Monday, July 12, 2010

Konrath Sells 1/10 of Patterson

A few days ago, there was a number flashed all over the internet.

That number was 1,000,000. That's how many ebooks James Patterson has sold.

Pretty impressive, huh?

Yes, and no.

Yes, because a million is a big number.

No, because compared to his print sales, it's tiny.

There's also another reason it isn't impressive. A personal reason.

I've sold 60,000 ebooks. By the end of 2010, I'll have sold over 100,000.

In June, I earned $12,000 on ebooks that I self-published on Kindle. I'm currently selling about 8000 per month.

And this is just on Kindle. Patterson's numbers seem to include all ebook platforms.

I did it in 15 months. Patterson's numbers probably have been accruing for many years, since ebooks first started being sold.

Plus, he's freakin' James Patterson, and I'm a midlist little fish. He's got many more titles (65) than I do (17), he's a #1 bestseller, and he's a name brand with movies and TV shows and huge advertising budgets.

And yet, on my own, I've sold 1/10th of what he has. In far less time. With fewer titles. On Kindle only. With no advertising. No TV commercials. No name brand.

I'm happy Mr. Patterson has reached this historic milestone. I'm sure he'll have another million or two sales in his future.

Just as I'm sure I'll reach a million as well.

211 comments:

1 – 200 of 211   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

You have to think positive to be positive!

rex kusler said...

Tomorrow I will the first self-published Kindle author to spend 30 days in the top 100 with my name misspelled.

Some strive to accomplish the unusual.

John said...

You are my hero, Joe!
Keep on shaking things up!
--Surfside Jack

DeNae said...

I am just drinking in all of your encouragement and enthusiasm. My first goal? To sell 1/10 of what YOU'VE sold!

Anonymous said...

Patterson's books are priced at $7.99 - $15.00. He's sold over a million, let's say $10,000,000 retail sales.

So far you've "sold" 60,000. I'm not sure if you're including all the free books in your number, but even so, most of the sales have been for 99 cents to 1.99, say $100,000 retail.

That puts you at 1% of Patterson.

If you really want compare yourself to Patterson, price your stuff at $7.99 and see if you can sell more than a handful.

Big Mark 243 said...

I am with DeNae. I get encourage reading your journal and of your success.

anon #2 is a serious hater on hater-aid eating jaded hater 'n bits dog food!

What a hater.

Joe Konrath said...

You've got your numbers mixed up, Anon.

Patterson earns $1.75 on a $9.99 ebook.

I earn $2.04 on a $2.99 ebook.

Who cares about retail? I care about what an author earns. And as far as percentages go, I earn more than Patterson.

And no, the freebies aren't counted in my sales. If they were, I'd be over 160,000.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

That's great Joe, I'm so happy for you. I did a talk last weekend at the BAIPA, and there were so many talented people in the audience that had lost their jobs in the traditional publishing world.

I talked about self-publishing, and I showed them my CreateSpace screenshots (of my royalties) and there was a loud, collective *GASP* when they saw how much I was making.

Many of the writers in attendance were a lot more talented than me, but still chasing the big six.

I am earning a great living and they are on unemployment. I wish more writers would give the self-publishing model a try.

John Smith said...

When you reach one million ebooks sold, post about it, because I would love to read it!

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow I will the first self-published Kindle author to spend 30 days in the top 100 with my name misspelled.

Congratulations Rxe!

Jude Hardin said...

Patterson only earns 17.5% royalties on ebook sales? I would have thought his percentage to be much higher.

But that's irrelevant, really. Your numbers are amazing, Joe. Congrats on your continued success!

Not Normally Anonymous said...

How many people do you have writing your books? Just you? Yeah, so then kind of an unfair to compare you to a group of 8 or 9 people all writing as James Patterson. But don't take my word for it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/24/magazine/24patterson-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1

Joe Konrath said...

Patterson only earns 17.5% royalties on ebook sales?

Boilerplate is 25% of the wholesale price. Agency model is 70% of the retail.

So he makes 25% of 70% of $9.99. Less for cheaper ebooks, more for the $12.99 titles.

Robert Burton Robinson said...

Congratulations, Joe! You give us something to strive for. And you make us believe it's quite possible to earn a living as a mid-list author.

@Rex, maybe you should try publishing several versions of your books, each with a different misspelling of your name. :)

rex kusler said...

Robert, I think, in the future, when they decide to change my name, I'll just upload a new cover to match their spelling.

Jack H. H. King said...

Joe,

You have 17 books on Kindle. You're selling 8000 books per month. Would it be accurate to say 90% of your sales come from your top 5 ebooks?

Could an indie author make 90% Joe money with just 5 books on Kindle, if they were written at 90% Konrath quality?

I predict you will break 1 Million books sold in exactly 3.7 years.

- Jack

Nicole MacDonald said...

You'll be there before you know it :)

Excuse Me, Miss said...

All of the numbers are making my head spin, and I have a business background. :-) I know one thing, you are an inspiration to all writers, Joe. For too long the publishing business has been out of balance with the writers having little say and little earnings. I believe in speaking things into existence...one million here we come.

Zoe Winters said...

Joe,

So does this make me cooler than you since I sold about 6,500 ebooks on Kindle last month (with only 3 titles out) and am a complete no name who's never had a publisher?

:P Sorry, I had to. :)

I agree with you though. What I find interesting about the James Patterson story isn't that "James Patterson sold a million ebooks" Whooptie doo, he's James Patterson, like you say. What I find interesting is that it has taken this long for ANYBODY to sell a million ebooks, which shows just how early in its infancy the ebook revolution is.

Which is good news for those of us who are starting to make a little bit of money at this. I can totally see you getting rich over this by the time it's over with.


@Rex LOLOL! Congrats!!!

David Wisehart said...

Thanks for the update, Joe. Your success is, as always, an inspiration.

My takeaway from the Patterson milestone is that it shows how truly popular ebooks have become. As the market increases, of course the brand name authors like King and Patterson are going to post headline numbers (wait till J.K. Rowling's been in the ebook market a few months).

But a rising tide lifts all boats.

And I think it's time to build some more boats...

Anonymous said...

"Patterson earns $1.75 on a $9.99 ebook.

I earn $2.04 on a $2.99 ebook.

Who cares about retail? I care about what an author earns. And as far as percentages go, I earn more than Patterson."

Nothing personal, but if you're comparing yourself to Patterson as to a category of earning, the truth is you have no idea how much he earns, you don't know what his advances are, what his royalty percentage is, or anything else.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Joe, you rock! Let's do some stats on many times you cut down an anonymous commenter. Isn't it strange that no matter how transparent you are, some people still want to attack us.

I still think my first goal is to get a good agent, but thanks to you I feel that I can control my writing future. Maybe its ego, but I'd still like to publish in print, but now I'm aware of my ebook options. Good writing first, options later.

Joe Konrath said...

Nothing personal, but if you're comparing yourself to Patterson as to a category of earning,

No, YOU'RE comparing earning. I'm comparing sales numbers.

I know that 25% of the wholesale price of the ebook is standard. Could Patterson have a higher royalty? Sure he could. But who cares?

The fact that an indy author will sell 100,000 ebooks, when Patterson is getting all this press about reaching 1 million, says something about the future of the industry.

If you don't find that compelling, I question why you're reading my blog at all.

wannabuy said...

Who cares about retail? I care about what an author earns. And as far as percentages go, I earn more than Patterson.
Well said.

anon,
Please get an account name. Too many anon's on here that want to argue with Joe.

What is compelling is that authors can now write directly to their audience and earn a better living than they did with the 'big 6.' I do not doubt the best sellers will still go through the PR machine.

But a question for anon, what happens in 2012 when there are enough 'devices' to read e-books on? As in enough to have real competition. (This isn't even the starter round.)

Neil

Anonymous said...

Different anon here. While I agree that selling 100,000 (or even 60,000) e-books is impressive, even if many of them are only 99 cents, I also agree that there is a colossal difference between seeling .99-1.99 ebooks and selling 7.99+ ebooks.

Also, it's worth nothing that you're 100K has a long way to go. No guarantee of maintaining sales, and even if you do, by then Patterson will be well over a million. and that's just from a units sold perspective. From a revenue perspective, he's in a different galaxy than you, since people are iwlling to pay many times more for a book than for yours, and he's got the mass print sales in addition to the ebooks.

So, I do congratulate you, but feel that the ebook comparison is playing very fast and perilously loose with statistics.

Moses Siregar III said...

In related news, Michael Shatzkin wrote an epic post yesterday about the unfortunate situation bookstores may soon find themselves in. I was inspired to write an immediate response about why that is the number one reason I may skip submitting and go straight to independently publishing my first novel, hopefully passing Go and collecting more than $200.

Anonymous said...

"No, YOU'RE comparing earning. I'm comparing sales numbers."

I'm confused. When I challenged your numbers, your reply was: "Who cares about retail? I care about what an author EARNS."

When I challenged you on EARNINGS, you now say you're talking about NUMBERS.

Ok, then, you sold 60K so far and he's sold over 1.1 million. Based on sales NUMBERS, you've sold about 5% of what he has. Your sales were for cheap books. His were at full price.

You can try to make a headline with "Konrath sells 1/10 of Patterson" if you want, but you're doing it with smoke and mirrors.

What happened to the humble guy who started this blog years ago? I for one would like him back.

Moses Siregar III said...

Joe, which part of Patterson are you selling, and is it 1/10 in volume or in weight?

What!? Sorry, they told me the horror crowd hangs out here.

Moses Siregar III said...

"Konrath Sells 1/10 of Patterson"

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Joe Konrath said...

Also, it's worth nothing that you're 100K has a long way to go.

About five months. Maybe six.

Could the sales just drop off? Sure they could. But 15 months of increasing sales, when ebooks are still a small segment of the market, would seem to indicate otherwise.

From a revenue perspective, he's in a different galaxy than you, since people are iwlling to pay many times more for a book than for yours

Again, revenue for whom? For his publisher? Or for Patterson himself?

Standard for authors is $1.75 on a ten buck ebook. And I do have several higher priced ebooks that are doing well, listed by my print publishers, but I didn't include their numbers in my total. Just my self-pubbed titles.

I'm confused.

I'm not.

As far as sales, by Nov/Dec I should have 100k.

As far as royalties, 70% on $2.99 earns more than the standard traditional rate for ebooks ($1.75 on $9.99.

What's confusing here?

As for humility, the point of this post isn't to brag. It's to show something quite astonishing, which you seem to be missing completely.

On my own, I'm set to sell 100,000 ebooks this year.

Patterson's 1 million ebook sales was mentioned by the LA Times, and many many many other places. People consider that a Big Deal.

Well, those numbers of his have been building for at least 7 years, and they cross several ebook platforms. On Kindle alone, I'll do 1/10 of 1 million, in less than 20 months.

What do you think that says about the state of traditional publishing? Shouldn't Patterson be outselling me 500 to 1, like he does in print?

That a self-pubbed thriller author can sell 100,000 ebooks is a pretty big deal for self-pubbed authors everywhere.

If you don't see the significance, perhaps you need to look a bit closer. You might also try to figure out what exactly you're arguing against here, and the point you're attempting (and failing) to make.

Smoke and mirrors? Dude, I'm making $600 a day. How many authors are doing that, either traditionally pubbed or self-pubbed?

You really don't think that's a sign of things to come for the publishing world?

Edie Ramer said...

That a self-pubbed thriller author can sell 100,000 ebooks is a pretty big deal for self-pubbed authors everywhere.

It's a big deal for me, and I think you're right. You're my role model and probably the biggest reason I plan to self-pub.

Anonymous said...

"And yet, on my own, I've sold 1/10th of what he has"

I'm willing to look for the proof of that wherever you point me, but so far I don't see it, not in number of books sold, not in retail money paid by customers, not in money paid to and/or obtained by the author, or anywhere else.

As for Patterson selling for 7 years, we all know that 99% of all eBook sales have occurred in the last 12 months. In fact, 50% have probably occurred in the last 4 months.

By the time you reach 100K total sales of $1-2 books, he'll be at 2.2 million total sales of $8-15 books..

If you've sold 60K books so far like you say, be proud of it. It's a true accomplishment. You've worked hard for it and it's yours.

All I'll saying is don't compare yourself to Patterson unless you really and truly have something to back it up.

Joe Konrath said...

we all know that 99% of all eBook sales have occurred in the last 12 months

We all know this? Really? You want to show a stat that proves it?

