Sunday, July 18, 2010

With Change Comes... Anger?

It's July 18, and I've sold more than 5000 ebooks on Kindle this month. At the current royalty rates, that's over nine thousand dollars.

I would think that this constitutes success, by almost anyone's definition.

And yet, around the internet, in person, and even in the comments section of my own blog, I see a lot of animosity toward the ebook future in general, and me in particular.

How odd.

Some people seem to be really pissed off that I'm making decent money without relying on the gatekeepers. They call me an outlier, an anomaly, an exception. They deride self-published ebooks, low ebook prices, and anything not endorsed by Big NY Publishing. They don't like what's happening with Kindle, and don't like me talking about how much money I'm making, and are bemoaning a future where other authors will do what I'm doing.

Change is always painful. It's difficult, and frightening. When a technology changes an industry, especially a media industry, a lot of people get hurt by it. Jobs are lost. Stores close. The carefully maintained balance of power shifts. None of this is easy, and it often isn't pleasant.

But the people who seem most vocal about this upcoming change are the ones who stand to be helped by it the most. The authors.

Granted, a bunch of anonymous agents or editors may be the ones posting their vitriol on my blog, but from the sounds of the comments it appears authors are the ones most disturbed by the current publishing climate.

Unless I'm reading this wrong, a lot of authors believe that the only worthwhile writing is the writing that has earned the stamp of approval by a NY Publishing House. If an author is selling a lot of self-published ebooks, that is only because the gullible public doesn't know any better. Soon, a flood of pure shit will saturate the ebook market (some say this has already happened) making it impossible for "real" authors to sell their books.

Sorry. You're wrong.

Not only will readers be able to separate the wheat from the chaff (as they've been doing since the first books were ever sold), but a free-for-all in the marketplace will allow, for the very first time, some writers to find success who never would have found it through the old, severely flawed system. New voices will stand out. New bestsellers will be born, not because of a giant marketing push, but because of pure word-of-mouth. An actual, honest to goodness renaissance is upon us.

Readers will be able to determine quality on their own. And if you hold so much disdain for the opinions of the unwashed masses, it makes me wonder whom you're actually writing for.

Me? I write escapist fiction for a wide audience. I do my best to appeal to the broadest spectrum I can. And trust me, that's a lot harder to do than it is to cater to your own personal muse without caring a whit about the reader's needs.

"But Joe," you may say. "If you leave it up to the readers to decide what is good, you're letting the inmates run the asylum. The only groups that can dictate what should and shouldn't be read are the professionals."

I think that's silly, but I'll play devil's advocate.

One persistent myth is: the only reason I'm selling original novels as ebooks is because a NY publisher wouldn't want them. This extends beyond my own work, to all self-pubbed authors. We're a bunch of hacks that the true professionals--the gatekeepers--would never touch.

Guess what? My agent just sold eleven of my self-published ebooks to a major audiobook publisher.

I believe this is a first.

I also believe it won't be the last time this happens.

I've had a lot of discussions lately about the future of the publishing industry. Will ebooks replace print? Will bookstores go out of business? Will agents still be necessary? Will NY publishing eventually collapse?

This is all very interesting, but only to people directly involved in the publishing world.

The readers don't care. They just want their books.

The writers shouldn't care, either. No matter what happens, writers will still be able to sell books to readers.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

And nothing at all to get angry about.

In fact, instead of being angry, you should be celebrating.

I am.

303 comments:

1 – 200 of 303   Newer›   Newest»
jeroen said...

Hey Joe,

In New Zealand it is called tall poppy syndrome: a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. Jealousy cuts the mustard too.

You understand more than most out there that the current changes in the publication industry can potentially reap big rewards for authors, whether they have been published in paper before, still are, or never have been. And the benefits are equally grand for readers.

About all those people out there who think the 'NY 6' know best, and that once you're accepted by one of them you're acknowledged and financially set... My father is a writer and has published over thirty books in forty years, at prestigious and renowned publishing houses. In our toilet he once framed the royalty receipt for the previous year - he had a handful of books in print at the time. Total cume: 73 cents.

Even though he was, probably still is, a well respected writer in his country (talking about the Netherlands here) he had a hard time making money with writing. So he lectured and did other things to make ends meet.

The point is that he would make a lot more today with his work than he did then, despite being heralded and published by big names. Instead of not being able to do what he did best, the current option of self publishing ebooks would probably reap big enough rewards for him to devote more time to writing. And subsequently publish more. And then make more. And so on.

Authors and readers should be equally grateful. Authors now have the opportunity to release their work to a global audience, start earning money quickly, and can do so as soon as a manuscript is deemed ready. And readers will not only have a bigger choice and will have access to previously unknown authors - they can do so at very low prices.

So bring it on, and continue to lead the way Joe. Congrats!

Jeroen

Ali Karim said...

The ultimate gate keeper is the reader (and reviewer),

interesting post, interesting comments, proving the adage "may you live in interesting times" because we do

Ali
www.shotsmag.co.uk

Lexi said...

This is the agent's comment that made me decide to self-publish:

I think you write brilliantly. Unfortunately I'm not convinced a publisher will buy it...

And I write commercial fiction, nothing niche or difficult. Ebooks offer a great opportunity for writers, and now is the time to get in there, while publishers insist on keeping prices higher than the public think fair.

Eric Christopherson said...

Glad to hear you're taking the plunge, Lexi. Hope it's with Catch a Falling Star.

FYI, Crack-Up's sold over 5K copies by now and I still stink at marketing. Really oughta get a website at least ...

CJ West said...

This should make for a great show on Wednesday!

Looking forward to you, Boyd and Jason on Blog Talk Radio.

CJ

Stephanie Zia said...

Couldn't agree more. UK Author's Society have just published a doom and gloom piece about digital revolution, and I just don't get it! At last the gateposts are down for new authors everywhere.

Deirdre said...

The sale of your digitally published books is also good news. Remember when the Author's Guild got all tied in knots because they thought enabling text to speech would hurt audio sales?

That was not their finest hour.

Catana/Sylvie Mac said...

Let them whine. This change is coming fast and hard after a slow start, so it's put a lot of people off-balance. As a wann-be-published writer whose work doesn't fit into neat categories, I'm unwilling to spend months and years trying to find a "real" publisher. Many of the e-publishers put out work that agents won't touch (a lot of it admittedly bad), including novellas. And then there's self-publishing on sites like Smashwords. For the first time, the rules of the game favor the writers, not the middle men.

Karen from Mentor said...

The only thing that I've seen that bothers me about e publishing are the authors who don't take the extra step of having someone else edit their work.

No matter how talented a writer is, or how great the book, an author always needs another set of eyes before releasing a book into the world.


I think e publishing is great done right. Quick to market, and great for filling the growing demands of fans of e readers.

You know how to do it.
boiled down?
You Go Joe.
:0)

*chants...just let the man do his job for pete's sake*

[I know it's not a catchy chant...but it IS pretty early in the morning here]

Colette said...

Last I heard, being an outlier was a good thing!

I, for one, appreciate you showing us how to do it.

L.J. Sellers said...

I am celebrating! This is a great time to be a novelist, especially if readers like your work. I love it that readers finally get to make all the choices.

Ellen Fisher said...

I've been e-publishing since 2003. I've seen other authors complaining about e-publishing and trying to treat it like a redheaded stepchild all that time. So I guess the negativity doesn't really surprise me.

Naysayers will always be there. All a writer can do is ignore them... and write.

M. Louisa Locke said...

Dear Joe,

I am in a writers group with 3 other people, all of whom have had a long career of successful publishing the traditional way. One is now embarked, as I am, in self-publishing, and the other two are going the traditional route with their latest books, but all of us are excited about the new opportunities.

The two going the traditional route are nothing but supportive of my efforts. As midlist authors who suddenly found it difficult to get published by the late 1990s, they had gone through a period where they lost their confidence. They have it back now, and I think knowing that self-publishing is an option for them if they are not successful in getting a traditional publisher has helped them be more assertive as they shop those books.

