoming a police state. But it always has been, and always will be, my blog. There are many public forums to discuss writing in. Nic is also free to write his own blog and comment on how much he thinks writers suck.

But he won't, because that would involve signing his name to his opinions, and because no one would want to visit a blog like that.

If you want to argue, attack logic, facts, and positions. Not people.

I allow anonymous comments because it gives people a cloak of protection when stating unpopular or controversial opinions. But I've turned that feature off before, and I'm sure I will again.

As for nepotism, that's just silly. I get fawned over a lot. Count the number of times I encourage it, or even respond to it.

I think its great that people like my writing, and like what I have to offer on this blog. But we're a long way from this being my fan club.

David Wood said...

I think Joe's being quite reasonable. Even public forums have limitations on what someone can say and how it can be said, with suspension or banning being possible penalties. I've seen plenty of dissenting opinions on this blog, but they were polite and frankly, better articulated than Nic's response (which looked like a trolling post to me, given that he specifically zinged a couple of blog regulars.)

Regarding bad reviews- International Thriller writers actually has an annual contest at Thriller Fest where authors submit a few lines from the most vitriolic review they received that year, and everyone has a good laugh at their expense. The more people who read your work, the more people you'll find who hate it. Comes with the territory.

Zoe Winters said...

@Anon, I didn't actually say I started the self-publishing trend. You're misstating what I said. I said Joe didn't start out as an indie. That's not denigrating him or what he's doing. It's just stating a fact. I self-pubbed before Joe did, BUT many others have self-pubbed before me. This idea that self-publishing needs a "messiah" is ludicrous. But it's not Joe's doing. Other people label him. All I've said is that folks like myself and Karen McQuestion started out indie.

And that kind of thing does make "some" difference to many indies starting out, in that Joe already had built a bit of a platform.

Now you're coming along (without even putting your own name, btw) and trying to create division between myself and Joe. Do you think Joe doesn't frequent Lee's blog. You think he can't or didn't read what I said? If I wanted it to be secret I wouldn't have posted it on Lee's blog or blogged on the subject myself.

Also, Joe uses every opportunity to say how much he is selling, too. Why jump on me and not on him? What is this? Pile on Zoe day? Jeez.

And no, it's not exactly fair for someone who doesn't like a genre to judge it. Why read something you don't like and pick it apart? It's pointless. And it wasn't just me. It was Stacey and Joe too. Clearly someone who doesn't like genre fiction or thinks it's beneath them. Why else would someone go out of their way to attack anyone writing anything they don't feel is high-brow enough?

Also, I've never slobbered all over Joe. He and I have had our debates/disagreements. But at the end of the day I respect him.

Zoe Winters said...

LOL, Joe. Thanks, you saying all that means a lot to me! At the risk of slobbering all over you, you know you're kickass, right?

I once got a review that said my book was about as sexy as a tree stump. That one made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

"I didn't actually say I started the self-publishing trend. You're misstating what I said."

This is your comment from Lee's blog:

"Joe is great, and his story is great, and I respect all that he's done and how he's been willing to look and think outside of boxes to chase after what he wants. I have a lot of admiration for anyone in traditional publishing who is willing to look at the other side of things and take chances. But he's being held up as the poster boy of self-publishing (Which isn't his fault. He can't control how other people respond to and label him.)

But he didn't START self-publishing. Those of us like myself and Karen McQuestion (a lady doing better than me even), did."

Zoe Winters said...

@Anon, I meant that he didn't start out self publishing. I didn't say *I* started some self-publishing movement. That would be insane. I was talking about people who started out indie. Not who did it first. Good lord.

That would be beyond stupid because Connie Sheldon (who you've probably never heard of) self-pubbed way before me, as did MJ Rose, as did a lot of people. Self-publishing isn't exactly a new concept here.

Joe Konrath said...

Pile on Zoe day? Jeez.

Take a deep breath and reread the advice I gave you.

Zoe Winters said...

Joe,

Can I get away with saying I thought we were talking about critics about my actual writing? (Which, actually I kind of did.) And not critics of me as a PERSON. Which apparently this is what this has become about for some.

Am I just supposed to let people kick me in the teeth and not reply when they misrepresent me and make me look like an all around loony toon?

author Scott Nicholson said...

Usually the anonymous comments seem to come from people who are somehow invested int he traditional system--as either writers or maybe agents or editors--so there's usually a guardedness anyway. It's understandable, sort of like looking at job postings while sitting at work. They carry more weight to me if the person just comes out as a person and stands by what they say. That's sort of a basic principle of communication to me.

I think Zoe simply left out the word "out," as she is saying "started OUT as," not "started." That's how I read it.

Anyway, Zoe, I joked on your blog that YOU are the exception. We are all exceptions. Our own exceptions.

No one will duplicate anyone else's success. Even if you had a map and followed every step the other guy did, you'd still end up somewhere else. So why worry about it?

I don't know why anyone would assume a NY agent or editor knows anything more about writing than a writer does. If they were so brilliant, they would be writers, right? All they know well is what works on each other and what they need to sell to each other. And that's cool. But it doesn't have much to do with merit, literary quality, or even what readers really want. It's a system designed to serve the system.

In an American Idol world, we wouldn't have Bob Dylan, the Pixies, Neil Young, Ralph Stanley, The Eels, Bjork, or Beck. If even one voice of that caliber emerges from the indie revolution, I call it Epic Win.

Scott Nicholson
http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

Anonymous said...

With regard to reviews. I'm not going to comment on Nic or the writers here.

But I do see something a bit disturbing in a lot of indie books on Kindle.

Very often, the first few reviews are raving, I mean 5 stars, comments on how the author is a "rising star", comparisons to huge writers (like King and Crichton), etc.

Then a few reviews later you get a much more thorough review where the reader makes specific points about tense problems, plot holes, rough writing, bad formatting etc., and gives the writer 1 or maybe 2 stars.

I see this all the time while looking for another ebook to buy.

My question to everyone here: how rampant are padded reviews? In my mind these glowing general reviews are staged or written by family or something, in comparison with the more detailed reviews that are poor but obviously came from someone who read the book.

I ask because it is a turnoff for me for indie writers. I still pay $10 for a my favorite writers because the I smell something funny with a lot (not all) of the indie authors and the reviews. Doesn't seem honest to me so I won't buy.

So what's happening out there?

If some indies are padding the reviews hoping for sales, I can tell you as a rabid Kindle reader and buyer that is the fastest way to lose sales. When I see a newbie compared to Michael Crichton (or whomever) my BS detector goes off and I look elsewhere. I feel like I'm being manipulated. I'd much prefer honest reader reviews, even if they said it was a decent read with a few problems. Honesty is better.

I'm posting this because of the "review" threads in this blog. And it is a pet peeve of mine.

Anonymous said...

Zoe --

Let your Kindle rankings do the talking.

Personally, I might not like your book but I can't argue with your success. You've built a large fan base, so you must be doing a lot of things right.

Hats off to you!

Zoe Winters said...

@Anon Everyone who has reviewed my books, read them. Almost all of them were complete strangers before they found me and my work online. I can only assume they are all honest opinions. I don't know about what anyone else is doing.

I do know that online with online marketing the line between "friend" and "fan" gets very thin. It's hard to know if a lot of gushing reviews are people who really love the work, or people who really think they love the work cause they like the person and just want to like it that much.

But I've given up on reviews, period. I recently read a NY pubbed book that had like 41 gushing 5 star reviews and 2 one star reviews, and it was awful. One reviewer said: "It was just terrible in my eyes" and yeah... I can agree.