By the time you reach 100K total sales of $1-2 books, he'll be at 2.2 million total sales of $8-15 books.

Again, show me your math.

You keep repeating the prices of my ebooks and the prices of Patterson's, when as far as publishing contracts go, I'm earning more per ebook.

If we factored in my publisher's ebook sales for my titles, I'd be at 80k already. And those are at the higher price you keep mentioning, even though I earn less on those than I do on the $2.99 ebooks--something I assume is the same for Patterson.

But for the nth time you're missing the point, so I'll restate it again.

Patterson has gotten huge press for selling a million ebooks. I'm close to 100,000, and I'm a nobody. That's the point of this blog post.

Mary said...

Perhaps Anon is James Patterson? Wouldn't that be something?
At least you really write your books. You're an inspiration as an author and marketer. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Patterson is selling ebooks at full price, though, not 99 cents. It doesn't matter how the $ is divied up after it comes in--(Patterson could choose to sell his books thru Amazon only for 1.99 too, if he wanted--but notice that he doesn't), it's a measure of consumer demand that people are willing to pay that much. Regardless of how the pie is cut up, Konrath, how many ebooks do you think you'd sell at Patterson's prices? THAT's what makes him newsworthy--that he sold a million full-priced ebooks.

dafaolta said...

Hey Joe! Kudos on the sales job! I am more and more optimistic about self-publishing with every post I read. I bought the Newbie's Guide for my iPod thru the Kindle Reader and it would have been cheap at 3x the price. (I also got Scott's Publish or Die at the same time, great stuff there too!)

The message I get here is that Patterson doesn't see ebooks as important or he'd be leaning on his publisher to help push his books. I remember a comment by him just before he signed that ridiculous contract, complaining that $9.99 ebooks were priced unsustainably low. I choked then, but I'm snickering now.

Your results prove to me that most of the name writers like Nora Roberts and Stephen King could do what you're doing and make money hand over fist versus being tied to traditional publishers and their narrow, old-fashioned models.

Put down the contract. Step away from the contract.

Makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I agree that if Patterson's ebooks were at Konrath's prices, he'd have sold 10 million by now!

Ty Johnston said...

Mary, mother of ...

Look, anon, what difference does it make who Joe Konrath compares himself to? First off, it's a blog post, so quit taking it so seriously as if it's stenciled in stone and Moses carried it down from the mountain. Second, the guy's making a living as a fiction author, and that's apparently the important thing to him and seemingly to hundreds if not thousands of indie authors out there. The goal isn't to get rich, to be the next Patterson or King or Rowling or whomever; the goal is to make a living at this game. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake.

Anonymous said...

I will become THE MOST READ WRITER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WRITTEN WORD within the next 12 months, thanks to making my ebooks FREE! muahahahaha THE MOST READ!THE $$$$$ WILL SURELY FLOW IN AFTER THAT, RIGHT?!?!?!?

Joe Konrath said...

It doesn't matter how the $ is divied up after it comes in

Are you out of your mind?

Joe Konrath said...

if Patterson's ebooks were at Konrath's prices, he'd have sold 10 million by now!

Possibly even more than that.

And yet publishers continue to price ebooks at ten bucks and up. This shows complete disregard, even disdain, for their customers.

Authors now have a chance to directly reach their audience, at a fair price, and still make more in royalties than they could with a traditional publisher.

Anonymous said...

Different, happy-for-you anon here: I'm not a writer, just a reader ever on the lookout for quality writing. Joe, I'm delighted to see that your success is encouraging so many other new and/or lesser known authors to consider skipping the major publishers all together and just get their work out there at a reasonable price. I'll keep trying new (to me) authors at $2.99 or less, because so far I have found some real gems, writers that I'm willing to spend more on for subsequent reads and backlists.

I'm also happy for independents that they have ways to make larger royalties. I'd so rather most of my money go to the author instead of a big publishing house.

The last Patterson I bought was Roses are Red, a decade ago. I know he doesn't miss me, but I cringe to think of all the great reading I'd have missed out on had I stuck to just him and the Crichton-and-Grisham types all these years.

You have every right to be proud, Joe - never stop shouting your successes to the world, it's how others will learn that they can do it, too. Authors *and* readers win - how awesome is that?!?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.0

I'm back, but I'm not here to bash you Joe.

To you other Anon's there is no point in complaining. Joe is excellent at deflecting criticism. he's honed his political double speak skills to the max.

But more to the point. Joe is just self promoting. All statements can be manipulated to make yourself look good. And all he's really doing is promoting himself. And mentioning himself in the same sentence as Patterson is just a way to give himself the rub by proxy.

He just wants to sell books/units and make money. Nothing wrong with that.

But just one word of advice, you'd do yourself a huge service if you stopped acting like a bad comedian. This is not a knock, you readily admitted you failed at comedy. You'd garner more respect if you were less bat puppet guy and acted and spoke more like a mature adult.

And, you win. I thought this was a fad. But I've been proven wrong. You are making a good living wage, something I didn't think would happen. So my hats off to you.

Congratulations.

Amanda Hocking said...

Between my four books currently, I should sell almost 5000 books this month (projected based on the average daily sales for the past 12 days).

I have about 8 other books written that I'm going to upload and epublish, as well as any new titles I write.

I wonder how long it will take me to get a million...

Zoe Winters said...

@Joe

It's sad you had to take all this time to spell this out in the comments thread, but I'm glad you did. Most people seem to be in really heavy denial about how the power is shifting to the writers and away from the publishers.

The astonishing thing is that most writers seem TERRIFIED of having the power and no longer having someone to tell them what to do. It's like some people want to be controlled.

I guess crappy certainty is better for many then any uncertainty.

That's why like five people seem to have come out of the woodwork to make sure you understand you aren't as "successful as James Patterson." Well who gives a fig, you are doing it on your OWN a point that is sailing right over several anonymous heads.

Zoe Winters said...

@Amanda Congrats! That's wonderful to hear!

JoeFan said...

I don't quite no what it is about some writers that makes them seek the approval of editors and agents more than real, money-paying readers.

Your book -- whether pulp fiction or a literary classic that will be read 200 years from now -- is a product. And you, dear author, are in business, whether you want to be or not. Whether you're "published" or not. That makes publishing with a large print publisher a business decision; not a rite of passage, not a pat on the head from the Big Daddy of literature. You do it only if you'll reach more customers and make more profit than you would with an alternative. That's something only you can determine for yourself -- through educated decisions, not knee-jerk "I must be published in New York!" silliness.

JoeFan said...

Ahem..."Know".

Anonymous said...

All the ebook sales are still small potatoes compared to the big 6 print biz. SMALL potatoes, as in, left over bits of fries that get stuck down in the recesses of the Fryolator™ after a lazy teenager quits her shift early to meet her boyfriend in the parking lot....

If that's as far as you can get, then great. But there's no reason a writer should limit themselves to any one venue. Keep an open mind. Every book should fly as high as it can.

Joe Konrath said...

All the ebook sales are still small potatoes compared to the big 6 print biz

Nope.

If I continue to make over $100k per year on ebook sales, that would make me wealthier than all but a small percentage of bestselling fiction authors.

This isn't small potatoes. It's a seven course banquet.

evilphilip said...

Who is this James Patterson of whom you speak?

No matter how much money he makes, it is hard (impossible) to respect someone who puts their name on work they didn't write.

When I was growing up, we called that plagarism. (Or perhaps fraud.) Now they call it "Big Business".


Keep up the great work, Joe. Lets see how these anonymouse trolls feel in a few months when you break 100k.

Anonymous said...

"Keep up the great work, Joe. Lets see how these anonymous trolls feel in a few months when you break 100k."

Even more miserably jealous than they are now?

Go, Joe!

Aimless Writer said...

You are an inspiration.
I want to be J.A.Konrath when I grow up!
I have a book I love, but I'm not sure where to sell it so I'm thinking of ebooking it. I just can't make up my mind.

author Scott Nicholson said...

I don't understand why anonymous people come in and join a discussion. If you believe what you say, why not come out and be yourself? There's no shame in honest debate.

The way I look at it, Patterson LOST about $6 million. Joe is LOSING zero.

I went through the NY swamp and I was treated fairly and yet still the worst thing I ever did was get published there, because losing my books has cost me hundreds of dollars a month now and will rapidly offset my print advances. Soon I will be making more than my day job off my ebooks--probably by September. My daughter wants me to get fired so I can be a writer. I tell her I already am.

I don't waste time arguing about the publishing industry anymore, because it's not my industry. Good luck to it, and to all you writers who still see it as the Grail. Me, my industry is the Haunted Computer village and the larger indie village and--oh, yeah, readers! Anyone remember them?

It thrills me to misty eyes--literally--that I can so easily reach new readers and they reach me if they want, and we can set the emotional transaction and financial transaction just between the two of us.

I hope James Patterson is happy. I know Joe is happy. And I am happier about my writing and my career than I have ever been. There is not enough time in the day to celebrate all the joy and beauty of the new era, and it's just beginning.

Scott Nicholson
http://hauntedcomputer.blogspot.com

Jon VanZile said...

Few people know this, but I'm actually a psychic ... and I'd be careful about bashing Patterson on this website for not writing his own books, since I had a premonition that Joe is about to announce that he's one of Patterson's new writers.

Joe Konrath said...

There is not enough time in the day to celebrate all the joy and beauty of the new era, and it's just beginning.

I can honestly say I'm giddier now than when I first landed an agent, or my first book deal. There's something about doing it on my own that's all the sweeter.

I busted my ass promoting my work, trying to reach readers, trying to please my publishers. And I had mistake upon mistake thrusted upon me--each of them beyond my control--which prevented me from reaching as wide an audience as possible.

Now I have more control, and guess what happens? I actually make more money.

I always knew traditional publishing was flawed, but it was the only game in town.

Not anymore.

rex kusler said...

I'd be giddy too--if those bastards spelled my *#%&@*$ name right.

P.J. Alderman, author said...

"I can honestly say I'm giddier now than when I first landed an agent, or my first book deal. There's something about doing it on my own that's all the sweeter.

I busted my ass promoting my work, trying to reach readers, trying to please my publishers. And I had mistake upon mistake thrusted upon me--each of them beyond my control--which prevented me from reaching as wide an audience as possible."....

Joe, I'm totally with you on these statements! My experience EXACTLY! I've pulled my hair out in recent years, trying to recover from--and control--these types of problems in my dealings with NY. For the first time since I've started my career in this business, instead of being unbearably frustrated with the process and business model, I'm hyperventilating, I'm so excited about the possibilities before me. I can now control these issues to my advantage and make a decent living, while supplying my readers with the novels they want to devour.

P.J.

Susan Bischoff said...

Selling a million ebooks is awesome, no matter who it is. It means people are buying them, which is good news for all of us who want more ebook availability, and e-authors who want more customers.

Selling 1/10th as much as someone who gets that much press, on your own efforts and your own terms is even more impressive. I read and never comment, but I just wanted to say congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.0

@Scott it's because (I'll be polite) some writers are simply not that bright!

Sorry to be callous. But its not only writers it happens to. It happens to alot of artists.

I really don't feel bad for people who write obscure material and then sign away all their rights just so that they can say they are published. If someone had to jump through all those hoops just to get pubbed then they should have realized something was up, and reevaluate themselves in an honest way.

There is a difference between having dreams and being a dreamer. Some of the people going into business with corporation are somewhat naive. If you don't know by now, in this day and age, how many artists got screwed. Then I'm sorry, the big evil 6 gripe just doesn't fly.

The same goes "acts" who sign to major labels who don't write their own songs.

Sometimes these people see themselves in that funhouse mirror and aren't realistic with themselves. Then they complain about how the big "corporation" screwed them.

Like Joe's X-ray spec analogy. If you want instant gratification. That's great. But when you get it, and then the next mass consumed artist comes along and bumps you out of your spot, and you are no longer relevant, you can't complain.

Careers are built over time. With "some" artistic integrity.

There are $.99 center's who just crapped their pants because they liked seeing 500 sales, but when they went to 2.99 the sales dropped to single digits.

It still takes work! The price of the Kinbdle is dropping so there will be a time when the .99 cent willbecome irrelevant and people will seek quality not impulse.

@Joe I sincerely hope you have continued success, and that you continue to do what you did a month or so go by in essence promoting 20 Kindle authors of all genres.

A rising tide lifts all boats!

Anonymous said...