I certainly gained a lot of confidence from reading your blogs, and now 7 months into publishing my first novel, I not only have totally covered my costs, but I have hit the best selling rank of my genre in Kindle-historical mysteries-and my sales are steadily rising.

So thanks again for all you do.

Ruth Francisco, author said...

I was thinking today about the explosion of novel publishing in 19th century England through newspapers and magazines. It made literature relevant to people's lives, and brought about the social and political novel. In the same way epublishing is bringing on a literary revolution. There is vitality and excitement here, opportunity for new voices, new ideas, and new ways of creating story--such as the blog novel.

Jim Huang said...

While it's true that authors are in the drivers' seat in a way they've never been before, what I've seen this week is that not all paths to ebook publication are created equally.

I was fortunate enough to be part of Sisters in Crime's 2010 Summit team, visiting Amazon, Google, Apple and Smashwords this week. Four companies that are, generally, in the same business, but whose approaches are very different -- both at the macro, philosophical level and at the micro level where their visions are implemented.

What this really tells me is that there are still gatekeepers -- they're just called Amazon, Google, Apple and Smashwords (the latter to a lesser and different extent), instead of Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, etc.

The SinC Summit team is still working on its report, which will be made available to members soon, but to me personally, among the most important messages is that just as you need to be careful in choosing a "traditional" publisher, you also need to look closely at the company you're using to access the e-world.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Hi, Joe
I'm so glad to see this article. I've read a lot of these negative comments and a lot of negative conjecture about eBooks in general. And it has struck me as perverse, for lack of a better word, that so much of this negativity is coming from authors. It seems to me that FINALLY there is an opportunity for the creative source (authors) to not get screwed by the industry. I've sold close to 400,000 books. My books have been on YA Bestseller lists more than a dozen times. But I am nowhere near making a living for my family. I mean it's ridiculously not even close. If I quit my day job, we'd have to sell our house, pull the kids out of their school, and reduce our standard of living by 75%. I'm not exaggerating in the least. What's fair about that? I want to be a full time writer. I have more book ideas (over 25 at latest count) that I can't begin to get to because I'm not a full time writer. It's driving me crazy because I sell a lot of books. Whether it's the record industry or NY Publishing houses, the talent always gets scraps from the master's table. ENOUGH of that. Amazon and others are starting to offer authors 75% royalties? Hallelujah! If you write a good book, readers will find it. Readers will spread the word. And at last, authors will get the lion's share of the pay. Bring it. Oh, and Joe, who is your agent?

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe, if someone feels differently than you, does that make them "angry"?

Jude Hardin said...

I'm glad that self-publishing wasn't a popular option a few years ago when I finished my first novel, because I probably would have been tempted to slap it on the Kindle site for $2.99. I thought it was good, and I had beta readers who told me it was good.

I read through parts of it a few days ago.

It. Is. Horrible.

Embarrassingly so.

My second novel isn't much better.

Or my third.

When Pocket-47 (my fourth novel) sold to Oceanview Publishing back in March, I thought it was finished. Ha! Four grueling rounds of edits later, and it's finally almost publishable.

And now come the copy edits.

And then the proofs.

An extraordinary amount of effort goes into getting a manuscript ready for the boss, i.e. the reader, more than most writers can manage on their own.

I'm not going to say that I'll never self-publish, but if I do I think publishing traditionally first (and I hope Joe will back me up on this) has been invaluable in teaching me what it really takes to make a book ready for public eyes.

Frank Zubek said...

The sad part of the anger, I think, is that there are probably writers out there with their own ebooks in the marketplace and they feel (from their POV) that their work is just as valid as Joe's and just as accessible and why aren't people buying their work? etc etc etc

And who knows? maybe they SHOULD be bringing in the numbers that Joe is. Or maybe they just have a run of bad luck. It happens.

The bottom line for me...is that heck, if I even made a thousand a month (let alone NINE thousand)I'd be making more than I do at my real life "Day Job"

I think the bottom line here is that WITH the e-Book format, the possibility to be able to achieve a degree of success has jumped tremendously. And yet, there ARE many writers out there who, having downloaded their works into the e-machine STILL aren't seeing what they personally consider to be a healthy share of the cashflow.

But then again, there are other factors involved...
1 Marketing (which Joe has done in spades, including traveling across country day in and day oput propmoting his works)
2 Sacrifice (see the previous point on marketing)
3 An appropriate genre to sell (I myself have experienced this as I currently only have some adult literature online but I have some horror coming soon and I anticipate a slight change in my luck once I do that)
...and there are other factors too, but Joe has mentioned them countless times before.


Heck, Joe, there is always the possibility that SOME of the angry emails (or blog postings) you've gotten might just be 'plants' from the 'official' paper publishing arena in an effort to sway opinions. (It happens in all business. its dirty pool but in some cases it can be effective)

Anyway...keep going. Your, if nothing else, an inspiration to a zillion writers out there who KNOW that this e-gig is here to stay and since it IS direct competition to the paper publishers...it can only mean better days ahead for BOTH.

As long as BOTH formats can learn to play together and ACCEPT the changes that are happening (and going to happen)

We all have to roll with the punches that are coming. The important thing is to keep writing.

Not all of us will make it through this battle. Collateral damage is a given element in all wars (both real ones and in business)

But if you keep your head down and THINK and PLAN and continue to grow and accept change, your CHANCES of being published are far better (not a certainty, but far better) than if you just sit at home day in and day out typing out
bitterness, jealousy and anger.

Change hurts.
Change sucks.
Change can improve current conditions.
Change can be embraced.
But CHANGE is HERE.

Anonymous said...

Re: "What this really tells me is that there are still gatekeepers -- they're just called Amazon, Google, Apple and Smashwords (the latter to a lesser and different extent), instead of Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, etc."


Excellent point Jim.

So let's see what happens, if and when, they decide to change the "rules" so to speak.

It's all about building up inventory and market share. And right now that's what they're doing. The paradigm favors the writer, with favorable royalty rates, ease of use, unrestricted access, etc. The world would appear to be in the author's hand.

But I'd venture to say it won't always be that way. These are big companies in business to make big money. They are not here to be your friend, any more than the evil "big 6" publishing houses are.

Joe may be laughing all the way to the bank, but for the rest of you, we'll see what transpires.

And speaking of that. Can anyone here tell me about a true independent author who has had success on par, or anywhere near, Joe's? I'm talking about someone who has never been published in print by an established publisher. Someone who is not putting their backlist up for sale, or their newest work that was rejected for publication.

Point out an author who has strictly gone the self published ebook route and has achieved financial success. Because that seems to be the main focal point here, making money. Not necessarily critical accolades, but making bank. Moving units. Pushing product. You get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Jude,

Every writer is unique. Some works need light raking; others need massive reconstruction.

Thank God the editors didn't get to Mozart. Music came out of his head perfect and complete, and the first drafts of his scores were immaculate.

Some writers are like Mozart. Those writers are better without NY publishing putting their hands on the manuscript.

I suspect this is why many indie works are so popular on Kindle store right now -- the voices are fresh and organic and unadulterated by big publisher processing.

Yes, some of it is poorly written, but gems are being discovered every day. It's a journey, as exciting as any Konrath thriller ;-)

TaosJohn said...

I don't have any problem with self-publishing. I've been writing online since '98 and finally published a book on Kindle called TAOS SOUL. Joe's posts on this blog were both an inspiration and a practical help.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of the digital revolution. The best writing out there will rise to the surface, regardless.

Jude Hardin said...

Some writers are like Mozart.

Maybe one in a million. The other 999,999 are suffering from delusions and only think they're like Mozart.

Anonymous said...