The only way for "me" to know if I want to read something or not is to download the Kindle sample. I just don't trust anyone's book judgment anymore.

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks to the other, Anon.

I'm sorry I'm in crazy mode today. No one should have to deal with that. This thread has turned into the "Zoe Show", and that was not my intention.

I'm going to try to unplug from this stuff for awhile.

Anonymous said...

"My question to everyone here: how rampant are padded reviews?'

I'm laughing, because the traditional industry has the same thing, but they are done by paid reviewers, and these reviews are usually the first 2-3 reviews on the book. As with the indies you have to look further to find real reviews by regular joe and jane readers.

Ever heard of Harriet Klausner, the big shill for trad published fiction? The amazing thing is that she reads and reviews about 10 books every day.

I never buy a book reviewed by her.

rex kusler said...

Over the decades, the only reviews I've ever paid attention to were those from Publishers Weekly. They always seemed honest to me. My girlfriend is the most avid reader I've ever met, and I asked her if she reads reviews. She never does. Doesn't pay any attention to the glowing quotes in the front pages of novels. She said, "I just figure that's somebody's opinion."

Charlene Ann Baumbich said...

Glad to see you're kickin' it! Great to meet you in person; hope it happens again. Thanks again for the Jack, and thanks for the Kindle demo. I've got a few OP books I'd like to see back in print. Ya got this old lady thinking ...

Joe Konrath said...

how rampant are padded reviews?

When I see a gushing five star review, I look to see what else the reviewer has reviewed. If it's the only book they've reviewed, it's a friend or relative.

But who cares? In the print biz, writers blurb each other, ask each other for blurbs, and many blurbs are given without even reading the book.

I review all of my friend's books. I consider that doing a peer a solid. An unreviewed book gets avoided. A book with a lot of reviews gets attention.

With Kindle, everyone can try a sample before they buy, so I don't think reviews are anything more than another form of marketing. Even bad reviews cna be helpful.

I think readers are savvy enough to figure out if something is good enough on their own, and smart enough to pick the wheat from the chaff.

There was recently a brouhaha about a publicist on Amazon writing reviews for her clients. Why the hell shouldn't she? She knows they're helpful. But apparently that violated some sort of terms of service, and her reviews got yanked.

I've been guilty of reviewing my own books--not to gush over them, but to add to the product description or to explain something. People go nuts when they see this.

Chill out, folks. We aren't splitting atoms or performing heart surgery. It's just art and opinions, and neither is very important.

Thomas Brookside said...

I think on the "padded reviews" issue, you have to remember that a lot of indie books are written for microniches and marketed using social media.

That hyperfocused marketing can often result in a customer base that essentially had no choice but to like the book.

For a long time I had nothing but 5-star reviews, and I'm sure that lots of people visited the product page and thought they were all fake. [Recently my streak was broken, so I guess I look like less of a faker now.]

But I had written a "zombie" book, and had set it in Ancient Rome. One of my reviewers identifies herself as a Latin teacher who loves zombie books. How many stars would you think she would give me?

I social-marketed the thing at horror- and zombie-themed groups on Facebook, at blogs and message boards with similar themes, did the "tagging" thing at Amazon, etc. All the people I reach that way are predisposed to like the book.

It doesn't surprise me that indie writers get glowing reviews. Who else is going to buy their book but people who are excited by the subject, fond of the genre, and taken with the description and sample?

Sure, there's padding, but I also think there's a lot of self-selection. The reviewers like the product because they had enough information to know they'd like the product even before they made their purchase.

Stacey Cochran said...

You're misstating what I said. I said Joe didn't start out as an indie.

The truth is Joe used to really put down self-publishing. Before this whole eBook thing, he regularly commented on how Lulu and CreateSpace POD was a bad way to go, and that he wouldn't do it. Dig back into this blog 3-4 years and you'll find it.

And the reality is POD was not as efficient a business model as eBooks have been.

For me (someone who has followed Joe since World Horror 2003 in Phoenix), it's been interesting to see his complete about-face over the past 5 years regarding self-publishing.

My sense is (correct me if I'm wrong, Joe) that he's gonna go with whatever makes sense commercially. And right now eBooks make sense commercially.


___________________
Stacey Cochran
Author of CLAWS

Heather Dearly said...

Congratulations, Joe!

Joe Konrath said...

I still think print POD is a bad way to approach this biz, Stacy. I've always been an ebook supporter--five years ago I had ebooks on my website, and I still do.

But I have done a complete about-face on how to succeed in this business. Ebooks seem to be the future, and you're right--I go where the money is.

I value my ability to change my mind as evidence comes in.

Joe Konrath said...

And actually, I never hated on Lulu or Createspace. I hated on PublishAmerica and Xlibris--places that charges writers and took their rights. I actually have been recommending Lulu for years as a viable alternative to actually getting an ISBN and self-pubbing.

The reason is that with Lulu, Bookscan can't follow you. POD as a model to get books onto store shelves is a damn poor model.

Stacey Cochran said...

The Colorado Sequence reads like it was written by a drunk schizophrenic on speed.

Could I use this as a blurb for my next novel?

rex kusler said...

I'm sure that's what sold Hunter S. Thompson's books.

Stacey Cochran said...

Seriously "like a drunk schizophrenic on speed" reminds me of like Philip K. Dick, Charles Bukowski, Kerouac, etc.

Most of their shit is impossible to follow... and they're writing was how they dealt with their fucking mental illnesses.

You'll get no argument from me there, if that's part of what I'm being accused of. My recovery from the depths of self-destruction and mental illness has been a long fucking road. Writing has been a way to keep me from killing myself.

I just can't wait to put out CLAWS 2. That's all I'm sayin'.

Stacey Cochran said...

I'm sure that's what sold Hunter S. Thompson's books.

Funny you should mention Thompson. I am in the process of working with one of his former girlfriends (and editors) on a memoir of their relationship from the mid 1960s up until his death.

If the stars align, this will be an eBook exclusive published by Stacey Cochran Books this December.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

"My question to everyone here: how rampant are padded reviews?"

Padded reviews are rampant. They are usually solicited, and I know this because I solicit book reviews for my own books all the time by sending out review copies.

I get a lot of really good reviews, but I've gotten some really bad ones, too. Like, "this book SUCKS." You just have to have a thick skin, (and it's getting thicker every year).

As for "slobbering" over Joe, how's this for disagreement:

"POD as a model to get books onto store shelves is a damn poor model."

I could not disagree more with this statement. I think that the "POD model" is the only reasonable way to get a self-published book into bookstores. What am I going to do--bookstore consignment? That's bullshit.

Here's the reality-- I sell the majority of my books on Amazon, though a POD printing service. Last month, under "expanded distribution" (translation: bookstore orders), I made $2,000. This is approximately 10-15% of my overall sales.

When I started, I was unsure of how many bookstores would order my books. Now, I'm finding out that it's quite a few.

A self-published author with a good product or a following could do what I'm doing very easily. Seriously, Joe (if you haven't already) set up your CS or LSI accounts and get those print editions available ASAP! I estimate that you could be making at least an extra 2-3K per month, without carrying any inventory.

Why ignore those potential sales?

dr. cpe said...

Hi Joe, keep on!

@whomever
Re what Joe or any other author used to/ kinda/ did or didnt say a thousand years ago about ebks, self-pub of ebks, etc. I think adaptation is the great gift of most humans. It's not new, it's ancient and applies to all species. Adapt or wither.