"And yet, on my own, I've sold 1/10th of what he has."

ON YOUR OWN? I'm glad I'm not one of the publishers, editors, agents, copy editors, proofreaders,, book reviewers, blurbers, bookstores, librarians or others who helped you get to where you are today.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 4.0

But more to the point. Joe is just self promoting. All statements can be manipulated to make yourself look good. And all he's really doing is promoting himself. And mentioning himself in the same sentence as Patterson is just a way to give himself the rub by proxy.

This is so unfair. Self-promotion is not a dirty word, every author should master it.

More to the point, I'd bet there have been thousands of writers impacted directly or indirectly by Joe's success and willingness to share. Many indie authors are making money. Ok, so maybe it's enough for groceries or the electric bill each month. But it's a lot more than zero.

That's why we have Joe to thank.

I don't see one single negative thing about Joe or his blog.

Why the hate?

agbaines.com said...

we all know that 99% of all eBook sales have occurred in the last 12 months

We all know this? Really? You want to show a stat that proves it?


Well, his number was certainly exagerated, but there is a point to be made along those lines. The The International Digital Publishing Forum collects data on ebook revenues every quarter. You can see it here:

http://www.idpf.org/doc_library/industrystats.htm

Revenues from the last 4 quarters of data (from Q2 2009 through Q1 2010) represent 58% off all revenue dating back to Q1 2002. Revenue from Q1 2010 was over 22 times that of Q1 2002.

Joe Konrath said...

I'm glad I'm not one of the publishers, editors, agents, copy editors, proofreaders,, book reviewers, blurbers, bookstores, librarians or others who helped you get to where you are today.

My success on Kindle has been with my unpublished books.

No publishers helped. No editors. My agents didn't broker this deal. My proofreaders were friends and fans. These books weren't reviewed by major publications--just bloggers. No bookstores or libraries were involved in the sale of these ebooks.

I'm grateful to those who helped me. But no, this is not success by committee, as it is in traditional publishing.

If this is yet another "the only reason you're successful is because you have a print backlist" arguments, I refuted that one months ago.

My point (which I'll make yet again because those who post anonymously seem to have a reading deficiency) is that I didn't have Patterson's VERY LARGE cadre of people that made his success possible. I did it by my lonesome.

Of course I'm grateful to all who have helped me along on my career. But not a single person said, "Hey Joe, self-publish your ebooks!"

Coolkayaker1 said...

An article in the current issue of The Writer magazine—I’m sure many of your know it—seems well-documented and it speaks of the burgeoning e-book market for Nooks and kindles and iPads, etc., and it says that only 5% of current book sales are ebooks. It also states that a hardcover traditional bound book, including all printing, art, transportation cost, etc, is $3.25 per book. An ebook is .50 cents.
So, if the article is to be believed, and if Joe’s current numbers for his personal sales are correct—and I have no reason to disbelieve anyone—then when the other 95% hope onto the e-book train, Joe’s sales might hit literally 20 times what they are now. A good reason to write a bookshelf worth of ebooks “in the hole” so that e-readers, which will really catch fire when they are sub-$100 each as predicted for Xmas 2010, can buy your entire canon of work, one $2.99 ebook at a time. It behooves the ebook author to get the material and momentum now, as Joe K. and several of you are doing now. Keep typing!

Moses Siregar III said...

But I think that 5% figure that people use about ebooks refers to total publishing revenue for major publishers, rather than what percent of, say, fiction people read as ebooks. So it includes things like textbooks and audio books and nonfiction and other things (at least the AAP numbers seem to indicate that). I think the percentage of *fiction* being read in digital formats should be higher than that 5%, then.

I recently came across an interesting, informal survey initiated by Joe Abercrombie on his blog, asking about which sort of added features people would enjoy in ebooks. For the curious, I wrote about it here.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

The astonishing thing is that most writers seem TERRIFIED of having the power and no longer having someone to tell them what to do. It's like some people want to be controlled.

Zoe, you don't know how true this statement is. I see it every day as a tax accountant-- people who have no idea how to manage their assets, money, etc, and they want someone else to show them how to do everything. That's how these same people get taken for millions by hucksters like Bernie Madoff.

The big publishers are trying to make money-- some of them do it ethically, and some do not, but the fact remains that the author is always forced to share his pie with his publisher, unless he has the talent (and the balls) to self-publish.

This industry is changing. If the author/artist makes more money, then it's changing for the better. That's how I see it.

Stephen Prosapio said...

I've now officially seen it all.

An anonymous commenter chastizing a writer for self promotion... on his own blog!!!

Shocking! What's next? Newspaper headlines attempt to pump up the drab stories beneath them? Classic.

Self promote all you want, Joe. Brag away if you'd like. Do anything and say anything you like as long as you're being yourself. This is your space and you are inspiring some of us "not good enough for NYC" people than you know.

I release my ebook this week and we'll see what happens. My hunch is that more people will read it than would have with it sitting in a digital file on my computer.

And yes. I'll self promote on my own blog, facebook, twitter accounts too.

Anonymous said...

"The big publishers are trying to make money-- some of them do it ethically, and some do not."

That's a pretty serious accusation. Why don't you share with us which publisher(s) is not acting ethically, what it is exactly that they're doing which is unethical, and how you know about it.

Anonymous said...

"I'd be careful about bashing Patterson on this website for not writing his own books, since I had a premonition that Joe is about to announce that he's one of Patterson's new writers."


HA! He'd be a perfect fit.

Betsy said...

unless he has the talent (and the balls) to self-publish.

It takes no talent to self publish, ZERO. All it takes is an internet connection.

Zoe Winters said...

@C. Pinheiro

I agree!

Zoe Winters said...

@Stephen

It is kind of hilarious. I mean did someone hold a gun to these people's heads and make them come to Joe's blog?

That's like someone coming into my house and complaining that I live there. Huh?

Zoe Winters said...

@Anon

Here is an example of publishers behaving badly:

http://tinyurl.com/2dr5abx

C. Pinheiro isn't talking BS, there is plenty of unethical crap that goes on in publishing. I'm not sure why so many people want to believe large, corporate publishers are all angels with only the author's best interest at heart.

Also, a few months back, there was a big fallout when Harlequin created a self-publishing arm with the plan to market directly to their own slush pile to try to profit off of those authors they rejected.


Epic. and Fail.

rex kusler said...

Actually, none of us is independent. We are at the mercy of Amazon.

author Scott Nicholson said...

Rex, increasingly less so--Amazon is setting the bar but if they went back down to 35 percent royalty or lower while iBooks and B&N and Kobo stayed at 70, the content shift would be so extreme as to soon hurt the popularity of the Kindle.

And, yes, I think Amazon is crafty as well as forward-thinking, because they launched hundreds of thousands of new acolytes for e-books and Kindles by making it the easiest outlet possible. The key to content is authors--and the cumulative effect of indie authors (who are NOT counted in that 5 percent figure popular in the industry stats) feels larger than can be measured.

Amazon did the 70 percent as a lure for major writers--they already had the indies. And it's smart business, not charity. Further, I think it's quite fair.

Scott
http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

rex kusler said...

The vast majority of customers for ebooks are at Amazon. If we want to sell ebooks--that's where we have to be.

Redstarsix said...

Considering how easy it is to write and sell these '99c' e-books and achieve massive sales, I wonder how many of these anons have done better.

Joe's published his sales figures, how about doing the same?

Anon E. said...

wow, you can self publish on kindle? My payment for my stories is people reading them. I'd write some for free on my blog just for people's enjoyment!

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

That's a pretty serious accusation. Why don't you share with us which publisher(s) is not acting ethically, what it is exactly that they're doing which is unethical, and how you know about it.

Don't take my word for it. The author's guild will give you plenty of examples of unethical publishers, including a stunningly unethical e-book royalty grab by Wiley just a few weeks ago. Here's the link:

http://authorsguild.org/advocacy/articles/wileys-deceptive-letter-to-bloomberg-press.html

I suggest that every author watch the Author's Guild website, and read it frequently. Even if you self-publish. I've learned a lot there.

Anonymous said...

"Considering how easy it is to write and sell these '99c' e-books and achieve massive sales, I wonder how many of these anons have done better.

Joe's published his sales figures, how about doing the same?"

Trust me, a lot of us are speaking from authority, experience and success. We just don't flaunt it.

evilphilip said...

"It takes no talent to self publish, ZERO. All it takes is an internet connection."

You say that like it is a bad thing.

I would say that you did an excellent job of defining exactly why publishers & agents are so afraid of success stories like Zoe's and Joe's.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who knows anything about the major houses knows there are myriad reasons beyond a lack of talent or skill as to why a book might get turned down.

There are very famous authors whose earliest books got turned down. (Jonathan Kellerman, for example, wrote 9 unpublished books prior to his first acceptance.) These authors in most cases didn't suddenly get talent or make a quantum leap in their skill level when they finally got the nod--instead, the ducks were in a row, right project, right time, lucky champion found, no competing books in-house, another similar book from another house had done well, etc... So this notion that you're not a real author until or unless you're published by a major publisher is pure bullshit.

You know what else is bullshit? That NY pub pros know what sells. They are wrong so often, just ask them.

Everyone in NY passed on Grisham's The Firm and it only got published because Tom Cruise's film company bought the rights and greenlit the project. There are so many similar stories, but I like that one because they not only passed on a hugely commercial book but on a new subgenre: the legal thriller.

And by the way: why would anyone privilege the opinions of NY pub pros over readers when it's readers who are the target audience? It's like relying on the Maitre d' to tell you whether your own food tastes good.

Word Actress said...

Wow...and I thought I was doing well having sold 5,000 copies of my book of poetry & shot stories, The Shadow of a Dog I Can't Forget, making about $25,000 but that's over 2 years. Maybe I should get on this Kindle bandwagon! CreateSpace mentioned by one of the commenters is right down the road from me in Northern California. Mu friend is doing a book w/them but it is really expensive. Not doable for someone writing in the genres I'm writing in. That's ok, though, I love my writing and I've been at it for a very long time.
I got a $5,000 award for one poem - Points of Love. That's when I smile and say to myself, 'You're on the right path, girl!'

Anonymous said...

"Trust me, a lot of us are speaking from authority, experience and success. We just don't flaunt it."

Yeah, and I'm J.K. Rowling.

(I sure as hell know you're not!)

Amanda Hocking said...

@Zoe Thank you :)

In a non-@Zoe comment -

Why is everyone so angry? Why are people trying to make Joe seem like a liar? Even if we assume he is lying, why does it make you all so angry?

Here's what I know, for a fact: Joe is making money doing what he's doing, and it makes him happy.

Because of his success, I tried to do the same thing. And you know what? I'm making money, and I'm happy doing what I'm doing.

How is any part of that angering anyone?

Moses Siregar III said...

Amanda, I think you should watch this in order to understand why you should feel bad.

Amanda Hocking said...

@Moses

I literally just watched that video like 5 minutes ago. I've decided it's the best viral video ever made ever.

(Except for the one with the cat that plays the piano.)

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks Moses and Amanda! I'm glad people think it's funny. :)

Redstarsix said...

'Trust me, a lot of us are speaking from authority, experience and success. We just don't flaunt it.'

How noble of you.

Erin said...

Not gonna lie...I haven't read all of the comments, so I can't participate in the ongoing discussion. But I DID read your post and wanted to congratulate you on your success! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

"How is any part of that angering anyone?"

It angers some in the traditional publishing industry because they think this is a zero sum game, and therefore indie writers/publishers are taking market share from them.

We're supposed to play the game on their terms. Hence, "you're not really published until we publish you."

This is about creative control and control of the industry, and they are in a battle right now. Whoever wins the writers will win the war, and right now Amazon is giving them fits.

As long as they persist in framing their argument to writers as "you're not really published" they will lose. Most grounded writers don't have any ego (not after 50 rejections or so), because agents and NY pub have beaten it out of us. I find it laughable that they are now trying to appeal to what's left of the ego ("you aren't really published")!

Joe's frames are much more powerful. His key message:

You can have a real writing career, and even make a living wage publishing ebooks.

That's pretty much it. Write a good book, and let the readers judge your work. Sell directly to the customer. No middleman. No waiting 5 years to be accepted into the club.

Lynda Hilburn said...

Zoe: Cool video. You're so creative.

Anna Murray said...

Konrath is not alone. A Smashwords indie made $4,000 in June, as mentioned in the official Smashwords newsletter:

http://blog.smashwords.com/

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks, Lynda!