I'm a traditionally published author with one of the big 6 publishers, and I don't have anything bad to say about my experience. I've make more money each year off my books than I do at my day job, my books have been reviewed by every major industry publication, one has been optioned for a film, and all have sold audio and foreign rights to several countries. My editor returns my emails, takes my opinion into account on things like cover design and cover copy, and it's still a thrill to walk into any bookstore in the country and see my book on the shelves. If far from dissatisfied with traditional publishing, but I'm also not even the slightest bit angry about ebook publishing. If anything, I think it's wonderful.

The way I see it, I'm in a perfect spot. I can do both. I can reap all the benefits of tradtitional publishing (and there are still a lot of benefits, believe it or not), and I can put out the occasional novel as an ebook if I feel like it because it's easy and anyone can do it. The fact you don't have to jump through any hoops at all is nice, just upload the book and there it is, ready to buy. The convience of it is incredible.

I'm not redy to take the plunge yet because the dust hasn't settled. Right now ebook publishing is in it's infancy and while it looks like the brass ring now, no one knows where it's going to go, not even Joe. I am hoping he's right, though. If he is, it's going to change everything for writers, expecially for traditionally published writers like me with built in audiences who will be able to jump on the bandwagon and bring our audiences along for the ride while still keeping the respect and validation that comes along with actual publishing.

Good times indeed.

No anger here.

(You know who is angry? Indie bookstore owners. Wow, talk to those folks about this, and they'll rip your head off.)

Frank Zubek said...

Anonymous has a point (if the same person did those last two postings)

This is, BOTTOM LINE, a BUSINESS

Wether your on e-books or trying to be a paper pusher

EVERYONE has a mortgage and bills

But NOT everyone can be Mozart!

Some of us (hell, a good 80 percent of us) will be lucky enough to make maybe a few hundred dollars off of our total life's output of writing.

And not all of us will be able to live with that fact. But a FACT is a fact.

Sometimes the JOURNEY (which can entail a single fan mail from someone across the pond who read your book and took the time to write you, to the simple joy of accomplishment from creating a few pages of really good material)can be just as sweet as keeping track of the thousands of dollars that tumble into your bank account (thats of course, when (and IF) you reach Joe's status)

I just wanted to add that into the mix this morning. I'm fully aware of this and yet I keep at it. The trick is to keep it in mind to stay grounded along this journey

So thats my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe one in a million. The other 999,999 are suffering from delusions and only think they're like Mozart."

I want to read that one-in-a-million, fresh and unadulterated. I'm willing let the market to find that next great American novel, rather than have it face rejection and get buried in the NY slush pile.

Good work will rise to the top. I easily find the best blogs on the internet (and there's a LOT of crap), and in the same way the best books will be elevated to the visible zone. We sort the wheat from the chaff every time we use Google to search.

Anonymous said...

Not angry, but skeptical, and a little impatient. You are very upfront with your data, but your interpretation of them is Pollyanna-ish. For instance, during your spat with PW, you told us, to counter biased journalism, that your print sales had held steady - 10k, 10k, 10k, 10k. In other words, the needle had not moved at all, and therefore you were wrong about everything you had shouted about for years - the 1200-bookstore tours, the library thing, the coasters, all of it. Completely useless. Completely wrong. Why are you right now?

Your income data is based on 17 e-books, apparently. Each book seems to be making about $10,000 a year. For most people, most of the time, a book is a year's work. $10,000 a year is nice hobby money, but it isn't a living. And it's bubble money, anyway. Right now, Kindle buyers load up with cheap stuff just to see the machine work. As the market matures, that bubble will deflate.

You make assumptions - for instance, that readers will find good stuff. But they didn't with print, apparently. Why would they with e-books? The browsing experience will be awful. Like browsing a bookstore with two million spine-out titles. You couldn't make yourself stand out among a couple hundred thousand print titles. How are you going to stand out among two million e-titles?

And Amazon isn't some hippy-dippy alternative thing. It's a very focused corporation. It's Big Seattle. Truth is, it makes Big NY look benign in comparison. Everything will be monetized. You think co-op is important now? Just wait until nothing sells on Kindle (because of the volume) except if you pay $20,000 (per week, per title) to get a thumbnail on the home page. Are you going to make that investment?

Take two steps back, and then take another. The medium doesn't matter. Marketing matters. Publishers and their budgets will be more important than ever.

Anonymous said...

I think Joe's got tunnel vision.

He's doing well so everyone else can do well.

Sorry. Wrong. IMO.

Joe is not an independent author. Joe is an established mid-list writer who has made a business decision with regards to his career. If Joe were to choose to continue playing the traditional publishing game, I'm pretty certain his books would still get published. With a lot more hassle sure, but the fact remains he's a player in the big leagues, with a fair amount of name recognition.

Show me one true independent who has matched Joe's success, or even come close. And I'm talking straight to ebook, no previous print versions.

And no authors who have embarked on the traditional route, perhaps had their work go through various stages of the process, and ultimately decided to pull back and self publish to ebook.

Show me someone who wrote a book strictly for Kindle (or Smashwords or Fictionwise or B&N) and they're selling like hotcakes and bringing in big money.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Right now, Kindle buyers load up with cheap stuff just to see the machine work. As the market matures, that bubble will deflate."

Agreed.

Anonymous said...

There are half a million titles already on Kindle. How many more before we're all lost in a blizzard, Mr. "marketing matters?"

Anonymous said...

The market ain't near to maturity yet. Years and years away from that, and by the time 50% of book purchases are for ereaders who cares if the average number of books declines, given there are so many more customers?

Joe Konrath said...

I've been waiting for the Anons to show up. :)

therefore you were wrong about everything you had shouted about for years - the 1200-bookstore tours, the library thing, the coasters, all of it. Completely useless. Completely wrong. Why are you right now?

I don't believe I said I was wrong, and don't feel I was wrong. If I had to do it all again, I'd do it all exactly the same.

My hardcover sales have stayed pretty consistent, but I blame a lot of that on my publisher, who never gave me coop, who switched from ARCs to cheap galleys, who stopped touring me, who screwed up several times with book orders.

I believe, with more money behind me, my books would have done better. But it isn't like they've done poorly. They're all still in print. I'm earning decent royalties. And I attribute a good portion of their continued sales to my efforts, both in the past and in the present.

As the market matures, that bubble will deflate.

Why? Show me a precedent for this. I believe the opposite is true: with cheap ebooks, people will buy, and read, more.

readers will find good stuff. But they didn't with print, apparently.

And why is that? Because my publisher didn't get my books into enough retailers, and those they did get into had ZERO discounting. That's not how you make a bestseller.

On Kindle, it's a even playing field. I've never been on an even playing field before.

Publishers and their budgets will be more important than ever.

In four weeks, I've made over $17,000 on Kindle. And that doesn't count all of my sales on Nook, iPad, and Sony.

Publishers and their budgets will become less and less important. They're dinosaurs, and the meteor has already hit them.

Show me one true independent who has matched Joe's success, or even come close

Don't you read my blog? I addressed this already. Search for Karen McQuestion.

Hey Joe, if someone feels differently than you, does that make them "angry"?

No. It makes them wrong. If they're wrong, and also snarky about it, that makes them angry.

They are not here to be your friend, any more than the evil "big 6" publishing houses are.

I write a whole book, and get 8% of the cover price while having zero say in what that cover price is, where it gets sold, or what the cover looks like. That's incredibly unfair. The creator, the IP holder, the one who actually sat down and did the work, only gets 8%? That's the Big 6 for you. And then they expect me to be so damn grateful for the opportunity to give away 92% of every sale?

Now I have a chance to make 70%. This blows my mind.

Will it last? We'll see. But while I have no illusions that any big company wants to be my friend, I'm certainly grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to make four thousand bucks a week.

The Daring Novelist said...

Why are so many writers scared of the new paradigm? It's called Stockholm Syndrome. (And frankly, the publishers are suffering from the same thing. BN's buying system has held everyone hostage for so long, people have become dependent on it.)

Ty Johnston said...