I've a kindle, dont like to read on it, does fit myhands (but then I make my own hand tools too), not enough lines on page with my poor eyesight. But would I bring my books to Kindle readers? Yes. Why? because authors hope to reach interested readers. That's all its ever been, no matter what venue. Evolution in thinking as one sees more of the vista, isnt to be dunned. I think it ought be applauded.

@Zoe
Joe said: "Don't ever respond to critics, Zoe. Professionals are above that. "

Zoe, I've been to your website just now and your style is dense and bright. Many are and will read your work; that someone took the time to pour their own bitterness out is not about your work, I promise. We'll just pray him/her down the road away from you.

@ Joe:
Just my .02 ..... insofar as I am new to your blog, I see you said above: 'good bad ugly, say Thank you and move on.'

As you said, (I think we should have a book by Joe called "As Joe said.." lol)--- put humor to use re insults. You noted a Kirkus review of your work wherein you hit it by laughing. (what was said by reviewer sounded like reviewer trying to sound cool. Didnt.)

Here, after a Kirkus review of my work, I made T shirts with the last line of their review printed on them: "Hortatory, ecstatic, and, ultimately, irritating. "

I'd recommend it. T-shirts sold out. People loved wearing them. The anonymous Kirkus 'reviewer' made us enough income to contribute to much needed literacy project we were engaged in. Funny how weirdly stuff works sometimes

@ whomever
Just my two cents worth ... if anyone thinks ebooks with cruddy writing will flood the market (each his own taste) they somehow ignored what MSP has been throwing at the wall for decades. I'm a contributing editor/ book reviewer at The Bloomsbury Review for 20 years (no padding, but have insider stories to tell one day), currently considering indie reviewing online at a certain site. Have seen tgood, great, bad, ugly and stunningly uglier and unbelieveably ugly.

However, not every single book, but most books with authors pretty present and available, finds its audience. That's been my experience down at the level of the dirt.

Have noted over and over (I may be the oldest creature here at your blog... I used to think lol meant 'lots of love') that a person with a moderately interesting book can surge ahead of a (subjectively) more fascinating book, by ...showing up. By showing up over and over to tell about medium interesting book, whereas more interesting book often lags because author isnt present nor constant. Online/e/pod/blog/bezos'/reggio's/jobs' devices too/ =great ways to 'show up.' When one comes from handwritten ms days and bell typewriter, many authors now, have NO idea what a land of plenty they live in. I marvel, every every day at what your opportunities are in comparison to ours at same age. You are in hog heaven, seriously

@Joe,
we here (my family) are in touch with the good man Rob S. you recommended to do formatting for ebooks. We are planning with legs shaky a little, to launch into the waters. Cant say I know what I'm doing, esp cant figure out why/how to do smashwords and kindle separately, what is wisest with least expense ... but cant say I have ever known everything with precision when my books have been pub'd ever... more have launched and kept rowing like hell past the riptides... driving toward a light distant for calling, family, and to bring into the world whatever I've been given.

you keep doin' the same JK.

And all.
Thanks

evilphilip said...

I've been making all these posts to Joe's blog and I didn't even realize that Zombology II, the anthology containing my short story, The Quick and the Undead, is available on the Kindle!

I get to be part of the eBook in-crowd now! Viva la Revolution!

Joe Konrath said...

"POD as a model to get books onto store shelves is a damn poor model."

I should have qualified that statement with "for fiction." I keep forgetting that some people write non fic. I know zero about non fic, and usually when I make statements, they are based on what I have experience in.

Moses Siregar III said...

Just what you need: More reading material.

This Salon piece argues that "When anyone can be a published author ... How do you find something good to read in a brave new self-published world?"

She worries that readers will develop slush fatigue. Instead, I think, they'll just learn how to choose books carefully based on recommendations, reviews, samples, etc. We've talked about all of this before on Joe's blog.

Gordon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gordon said...

Joe, this is my first post on your blog, although I have read it for a few weeks. Glad to have the resource for my publishing efforts. I will respond separately to the thread, but this post is to conduct an experiment with your readers.

Like most published writers, I never gave up my day job. (city manager and HOA general manager) But I finally did tell the disgruntled city councils and HOA Board of Directors goodbye and now live in New Zealand. I published my first novel in 1994, a rocky mountain regional publisher, while working full time. Advance royalties, etc., and not vanity. So like yourself, and many of your readers, I started out traditional publishing, but in a limited regional market. Born in NYC, but no bites from NY publishers.

Seven more novels followed, but as always the Out Of Print shelf life came quickly and only this past year have I discovered e-publishing. I have recovered all prior rights and published with Kindle and also Smashwords. I put the lot out on Create Space as well.

You seem to have cracked the barrier to successful Kindle publishing. Reading your blog and your contributors, I find myself wondering if the genre has anything to do with successful ebook sales. I write political thrillers (and some historical fiction) with contemporary work recently released. (American Voices, Book One, State of Rebellion) It's the story of the potential secession of California. I'd like to try an experiment through your blog, unless you deem it inappropriate. I will email a free ebook copy of State of Rebellion to any of your contributors who request one (any format, Kindle, EPub, Palm, etc.)to get some feedback. Visit my website and then email me with the request.

Thanks, Joe, and all who participate.

Gordon Ryan
http://www.gordonryan.com

Roger McLeod said...

I recently and sadly came to the end of "The List." I heard myself think: Boy, was that ever a FUN book to read.

At the back end of it, punching away at "next page" on my Kindle, I read your comment about letting you know how we readers felt about the book.

Not sure if this is the correct place to be doing that, as it seems to be more a forum about self publishing, but there it is.

I also entered your name in the Amazon site search box, to see if I could get anything else you wrote, and found a LOT of stuff, at nice, low prices...so one-clikked four of them (in hopes they go down as nicely as "List.")

I may be back here soon with another gushy comment. All the best to you, Joe.

Fiction for Dessert said...

Joe -- I'm thankful for your blog. I wouldn't have published on Kindle when I did if I hadn't found it. For me, I was tired of the endless and demeaning hours seeking validation from an agent or publisher. I wrote to be read. Amazon, Smashwords and the others are letting authors find their audience. How cool is that? And if my book isn't good, it won't be read. At least I got the chance to find out.

Deirdre said...

Re: reviews-- the first thing I look at now (but not the only thing) is whether the person bought the book on Amazon-- that has been the best new feature in a long time.

While there is nothing to stop astro turfers from buying a copy of the book before throwing up a fake review and while not everyone has to buy all the products they review on Amazon-- I don't-- this is still a helpful way to pick out the wheat from the chaff.

I've written over 600 reviews on Amazon over the years and I don't think I have ever not honestly said what I thought about a product-- but it is harder when you know the author, even if it's just a posts passing in the night kind of way of knowing. That's why I stick with a nom de review and a nom de post and hopefully never the twain shall meet.

tracy Johnson said...

Joe - I agree with 'anonymous, dont become the Ministry of Information or tripadvisor weeding out comments until they follow party line. The negativity inspires creative thought.
The whole point is that we are shooting the gatekeepers - crappy writing will be reviewed as such by Readers - not by snotty editors - old bags in London who are 'so bored' of whatever the theme happens to be before they've even looked at a single word. Editors havent cared about writing for Years - they tell you to send a marketing plan with your MS. So Joe as a brand is only prescient. Are the old bags editing - no they're biased, envious, power-mad. If people want to read crap writing let them - at least they have the choice without these stuck-up Oxbridge full of ennui while signing up Jordan (Pamela Anderson with tits)
Does anyone go to a travel agent anymore - no, they get reviews from Tripadvisor and they learn to weed out the BS from the real. - You cant hide your real personality on the internet no matter how anonymous you think you are.

wannabuy said...