@Anna, wow! That's amazing! On Smashwords or Kindle? Making that kind of money on Smashwords is amazing! Good for them! (And wow that was a lot of exclamation points, lol)

Anna Murray said...

He made it on the B&N online bookstore, which I found quite amazing. Brian S. Pratt.

Anonymous said...

I think the point being made is pricing a book at 1.99 or 2.99 basically dumbs it down to an impulse purchase, whereas paying 9.99 or more makes it a more thoughtful purchase (unless you've got money to burn).

How many people out there loading up their ereaders with cheapo books ever get around to reading all of them?

At two bucks a pop you can afford to take a chance. What the hell, that's the same as buying a large coffee at most coffee houses.

I treasure my books. I like perusing the covers, holding them as I read, the feel of the paper, etc. It's all part of the reading experience for me.

While the advent of ereaders and ebooks has been a boon to self publishers, I feel it has also cheapened books and the experience of reading.

If all you care about is making bank, well I guess it's all good. But other than that, I see no upside.

Zoe Winters said...

@anon you'd be surprised at how many people actually read what they buy, cheap or not. And cheap ebooks are all I can afford right now. So if someone is priced at 9.99 I'm not reading them. Period.

It's a bad economy. Most people can't afford to throw away $10 every time they want to read a book, especially if they read a lot.

But speaking of buying and not reading, I currently have a little over 40 print books sitting on my shelf (some have been on my shelf for over 2 years) that I haven't yet read. Paying more for a book doesn't "necessarily" mean it will get read.

Some of the books by the time they arrived, I'd lost interest and haven't yet regained it.

I have a book on my shelf right now that I was REALLY excited about reading, but it took forever to get here from Amazon. Now I just have no real interest in it. That phase seems to have passed.

I'm definitely an impulse reader. If I don't read it soon after I get it, the chances go way down that I'll ever get around to reading it.

And I also buy books that way as well. Cheap books I want now in E are books I'm very likely to read.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough.

Everyone is different in their reading habits and desires.

There's just something about this whole "make it super cheap and they'll buy it" concept.

In fact, the whole ebook deal makes me unsure. I like print books, and I don't mind paying a reasonable price for them.

Apparently you must not either, because you have a whole shelf full. And speaking of, why are you buying ebooks when you have all those others to read?

Anonymous said...

While the advent of ereaders and ebooks has been a boon to self publishers, I feel it has also cheapened books and the experience of reading.

As prices go down a typical consumer's marginal utility goes up.

So I guess you're not typical. I'd be happy to charge you $100 per book for any work in my library. Won't that make you ecstatic!

Moses Siregar III said...

Konrath is not alone. A Smashwords indie made $4,000 in June, as mentioned in the official Smashwords newsletter:

http://blog.smashwords.com/


Yeeeaaahhh, I saw that today. However, consider this review of one of his most popular books on Amazon. Check some of the other low reviews on this book, too. He has 20 books on Amazon.

Sadly, he doesn't appear to be much of an exemplar.

Alastair Mayer said...

As long as they persist in framing their argument to writers as "you're not really published" they will lose.

Hey, if I were pulling in the kind of money from my writing that Joe is, I wouldn't care if I were "really published."

As it is, I am really published (at SFWA-qualifying professional level) in short fiction, and have a novel out to NY publishers. I'm still going to e-publish my next novel (draft finished, in rewrite) because, well, why have it sitting in some slush pile on an editor's (let alone agent's) desk when it could be earning money? (And if it doesn't, then that's a data point.)

Zoe Winters said...

@Anon, because I prefer reading in E. Sometimes I still read a print book, but I really prefer E and audio. I only buy print usually if I really really love the book in E. Then it's just to "own it". Or for when the zombie apocalypse gets here and the zombies destroy the Internet. Then I'll need to have my favorite books in paper. :P

Anonymous said...

Re: "As prices go down a typical consumer's marginal utility goes up."

Care to explain?

Re: "So I guess you're not typical. I'd be happy to charge you $100 per book for any work in my library. Won't that make you ecstatic!"

There's quite a difference between paying 10 to 20 bucks for a book versus paying 100.

But you already know that, don't you bro. Just tryin' a little humor, are we?

Anonymous said...

Re: "Everyone in NY passed on Grisham's The Firm and it only got published because Tom Cruise's film company bought the rights and greenlit the project."
--------------------------

I've never heard that story.

Care to elaborate, or provide a link to back that up?

Greg said...

Why is everyone so angry?

Because no one knows what they're arguing about.

The traditional published, or the wannabe traditionally published, are most likely baffled and somewhat jealous of how much money a handful of kindle authors are making, while the kindle authors are still fighting the stigma (well deserved in most cases) that self published books are shit.

The truth is, neither one affects the other. Kindle authors have no effect on big publishing, and big publishing has no effect on kindle publishing. So who cares?

Some folks want to publish traditionally because it's their dream. While money is a goal, it's also important to be reviewed in the papers and industry rags, and they also want the recognition that comes with being tradionally published, and that doesn't come with being self published.

Self publishers want money.

Both can co-exist.

Sure traditional publishing could collapse, but if that happens the kindle authors can kiss their 70% royalty goodbye. If Amazon gains a serious footing in publishing, don't kid yourself and think they're going to keep the 70% royalty going. They are going to milk everyone dry. And in the end, no one who publishes on the kindle is an indie author, they serve Amazon.

And for traditional published writers, they better hope Amazon sticks around because they're providing the only leverage they have to get better royalties from their publishers. If Amazon decided to drop their dtp program, writers will once again be powerless.

Kindle publishing is good for everyone. Writer's whose traditional career is on the downslope, like Joe and Scott, have found new life, while writers who don't have the patience or the skills to publish traditionally can play in the sandbox, too.

Everyone wins.

Be happy.

Moses Siregar III said...

Sure traditional publishing could collapse, but if that happens the kindle authors can kiss their 70% royalty goodbye. If Amazon gains a serious footing in publishing, don't kid yourself and think they're going to keep the 70% royalty going. They are going to milk everyone dry.

Interesting comments, but I doubt this part for a few reasons.

1) They have to compete with B&N, iBooks, Sony, Kobo, and others. Amazon may remain king, but they won't be a monopoly.
2) Amazon's goal is to sell everything under the Sun, as much as they possibly can. It would be against their character to encourage authors to promote other sites.
3) It's much harder, with regards to PR, to go from 70% back to 35% than it is to go from 35% to 70%.

I think Amazon would have to undergo a radical change in philosophy for this sort of thing to happen.

Zoe Winters said...

@Greg

I think it's a tiny bit simplistic to act like without Amazon everything collapses. For now, for some of us, maybe.

But a smart indie author is going to be building a newsletter list. They're going to be building a presence on the web outside of Amazon. They're going to be making sure people can find them. So if it's not Amazon, it'll be somewhere else. When you have people following you on Twitter, Facebook, your newsletter, your blog, your youtube channel, etc... those are your fans and they will follow you and buy from you wherever you are selling. Even if it's your own website.

I'm going to ride the Kindle gravy train while it's here. If someday it isn't here, I will have also been diversifying my income streams and building my readership so that if catastrophe strikes, it'll set me back but it won't end me.

Zoe Winters said...

I also think Moses makes some really good points. Amazon is probably one of the most PR-concerned companies I've seen in awhile. The second someone complains publicly about something, they get frantic doing damage control. I can't imagine they think going from 70% back down to 35% would be good for their image.

At the same time though, even at 35%, some of us are doing pretty well. I'm not even ON the 70% because my books are not priced that high. Right now what I have out are novellas and I won't price a novella at 2.99.

Anonymous said...

@Zoe -

I'm not going to tell you you're wrong in your pricing, you have clearly given it a lot of thought. But as a reader who continually encounters (but won't buy) novellas from $5-7, I'll just say that I'd be over the moon for more in the $2.99 range, and I doubt I'm alone. I hate to think that you are missing out on the higher royalties,especially since most of your fans surely feel your novellas are worth a bit more.

rex kusler said...

At some point Amazon may raise their royalty rate to 85% in a desperate attempt to compete with a new streamlined ebook retailer established by college students. These pioneers may be sitting there right now, reading this blog, picking their zits, and planning for the future of e-publishing.

Anonymous said...

Kindle publishing is good for everyone. Writer's whose traditional career is on the downslope, like Joe and Scott, have found new life, while writers who don't have the patience or the skills to publish traditionally can play in the sandbox, too.

It's really interesting that some people can see no other reason for "self-publishing" than being a loser. Why the hell can't someone just do it because they want to? Some people are born entrepreneurs, do-it-yourselfers, who get a kick out of running their own show. And as digital publishing grows to encompass the majority of the book market, these independent authors will have access to virtually every reader in the world. Does that mean that everyone will succeed? Does everyone succeed at everything?

Traditional publishing can be terrific. But facts show that most traditionally published books fail in the marketplace. It's odd, then, that some equate traditional publishing with success regardless of how many people actually read the damn book. What are you in this for? To feel warm and fuzzy that you "got published"? Or is it to reach, you know, readers?

Moses Siregar III said...

Anon, as for why I'm in this, I'm hoping to impress either Angelina Jolie or Tina Fey by the time they're available and I'm divorced.

Zoe Winters said...

@Anon (who addressed me. Man, you guys need SOME kind of names to keep you straight)

I know a lot of my readers would pay $2.99 for a novella, but novellas aren't all I'm releasing. I'll have novels out too and the novels are going for $2.99. I can't justify selling two different lengths at the same price point like that.

@Anon that commented after...

LOL Some people don't "get" entrepreneur writers. It's the most bizarre thing I've ever seen. And I agree also that just getting a trad publisher can't be the barometer by which one judges "success" since the book could tank and you never get another contract. There's only so long the phrase: "A NY publisher published my book" can give you the warm fuzzies. And no one has ever paid a single bill with warm fuzzies.

I think the problem is that most writers are not business people. And this becomes very clear when it's apparent that their plan ends at "getting a publisher."

It doesn't matter how hard an indie works or how good they are... when the only important thing to someone is "getting a publisher" they'll spit on anyone else's hard work every time.

I want to run my own show. I'd rather the whole world think I was a hack then have to grit my teeth while some goofy publisher in NY tried to do something goofy with my book.

evilphilip said...

"Why the hell can't someone just do it because they want to? Some people are born entrepreneurs, do-it-yourselfers, who get a kick out of running their own show."

This is essentially why I am interested in self publishing. It isn't about traditional vs. self publishing for me, it is about writing what I want to write, having fun and being in control of a project from start to finish.

If I fall on my face at least I had fun. If I fall into a traditional publishing contract somewhere along the way... even better!

I love the pioneer spirit of independent publishing. It doesn't mean I don't respect the establishment or see the value in the entire Agent > Publisher > Retail model.

I want to be out on the plains in my covered wagon hunting bears with the other frontiersmen.

Anonymous said...

"facts show that most traditionally published books fail in the marketplace. It's odd, then, that some equate traditional publishing with success regardless of how many people actually read the damn book. What are you in this for? To feel warm and fuzzy that you "got published"? Or is it to reach, you know, readers?"

And we're back...

Let's compare this with how many self published books succeed, and by succeed, I mean reach large numbers of readers, lets say half a million readers.

Hmmm... I can't think of anyone.

I can think of a couple self published books that went on to be published traditionally and reached a lot of readers, but not one who did it on their own, and there's certainly no one around here who's a success when you compare them to successful traditional publishing numbers.

Now, I'm sure someone is going to come back and change the definition of success from reaching readers to how much money they can make on their own and....zzzzzzzzzz.

*huh*... Sorry.

Where was I?

Ah, yes... Sure there are quite a few books that come out traditionally and only sell a few thousand copies, but when that happens, those writers are pushed aside and they end up here as self publishers bragging that they paid their mortgage with their cheap, poorly written books about werewolves who fall in love with humans, or some other trite nonsense.

At least with traditional publishing you have the opportunity to reach a worldwide audience, get your books in libraries, made into films, TV, etc... But the appeal of being published by an actual publisher goes way beyond that. As a writer, and as a reader, there's a sense of value in knowing that what you're reading has passed approval by others and that what you're reading is relevant, connected not only to the world wide community of readers and writers, but to society. This sense of value doesn't come with self published books you can download off the internet.

Aimless Writer said...