Joe's next blog post: Joe goes to the store to buy milk

Hi guys, just letting you know I'm going to the store to buy milk. Milk costs $2.93 a gallon where I live, but I've got enough cash on me to cover it. Seeya!

634 comments

Jackthedairyfarmer said ...
Hey Joe, I love milk, too. I'm going to go buy some right now.

Anonymous said ...
What?!? No! That's insane! You can't buy your own milk! It'll be the end of civilization as we know it!

Anonymous said ...
Don't worry about it. Joe isn't really going to buy milk. He doesn't have that kind of cash. The numbers just don't add up. He's lying about how much money he has because ... um, well, I guess it makes him feel important.

Anonymous said ...
Sheesh. I can't believe some of these idiots believe they can actually buy their own milk. Milk you buy yourself is nowhere near as good as milk other people buy for you. Even an idiot knows that. Whatever happened to the good old days when milk was delivered to the house?

Side note: Yes, it really is beginning to sound this predictable and this inane.

Anonymous said...

Joe, you said, "On Kindle, it's a even playing field. I've never been on an even playing field before."

That's delusional, a little self-pitying, and ungrateful.

You had considerable, albeit apparently imperfect, help from a publisher - more, in fact, than about 90% of print authors get - and now you have none. Now, you are indeed on a level playing field, where before you were on the lower slopes of the peak. You're worse off now, in terms of the long game.

Your posts remind me of the late Ed McBain's quote: "When things go badly, the amateur blames the publisher, and the professional blames the book."

And your mention of royalty percentages reminds me of what people with healthy relationships with their agents say: "I'd rather have 85% of something, than 100% of nothing." As we move into the future, I'm sure people would rather have 15% of a lot than 70% of very little.

The Daring Novelist said...

Let's see, denial? Yeah, we've had that one for a while Anger? Seems to be happening now for some. So I guess bargaining is next? (Although there seems to be some of that going on, with people granting that backlists COULD be used to advantage.) And then will come the grieving.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Hey Joe, if someone feels differently than you, does that make them "angry"?

No. It makes them wrong. If they're wrong, and also snarky about it, that makes them angry.
-----------------------

Oh, I get it, that's you bein' funny.

Seriously though, you're not really serious, right?

You seem much more reasonable than that. That comment was a bit assholish.

But then again....

wannabuy said...

Eleven audio books! Congrats!

As someone who lives in LA, I see the demand for audio books only increasing (they're not fixing the commute of hell in this metropolis).

One *Huge* reason I love Amazon's indie model is the requirement for 'text to speech.' I personally like to start a book by reading; this doesn't stop me from consuming 100,000 or so words a month via 'text to speech.'

Ellen said:
Naysayers will always be there. All a writer can do is ignore them... and write
So true. Keep the writing coming. I'm loving Indie authors. :)

Anon:
Good work will rise to the top. I easily find the best blogs on the internet (and there's a LOT of crap), and in the same way the best books will be elevated to the visible zone.
So true. I even use *good* blogs to find *excellent* Indie books. :)

Anon:
There are half a million titles already on Kindle.
And it is far easier to find quality work on Kindle than at Borders. :) Seriously! It is a redflag argument that it is difficult to scrutinize Indie e-books. You do realize there are blogs dedicated to book reviews that make it easy? Unlike traditional reviewers, they are not beholden to publisher advertising.

Find the reviewers who share your desires in a book and follow there recommendation.

Joe said:
On Kindle, it's a even playing field. I've never been on an even playing field before.
I think that is the root of the anger. Those that had more power than the author now... can be bypassed.

I love the fact the creator of the work now can control the work. Hire who they want to edit and do their own PR.

The old model was broken. 8% to the creative talent? Too little.

To all the anons: Get a username. Signing your name doesn't count. I could log on and post in your tone and type your name.

Neil

Anonymous said...

Seems to me a lot of you folks have a problem with contrary viewpoints.

-jt

Joe Konrath said...

That's delusional, a little self-pitying, and ungrateful.

Oh, ye of little insider knowledge.

Cherry Bomb had a second printing in hardcover, and yet it failed to get into the Borders chain until two-three weeks after its release.

Fail: publisher.

It wasn't discounted, meaning I had a few copies spine out in section rather than prominently displayed, face out, on the New Release table.

Fail: publisher.

It wasn't available in WalMart, Costco, Sam's Club, or any big box stores.

Fail: publisher.

No tour. No advertising. A very limited galley run.

Fail: publisher.

And yet I'm supposed to sell a lot of books?

I am on an even playing field now, because of distribution. The books will succeed of fail based on my decisions, not decision by committee.

And what happens once Joe is in charge?

$17K in four weeks. Which no one has commented on yet, which boggles my mind.

That number is ridiculous. It's insane. For AFRAID, I signed a deal for 20k. For Timecaster, even less.

When things go badly, the amateur blames the publisher, and the professional blames the book."

Spoken by someone who had a huge push from publishers.

Hyperion had a guy who went to 1200 bookstores, whose books were making a tidy profit. That's not a guy you let go.

Fail: publisher.

Grand Central had a guy who earned out his advance in eight months. That's not a guy you let get away.

Fail: publisher.

Joe has already earned over 60K on Kindle, the majority of which are for sales of books NY turned down.

Fail: publisher.

It all totals up to a big box of fail.

No delusion here. Only an understanding of a broken industry.

Self-pitying? Hardly. Read my blog. Find one instance of self pity.

Ungrateful? I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've gotten, after writing for twelve years without a single sale and garnering more than 500 rejections.

I still believe luck is important, and no one deserves success.

But I do feel I deserved to have my publisher match my marketing efforts with their own. They never did.

Their loss.

Erik said...

And then will come the grieving.

Why grieving?

If what Joe is saying is true,it's not like anyone will miss the boat since there's no boat to miss. If Traditional publishing fails, all that's going to happen is a mass exodus of traditionally published writers over to ebooks, and if they price their books low, too, it'll just push indie authors loweer and cut into their sales.

In the new world where the author is king, the indie authors will be fighting for scraps.

Anonymous said...

Joe: "I believe, with more money behind me, my books would have done better ... "

Where is the "more money" going to come from now? Or are you saying the e-book market is somehow magically oblivious to promotional spending, where the print market obviously wasn't? Can you explain?

Anonymous said...

As we move into the future, I'm sure people would rather have 15% of a lot than 70% of very little.

Well . . . . the 70% part of the market might seem small right now (ebooks), but it is growing much faster than the 15% part of it.

Joe is selling 10,000 ebooks a month on Kindle store, much of it at 70% royalties. Is he selling 10,000 a month, at 15%, in the hardcopy world?

The natural law of business says the entrepreneur will go to the market channel where he/she can optimize revenues.

I find it amazing that Joe will sell over 100,000 books on Kindle store ALONE this year. That's a powerful distribution channel, and you'd be a fool not to be there. It's the Walmart of book sales. Every major corporation with retail products has to be in Walmart because of Walmart's consumer reach. It's the same with Amazon -- a writer can't afford NOT to be there, and Amazon's market share will only grow larger with time.

Personally, I'd take the 70% in a rapidly growing market channel over 15% in a declining one.

jtplayer said...

Ok, now I'm all in.

I'm the angry anon posting as jt btw.

wannabuy said...

JT,

Welcome back.

We're excited by the quality of Indie works out there. Many here are excited by the new way to sell their works. Choice is always good for the consumer. :)

So continuing the conversation from the last thread:

When do you expect e-books to break 20% of the market? My prediction is sometime in 2012. Yours? It will be exciting when e-books go from 'technology' to 'appliance.'

Neil

Anonymous said...

"As the market matures, that bubble will deflate.

Why? Show me a precedent for this."

The iPhone? The first day, people go "Oooh," and load up with cheap or free apps. As their relationship with the device matures, they delete the chaff and stick to good, useful stuff?

Anonymous said...