JA,Zoa, and others,

Congratulations on your sales. I've Bought two of Joe's books (but I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't read them yet).

But here is why: Do to this blog and others I have found a HUGE selection of indie authors that I am reading through. I happened to really enjoy one free book... that just earned the author $5.99 for the 2nd book. :)

As to the quality of books, that is what the Amazon review system is for. ;)

Keep writing! The Kindle has me reading back to reading multiple novels per week.

Neil

wannabuy said...

Half the books people wanted to read were not even offered to them by the old system. I'm finding *excellent* authors that are self publishing and I'm enjoying the read. Ok, for every one I love I try three... Yawn. That isn't much worse than with the big publishers.

Joe, if your links are good... I'll be buying two books a week! I'm excited by your idea of a 'boutique' web store.

I wonder if anyone will read my posts... It took a while going through 112 comments!

Neil

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add that I have found a wealth of other authors (that I might not otherwise have found on my own), based on the reccommendations of authors whose books I enjoyed. A recent example of this is ABANDON, which I purchased after reading an exerpt of at the end of one of Joe's books. The "boutique" is a fantastic idea!
Kim

Alexis Harrington said...

Neil said: "Half the books people wanted to read were not even offered to them by the old system."

This is SO true. It doesn't apply to just the publishing business but to most facets of the entertainment industry. How many of you have wandered around the hundreds of channels cable and satellite providers boast about, only to find a lot of the same stuff? So-called reality shows and some of their ugly stepchildren, re-enacted reality shows? Oh, sure there's other programming, but reality probably trumps them all.

Vampires and the like have infiltrated all aspects of this business and that's fine. I read the Twilight series with as much enthusiasm as a teenager. But that doesn't mean I don't also want to read historical novels, Joe's novels, and a lot of other things. I wrote a pair of books set against the background of WWI America. NY wouldn't touch them. Too dark, too gloomy, gory, it wasn't the hearts-and-flowers "brides of the world" kind of thing my previous publisher wanted to see from me. I've loved all the books I wrote, but I am capable of more.

E-publishing is giving me my chance to let readers see it. If they like it, great! If not, well, at least I had the opportunity to show it to them. There's a tremendous sense of freedom that goes with with this.

Stacey Cochran said...

So, Joe, are you drawing the 70% royalty yet? I just discovered CLAWS 2 is Live and has sold a few copies, but it appears to be at the 30% rate.

Ty Johnston said...

Fluke or not, Joe, most beginning writers (and many pros) aren't going to have your sales numbers. For them, I'd suggest utilizing both traditional and digital publishing.

Why not? Write a novel, send it to the traditional venues. Meanwhile, write another novel and prop it up on Amazon. I don't see it as an either-or thing, not that Konrath is suggesting it is. Unfortunately too many folks in the traditional publishing industry do seem to see it as an either-or thing, and I'm thinking they're missing out on making some money.

Jude Hardin said...

I did try an experiment with a recent ebook. In the real world, when authors do book signings, we often buy each other’s books. So I went on Kindleboards and offered to buy any author’s ebook who bought my latest. This resulted in about fifty extra sales for me, and helped the book secure a nice spot on the Kindle bestseller lists. But fifty sales really isn’t very many when you’re selling a few hundred a day, so I don’t think I’ll ever do this again.

Joe, of the fifty books you bought from Kindleboards, how many would you say are actually of publishable quality? Just curious. Are self-published books, on the average, getting better? Worse?

With 750,000 self-published titles coming out every year, and that number likely to grow, is the democratization of slush even possible? Or will the gatekeepers simply change from agents and editors to a handful of online critics with popular blogs?

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

You still have to write a publishable book in order to succeed, and the way I see it the indie arena is becoming even more competitive than the traditional one. How can a debut author possibly stand out among all those titles?

One thing for sure: there never has been, and there never will be, any shortcuts to producing a novel worth reading. If you're only getting form rejections from agents and editors, odds are you're not ready.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

I have to agree with Ty-- it's not a "do-or-die" thing. Publishing isn't about being the next Walt Whitman.

Successful publishing is about being able to pay your damn rent. Writing is a job. It's a really good job, but it's still a job.

Joe works at it, and he makes a living, just like the rest of us. He's found a way to be more independent, which is why so many of us are here listening to him.

Most of us want to create on our own terms, and Joe's experience gives writers hope that they can do the same. I'm not arguing that one book is "crap" while some other author's book is "high art."

Those arguments are just bullshit. None of us know if our books has a lasting quality or WHO is going to be the next Walt Whitman. That's because we'll be dead before we find that out. So just try to write, make some money, and enjoy life.

You know what my goal is?

Banana Pancakes, man. Just Banana Pancakes.

Jude Hardin said...

Successful publishing is about being able to pay your damn rent.

That would mean, oh, about 99.9% of all writers are failures.

If making money is your primary goal, you're better off pursuing almost anything else.

David Wood said...

@ C. Pinheiro- I must disagree in the strongest terms.

Plain pancakes slathered in peanut butter all day long.

Selena Kitt said...

" Tim Sunderland said...

So far, in my limited experience, the two main genres I see succeeding in podcasts or ebooks are crime and horror/terror. Are there others out there I am missing?"


@ Tim


Erotica and Erotic Romance

Ty Johnston said...

Jude, your post makes me so angry ... but I'm not going to stoop to cursing.

I'll just say, I'm sick of hearing the "don't write for money but for the love of writing" argument. I love to write. I have to write. Why not try to make money from it?

Making money from writing isn't my only goal as a writer, but there's nothing wrong with it.

Those who don't write for money have their own reasons for writing. More power to them. But by God I'm sick of writers being told they shouldn't write for money. It sickens me. Shakespeare wrote for money, as did Mark Twain, even Milton and Tolstoy (though Tolstoy was torn up about it).

And yes, "successful publishing" IS about paying the damn rent. Successful writing, not necessarily.

Ty Johnston said...

Selena, I have to back that up for the most part. My horror almost always far outsells my fantasy on Amazon, though this month has been an exception due to some positive reviews of my horror fiction.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Congratulations on your two new ebook releases, Joe. How exciting to be able to release two books virtually at the same time, and ones that you've had quite the journey with. Kudos.

I wish you the very best.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
www.cherylktardif.com

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

"That would mean, oh, about 99.9% of all writers are failures.If making money is your primary goal, you're better off pursuing almost anything else."

You forget that people that write the drivel on the backs of vodka bottles are still writers. They're called copywriters. It's a job. You might write angelic prose, but you're still not better than them.

In fact, a great copywriter friend of mine is editing one of my manuscripts right now.

I write about TAX LAW. Nobody reads that to get enlightened-- it serves a purpose. Say what you want, I'm going to Hawaii this year... banana pancakes.

Jude Hardin said...

Making money from writing isn't my only goal as a writer, but there's nothing wrong with it.

I agree wholeheartedly. I would like to make a boatload of money from my writing, and I hope that happens.

All I'm saying is that it's not very likely. That's just the cold hard truth. If writing is your passion, go for it. If you're looking for a career that will consistently pay the rent, you're better off flipping burgers for $7.25 an hour. It's more than you're ever likely to earn as a novelist.