Quite a little riot you started here, Joe.
I'm guessing you're laughing all the way to the bank! lol
I have one question as I teeter on the fence toward sending one of my books to be ebooked by Amazon...
If there were no kindles type gadgets would you still self publish?
(Not trying to do anything here but figure out if i want to ebook my stuff.)
I'm really thinking this is a sign of the times and a peek at the future of publishing.
I sell my paintings without editors and isn't writing just another form of art?

Rebecca said...

And Rex maybe those same college student usurpers will spell your name right!

Anonymous said...

Re: "I sell my paintings without editors and isn't writing just another form of art?"

Do you sell them for 2 bucks?

If not, how do you place a legitimate value on your work?

Make it cheap enough and someone will buy it, if only because it is cheap, because people just love a bargain.

The trend I see, and am a little unsure of, is pegging the value of electronic fiction at the cost of a cup of coffee. Not saying it's wrong, and if all you care about is moving untis and making bank so be it, but the concept seems flawed to me.

Look at independent musicians, rarely do you see them selling their self produced cd's for less than 10 bucks, usually more like 15(or 2 for $20). The benchmark has been established and artists generally conform that pricing.

Anonymous said...

Couple more thoughts on the pricing thing.

Self produced musicians have clearly established a benchmark value for their work. And that price is not substantially below what you'd pay online or in a brick & mortar.

I personally know artists who do quite well selling their music at that price point.

So why should authors price their work so far below what Amazon or Borders or even independent book stores charge?

Anonymous said...

Let's compare this with how many self published books succeed, and by succeed, I mean reach large numbers of readers, lets say half a million readers.

Hmmm... I can't think of anyone.


It's early days chum. A lot of people in 1900 thought the motor car would never catch on ...

At least with traditional publishing you have the opportunity to reach a worldwide audience, get your books in libraries, made into films, TV, etc...

Indie authors are already selling film rights to Hollywood, the first being Karen McQuestion. I myself was contacted by a major production and management company about one of my self-published novels. Nothing came of it in the end but maybe next time ...

As a writer, and as a reader, there's a sense of value in knowing that what you're reading has passed approval by others and that what you're reading is relevant, connected not only to the world wide community of readers and writers, but to society. This sense of value doesn't come with self published books you can download off the internet.

By "others" do you mean cultural elitists? Or stand-ins for actual readers? How about readers as better others? There are indie books that have sold many thousands of copies and garnered better reader reviews on Amazon than most trad-published works. How's that for value?

Jude Hardin said...

The trend I see, and am a little unsure of, is pegging the value of electronic fiction at the cost of a cup of coffee. Not saying it's wrong, and if all you care about is moving units and making bank so be it, but the concept seems flawed to me.

I agree. It is definitely flawed. If the perception of value on a book becomes the same as that of a gallon of gas, then we're all doomed.

I pay almost $100 a month for satellite TV. For that I could buy four new-release hardcovers at full price from a bookstore. Forty-eight hardcovers a year. Which is the better entertainment value? Hundreds of channels of reruns and commercials, or something fresh that actively engages my imagination?

A book is worth more than a Big Mac, IMHO. To price it the same devalues the art and hurts everyone. Eventually even the consumer will suffer, because a certain degree of quality will die along with the industry.

That's why I keep encouraging Joe to raise his prices. :)

rex kusler said...

Rebecca, I'm looking forward to it. I can't describe the feeling I get seeing my name spelled right.

Now I can see the benefit of having a web page. To inform people of the various spellings of my name, when searching for my books. So far:

Rex Kusler
Rex Kulser
Kulser, Rex

I wonder is Stephen King would mind if they spelled his name: Stephen Kung.

Amazon can kiss my ass.

Jon VanZile said...

@Anon:

"Let's compare this with how many self published books succeed, and by succeed, I mean reach large numbers of readers, lets say half a million readers.

Hmmm... I can't think of anyone."

THE SHACK was self-published and has sold at least 12 million copies.

Anonymous said...

Re: "THE SHACK was self-published and has sold at least 12 million copies."


Lightning in a bottle.

And it wasn't initially self published electronically.

So the comparison is apples to oranges.

It's all a matter of opinion. In my opinion $1.99 ebooks cheapen the art of fiction. There's no perceived value there, and the fact remains the vast majority of two buck ebooks aren't worth even that negligible price.

Anonymous said...

Take a chill pill. It's a free country, if you want a trad publisher, go for it, if you want to try your hand at self-pub, go for it.

My prediction: in future, nearly every "traditional" pubbed book will be drawn from a self-published successful book (ie Amazon Encore).

It's brilliant, let the readers decide what they want (instead of an acquisitions editor), pluck that book and make the author an offer he or she can't refuse. It's a much better business model.

Anonymous said...

It's all a matter of opinion. In my opinion $1.99 ebooks cheapen the art of fiction. There's no perceived value there, and the fact remains the vast majority of two buck ebooks aren't worth even that negligible price.

It doesn't matter how many bad indie novels are out there, just as it doesn't matter how many silly blogs are out there, because readers do the curating. They find the values. Simple.

Anonymous said...

Re: "They find the values. Simple."

After wading through the shit.

Simple.

Anonymous said...

Re: "They find the values. Simple."

After wading through the shit.

Simple.


Most readers don't have to do that, but there are plenty who seem to enjoy working through it, and on behalf of others. It's how we ended up with Wikipedia, for example, or Linux. It's the 21st century Amigo. Adapt or die!

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Let's compare this with how many self published books succeed, and by succeed, I mean reach large numbers of readers, lets say half a million readers.

Hmmm... I can't think of anyone.


Dan Poynter and Aaron Shepard have both sold over half a million copies of their books. In fact, Dan's broken this record many times over.

Both of them self-publish, very profitably, and I doubt that they are going to change over to traditional publishing.

Anonymous said...

Self produced musicians have clearly established a benchmark value for their work. And that price is not substantially below what you'd pay online or in a brick & mortar.

I personally know artists who do quite well selling their music at that price point.


I also know musicians who play for free on street corners and at park concerts, and musicians who put their music on the internet for free to build a fan base.

How is that different from the indie author who offers a 99 cent book, or a free short story?

Anonymous said...

Most readers don't have to do that, but there are plenty who seem to enjoy working through it, and on behalf of others.

Correct. I can select good indie books quite easily now, just by looking at rankings and reviews on Amazon.

Is anyone else surprised by the number of indie books that rank in the top 5,000 (out of 600,000 books on Kindle store)? It's stunning. I mean, these are supposed to be "crap" and "slush pile", and yet, there are people reading and enjoying them in significant numbers.

Just check the reviews and rankings, and download a free sample to check it out. Using this method I get as many good "hits" on indie books as on traditionally published books. I've found that traditionally published is no guarantee of quality -- a lot of those are crap too.

Jack H. H. King said...

$2.99 is a sexy price for a novel.

I watch 100 movies per year.
All on blu-ray.
All from Netfilx.
Each movie costs me $.99.

AVATAR cost $500,000,000 to make.
I watched it once... $.99.

RED BELT cost $10,000,000 to make.
I watched it three times... $2.99.

95% of movies I only watch once.
Which is common for most people.

I consume 50 novels per year.
95% of novels I read only once.

95% of novels and movies are disposable. Single-use only. Fast food entertainment.

Novels should be priced to compete.
95% of readers have limited income/time.

Authors don’t check their list price 37 times per day.

Authors care about sales and royalties.

The economics is simple on this.
Price does down, royalty goes down.
Price goes down, sales go up.

Find the sweet spot to maximize profit.

Or subsidize the product to build the tribe.

Joe is 100% genius.
Amazon is 200% awesome.

Don’t price books to Own.
Price books to Rent.

Digital entertainment will become mass market.

Paper books will live on as living room decoration.

- Jack

Zoe Winters said...

@Anon regarding price of music vs. price of books. Books are different. Music is something people tend to listen to over and over and over so they feel they get their money's worth. While some people will read a book over and over, most people read a book one time and that's it.

I love it when someone tells me they read my book multiple times (every author does), but I know realistically most will read a book by me once and then move on.

Ebooks allow people to read more for lower cost, because there are no paper costs involved. Joe has said this before, the monetary value of a work isn't in the "per unit cost" it's in how much you make "overall".

To me it's just another brand of vanity to "insist" on selling your ebook novel at $12 when the market clearly won't bear that.

The market is what it is and it will bear what it will bear.

Joe is making a crapload of money right now off cheap ebooks. He has happy readers and voracious fans. Insisting that readers have to pay $12 for Joe's ebooks to show their love for him would make him some kind of author-sadist.

Also, while I read in E, books I love, I want to OWN in paper. And I do not want to pay twice. If your ebook is $9 or $12, I probably will never buy it. If I did I would have to love it to a ridiculous degree to buy it in paper too.

Many of us are selling digital cheap because we know many of our fans want print as well, not for their reading experience, but to own a physical product if they love it. If someone doesn't feel like I'm making them pay twice, they're more likely to legally obtain my book in both formats.

I think this "ebooks are too cheap, it devalues books" argument is missing the forest for the trees.

Zoe Winters said...

@ one of the Anon's,

You said:

"Just check the reviews and rankings, and download a free sample to check it out. Using this method I get as many good "hits" on indie books as on traditionally published books. I've found that traditionally published is no guarantee of quality -- a lot of those are crap too."

I think what you're starting to realize is... the emperor has no clothes. readers who aren't also writers, are perfectly capable of both A. Finding good books on their own, and B. Noticing NY puts out a bunch of sub par crap which doesn't raise "trust" in NY.

Writers are the only people who seem to be confused. My guess is that deep down they aren't really confused. They're scared. And they should be. Their last resort is to try to shame those of us self-publishing. It won't work. Tell us we suck. Tell us we're hacks. Tell us we "couldn't get a publisher". Shout and scream til you get a nosebleed, it doesn't matter.

It's the same crap every single time someone says it. After awhile, it loses it's sting.

What many don't seem to understand is... you can't shame an indie this way because people already do this crap to trad pubbed writers. The more success someone has, the more people shout from the rafters that they suck. Indie pubbed OR trad pubbed.

Sounds like a lot of helpless rage to me.

Moses Siregar III said...

I have to say (and agree with Jude), if I was doing as well as Joe, I'd probably raise my prices, too. At least to $3.99 or $4.99. What do I know, but I don't see Joe needing to lure any more people in with cheap prices. He might make $200K a year with $4.99 ebooks.

But for new authors trying to get their work out there, $0.99 or $1.99 or $2.99 makes a lot of sense.

On another note, since there are lots of smart bookfolk around here, any thoughts on my latest cover will be met with eternal gratitude.

Anonymous said...

FYI, one of the most famous novelists in Japan, Ryu Murakami, is going straight to iPad with his next novel:

http://tinyurl.com/27h6udn

Anonymous said...

This from the Wall Street Journal article reporting the announcement:

Ever since the arrival of the slim and snazzy electronic book devices, the magnates of the traditional publishing industry have feared the worst: that precious big-name authors might sign directly with e-book retailers, relegating the old-school publishers as the dispensable middleman.

Let the nightmare begin.

Zoe Winters said...

@Moses regarding your cover... I like what you did with the background, giving it a little texture and dimensionality instead of just the flat black. I'm still not sure about the title though.

Anonymous said...

Re: "$2.99 is a sexy price for a novel."

Based on what?

The fact you say so?

Why not $3.99?

Or how about $4.99

Or better yet, .99 seems about right.

Kinda arbitrary, don't ya think?
---------------------

Re: "95% of readers have limited income/time."

Based on what?

Your independent research?

Yet that same reader will willingly pay 2 bucks or more for a cup of coffee.

Maybe Starbucks should lower the price to .99.

That's a sexy number for coffee.

They'd sell twice as much.

Mayber 4 times as much.

Pure genius.

Price something really low.

Lots of people will buy it.

Whether they need it or not.

Absolute genius bro.

-jt

Anna J said...

I put my out of print romance novel, SWEET WATER, on Kindle for $2.99. I also put it on Smashwords for the same price. It's just now being uploaded onto other venues besides Amazon. It's $2.99 at B&N, but Sony has it at $2.84, which really fries me. Hell, we're talking about a 15-cent difference. Does Sony really thing a 15-cent difference is going to take business away from Kindle?..... But it's sure as hell going to lower my royalty.

So now I suppose Amazon will knock my royalty down to 35%. If I kill the book on Smashwords/Sony, will Amazon raise my royalty rate back up to 70%?

www.annajeffrey.com
www.dixiecashauthor.com

Zoe Winters said...