" ... I blame a lot of that on my publisher, who never gave me coop, who switched from ARCs to cheap galleys, who stopped touring me, who screwed up several times with book orders ... I believe, with more money behind me, my books would have done better ... my publisher didn't get my books into enough retailers, and those they did get into had ZERO discounting ... "

Sounds self-pitying to me. Always someone else's fault.

David Wisehart said...

Joe,

Congrats on the audiobook deal.

I'd normally say, "Ignore the critics," but your critics give you such good publicity.

Carry on.

jtplayer said...

Hey guys, how do I get my photo to show up here when I post?

It's on my profile, but not visible here.

-jt

Anonymous said...

Sounds self-pitying to me. Always someone else's fault.

Sounds more like he's stating facts to me. The problem with large bureaucracies (like large publishing companies) is that they make mistakes, and they can't act quickly to modify marketing strategies for their clients. They are just too big.

Being nimble is an advantage a small company or individual entrepreneur has over the big guys. Joe is a prime example; he can change up his marketing strategy, pricing, even book covers in a day. These same actions would take weeks (or would just never happen) when working with a large organization.

These are simple facts of business, and the immediacy of the internet allows an individual marketer to have faster and greater impact.

Someone mentioned something about how the big guys would dominate due to big marketing money. The internet neutralizes the big money angle . . . it truly levels the playing field, as Joe says. This blog, for example, is a very low cost endeavor, yet it has worked to garner many fans and new readers for Joe.

I think the anger comes from the fact that the big publishers no longer dominate the buzz on a book. With thousands of independent bloggers you just can't control the reviews or marketing messages.

jtplayer said...

Sorry, seems to be working now...carry on ;-)

Anonymous said...

"I think the anger comes from the fact that the big publishers no longer dominate the buzz on a book. With thousands of independent bloggers you just can't control the reviews or marketing messages."

Really? Has there been a big book this year not built on expensive publisher-created buzz?

Ian Pattinson said...

I'm very optimistic about the potential of ebooks and print-on-demand, especially as they're a better market for the sort of shorter, faster work I usually do. Most of my stuff is novella length- 30,000 to 40,000 words- and I'd rather release it as a "cheap" ebook than try to add flab to hit the word count of a "proper" novel.

Kindle publishing became available to authors outside the US earlier this year. I only found out about that a month or so ago, but I've published some of my work on there already and I'm optimistic about what I'll get out of it.

Anonymous said...

Really? Has there been a big book this year not built on expensive publisher-created buzz?

In the Kindle world, yes. Check out McQuestion's books, also Elisa Lorello. Given the context and smaller market these are very successful bestsellers.

And this is just the beginning, a market in it's infancy. There will be many more.

It looks like another self-pubbed Kindle author is being offered a major pub contract . . . there's some buzz about it today in the online author communities.

Another book that made it without expensive publisher buzz (and the buzz actually began in the Kindle reader communities) is Boyd Morrison's "The Ark". K.L. Brady's book was also pulled from indie Kindle-first publishing -- will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2011.

I think we'll see more of these -- books that get their initial marketing push in the Kindle community, and then get picked up by the big boyz.

It sure looks like Simon and Schuster is aggressively pursuing a strategy of picking successful midlist books from the Kindle indie community. How long before others follow?

Anonymous said...

Joe, I don't read the comments anymore because they've degenerated too far both in quality and basic respect. I did read your main article though and have a few responses.

Frist, economic times are tough. No one wants to see someone continually shouting about how much money they're making and how much success they're having. People don't like people like that. It's not a publishing issue or a Kindle issue, it's a human nature issue.

If you tone down the flaunting your probably see a toning down of the anger.

I make almost as much on Kindle as you do, thought not quite. I never tell anyone what I make or even who I am. No one's mad at me. That leaves my brain free and uncluttered to write the next book.

ANON OUT WEST

Anonymous said...

"I think we'll see more of these -- books that get their initial marketing push in the Kindle community, and then get picked up by the big boyz."

But I thought e.g. S&S were the dead boyz, not the big boyz. I thought Amazon was the big boy now. Which is it - the future, or a kind of e-slush pile?

Anonymous said...

But I thought e.g. S&S were the dead boyz, not the big boyz. I thought Amazon was the big boy now. Which is it - the future, or a kind of e-slush pile?

Ah, the $64,000 question. One lucky (or not?) author is deliberating that today, and is seriously thinking of turning down the offer from the big publisher.

Why? Giving up ebook rights is just too costly -- trading 70% for 8% could be a money-losing proposition in the long run.

This author is looking for a VERY large advance, and very specific promises with regard to marketing efforts, front table placement in stores, etc, etc.

Without the promise of the very best marketing push, it could be a mistake to take the offer.

Mind you, this is yet another one of those "crap" indie authors who self-pubbed to Kindle, yet another one who is suddenly "worthy" and getting an offer from the big players.

Gosh, how could that happen? I thought all indie stuff was crap.

jtplayer said...

I still don't get the anger thing.

I don't read it as anger. I read it as a healthy difference of opinion and a good back and forth dialog between opposing viewpoints.

Why characterize it as anger?

Does everyone have to agree with Joe, or what he's doing?

By his own admission, for a long time Joe was a proponent of traditional publishing. Now he's changed course, made some sound business decisions, and he's achieving success.

That's all good.

But it doesn't mean an opposing opinion is one of anger.

And it doesn't mean the old way is now horribly invalid and gosh, that's so obvious how can everyone not see it?

News flash people...Joe is not always right. What he's doing is right for him, and I applaud his efforts. One thing's certain, he's generating a lot of interest.

And no...I'm not angry right now ;-)

Ellen Fisher said...

"But it doesn't mean an opposing opinion is one of anger."

No, it doesn't. But when anonymous posters characterize indie authors as "wannabes" over and over again, and make repeated references to indie writing as sh*t, it's hard not to suspect there's a little anger there. At the least there's a lack of courtesy, IMHO.

jtplayer said...

I checked out Karen McQuestion.

Interesting.

Are there any more examples like her? Because one or a few success stories like that equate more to lightning in a bottle than any kind of sustainable trend.

Also interesting to note that Amazon will be publishing her book in print form as well. So I guess the "dead tree" business model is still viable after all.

Right now I'm collecting information. Playing devil's advocate sure, but still very much interested in this whole new "revolution".

Call me jaded, but at nearly 50 years of age I just don't think anything's "all that" anymore. And the old adage still holds true in my mind:

If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.

-jt

jtplayer said...

Ellen- the truth is many indie authors are wannabes and their work is shit.

And a person doesn't have to identify themselves here to make that statement valid.

There's nothing discourteous about it. IMO.

Man, some of you are really hung up on the anonymous posting thing. Get over it.

-jt

Mary Anne said...

Bravo, Joe and congrats on the deal.

I agree with you - in theory the power always belonged to the readers. In reality, the establishment controlled the readers by filtering their choices. It reminds me of politics. The politicians keep forgetting that the power belongs to the people, not the government.

Might the indie revolution have a lot in common with the tea party movement? Never thought about it before, but maybe.

Writers like you are leading the charge so that those like me can hope to (one day) follow in your footsteps (in an entirely different genre).

Thanks for everything........

Anonymous said...

Are there any more examples like her? Because one or a few success stories like that equate more to lightning in a bottle than any kind of sustainable trend.

It's early days, bub. Geesh!

The Daring Novelist said...

There are definitely more authors like McQuestion, but personally, I think those who focus on best-sellers are missing the point entirely.

The "Best Seller" as we know it, is an artificial phenomenon brought about by distribution. When people have a real choice, they tend not to cluster quite so tightly around so few things.

Look at what's happened to television with the advent of cable. You just don't get the monster hits any more. The audience is more spread out.

Luckily, unlike television, ebook publishing does not require the kind of capital outlay that means a moderate success has to be canceled. So the audience spread can continue.

The issue isn't whether indie authors can ever be a superstar. The issue is that there won't be so many superstars, there will just be stars. And that's good for writers and readers.