Jude Hardin said...

You forget that people that write the drivel on the backs of vodka bottles are still writers. They're called copywriters. It's a job. You might write angelic prose, but you're still not better than them.

Apples and oranges. Writing a novel is an entirely different ballgame than writing the copy on the side of a cornflakes box. For that matter , it's an entirely different ballgame than writing a thirty-volume set of books on the mating habits of the duck-billed platypus. One is not better than the other, just as a refrigerator is not better than a tree.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

"If you're looking for a career that will consistently pay the rent, you're better off flipping burgers for $7.25 an hour. It's more than you're ever likely to earn as a novelist."

Am I in the Twilight Zone? Who ever said anything about being a novelist? I'm not a novelist, and I do just fine. Journalists are not novelists, and they make money, too.

I said that working writers can make money. Joe's proof that you can do it with genre fiction. I think it's easier with non-fic, but I'm not going to beat my drum anymore.

Jude Hardin said...

Am I in the Twilight Zone?

Yes, since that quote was in response to Ty Johnston and not you.

I said that working writers can make money.

So can working sculptors and musicians, as long as they wait tables or tend bar several hours a day.

Gordon said...

Writing to make a living. What a unique philosophy. As I said in my first post on this forum, even after I was first published, I kept the day job. Always made good money in the real world, (relatively speaking) and probably have made 150,000 over the past dozen years from royalties. Good vacations, nice extras, but never stay home and write money. Even now, in retirement from the daily slog, writing is only a fun way to fill the hours and to enjoy the occasional comments that some reader sends my way, (and to fume over the other comments.)

I think the historic argument that writers should strive for something lasting, something literary, is an elitist posit. Most of us will never have that luxury, and as someone said earlier, if we do, we will not know it in our lifetime.

Many claim Tom Clancy, John Grisham, etc., are not GOOD writers. Who cares? They entertain me. They feed their families. They put money in the bank.

It's just damn good enjoyment to write, to finish a novel, to post the result and to get feedback. Many genre's I don't read, don't like, and don't try to write. Many of those make far more sales then I do, but I would not be able to write them anyway.

Epubbing is a way for everyone to take their shot, previously pubbed or not. The reader will be the judge. Certainly everyone recalls the extensive stories of successful writers who had dozens of rejections before the "first" novel was published, right?

Great forum, Joe. You certainly know how to throw a party.

Gordon Ryan
www.gordonryan.com

Anonymous said...

"One thing for sure: there never has been, and there never will be, any shortcuts to producing a novel worth reading. If you're only getting form rejections from agents and editors, odds are you're not ready."

Jude, you show up here on a regular basis. There is only one problem... you're not a real writer. Your book was picked up by some no-name independent publisher from Ipswich, MA. That publisher is on par with every other Print-on-Demand garage press.

You haven't run the gauntlet of Agent > Editor > Publisher any more than the hundreds of thousands of people who are self publishing.

Essentially, you have no reason for the elitist attitude since you haven't been published by a legitimate publisher. Instead of recommending that other people stop looking for shortcuts, you should clean up your own back yard first.

After you get picked up by a large New York publisher then you can come back here and lecture people about how they should skip self publishing and start polishing their work. Until then you are just some guy who is full of hot air and a snobbish attitude.

Jude Hardin said...

Jude, you show up here on a regular basis. There is only one problem... you're not a real writer. Your book was picked up by some no-name independent publisher from Ipswich, MA. That publisher is on par with every other Print-on-Demand garage press.

You really should check your facts before spouting off, CAP. Allow me to enlighten you. Oceanview Publishing is a legitimate small press, recognized by the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. They publish twelve new hardcovers a year. They receive over 150 submissions a week. Do the math. When I signed with them, they were still taking unagented submissions. Since then they have revised that policy. Their books have received many awards, and they are well-respected in the mystery-thriller community (our friend Joe here even has an essay in one of their anthologies--Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads. Check it out). Their books are distributed nationally and stocked in all the major chains. Hardly a "Print-on-Demand garage press."

You haven't run the gauntlet of Agent > Editor > Publisher any more than the hundreds of thousands of people who are self publishing.

See above. Also, I worked with a NY agent for two and a half years before parting ways (amicably) and placing the manuscript on my own. When the time comes, I plan to query agents again--even for this first book, to handle foreign and subsidiary rights.

Essentially, you have no reason for the elitist attitude since you haven't been published by a legitimate publisher. Instead of recommending that other people stop looking for shortcuts, you should clean up your own back yard first.

Elitist attitude? LOL!!!! I write hardboiled detective books. What used to be called dime-store novels or pulp. I'm about as far from a literary snob as you can get.

I often speak out against self-publishing because many (not all) of the writers who choose that route do so simply because they could not land an agent or sell to a legitimate press. The answer to not being able to land an agent or sell to a legitimate press is not to self-publish, IMO, but to write a better book. My attitude regarding this subject has been consistent for many years, and was formed WAY before I signed with an agent or publisher.

After you get picked up by a large New York publisher then you can come back here and lecture people about how they should skip self publishing and start polishing their work. Until then you are just some guy who is full of hot air and a snobbish attitude.

I don't think I'm better than anyone else, CAP, and I'm not lecturing anyone. Just voicing an opinion. You're free to disagree, of course, but try not to do so from a standpoint of ignorance next time.

Joe Konrath said...

Joe, of the fifty books you bought from Kindleboards, how many would you say are actually of publishable quality?

I'm on a deadline, Jude, and haven't had any time for reading. The wife is reading a few of them and likes what she's read so far.

There is only one problem... you're not a real writer.

Didn't I make it clear earlier we attack the argument, not the person?

Enough with the insults, gang, or I'll turn off anonymous posting.

Joe Konrath said...

"don't write for money but for the love of writing"

I write what I love, for money.

You can't cash integrity at the bank. I will do what I need to in order to get paid, and read.

But the cool thing is, the more money you make, the less you have to bend.

Anonymous said...

"But the cool thing is, the more money you make, the less you have to bend."

YES! After the next two "make money" genre books I'll be able to step back and write the literary novel. It's begging to bust out of my brain.

What a great time for writers! Unnatural selection and chlorination of the literary gene pool is over. Kaput.

New literary life forms will evolve. Some will head straight for extinction, but others will survive and thrive.

I can't wait to read what develops!

Deirdre said...

I'm just hoping that all of the people who were writing series and the subsequent books weren't picked up by publishers or who lost their publishers after good books with sales that didn't impress their publishers hear about this and get those manuscripts and outlines out from under their beds or where ever they are.

There are several web sites devoted to trying to find out what happened to authors who have fans but not publishers.

Anonymous said...

For those saying that you can't make money writing fiction (or that 99.9% of writers don't), you might want to read Dean Wesley Smith's posts on the matter.

http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=1121
and
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=607

Also, JA Konrath is doing just fine making a living as far as I can tell :) How many exceptions do we have to hear about before the "rule" starts to look kinda thin?

Ty Johnston said...

Big publisher.
Little publisher.
Self publisher.
New York publisher.
Digital publisher.
Indie publisher.

What I'm coming to realize is none of that makes any difference anymore. Each writer sets his or her own goals as a writer, and if one's goal is to be published by one of the big shots in NY then that's what they should shoot forward. The rest of us can be satisfied simply making a living writing.

dr. cpe said...

@Ty, thanks, finally a voice of reason in short form. Great populist insight.
Thanks.