@Anna J

Amazon won't bump you don't to 35%. If they discount your book to compete with the book on Sony, they will pay you 70% of the discounted price.

Jude Hardin said...

$2.99 is a sexy price for a novel.

I watch 100 movies per year.
All on blu-ray.
All from Netfilx.
Each movie costs me $.99.


Do you really think any of those movies would have been made if you could have watch them for $.99 right out of the shoot?

Where I live a theater ticket is ten bucks. That's what it costs to see a new-release mainstream film. Ten bucks.

I would think anyone who loves movies would want to occasionally support the industry by, oh, I don't know, actually going out and seeing a movie.

You can also buy used hardcovers for $.99 (Sexy!), but the author and publisher will never see any part of that.

When I talk about pricing for novels, I'm talking about new releases from real publishers. The prices for hardcovers have remained stable for over a decade, so really they're already a bargain compared to other forms of entertainment.

A book is worth more than a Big Mac.

Moses Siregar III said...

Jude is a cool mother fucker. I could write a novel with Jude acting as the major character.

That just gave me a good idea. "Anonymous" is a serial killer who hunts down indie writers that hang out on Joe's blog and then buries them at the bottom of NYC slush piles. Rex Kulser? Sorry, pal. Someone had to go out first.

Just as Anonymous is about to take down Joe, passed out at his keyboard, Jude arrives on the scene ...

Anonymous said...

Maybe Starbucks should lower the price to .99.

That's a sexy number for coffee.

They'd sell twice as much.

Mayber 4 times as much.

Pure genius.

Price something really low.

Lots of people will buy it.



That's what McDonald's is doing, and they're going after the cheap expresso coffee crowd.

McDonald's sees a market there.

Indies see a market at 99 cents or 1.99 or 2.99. Nothing wrong with that. If you can make a buck (or a few thousand), it's worth going after the market.

rex kusler said...

"That just gave me a good idea. 'Anonymous' is a serial killer who hunts down indie writers that hang out on Joe's blog and then buries them at the bottom of NYC slush piles. Rex Kulser? Sorry, pal. Someone had to go out first."

And here I thought it was one of my former girlfriends, working at DTP.

Moses Siregar III said...

Just messin' with you, Rex Kulser.

rex kusler said...

It might have been the one I asked to get out and check the rear tire on the passenger side...actually there were seven of those, I think.

Breaking up is hard to do.

Anonymous said...

Digital downloads have just about killed the traditional experience of buying music. Here in So. Cal. you simply can't find a full service record store, with the exception of some small indie shops.

I used to love spending hours browsing at Tower Records or Virgin Megastores, and before that Music Plus and Licorice Pizza. Those places are all gone.

Beyond that, Borders and Barnes & Noble have scaled their music departments down to practically nothing. Those places used to have great listening station displays that promoted many new artists, along with a decent inventory of many and varied artists. Hell, even Best Buy, Target and WalMart are all cutting back on their selections.

The point is, many here defiantly point to self publishing (via ebooks) as the inevitable wave of the future. They imply that those who resist are simply stuck in the old ways. Joe even posted a blog entry a while back mockingly pointing out all of the technological advances that the naysayers were slow to accept.

Fine. Whatever the future brings so be it.

But you'll never convince me that by dumbing down the perceived value of fiction, by opening the floodgates to every yahoo that thinks his work is the shit, and by promoting a delivery method that allows for fast, cheap, easy (and ultimately disposable) access, that you're helping more than hurting in the long run.

But hey man, you're making bank, so fuck it. Right? What's good for you is...well, it's good for you.

So go ahead, rail against the evil publishers. Blaze your own trail and price your masterworks at whatever level you thinks will move units. It is, after all a free world.

At least I'll know where to assign blame when the traditional book stores go out of business, and people who love the art, and relish the experience, will be forced to do their book buying in cyber space.

Anonymous said...

At least I'll know where to assign blame when the traditional book stores go out of business, and people who love the art, and relish the experience, will be forced to do their book buying in cyber space.

You're barking at the wrong tree here.

Amazon created the Kindle, courted indies, and created the incentives for ebook publishing. Add Apple iBookstore and 70% royalties to the sweeteners, and us underpaid writers would be batshit stupid NOT to take advantage of the opportunity to publish and market our work in a low cost market channel.

You can rail all you want at a few indie writers, but the real power behind this movement is Amazon and it's consumer base.

Just like you couldn't stop the movement to digital music once the MP3 player took hold, you can't stop this juggernaut by venting your anger on the end-of-the-food-chain content providers.

Don't like ebooks? Don't buy them.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Don't like ebooks? Don't buy them."

Fair enough. And I don't buy them.

I gotta laugh though at the people here claim books are too expensive, and 2 buck ebooks are all they can afford on their $400 ereader.

But seriously, this whole "wave of the future" would never even take hold without the consumers buying in, and most importantly, the publishers and authors providing content. But that's what free enterprise and capitalism is all about.

I'm just one guy expressing my opinion. I've wavered for some time with self publishing my unsold novel via either ebook or POD. I honestly don't know what's right for me. But I'm not in it for the money. I have a good paying day job. I also have no illusions about what it takes to make a living writing.

I was a reader and lover of books and the experience of buying them long before I ever attempted to write. I really don't want to see that experience go away. Plus, I really like the feel of a book in my hands.

And the ultimate thrill would be for my work to be published and held in the hands of someone like me and appreciated for the effort and craft that went into producing it.

Moses Siregar III said...

At least I'll know where to assign blame when the traditional book stores go out of business, and people who love the art, and relish the experience, will be forced to do their book buying in cyber space.

Was it over when Joe Konrath bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! Nothing is over until we decide it is.

Robert Christopher said...

@moses LOL I think alot men are waiting for angelina to become single again!

@Anon who loves art. There will be plenty of artists who care about their product on Kindle. The masses are like a pop tune; the screaming teenagers go just as fast as they come. But those who do good solid work will survive.

Will they make money like Joe? Who knows. Hopefully, supporters of good books will allow themselves to be apart of the Kindle world and thump their chests, write reviews, and let the world know when they find someone good who they enjoyed.

@Jude I dont see the point of your argument. Price has nothing to do with it. I know you are worried about quality going down the toilet. But it's really up to artists to do quality work, and promote themselves.

And for readers who have such disdain for the Kindle to realize that there is something there for them.

I too don't want to see a bunch of mini-james patterson's coming out of the woodwork. But Jude, when you talk to people outside of message boards you'll see that there is a wiser audience out there.

Anna J said...

I love the Kindle. My husband, who can't even navigate his cell phone, loves it. In fact, he has taken it away from me, so now it's loaded with mystery and adventure and I'm relegated to reading print books unless we buy a 2nd Kindle. :-/

Jude Hardin said...

Price has nothing to do with it.

Sigh.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

I also have no illusions about what it takes to make a living writing.

That's too bad. I love my illusions-- they've been very good to me so far.

I too don't want to see a bunch of mini-james patterson's coming out of the woodwork.

I really don't want any James Patterson, period. I've tried to read his books more than once, and I could never finish them. On the other hand, I just read some Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys) last night and it was fantastic. I was exhausted and I still stayed up until midnight reading that book. I just couldn't stop.

I love reading Gaiman so much it hurts. Gaiman is my literary porn; he's better than masturbation. I wish he would do the Konrath thing and publish everything as an e-book. I would buy it all.

Jude Hardin said...

I love reading Gaiman so much it hurts. Gaiman is my literary porn; he's better than masturbation. I wish he would do the Konrath thing and publish everything as an e-book. I would buy it all.

I'm sure Joe appreciates being mentioned in the same breath as Neil Gaiman. And masturbation.

Anonymous said...

I'm going out on a limb here and saying Konrath's numbers are a direct reflection of price first, and name recognition a distant second.

Someone here said he was a genius.

I hardly think he's the first dude to figure out cheap sells.

A lot.

Just go by any garage sale on any given weekend, or better yet, go to the dollar store and watch the people loading up on cheap crap, whether they need it or not.

But what the hell, he's making money so who's to argue?

Of course many of you here who rail against the evil publishing houses and how you can't catch a break, you won't ever see a fraction of Joe's success, because the truth is your work is shit.

Oh sure, you'll dupe a fair percentage with your 2 buck masterpiece, and you'll proudly boast to your friends and acquaintances that you are a published author, but deep down you'll know you're a fraud and not quite "good enough".

But screw it right? The paradigm has changed. We are the gatekeepers now. Hell, f**k the gatekeepers, who needs 'em? Amazon has made it possible for us all to be published authors, just like Chandler and Hammett and Hemingway.

And besides, as someone here said earlier, it's all disposable media anyway, so who gives a flying f**k how good it is.


-jt

evilphilip said...

I just got the iPad.

"The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master."

Now I have to figure out how to get about 40 ePub or PDF novels I got as review copies over onto it. Anyone know the best App for ePub or PDF?

Anonymous said...

At $2.99 and 70% royalties an author is making as much as most traditionally published authors do for an individual hardcover sale and more than for a paperback sale. Indies can be paid on a pro level out of the box if they so choose.

If they sell a 99 cent ebook or a $1.99 ebook instead then the reduced income can surely be considered as a marketing expense.

With trad-published books there's overhead--overhead that barely exists in ebook form. So of course the prices should be lower with ebooks.

So in sum there really isn't any devaluing of the author's efforts going on here. None whatsoever IMO.

Up with the disintermediation of the middle man! (Kind of a catchy slogan, no?)

Zoe Winters said...

If Gaiman is better than masturbation... ur doing it rong.

Sorry, that was naughty.

Okay, I'm not really sorry. :P

Zoe Winters said...

@anon

Strawman. Argument. I don't think a single one of us indies has railed against how we "can't catch a break." Most of us are happy with what we're doing and don't really want to catch the publishing industry's definition of "a break".

Ty Johnston said...

Okay. Let's do a little editing and look at this paragraph in a different light:

"But screw it right? The paradigm has changed. We are the gatekeepers now. Hell, f**k the gatekeepers, who needs 'em? Gutenberg has made it possible for us all to be published authors, just like Chaucer and Langland and Aquinas."

Anonymous said...

Ty- bad comparison, and you know it. Clever. But bad nonetheless.

The truth is I have no dog in this race. I'm only sharing my opinions, and as I stated earlier I'm sitting on the fence myself regarding self publishing and ebooks.

I've been following Joe's blog for some time with great interest. I've gleaned much good information from him and applaud his efforts, and I wish him continued success. He seems like a cool guy and well deserving of all he's achieved.

But there's some niggling doubt I have as to whether this is all good in the long run.

Not about striking out on your own and being the master of your own destiny, if your work is really good enough. I certainly don't feel traditional publishing is the end all for all times.

But there's a reason a lot of you can't get published, and it's not simply because you can't get an audience with the right people, or they just don't see the inherent value in your work.

This concept that cheap sells, Amazon is the shit, ebooks are the future and dead trees are bad, and worst of all, that we can all do this if we try hard enough; well I find that a little disconcerting. And I don't necessarily think it bodes well in a big picture way.

Again, just my opinion.

Ty Johnston said...

Anon, actually, yes, I found it quite appropriate. Before the printing press, there were gatekeepers, quite often the church or royalty. When the press came along, there was a power shift. In fact, the Reformation as a larger movement came about in part because of the very existence of the printing press; if nothing else, the press allowed a certain amount of freedom that hadn't existed before.

As for the rest of what you had to say, you've entirely missed the point.

First off, not all of us here are solely self-publishers. Joe wasn't. Now he's going that route. I've got a print contract. Novel due out next year. Meanwhile I'm making a little money off older material.

And so what if not everyone "made it" in the NY publishing system? Yes, it's an inherently difficult system to break into, as it should be. But its also got more than its fair share of nepotism, opportunism and just plain out stupidity at times. AND it's a system that's at least supposed to be based around the almighty dollar, so the argument of "hey, as long as your making a buck, right" against indie publishers is a load of shit! Oh boy, I made a few hundred bucks this month compared to the idiots making thousands and millions, the same idiots who often don't seem to have a clue as to what they're doing and who turn out plenty of garbage themselves. If you or anyone else is thinking folks in NY are sitting back and passing on Pattersons while they're waiting for the next Joyces or even Hemingways to come along, you're deluded. More and more of the crap coming out of NY is reading like bad screenplays each year. No, not all of it is, but enough of it is.