Ellen Fisher said...

"There's nothing discourteous about it. IMO."

So you don't see anything rude about telling people that they're wannabes and that their work is sh*t? Okay. I will certainly acknowledge that there are plenty of indie books out there that are utterly worthless. But to come onto a site frequented by indie authors and yell WANNABE, WANNABE! over and over again smacks of discourtesy and a certain amount of insecurity, to me at least.

And people get worked up about anonymous posters when they come onto blogs and start saying things they don't have the guts to have their names associated with. It's trolling, and I don't know of a single place on the Internet where trolls are well-loved.

jtplayer said...

I'm not yelling Ellen.

And I'm not here to pick a fight with you either.

We can certainly agree to disagree.

And for the other guy, the anonymous one, really? It's the early days? Wow, I didn't know that makes my question invalid.

Sheesh!

rex kusler said...

Does anybody even read all this stuff?

Cold beer--that's what I celebrate.

Anonymous said...

Ellen- the truth is many indie authors are wannabes and their work is shit.

Well that's one way to put it--the most discourteous way possible. If you attended a Christmas party and listened to some carolers from the neighborhood would you call them shit because they aren't good enough for a recording contract?

Probably no, you'd probably enjoy listening to them. There's nothing wrong with amateurs, or even amateurs who sell. Witness the local artists who sell their "shit" pottery at the local fair.

Anonymous said...

"But to come onto a site frequented by indie authors and yell WANNABE, WANNABE! over and over again smacks of discourtesy and a certain amount of insecurity, to me at least."

Not just to you - I, too, think the loudest naysayers here are terrified of anything that *they think* devalues their status as "published authors". There are always going to be bluebloods that hate the nouveau riche, who don't want to share the golf course at the country club. They will never be welcoming. Which is their loss, and hopefully won't phase the new kids at all. Joe et al, enjoy your success, as I enjoy all the opportunities to read new talent.

Anonymous said...

And for the other guy, the anonymous one, really? It's the early days? Wow, I didn't know that makes my question invalid.

Think about it. It does.

Anonymous said...

Are there any more examples like her?

Elisa Lorello, John Rector, Imogen Rose, Zoe Winters, DB Henson, Vicki Tyley, John Luciew

There are more, but those come to mind right away.

Anonymous said...

"Look at what's happened to television with the advent of cable. You just don't get the monster hits any more. The audience is more spread out."

That's a great comparison! Mind if I use that in the future, as long as I credit you?

And we all know how that exact spread has taken power away from the "major networks", and they hate it, but have managed to hang on. Yet as a viewer, my favorite original programming is now on USA, TNT and FX. I firmly believe the same will become true of my reading - I'll only turn to the big publishers for an occasional read from a long-standing favorite author.

rbholbrook said...

Haha! The things jealousy comes up with. And the more successful you become the worse it will get. So enjoy your success because no one else will.

Joe Konrath said...

No one wants to see someone continually shouting about how much money they're making and how much success they're having.

Being quiet about it won't help other authors who are on the fence about trying it.

This blog is called A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Since I began it, the goal has been to inform newbie authors about the industry, based on what I've done and learned.

I just learned that I can make a lot of money. I need to share that.

I'm not doing it to brag. I'm doing it to back my opinions up with real figures, which can then be used by other writers to help them make choices in their careers.

I'm also doing it because I still can't quite believe it myself. $17k in four weeks? Seriously?

Every time I make a prediction about ebooks, real life turns out better than the prediction. This information should be widely spread. Not because it brings me publicity. But because this is a very important aspect of the writing business which NY publishing is ignoring.

This is important. This is meaningful. This is the future.

It needs to be said. And I'm fine with being the one who says it. Even if it irritates a lot of people.

jtplayer said...

Re: Elisa Lorello, John Rector, Imogen Rose, Zoe Winters, DB Henson, Vicki Tyley, John Luciew

There are more, but those come to mind right away.
-----------------------

Thanks for that. I'm gonna check those folks out.

-jt

jtplayer said...

Re: "This is the future."

Time will tell Joe, time will tell.

I applaud your success and thank you for making this blog available. I've followed you for some time and have gleaned much good information from your insider view to the world of publishing.

Thanks bro.

-jt

T. B. Wright said...

Joe,
It's great to hear that you are finding such success in the ebook realm. As my own novel nears completion, I am having a tough time deciding between the two avenues. Though I will doubtlessly try to get an agent and pursue the traditional publishing route, it is always exciting to know that there is a backup system, so to speak, that is continually growing in scope.
I can't really speak to why so many are detracting from your success. If person A has success and person B does not, then I see no reason why person B shouldn't congratulate person A. Bitching at A because of his/her success doesn't get anyone anywhere.
But, people will be people, no matter how irrational at times.
Anyways, congrats on the audiobooks. I hope your success grows.
-TB Wright

Anonymous said...

"I just learned that I can make a lot of money. I need to share that ... I still can't quite believe it myself. $17k in four weeks? Seriously?"

This is the disconnect I can't bridge. 17 books = $250 a week each. That's a lot of money? For a year's work? Seriously? Why not start a blog called The Newbies Guide to Flipping Burgers at McDonalds?

A successful author with a 17-book backlist in traditional publishing makes 100 or 400 or 600 times that. Unless you can show how the e-book market (merely a change of medium, remember) can invert everything we know about getting people to find good stuff, you're leading people up the garden path, and fooling yourself.

rex kusler said...

The only downside, I've experienced, while hawking my books on Amazon--is the need to keep changing my W-4.

Anonymous said...

"A successful author with a 17-book backlist in traditional publishing makes 100 or 400 or 600 times that."

You're saying $2 million a month (at 100 times what Joe is earning) is common for a traditionally published author with a 17-book backlist? That's over $24 million a year. At 400 times what Joe makes it's around $100 million a year.

JK Rowling makes that kind of money, and maybe (?) Patterson, but I don't think it's usual for authors with a 17 book backlist.

Joe Konrath said...

17 books = $250 a week each. That's a lot of money? For a year's work? Seriously?

You do know that the average professional advance for a novel is $5000, and that four out of five published books don't make a profit, right?

You also know it takes me about six weeks to write a novel, right?

A successful author with a 17-book backlist in traditional publishing makes 100 or 400 or 600 times that.

You really think there are a lot of authors making two million dollars a week? Are you on crack? Because $4000 x 600 = $2,400,000.

I know a lot of bestselling authors well enough to have talked money with them. A million dollar, multibook deal is still the exception, not the norm, in the fiction writing world, even among the bestsellers. And how many of these million dollar authors do you think have actually earned out their advances?

I'd guess the majority of authors on the NYT list get advances between $70k and $400k per book.

The $4k a week I'm currently earning is over $200k annually. If it keeps up, I'll be earning more than the majority of the authors on the NYT bestseller list. Here's why.

A $250k advance means the book will probably never earn royalties--it would have to sell too many copies. That means it isn't earning $250k a year. It's earning $250k over the course of ten, or more, years.

If I have a book earning me $30k per year, I'll earn more than $250k in ten years, and that book could keep earning forever.

An ebooks are only 10% of all book sales. What will happen when they're 50%?

Anonymous said...

Top earning authors:

http://www.forbes.com/2008/10/01/books-publishing-media-biz-media-cx_lr_1001authors.html


If you think you're the next Patterson or JK Rowling then you should go with the big publisher contract. If not, the JA Konrath model looks like a good second choice.

Joe Konrath said...

Danielle Steel only earns 30 mil a year? I'm shocked it isn't higher.

Even so, there's an 20/80 rule. In any given industry, 20% of the workers earn as much as the other 80%.

Then if you take that top 20%, the 20/80 rule can be applied again. And again. And again, until you get the 30 million and 100 million dollar per year authors.

Me? If I can make six figures a year doing what I love, I'm happy.

Anonymous said...