>>>Big publisher.
Little publisher.
Self publisher.
New York publisher.
Digital publisher.
Indie publisher.

What I'm coming to realize is none of that makes any difference anymore>>>

Selena Kitt said...

"Selena, I have to back that up for the most part. My horror almost always far outsells my fantasy on Amazon..."

@Ty

Yep, horror does well in ebook form. I was just adding erotica and erotic romance to the list of books that also sell well in ebook form (for even more obvious reasons - not the least of which is, no one can see the cover and ask, "Hey, what are you reading?" ;)

WDGagliani said...

LOL, Selena, I was thinking the same thing. Nice to have anonymous text!

I ordered my Kindle last night.

First 3 books purchased?

Joe's two new Kilborn novels and, um, my own Savage Nights. (What's wrong with a little ego?)

Figured Joe's books had a right to be the first ON my Kindle.

Thanks for being willing to share, Joe.

Bill

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Hey Joe, I saw your post over on Nathan's blog. I wonder if any of the other agents are ever going to talk about you, or if they are going to just keep ignoring your existence.

Robert Christopher said...

@Jude How could possibly NOT see the opportunity that the Kindle provides for genres just like yours?

I too write hardboiled/crime and supernatural/thriller novels. When was the last time you saw a hardboiled novel breakout and be a big hit/seller??

I view the Kindle as an arena where other genres have a chance. There is an audience out there waiting to be pleased. ANd the cream always rises to the top, if the writer puts the effort in.


The money argument is just silly. You need money to live so that you can write, unless you are independently wealthy, which most people aren't.

One last thing for Jude, if you can't see the Kindle tidal wave coming then you are just not looking. It's already estimated at 2.5-3 million kindles sold. Then you have all the apps. Plus it just had a price drop. And I suspect it will drop again some time in the next 18 months or so to I think $149.00 (maybe less). By then there will be 5 million sold, and if the price keeps decreasing more and more units will be in readers hands.

@Zoe Listen to Joe on this one. It's a waste of precious energy to bark at critics/naysayers. Put your nose to the grindstone and do your thing. I'd be happy with $2,300 a month so just enjoy your success.

Okay, off the soap box.

AstonWest said...

Awesome stats! Hope it keeps going up and up for you...

As for the naysayers, just remember that you're moving their cheese... ;-)

Trevor said...

"When was the last time you saw a hardboiled novel breakout and be a big hit/seller??"

Um... Lee Child?


The bigger question should be when has a kindle author EVER sold enough copies to reach even mid-list status, much less become a bestseller?

That's right, never.

It hasn't happened, and I seriously doubt a kindle only author ever will sell enough copies of a single book to be a bestseller.

I don't have anything against publishing on the kindle. It gives authors with a backlist a great platform to squeeze a few extra sales out of old books, and it gives newbie writers who aren't good enough, and lack the patience to try and get better, a place where they can make a few bucks off their hobby.

As fas as it being a tidal wave that has the publishers scared? I seriously doubt any of them care about what happenes with the manuscripts in their slush piles. They're busy making a fortune off ebooks, too. If they weren't, they wouldn't keep releasing them.

Eventually, this will all even out and things will go back to normal with the addition of ebooks, and a new avenue for amateur writers to reach real publishers and maybe (if they have what it takes) get published themselves.

Better hope Amazon keeps letting anyone and their dog upload their manuscripts, though.

Jude Hardin said...

When was the last time you saw a hardboiled novel breakout and be a big hit/seller??

Well, there's Stieg Larson, Lee Child, James Patterson, Nelson DeMille...to name a few.

Don't get me wrong. I think the Kindle and other ebook readers are great. My book will be available on Kindle when it comes out next May. The more formats the better. I just don't think writers should jump on the self-publishing bandwagon before they're ready, and from what I've sampled most of them simply are not.

Jude Hardin said...

"I'm reading Joe's Endurance on Kindle for PC, btw, and enjoying it very much.

Only I'm scared to go to bed now.

Moses Siregar III said...

Someone else posted links to Dean Wesley Smith's blog, but I'll second the recommendation.

Here's a very interesting post of his debunking the idea that only a select few make a living with their writing: Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Only 300 Writers Make a Living

evilphilip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Christopher said...

@Trevor/Jude Lee Child, Nelson Demille are long established authors who've been churning out hits. Larson passed away six years ago, and hard to use as a point of referrence. And if you think James Patterson who is the king of pumping out title after title is hardboiled then Andrew Vachhs must be considered molten metal! Not going to argue over semantics. To each his own. But name me a new name that broke out with such a title that is still alive??

But, to twist my words. No, I never said it would crush publishing. I don't think its the death of the paper book at all.

But you are denying that the Kindle wont have it's share of the market place. Will I be so bold as Joe to say it will grow to 50%. I can't predict the future. Right now it's in its infancy and a mere 5% of the market place. But it's an ever expanding market.

@Trevor Re:Bestseller. Do you have any idea what the book business is about? What kindle author will ever get the promotion that a bestseller has. And news flash, if you know the reporting bookstores geting the NY times best seller title can be easily manipulated! And doesn't mean anything if you dont build a true, loyal fan base. Which takes time.

@Joe I can now see why you get fed up repeating the same arguments over and over.

wannabuy said...

Alexis said:
E-publishing is giving me my chance to let readers see it. If they like it, great!

Yes! I've been losing sleep as I'm going through the library of a self published author I've really been enjoying. I even verified the author wasn't signed on with a publisher (unless you count "synergy books" that 'working with self-established authors just like you.'

Trevor said:
. It hasn't happened, and I seriously doubt a kindle only author ever will sell enough copies of a single book to be a bestseller.
With the prevalence of smartphone readers, the popularity of the Kindle, and other Kindle readers, I doubt there will never be a Kindle best-seller.

As to the new normal, it will be quite different than the old 'normal.' People are finding new favorite authors. Some of those will be 'guilty pleasures' the big publishers ignored.

This won't 'settle out' with the status quo intact. But we are seeing the "Long Tail" theory of retail is correct. The question is, 'to what degree?'

Neil

Robert Christopher said...

@Jude And Jude, people have to start somewhere. Was King's first novel a perfect gem. The answer is No. He readily admits that it was raw. But it was his first pubbed novel. He then grew and got better. Who's to say someone on Kindle can't start out slow and through perserverance grow as an artist and build and audience??

And where exactly is someone to get real critical (and hopefully constructive) feedback these days? So even if these people who you say arent ready put their work out there. Maybe they make much money, maybe they do. But at the very least they will get unbiased feedback, which if they are smart and listen to it and try harder next time, maybe the next one will be better.

wannabuy said...

Robert said:
Will I be so bold as Joe to say it will grow to 50%. I can't predict the future. Right now it's in its infancy and a mere 5% of the market place. But it's an ever expanding market

I bet it breaks 50%, but there will always be paper (at the Walmart counter and Airport Kiosks at a minimum). I'm 'basically obsessed' with the idea that smartphones will be the portal for e-books for the masses. "Hooked" readers will move onto the Kindle.

For right now paper holds the advantage for 'ease of distribution'. (I do not enjoy reading books on a laptop/computer, so I'm discounting that e-book path.) Once enough readers are out there (Kindles/smartphones/Ipads, etc.) The bookstore will lose 'ease of distribution.'

Neil

Robert Christopher said...

@Wannabuy I didn't say it was impossible. But as of right now I don't see it. Eveyrone has their preferences. I don't like reading on a phone. You don't like readng on a laptop. Others who look at a screen all day might not want to do either and stick with the paper experience.