As for the "we can all do this if we try hard enough" comment, that too is full of it. No, not everyone can do it. And yes, a lot of those who try will churn out dreadful material. So what? Dreadful material isn't going to sell. Readers aren't that stupid. Today's consumers are far more savy than any generation before them.

I don't mind disagreement on this matter of digital publishing. It's not for everyone, whether in the publishing industry or not. But this attitude that there's this oh-so-lofty literary goal or source or whatever out there and indie publishers are going to bring about the ruin of all and the end of civilization as we know it ... it's beyond naive.

As a former newspaper editor, I've already seen this fight played out once before (and yes, despite differences there are many, many similarities). I know how it's going to go down. I'm NOT going to be on the losing side this time.

Katiebabs/ KB said...

I bow down to you seriously. Thank you for all the advice. Both aspiring authors and published ones should read your blog.

Anonymous said...

Re: "But this attitude that there's this oh-so-lofty literary goal or source or whatever out there and indie publishers are going to bring about the ruin of all and the end of civilization as we know it ... it's beyond naive."

Ty- I agree with that statement and don't buy into that line of reasoning one bit. And nothing I've posted here indicates otherwise.

I've simply shared my opinion that the trend towards fast and easy self publishing via venues such as Amazon Kindle and other such outlets makes me uneasy; as a writer, a lover of books, and most especially, a lover of the entire experience of bookstores and the process of finding great books to read.

And the notion of "price it really cheap" as the key to making it all work is really lame, IMO.

As far as dismissing the claim that a flood of shitty writing will have a negative effect, I disagree with your statement that "savvy" consumers will even it all out.

Wading through garbage is tedious, and when the benchmark is "anyone can publish and sell 2 buck novels", well then the pile of garbage will only increase.

I've been burned several times buying what I thought were professionally written and edited novels (on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble). I quickly figured out I was reading self published crap.

Say what you will about traditional publishers, but at least there's a general benchmark of quality that can be expected. You may not like the story, or the style of writing, but at least the presentation will be professional.

Now people like Joe Konrath will always do it right. They will write good stuff, and edit it and proofread it, and package it like a pro.

Many others, I dare say the vast majority of others, won't. For the simple reason they don't have to. And it's the same reason they can't get published traditionally in the first place.

IMO.

-jt

kathie said...

Hey Joe,
it's funny, as I start down my self-publishing road, I look at you as my james patterson. When I talk about what I need to do to be successful, it's your name I bring up. Patterson's in his own orbit, you are where I want to b!!!

Moses Siregar III said...

I've simply shared my opinion that the trend towards fast and easy self publishing via venues such as Amazon Kindle and other such outlets makes me uneasy; as a writer, a lover of books, and most especially, a lover of the entire experience of bookstores and the process of finding great books to read.

As a writer: You have another major way to reach readers. This is very good for writers, unless you're a royal snob, frankly.

As a lover of books: You have more options to find more books. And yes, there are definitely some good self-published books.

As a lover of the entire experience of bookstores and the process of finding great books to read: Granted, bookstores will probably be hit hard by the changes in book sales--from online sales, to ebook sales. But that's not at all the fault of indie writers. It was an inevitable outcome of the internet and ereading. It's like blaming the garage band next door for the changes in the music industry.

You mentioned you've been burned on Amazon and BN.com. On Amazon, if the work has an ebook version, always sample it first if you're not sure about the book. You can easily do this with Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac, if you don't have an actual Kindle.

Anonymous said...

Moses- yes I do sample books, either on Amazon or on Google Books (if a sample is available).

I've never bought a book online from Barnes & Noble, although I've purchased a few that were prominently displayed in the store (after sampling a bit) and once I got into it I realized they were not ready for prime time, so to speak.

And you completely misunderstand if you feel I'm "blaming" indie authors for anything. I'm not. I don't know any indie authors, but I do know plenty of independent musicians, and they are doing quite well for themselves on the path they've chosen. And I applaud all that they've achieved.

As I see it, Joe's chosen to position himself as the poster child for self publishing to ebooks, and as a result of following this blog, a lot of folks here see this as their best option for success.

Terrific. Go for it.

I'm merely expressing my personal opinion that there's a downside to all of this. An opinion that sure fires up a lot of people.

Why so defensive?

-jt

Jude Hardin said...

Y'all try to keep it down. Joe has a hangover from drinking beer with Marcus Sakey and Blake Crouch all day yesterday.

PokerBen said...

As anonymous has already said, I think the big print publishing news Joe has yet to tell us, is he's going to be a new co-author with Patterson. Joe's eluded to it being a huge amount of money, and it being a bestselling novelist.

What do you guys think?

Dakota Pratt said...

I feel passive-agressively compelled to comment on this post just so:

1) There are fewer anonymous posts on this freaking page.

2) At least some of Team Snark is coming to Joe's defense.

Seriously, if the rest of you are going to take this as Srs Bzns as you are and insists on one-upping Joe I CAN MAKE THE NUMBERS LOOK DIFFERENT THAN YOU CAN WHO CARES HOW MUCH YOU'RE EARNING, either sign in and stand by your words or unplug the computer and go the hell outside.

It's sunny today. I promise.

Jack H. H. King said...

Jude,

A book is worth what a reader will pay.

Every reader is unique.

My household income is well below the US average. My wife and I pirate nothing.

In the center of my great room, I have a bookcase. It displays my 300 favorite books. I designed the case myself. Sleek and black and like a puzzle. My father the woodworker built it himself. It’s a work of art, filled with literature. My love of paper books is eternal.

I feel that authors deserve a royalty, $2-4 per book.

Joe gets a $2 royalty. I get a $2.99 thriller.

That is sexy.

I hope more professional authors turn indie.

I hope Kindle wins the war.

- Jack

rex kusler said...

My buddy Padmanaban is on the job:

"Hello Rex,

I apologize for the delay in updating you on the issue you've reported regarding the author name for your Kindle book.

Please be assured that I'm still working with our technical team to fix this issue. It is taking a little longer than our usual turnaround time.

I'll be in touch shortly with an answer for you.

Thanks for your patience.

Best regards,

Padmanaban Guruswamy
http://www.amazon.com"

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

I'm hoping the "answer" isn't that I'll have to permanently change the spelling of my name. The good news is that I can still drink beer.

PokerBen said...

Poor Rxe,hopefully they'll get it right for you soon.

Anonymous said...

Dakota - a bit pissy, aren't we?

How does remaining anonymous have any bearing on stated opinions?

If it makes you feel better, my name is John Turner, and I'm one of those cowardly people hiding behind a veil of secrecy.

Oh...and I sign some of my posts "jt".

I post as anonymous for several reasons.

One, I've never participated here, although I've followed this blog for some time. I felt compelled to share on this topic, so I went for it.

Two, I don't really feel like signing up for anything. I already participate in several message boards and frankly I'm not looking for another; doesn't diminish the validity of my opinions though.

Besides, if Joe doesn't want anonymous comments posted, he can disable that function.

Are we clear bro?

Anonymous said...

Re: "I hope more professional authors turn indie."

The operative word being "professional".

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

"Wading through garbage is tedious, and when the benchmark is "anyone can publish and sell 2 buck novels", well then the pile of garbage will only increase."

When I saw Glenn Back's delightfully ghost-written novel, Overton Window hit the bestseller list with hundreds of 5-star reviews, I knew that it was over. It's still in the Top 100.

It's always been about money, ALWAYS. Any literary fakery that the big six try to heap on us us pure, unadulterated bullshit. People will buy dogshit on a popsickle stick if sold correctly. That's the buying public, folks. There's no reason to cry about it.

And that's okay... it's better if we all stop bullshitting each other and start talking truth. I want to make money, the publishers want to make money, and so does everyone else. We are all in the same boat.

It's a blessing that I can earn a nice income doing something that I enjoy. It's just that simple, and there's nothing sinister about it.

Zoe Winters said...

@anon:

"But there's a reason a lot of you can't get published, and it's not simply because you can't get an audience with the right people, or they just don't see the inherent value in your work."

I really wish this assumption would just die. I'm pretty sure I could have gotten a publisher if I'd really wanted one. The first place I sent the first novella in my series to, the editor sent me a page long letter back with suggestions. That just doesn't happen if you are that far off the mark.

I wanted to self-publish. I wanted to run my own show. I just had to work up the nerve to do it due to all the stigma (especially two years ago).

I know many other indie authors who feel the same way. The assumption for an indie filmmaker or musician isn't that they "couldn't get a record deal or movie studio behind them and therefore must suck".

But that continues to be the assumption for indie authors. One. More. Time. While it's true that many indie authors "couldn't get a publisher" of "those" indie authors, many of them were turned down specifically for marketing reasons, not for talent/skill reasons.

In addition there are many indies that didn't self-publish because they "couldn't get a publisher" for any reason, marketing or talent. They simply did not want on that hamster wheel.

This fact is repeatedly ignored.

While I'm sure there are many indie authors who "couldn't get a publisher" because they weren't ready or hadn't been writing long enough, or whatever... it should NEVER be the first assumption for indie authorship especially in light of how much the trad system is starting to suck with the economy and move to digital.

It's just illogical at this point to assume that most of us are in this for any reason other than a business reason.

Ty Johnston said...

Why so defensive?

jt, as I mentioned above, I don't have a problem with some disagreeing with me or if that person happens to believe digital publishing isn't the greatest thing in the world.

That's fine. But you've been insulting. Yes, anonymous posts with your "jt" initials in them have been insulting. Evidence:

Oh sure, you'll dupe a fair percentage with your 2 buck masterpiece, and you'll proudly boast to your friends and acquaintances that you are a published author, but deep down you'll know you're a fraud and not quite "good enough".

and

The operative word being "professional".

To be fair, that last one didn't have your initials on it, but it came right after one of your own posts so I can only presume it was from you. If you don't want me to presume that, then say that you'll include your jt initials in all of your posts instead of just some of them.

And yes, whether you meant them to be or not, several of your posts have been insulting, though not all of them.

Funny thing, for all the talk about being professional, I don't see hundreds upon hundreds of wannabes posting all over this blog about their new novel is out and they're gushing about how great it is. Check the Amazon boards for that nonsense.

But I do see people such as Zoe Winters, who in my opinion is a professional, and others working their way up through a non-traditional venue. True, Zoe's not been published by any of the NY publishers, but to compare Zoe's experience with that of NY publishing by your parameters would be like saying the mom-and-pop grocery store down the street from me is unprofessional simply because it's not Walmart. And don't give me any crap about it being a false comparison. It's not and you know it.

Want to voice your opinions? Fine. Want to get a little heated? That's fine, too, as heated debate can lead to better things. But if you want to get insulting, which you've done sometimes, then be prepared to get smacked right back.

Anonymous said...

Re: "But if you want to get insulting, which you've done sometimes, then be prepared to get smacked right back."


Wow. You go dude.

If you've read my comments as insults, so be it. I cannot help how you perceive things. I won't say I'm sorry, because I'm not.

But suffice to say, I have not attempted to insult anyone here, or anyplace else. You'll just have to take my word for that.

And if I perceive a comment as being a false comparison...oh well, that's my opinion. I try my best to put IMO in my posts so there is no confusion as to where I stand.

As far as wannabes posting around here, who the hell knows? I don't read the comments very often. I do read Joe's blog entries, and find them very informative and useful.

I will say, IMO, there are quite a few sycophants around here, and I have no doubt many of them see hope for their work in Joe's words, when in reality that hope is misplaced.

And for the record, my unsold novel? I have no idea how good it really is. I feel it's very good, based on my years of reading quality fiction, and as a lover of good storytelling. I feel if I've turned myself on, that's half the battle.

But is it good enough for prime time? I really don't know. Which is why I'm on the fence about self publishing. I'll be the first to tell you I desire the approval of the established gatekeepers.

So anyway, enough for now. You seem like an alright guy Ty, so hopefully there's no hard feelings here.

-jt

Anonymous said...

You know what I love about Kindle self publishing?

I don't have to another wait 2-3 years after I've finished a book to start selling it.

Yesterday I was ready to put up a new book. I talked to my graphic artist in the morning, and two hours later she had concept covers. I chose one, and she went to work. By evening the cover art was completed, and I used the digital text platform to load the book and cover art to Amazon. It will be published within 48 hours, and I'll have sales by early next week.

With Amazon I get real time sales data, so I'll know right away how it's selling. Within a month I'll be able to analyze a sales data set and adjust pricing, marketing strategy, etc.