"You really think there are a lot of authors making two million dollars a week? Are you on crack? Because $4000 x 600 = $2,400,000. "

Sorry, I meant up to 600 x $250 per week.

"I'd guess the majority of authors on the NYT list get advances between $70k and $400k per book."

Did you miss the coverage about Janet Evanovich (a solid #1 NYT bestseller) getting offered $40m for four books and turning it down, wanting more?

"And ebooks are only 10% of all book sales. What will happen when they're 50%?"

Without major marketing support, you'll be invisible again. I applaud you for finding a brief bubble in the short term and cashing in, but you haven't found an "e-book model." You've found a "yard sale model." You had cheap, risk-free stuff for sale when folks wanted to ooh and ahh over watching Whispernet work, but that won't last forever. Soon you'll be back in the jungle.

Michael said...

"This is the disconnect I can't bridge. 17 books = $250 a week each. That's a lot of money? For a year's work?"

I'm not sure your point makes sense. $250/week for 17 titles means each title brings in $12,000/year, which is pretty good in terms of backlist royalties. This isn't the cover price we're counting, this is money paid to the writer.

Assuming the author earned back their advance, a trad author would need to sell 16,000 books a year to make that much, whereas Joe probably needs in the range of 6,000. And worse yet, a lot of backlist titles are out of print, meaning it's almost impossible for a writer to hit that 16,000 mark in the first place.

So when you look at an hourly breakdown, with each book taking 1,900 hours to write (roughly 8hrs/day/week for a year), and discounting any advances and/or "new book" sales boosts, at 10,000 books a year, a trad author would be earning the equivalent of $3.95/hour, whereas Joe would be earning $10.53/hour. Neither one is especially inspiring, but then cashing in on your older books isn't the same as actively writing a new book in realtime.

I think you're getting lost in the numbers here, because backlist royalties on a per-title basis aren't meant to buy you a yacht every year... it's when you add them up that you get something useful. Hell, if you're concerned about revenue-per-hour-worked, get into episodic TV... it pays about $3,500/hour. Compared to that, traditional publishing is like being an assistant burger flipper at a lesser-known fast food chain :)

Thomas Brookside said...

Personally, I hope my work IS shit.

Because it still creeps along, selling a few copies here and there.

I'll make a few thousand bucks in the next twelve months, and that's A-OK with me.

And the worse it is, the happier that makes me. Because if I'm really, really, really bad - as bad as the anonymous posters would have it - then I could never have gotten traditionally published no matter what, and that makes my sales all found money. Money from the sky.

If I can poop into a Word .doc and make a few grand, why on Earth would I stop?

Especially when I get to be The Beast That Destroyed Literature at the same time. That's nice and Miltonian, isn't it? Who could turn that down?

If I can graduate from being Anonymous Drone Out of the Work of TS Eliot and become The Beast That Destroyed Literature instead, that is frickin' awesome. "Flee from my mighty slush powers! Run, authors, run!"

annie said...

This is jmo, but I think published authors fear the competition b/c they know that there are unpublished writers with good material who simply can't crack the establishment as it exists for reasons that go beyond the quality of the writing.

Also, as long as the status quo controls things, the profits are better for those who are lucky enough to break in. Because some of getting published is quality and some is persistence and some is just being in the right place at the right time.

I follow your adventure closely. You are the future. It's not easy jumping ahead of the pack.

Joe Konrath said...

Soon you'll be back in the jungle.

I agree. And it will be a tropical jungle, on the small island I'm going to buy.

I'd invite you to visit, but you're too chicken to post under your name.

Vivi Anna said...

I think its awesome.

Where else can an author make 70% on their work?

No where.

Authors actually get control over everything about their work. The cover, the copy, price, and advertising.

It's awesome and I can't wait to get my first selfpubbed urban fantasy up on the Kindle next month.

Coolkayaker1 said...

Joseph—you have made your point. As a reader, not a writer (yet), the numbers speak for themselves and you have been candid enough to share them and that is gracious and convincing. Oddly, the Anon posters seem to be the only real detractors on your blog. So, without further thought, before these blog threads enter The Department of Redundancy Department, please can we move on to another subject. I know it’s your blog, but the majority on here understand your numbers and success and really do enjoy your work. So, I beg of you, teach us newbies something new about publishing, which is first writing. Examples: how the hell do you turn out a novel in six weeks? Who really does, and how many people do, edit your manuscripts? Where does teaching, as you sometimes do at the community college, fit in to marketing and your sense of well-being as an author? That sort of thing. Maybe start a thread asking your faithful commenters what they’d like to hear about now. Seriously. These are just thoughts, it is, in fact, your blog, Joe. Thanks. And many thanks for your advice about putting the whole Word document in one file that you gave me by email, agreeing with Mr. Thrasher (who I think you have met at book signings). So it shall be. 

Joe Konrath said...

how the hell do you turn out a novel in six weeks

12 hour days, ten pages per day. I'm lucky that this is my full time job.

Who really does, and how many people do, edit your manuscripts?

I have two to five beta readers, all published authors, who give me comments. Then i have two proof readers.

Where does teaching, as you sometimes do at the community college, fit in to marketing and your sense of well-being as an author?

It used to be important. not anymore. I'm content with teaching on my blog, and don't feel the need to do it in person anymore.

jtplayer said...

Boy, I'm really glad I came out of the shadows.

The anonymous are getting hammered around here.

Joe Konrath said...

$250/week for 17 titles means each title brings in $12,000/year, which is pretty good in terms of backlist royalties.

This is a key point.

Normally, you work for a year on something, you get paid for that year.

I'm getting paid, and paid well, on stuff I wrote ten years ago. It still keeps earning.

Who else earns money now on the work done in the year 2000? That's unheard of. And very few writers have that sort of income on their older work--most of it goes out of print, or never earns out its advance.

Zoe Winters said...

Very well said, Joe. I think it's jealousy and bitterness, personally that is causing these reactions.

And it seems that most of the loudest complainers are unpublished authors, which are the last people one would expect to react that way. It strikes me as some sort of battered wives syndrome where they defend the industry who would rather spit on them than publish them. An industry that even if they did publish them would likely ignore them and let them rot on a shelf then blame the author that books that weren't marketed enough didn't sell.

I also wonder why on earth so many writers seem to be writing for editors and agents and NOT for readers. I write for myself and for readers. If an editor or agents likes it, that's awesome, but they should be liking it AS a reader. Because that's all I care about.

I would love to some day be able to sell subsidiary rights from my self-published work like you have, but I don't see myself ever wanting to part with first rights or English language digital rights to anything.

If I thought readers were really stupid and couldn't tell good from bad stories, I wouldn't write. I don't understand the level of contempt so many writers seem to have for readers and anyone who truly caters to them... i.e. indie authors.

E.J. Wesley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E.J. Wesley said...

For those people suggesting that Amazon, etc. will become the new gatekeepers (really starting to despise that term, btw), I think we should take a look at Apple/iTunes. They put the music industry on its ear by selling individual songs for cheap, basically allowing listeners to dictate what they purchased, and how much they were willing to pay. Furthermore, they allowed obscure artist to sell their music to a worldwide audience on the cheap. iTunes is still the primary distributor of electronic music, but Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy (among others) have all joined the business.

My point is that even though Apple does an incredible business, and is arguably as important to a musician's success as any record company, they haven't drastically changed their business model. Why is that? 1) They've realized there is a threshold in terms of costs for that type of service, and 2) there is a lot of competition out there.

Amazon isn't going to suddenly rob authors blind when/if they become the primary publisher of new authors/content. There will be competition from oodles of other companies. The point being that the publishers will be clambering for the business of the authors, not the other way around as it is now (i.e. authors clambering for the attention of publishers).

Anyone involved in publishing (be it agent, editor, author, etc.) who says, or even suggests, that readers shouldn't be the ones dictating what is published and successful ought to find a new line of work, because they clearly don't get it.

Joe Konrath said...

The anonymous are getting hammered around here.