I know the indie book stores are dwindling, but some will adapt and survive. there will be all kinds of Kindle gear to sell, espeically some sort fo cover for authors to sign.

But back to my point. Amazon's biggest seller is media. So I don't think they want be totally bullish in this respect. Which is why a leap to 50% of marketplace is a stretch right now.

Also, lets be a little open minded. There will be a portion of the reading audience who just won;t read e-books, period. I've met people who have already burned out on the Kindle and other who just never warmed up to the idea. So factor that in as well. See from both side of the fence.

But I agree that the phones will drive it: how much i still can't say 50%. But I know Amazon has acquired the droid technology, so lets see what happens with the next version of kindle and the next drop in price!

Dave Taylor said...

Robert Christopher: on readign from a screen, e-ink. On people not wanting to ever read e-books, of course. Quite a lot of people still listen to CDs. Some listen to vinyl, cassettes and the radio. But most listen to music digitally these days. The same will happen, I think. Print books will be sold in fewer places, and become collectible.

On a more general point, I think the idea that major print publishing is a better arbiter of taste than the readers they are selling to will slowly vanish. It is the equivalent of a classical music snob insisting that pop music isn't real music. Which is fine, if you're not in the music industry. The other advantages of major print publishers - distribution, artwork, promotion and editing - will all go. The first has already. Artwork and editing can be hired. Promotion is already mostly done by authors. This leaves their superior ability to judge what readers want. Anyone who writes in genre knows their market better than most publishing houses. I think the only real thing they're riding on is prestige. That will take a while to erode, but not too long. Not with 70 percent royalties as opposition.

Ty Johnston said...

Whether an e-book ever makes bestseller status or not is besides the point. It's a non concern. My guess would be most of those publishing on Kindle, Nook, etc. aren't concerned about having a bestseller (though it might be a nice dream). Most of them are simply hoping to be able to make a living as a writer.

Is it a futile dream? For many, yes. But not an impossibility.

Will a ton of self-pubbed crap flood the market? Probably. It already has to some extent. But again, it's besides the point. Why? Because readers are becoming the new gatekeepers.

And actually, I'd bet cash money sometime in the next 5 years there WILL be a Kindle bestseller. Maybe even two years. It'll be a runaway hit that will catch everyone by surprise, cause e-reader sales to spike, and probably send the print publishers into a tizzy trying to figure out what to do about it when the author turns down their oh-so-precious-and-prestigous book deal. But then he or she will eventually probably go the print route anyway once someone comes up with celebrity-like money.

Marjorie said...

This is great news. It also encourages me. I have been sending queries off and on for 20 years. Maybe it is time for me to be proactive and to stop waiting for validation from others to green light my projects.

wannabuy said...

Robert said: Others who look at a screen all day might not want to do either and stick with the paper experience.
Fair enough. Let's see how the market develops. As you noted, it is in the infancy. There will always be paper. The question is the market fraction.

I've convinced five co-workers to try Kindle on Android in last two weeks. Of these five only one was even thinking of buying a Kindle. So while not everyone will prefer that path, I see it as a gateway.

@Dave:
I agree that the royalties will change the game, so will the nearly 'instant feedback' on price stimulation and promotion/advertising.

What I find most interesting is the cycle about to set in. As more e-books are sold (publisher or Indie author), this will reduce the 'shelf space' for marginal selling books (or perceived marginal selling). Thus more authors will be 'motivated' to go the Indie route... At some point there will be a breakthrough. That breakthrough is unlikely to be this year... but I see it by 2015, most likely earlier.



Neil

Vincent Zandri said...

In relation to what Joe is saying, here are my thoughts on my brand new thriller, The Remains, being published on Kindle and all E-Book formats months before the paper version is released!!!

http://vincentzandri.blogspot.com/2010/06/remains-e-book-experiment.html?spref=gr#close=1

Cheers,
Vin
www.vincentzandri.com

Robert Christopher said...

@Dave and Wannabuy You're missing my point. I'm not denying the growth potential of the Kindle. I'm saying that Amazon's biggest money maker is selling media; paper books, dvd's, CD's. SO I don't think they will cut off their nose to spite their face.

I agree it wil grow. But to blindly say 50%, which is ten times its current growth is a bit premature to speculate as of now. It's already successful as technology goes. But will it be VCR level in every home; maybe. But you are talking about selling over 20 million more Kindles. At some point when it's $99 dollars that just might happen.

wannabuy said...

I'm saying that Amazon's biggest money maker is selling media; paper books, dvd's, CD's. SO I don't think they will cut off their nose to spite their face.

I don't see them cutting off there nose either. Amazon can service small volumes (e.g,. print on demand) better than anyone else, so they will sell media as long as there is a market. I was getting your points; I just see a 'breakthrough' coming in about 5 years a la the Ipod and music.

I was talking 50% e-books, not just Kindle market share. Hence my posts on smartphones. The predicted sales of smartphones in 2012 is between 400 million and 600 million (vs. 1.2 billion cell phones total to be sold globally this year). That puts an e-reader in most of the market's pocket.

The Kindle will be for the 20% of the market that buys 70% of the books and some of the next 20% of the market that buys another 20% of the books:
http://ireaderreview.com/2010/06/23/three-categories-of-book-buyers/

Note: That blogger thinks 10% of the market buys 70% of the books. It doesn't matter if it is 10% of the market or 20% of the market that determines where books are going.

But right now it is academic. The turning point in technology tends to happen when 20% of the market adopts the new technology. We're not there yet, but we will be 'soon enough.'

It does not matter if the book is read on a Kindle, smartphone, tablet (e.g., Ipad), netbook, or something else. Just who enables the most 'content' that is desired.

Amazon will grow market share in a way that doesn't sacrifice existing markets 'too much.' But movies and music are going away from physical media... so Amazon's 'best bet' is the Indie author market.

With the Indie author market, the 'big 6' will have no choice but to offer Kindle books or face extinction.

Meanwhile, we will see only the best 'brick and mortal' stores survive. I do believe some will survive. But paper book retail shelf space is on the decline and that decline is about to become fast. When? It doesn't look to be this year. But once the 'ball gets rolling' it will push consumers to e-books.

In JA Konrath's opening article he mentions $99 e-book readers. Those will help quite a few 'heavy readers' get into 'e-ink' screens.

It doesn't take chatting with too many people to realize only a tiny portion of society buys more than 3 books a year. So Amazon must ignore the majority of the market (without making them angry) and focus on their true customer base. That they have been doing well. The publishers... haven't been doing so well.

Hence why I see over 50% market share in 5 years for e-books. I hope it is Kindle... But I'm not wed to one physical device.

I think Amazon changed the game with the new royalties. A cheaper e-reader is needed in the long run.

FYI: Sony is claiming e-books will have over 50% market share within 5 years:
http://www.t3.com/news/sony-e-books-to-outsell-paper-books-within-five-years?=45943

I think it will be earlier (due to enormous smartphone sales putting a book-reading device in most pockets).

Majorie: "Green light" your own project. Just make sure you have it proof'd and a 'marketing plan.' JA has many a previous post suggesting how to do that.

Neil

Coolkayaker1 said...