In the big print world I'd be sending out query letters right now, waiting 6-8 weeks (or more) for responses. Even IF I landed a contract I'd wait another 16-18 months to see the book in print. It could be over two years before I'd see a paycheck.

In those two years I'd be waiting I can make 20-30K on a book on Kindle. Why would I pay such a large opportunity cost to wait on big publishing?

I have to pay my daughter's college tuition next month, not in two years. I'd be stupid to wait and lose so much money.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, can you post a link to that new book so the rest of us can have a look?

Anonymous said...

Not up yet. It will take 48 hours for the book to go up.

wannabuy said...

JT,

You keep sounding like not being 'published' by the big 6 is a big deal.

I'm a customer. I want:
1. Sequels quick
2. Variety.

The 2nd point is while Indie authors will thrive.

@Ty
"Time value of money" is a good point. :)

Will Kindle win? Like Jack I hope so. I'm certain Kindle on smartphones will drive more people to buy Kindles (for the near term slowing Kindle sales as people 'try before they buy').

No need for the big6 to anoint someone as published. Good Kindle reviews and a bit of PR will do that. ;)

Neil

Anonymous said...

Re: "You keep sounding like not being 'published' by the big 6 is a big deal."


Oh well...if that's what you're reading, fine. But for the record, it isn't what I'm saying.

I'm not here to argue with you folks. I felt compelled to jump in, share my thoughts and opinions, maybe engage a few of you.

Little did I know I'd touch a nerve like I did.

I try to articulate my thoughts as best I can. If I'm missing the mark, and opening myself up for misinterpretation, well that isn't my intention.

I've stated that I'm uneasy about this whole electronic publishing "revolution", if you will. I've been tempted to try an ereader, but can't quite get there.

Part of it has to do with the fact I spend a good amount of my work day staring at a computer screen. When I read a book, I want it to be a real book, not another electronic device. And I don't think I'm alone in that desire.

I've also stated I love the experience of browsing in a book store, and there's a real concern over bookstores simply going away if Kindles and Nooks take off like many of you hope. Even Joe has mockingly referred to people being "stuck under a pile of dead tree books", like all of a sudden it's not cool to enjoy the traditional format.

Whatever on all that.

The reality, at least in my mind, is that lots of people think they've found the key to getting published and making money. They think Amazon and the Kindle are their saving grace. I don't agree with that. I see a flood of bullshit saturating the market and lowering the perceived value of fiction to that of a cup of coffee (or as someone else said here, a Big Mac).

Amazon has already killed many bookstores. I'm guilty myself of falling for the lure of free shipping, lower prices, and no sales tax. Those aren't bad things, we all have to watch our hard earned dollars. But I still try to make enough purchases at the brick & mortars (especially the indie shops) so I'm doing my part to keep them alive.

It's funny how people will rail all day long about WalMart, and how they come into a community and kill off all the mom & pop's, but they won't say a thing about the big online discount houses setting a price structure that can't be matched by traditional outlets.

Anyway, enough of that. I appreciate Joe making this forum available for those of us who want to share. Thanks for reading.

-jt

Anonymous said...

Re: "You keep sounding like not being 'published' by the big 6 is a big deal."


Oh well...if that's what you're reading, fine. But for the record, it isn't what I'm saying.

I'm not here to argue with you folks. I felt compelled to jump in, share my thoughts and opinions, maybe engage a few of you.

Little did I know I'd touch a nerve like I have.

I've stated that I'm uneasy about this whole electronic publishing "revolution", if you will. I've been tempted to try an ereader, but can't quite get there.

Part of it has to do with the fact I spend a good amount of my work day staring at a computer screen. When I read a book, I want it to be a real book, not another electronic device. And I don't think I'm alone in that desire.

I've also stated I love the experience of browsing in a book store, and there's a real concern over bookstores simply going away if Kindles and Nooks take off like many of you hope. Even Joe has mockingly referred to people being "stuck under a pile of dead tree books", like all of a sudden it's not cool to enjoy the traditional format.

Whatever on all that.

The reality, at least in my mind, is that lots of people think they've found the key to getting published and making money. They think Amazon and the Kindle are their saving grace. I don't agree with that. I see a flood of bullshit saturating the market and lowering the perceived value of fiction to that of a cup of coffee (or as someone else said here, a Big Mac).

Amazon has already killed many bookstores. I'm guilty myself of falling for the lure of free shipping, lower prices, and no sales tax. Those aren't bad things, we all have to watch our hard earned dollars. But I still try to make enough purchases at the brick & mortars (especially the indie shops) so I'm doing my part to keep them alive.

It's funny how people will rail all day long about WalMart, and how they come into a community and kill off all the mom & pop's, but they won't say a thing about the big online discount houses setting a price structure that can't be matched by traditional outlets.

Anyway, enough of that. I appreciate Joe making this forum available for those of us who want to share. Thanks for reading.

-jt

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why that posted twice.

My apologies.

Coolkayaker1 said...

Forbes magazine, July 19, 2010: "One of every 17 books sold is by James Patterson."

So, if Joe is doing 1/10 of that, that must mean that one out of every 170 books sold is a Konrath.

evilphilip said...

" I think the big print publishing news Joe has yet to tell us, is he's going to be a new co-author with Patterson. Joe's eluded to it being a huge amount of money, and it being a bestselling novelist.

What do you guys think?"


I think it is difficult (or impossible) to turn down a paycheck.

That said, I would find it difficult (or impossible) to write a book and let someone else put their name on the cover.

Why help make someone else famous? Why let Patterson hold all the cards? (Read the NYT article on how he gets all the checks and then you get whatever he pays you... you can bet he doesn't tell his authors the real amount he is getting from the publisher.)

If you are that great of an author that he wants to have you as part of his sweatshop you are probably more than good enough to make the same money he is offering you on your own.

Ellen Fisher said...

"So, if Joe is doing 1/10 of that, that must mean that one out of every 170 books sold is a Konrath."

Joe is (or will be) doing one-tenth of Patterson's ebook sales. That's not the same as selling one-tenth of Patterson's overall sales.

"Why help make someone else famous?"

Well, looking at Patterson's PRIVATE, the cover is marked "James Patterson" at the top, and at the bottom, "Maxine Paetro." Assuming that this is standard practice, I think it might be an extremely smart career move to get your name front and center on a Patterson cover, personally. I'd think the people who buy it for the James Patterson would be likely to check out Maxine Paetro's work, if they like the book. And that is apparently a LOT of readers.

wannabuy said...

TJ said:
Little did I know I'd touch a nerve like I did.

and then said:
I see a flood of bullshit saturating the market and lowering the perceived value of fiction.
Do not play innocent when you launch bombs like that and paint everything "indie" with one brush.

I've been enjoying too much of the indie fiction! I'm bragging to co-workers and getting them to buy Kindles. :) They're enjoying and finding many of these new authors are just as good as anything by the big6.

What is wrong with $2.99 sales when the author takes home more?

The days of 'shelf space' determining what I can read are thankfully over. Some, like you, will always prefer paper.

Nothing is really happening until e-books make 20% market share. That will happen soon enough. In 2010 it has gone from 5% to 10%. Think how excellent an income the better Indie authors will have then. :)

It all comes down to us sharing a love of reading.

Neil

Anonymous said...

Re: "Do not play innocent when you launch bombs like that and paint everything "indie" with one brush."

Dude, what's your deal?

I'm not "playing" anything. You take two separate statements of mine, and then link them together as if one has anything to do with the other.

I'm not "launching bombs" or "painting everything with one brush", despite your accusations to the contrary.

Some of you need to chill out, or at the very least work on your reading comprehension. I guess I wasn't aware this was a fanboy blog reserved for mindless cheerleading and lockstep thinking.

I'm here expressing my opinions. I've been following Joe's blog for a long time, although until now I've never participated. I read it daily. I've downloaded his guide to self publishing and watched with great interest his apparent success in the path he's chosen.

So am I missing something here?

Am I not qualified to be here?

Perhaps there's a secret password I need to learn.

For what it's worth I've spent the better part of the last few days perusing Smashwords and Fictionwise and Kindle, and I've checked out some of the folks who post here. I've downloaded Kindle for my Mac and my iphone, and I've read many pages of free samples of this new "revolution". I'm not talking the established writers, I've limited myself to strictly independent writers self publishing in ebooks.

And what have I found?

A whole lot of bullshit that would never see the light of day in the real word.

And that, for the record, IS a criticism. So if you wanna flame me, do it for that statement. But it still doesn't change the truth. And the honest ones here know that.

Perhaps there are diamonds in the rough, I don't doubt that one bit. But it's apparent to me a whole lot of people are deluding themselves, and justifying that delusion simply because they're making money. But hey, that's all that matters, right?

I said it before and I'll say it again, price anything cheap enough and people will buy it. Perhaps some will even like it. But many more will feel burned and walk away scratching their heads.

And I don't see how that's good in the long run.

IMO.

-jt

Joe Konrath said...

So, if Joe is doing 1/10 of that, that must mean that one out of every 170 books sold is a Konrath.

On Kindle? So far this month, I've sold 5000 ebooks. So those numbers might actually be correct.

Ellen Fisher said...

"I said it before and I'll say it again, price anything cheap enough and people will buy it."

This is simply not true. Look around Amazon and you'll see plenty of 99 cent books that aren't selling. The reason? You can check the sample before you buy. No matter how much an author promotes on the threads, if his or her work sucks, readers will know it, and they will not buy it. I will certainly agree that cheaper prices help move books, but you can't toss bad grammar and appalling spelling up on Amazon and expect it to sell at ANY price.

Anonymous said...

Re: "but you can't toss bad grammar and appalling spelling up on Amazon and expect it to sell at ANY price."

Nobody's talking about "bad grammar and appalling spelling". I'm talking about poorly written and poorly edited work. And weak storytelling on top of that.

Sure there's plenty of .99 ebooks not selling. And 1.99 ebooks and 2.99 ebooks, etc., etc. And for lots of reasons other than poor writing. Just like there are plenty of well written books not selling, no matter what the price. There's no rhyme or reason to it.

And as for reading samples before you buy? Sure that helps when weeding out the garbage, and I'm amazed at just how bad many of those samples are when it comes to self published amateurs. But it's not a surefire guarantee that the book will be good. Nothing is.

Take some time to read the reader's reviews of ebooks. You'll see how many of them lament getting duped by a low price, and how their saving grace is the books were cheap so oh well, no harm, no foul. They talk about silly plot lines, poor writing, the need for a professional editor. Even some of Joe's books get slammed in that regard.

Making money doesn't make it good. And selling it cheap doesn't validate it either, IMO. It merely moves units, if you're lucky enough and work hard enough. If that's all you care about, well have at it then.

For the ones who go at it honestly and professionally, and strive to turn out the best work they can, and are frustrated by the brick wall called "traditional publishing", I say go for it and I wish you the best.

For the rest out there, who never really tried in the first place, and think they've found the silver bullet by way of a service that allows them to throw utter crap up there and call themselves published, I say you're doing more harm than good. IMO, that's a revolution no one needs.

-jt

Ellen Fisher said...

"Sure there's plenty of .99 ebooks not selling."

But what you said was, and I quote, "Price anything cheap enough and people will buy it." You now seem to be acknowledging that there are a number of factors (even if one can't always determine what they are) that determine sales. And that was my point, that low prices do not guarantee sales.

Anonymous said...

People will buy dogshit on a popsickle stick if sold correctly. That's the buying public, folks. There's no reason to cry about it.

This is so ridiculous and holds the reader in contempt. I have a lot more respect for readers.

If this were true, then GM wouldn't have needed a massive government bailout.

Consumers are not idiots.

evilphilip said...

This is so ridiculous and holds the reader in contempt. I have a lot more respect for readers.

Consumers are not idiots.


Um... Yes, they are.

That is why ghost-written books like James Patterson's dreck and Glen Beck's The Overton Window sell millions of copies -- the average consumer isn't smart enough to know a good book from a bad book and the average reader probably isn't smart enough to enjoy a good book -- which is why the market is flooded with D-List thrillers and YA Vampire porn.

That doesn't mean as an author you should shoot for the Mid-List when you are writing. At the end of the day you still have to look at the work you are putting out and live with the quality of your product. If you are happy writing dreck then good for you.

I can't say my writing is excellent, but I strive for excellence and that will always put me above the 90% of the people out there shoveling shit at the wall and hoping that it sticks.

Consumers are still morons who buy just about anything if it has a pretty cover. Sad, but true.

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