Unlike, Neil, I do not think any brick and mortar booksellers (other than a few "rare book" dealers) will survive. Borders is on the ropes and will go bankrupt this year or next, from the WSJ (use those Borders gift cards, like now!) and B&N, a better managed bookseller, will be next for brick and mortar (although they might survive online). WSJ and a couple other business news sites suggest that, when the e-readers are under $100, ereading will boom louder than a north Korean test missle. And as Joe Konrath has written, there will be sub-$100 e-reading devices this year.

With the dime a dozen e-books being tossed liberally onto the web like manure on a cornfield, I think we will all become, in essence, our own agents. Why? We'll all wade through the slush pile of messy writing (ebooks have free samples, first chapters) to find the one gem. Then, all the lovely advice Joe K has blogged to us about how he sorts through submissions for a contest, for instance, will make perfect sense to us.

Coolkayaker1 said...

P.S. I know Borders and B&N are not the only mortar booksellers, and I do think the tiny used sellers may actually fair okay for a few more years while the luddites still scramble for the moldy, yellow pages in broken bindings, but in the end--oh, 5-8 years from now--booksellers will be finito.

Robert Christopher said...

@wannabuy ahh, I understand what you mean now. :)

Vincent Zandri said...

Indy bookseller can def survive if one, they figure out a way to offer immediate POD books, much like Japan offers kiosks that will print and bind a book on demand. And two, they stop operating on the notion that the "Return" policy will ensure a financially sound bottom line....The return policy is finally dead!!!

wannabuy said...

CoolKayaker1 said:
Borders is on the ropes and will go bankrupt this year or next,
Unless things change fast, they will disappear in the timeframe you suggest.

680 Bordes stores remain, 240 closed in the last year (ish).
http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/company-news/words-fail-them-borderss-rough-first-quarter-report/19493704/


Vincent: I agree immediate POD will be a viable business model and will be required. :)

Actually, it will be immediate POD, a selection of locally appealing books (e.g., coffee table books, local authors, book signings), and best sellers that keep well run and well located bookstores going. They'll be smaller in floor space (thanks to POD), but they'll still be there. If no where else, the airport. ;)

Heck, for all I know bookstores will be for ambiance to a coffee shop, sort of an oversize 'fireplace nook.' The local borders did that late in the game... bummer the location has zero foot traffic. :(

Neil

evilphilip said...

A couple of talking points:

The sales of music or movies on digital vs. media is not happening as fast as you might think. There has been significant growth in the area of digital music, but sales of music digitally is not growing at the same pace that sales of music on physical media is falling.

Consumers are moving their music from physical media over to digital -- but, they aren't buying it they are stealing it. That is a huge problem for that industry and no one involved in that industry seems to want to tackle that 800 lb. gorilla in the corner. (To paraphrase Joe.)

Movies are not going to digital at all. Blu-ray is in the very beginning of its dominance over DVD and the quality of digital movie downloads doesn't come anywhere close to the quality of a Blu-ray. Broadband penetration in the USA is also not large enough for more people to move to digital purchases and there is no where for consumers to store a Hi-Def movie. A Hi-Def movie on Blu-ray takes up about 40 GB of space. Even if you have a 500 GB hard drive that would mean you could only store 12 movies on your storage device before it was full. Boadband penetration and storage space are two major problems movies will have to overcome before they can move to digital.


In the end, it doesn't matter if the sales of eBooks is 5% or 50% and it doesn't matter what the 'Big 6' are going to do with eBooks.

All that matters is that the market itself continues to see growth. Joe is making a living off the Kindle RIGHT NOW. Many other independent authors are making a living off eBook sales right now. As long as you have a place to sell your product and there is a market for that product that lets you make a living what the market does as a whole is insignificant.

That market is growing in leaps and bounds, but it doesn't matter if it becomes larger than the sales of print as long as there is a market for your work.

It would be to the advantage of independent authors if Agents, Editors and Publishers continue to ignore the growth of the eBook marketplace and continue to overcharge for eBooks. That puts the independent author in a position where they can price their product cheaper than the mainstream and build a following -- and hopefully make a living.

wannabuy said...

Evilphilip said:
Movies are not going to digital at all.
I enjoyed your post, but I disagree with movies. I know too many abandoning DVD's for hulu and Netflix downloads who are bypassing blue ray..

I agree the book market will grow (in volume and dollars). In particular as more of the world's population learns English. For selling to the world, e-books have a tremendous advantage.

I liked your point on piracy. It is my opinion that the 'early enough' availability of legal e-books saved the book market from music's purgatory.

The switch to e-books gives an opportunity for new entrants. As a reader, I see more variety being made available. Variety the publishers are not set up to deliver.

So if you mean from the perspective of the number of people earning a living off books... I agree. The industry will grow.

But I'm not sure Agents, editors, and publishers can adapt fully. They'll still dominate the best sellers, but numerous indie authors can sell via the Kindle model. These authors can live off of a sales volume that can support themselves and their cover-artists and proof readers. The big publishers need volume to pay for the agents, full time editors, executives, office overhead in New York City, etc.

So it does matter in that employment (# of jobs) will shift from the overhead to authors. As a reader, that is an excellent shift.

Neil

Zoe Winters said...

@wannabuy

You said: It doesn't take chatting with too many people to realize only a tiny portion of society buys more than 3 books a year. So Amazon must ignore the majority of the market (without making them angry) and focus on their true customer base. That they have been doing well. The publishers... haven't been doing so well.


So sad, but so true about the 3 books a year thing. And I agree, Amazon has to focus on the big readers, not the casual every now and then they might or might not buy a book readers. People have way too much entitlement when they expect a whole industry to do what they want when they don’t even fuel that industry’s sales.

@evilphilip

I totally agree that it’s better for indie authors if big publishers keep being stupid about ebook pricing for as long as possible. I need them to be stupid for about another 3 years while I get my little empire off the ground. Five more years of them being stupid, though, would really be ideal.

Jason Thibeault said...

Came across your blog and wanted to introduce my publishing company, Dime Novel Publishing (www.dimenovelpublishing.com). We were founded on the same attitude that is driving your success although we took a slightly different tact--we are trying to bring back the dime novel for the e-book generation. Our stories are "bit-sized" episodes sold on an issue-by-issue basis (although we are moving towards an all-you-can eat subscription model) published 23 times per year (bi-weekly). Primarily young adult, we are also focusing heavily on the use of our material in K-12 education. If you are ever interested in exploring the format, please let us know. The great thing about our format is that its very visceral. I've written a few novels and understand the time it takes to not only write them but the publishing process as well. The Dime Novel format is writing in its purest form. Focusing solely on character and environment, storyline and plot can be developed "on a whim." There's no end so a dime novel writer can take the story in any direction they want. We are only a couple months old but already have three series launched (5 issues each) and have several more coming out in the next 60 days. We use Smashwords for our distribution. I definitely believe that electronic publishing direct-to-consumer will radically change the publishing landscape. Here's to keeping our fingers crossed that we can get some of the success :D

Best,

Jason Thibeault
jason@dimenovelpublishing.com

Jeff Narucki said...

Congrats and thanks for sharing Joe.

I originally came across your work in a B&N, which helped to qualify you (to me at least) as someone who:

1) Writes engaging stories with interesting characters.

2) Knows how to get published.

You've proven that good writers can start off their careers online today. It's not easy, but you've convinced me.

Do you have any stats to show whether traditional print authors have an edge over first-time self published folks?

--Jeff

PS... Thanks again for "Newbie's Guide" for the kindle. I'm knocking out a couple of posts in between short stories.

Kindle said...

Congratulations! I can see that everything is doing great for you. I hope to read some of your works.