It's hard to respect people who don't have the guts to back up their words with their identity.

I allow for anonymous posts because it livens things up, and because sometimes people do have legitimate reasons for wanting to remain unknown.

But some folks use that veil of anonymity so they don't have to take responsibility for their comments. Being invisible means saying things they'd never have the guts to say in person. That usually devolves quickly, and I don't have much patience for it.

Aaron Patterson said...

I agree, I am doing the best I have ever done this month. I am sitting at over 1500 ebooks sold and it is only the 15th. Now granted I only have 2 books out so I am pretty happy with this number. I am looking at a 4k paycheck this month and as I look at this number I wonder what it will look like when I get the other two book out by the end of the year... Hello retirement? Never! Write on!

Zoe Winters said...

jt

You know, actually we just have a problem with people who can't express contrary viewpoints without attacking. You've sat and played innocent and I've sat and not replied because it wasn't my fight and you weren't addressing me directly.

But I've played the game you're playing now, and you can't fool me. You said things that were highly inflammatory, overly generalized, and judgmental, not about an idea or process but about the people doing it.

Then people get offended and you look all doe-eyed and innocent about it. Please. I've played that game before so I know it when I see it.

It's not your contrary viewpoint, it's the vitriol and contempt with which you spew it. So stop beating people over the head and then getting irritated when they complain of a headache.

If you're going to argue like that, at least be big enough to admit your words are partly to blame for people's responses for them. Take responsibility for your own words and behavior and stop blaming those you've verbally attacked for feeling wounded.

Zoe Winters said...

@Aaron that's great! Congratulations!

jtplayer said...

Zoe - what is your deal dude?

I'm not playing any games, contrary to your "insightful" post.

You are wrong on every single point about me.

Got that?

Every. Single. One.

Are we clear?

Christ, some of you really need to dial it down a few notches.

I've gone ahead and ponied up and identified myself. I've also filled in some profile information so you can learn a little about me. In the future I'll probably add more. Feel free to contact me if you like.

I've shared my opinions here. Nothing more...nothing less. You can read those opinions anyway you want. But you know something dude? You want to be a dick...be a dick. But do not act like you know me. Because you don't. Got it skippy?

Sorry for the flame out...but holy shit man...some people.

-jt

Chris Bates said...

I love a good tussle.

Keep it up people. Great fun!

Zoe Winters said...

JT,

You only prove my point with how patronizing your comment to me is. You've dialed a lot of your posts back in this thread (well except for this latest one where you've decided to really put me in my place for daring to call you on what many of us have witnessed here), but it's not like we can't all go back and reread.

And with this most recent comment of yours, you remind us all again.

The majority opinion here seems to be that a lot of your posts are pretty acerbic and rude. Your reply is that we're all whiny babies. You refuse to take any personal responsibility for your own words.

I really can't respect that.

At least when someone calls me on my own bullshit, I have the grace and decency to say I'm sorry for the offense.

You, of course, are a spotless angel, and we are the ones with the real problem.

Also, I am not a dude. I am a female. Zoe is a female's name. Somehow I manage to carry on an argument without having a dick. Amazing, I know.

Joe Konrath said...

Let's tone it down. Attack the argument, not the person. And the only one who is allowed to call anyone names is me, because it's my house.

Edie Ramer said...

I've been talking for the last couple months about my choice to go digital, and not one writer has said anything negative to me. I've gotten the opposite, people telling me they're thinking or it, or they're going indie, or they'll watch to see how it goes for me. A NY Times' bestselling writer is rooting for me (as soon as I get my book up--in a few weeks, I hope).

I've been referring a lot of writers to your blogs, Dean Wesley Smith's, Karen McQuestion's and Zoe Winter's. I don't see how anyone can read all of that and not think this could be a great thing for writers.

jtplayer said...

Sorry about that Joe.

And Zoe, I don't know what your deal is, but kindly ignore me please. You've already decided what I'm all about and I have no desire to try and change your mind.

Whatever dude.

-jt

Zoe Winters said...

JT,

Considering some others responses to you, I believe my reply is what many wanted to say. It's astounding that you can't see how you come off in text. And that even when it's pointed out to you, it's always the person being attacked's fault.

If you post something public and viewable you should be prepared to have people disagree with you and call you on it if you're flamey. If you post things I disagree with, I may ignore you if I don't feel like messing with it. Or I may engage with you. If you don't want to risk me engaging, don't post. But don't expect that I will ignore you just because you told me to.

I'm in no way "flipped out," "angry," or "upset." I am perfectly calm. I just got tired of seeing BS denial of other people's feelings here.

Anne R. Allen said...

Joe, whatever anybody may think of your success, you are showing writers a choice and an alternate path, and that has to be good.

Lots of good info in this thread, too. I'll be really interested to see the SinC study. The biggest problem is the one mentioned by one of the commenters who cringed at the idea her first novel might have made it into an ebook. Most writers don't realize when they're not ready. The gateway publishing-industry paradigm keeps us working at our craft. But it also keeps a lot of good writers from getting published because they don't fit the current marketing trends.

I've just posted a link to this in my own blogpost discussing the subject.

jtplayer said...

Ignore please.

robin o'neill said...

Luckily writers have a choice now. For those who think the sun rises and sets with a handful of houses in NYC, you are welcome to deal with them for your entire career. For some of us, the enchantment has worn off, the gold has lost its glitter and the opportunity to create a book from start to finish is a liberating experience. What's wrong with more choice and more freedom?

Joe Konrath said...

For some of us, the enchantment has worn off, the gold has lost its glitter and the opportunity to create a book from start to finish is a liberating experience.

Writing has always been the most fun part of my job. Now I get to do more of it.

rex kusler said...

The horseless carriage angered a lot of people when it began to gain popularity--and for good reason--it scared the shit out of the horses as it chugged past them.

Linda Pendleton said...

Joe,

I've been saying for months what you are saying...and you're not reading that wrong either.
"Unless I'm reading this wrong, a lot of authors believe that the only worthwhile writing is the writing that has earned the stamp of approval by a NY Publishing House"

It has puzzled me why members of several writers groups have been against those of us who have made a choice to self-publish.

It makes more sense to think that that publishers and agents would be the ones in a panic...but successful (or published) authors??

But sadly, we've seen this in all aspects of life...jealousy and resentment of the success of another.

I love it when an author is successful...it is damn hard work writing...and too often the author ends up being at the bottom of the totem pole, whether in a publishing house or in Hollywood. It all begins with the author, but they like to push us aside.

So these opportunities such as with Kindle are great...and more and more authors are turning to self-publishing.

Ebooks are the future. Look at the last 15 years...and it will be the young people who will further the technological age, just as we've done in current time.

I do not believe we in our lifetimes will see the demise of the paper book, but there will be a place for ebooks, and the popularity of reading electronically will grow.

I jumped on the self-publishing ebook band-wagon ten years ago, and am happy I did. Now a lot more authors are doing so—and more to come.

Good for us.

evilphilip said...

"And the only one who is allowed to call anyone names is me, because it's my house."

Joe, you are successful, inventive, creative and inspirational. Ha! I'm calling you names.

See what I did there?

While it would appear that many authors have a problem with people who self publish because they feel the need for validation that traditional publishing offers you can bet that there are as many Agents, Editors and Publisher staff who are reading your blog and seeing your success and it has them angry and scared.

Without traditional publishing many authors will never need an agent and indie authors are direct competition for the "Big 6" because Amazon levels the playing field. A self published book looks the exact same on the Kindle or Amazon.com home page as a traditionally published title.

When you add in the jealousy many people have for your success that makes for more than a few bitter, angry comments.

Those "Angry Authors" need to realize that bandwagon riding can be a ton of fun and instead of directing their hatred at you, they should jump into the hay and enjoy the ride.

M.J.A. Ware said...

I've started just skipping over the anonymous posts.

Though I agree sometimes Joe is over zealous (I would be too, if I was in his shoes). I think, if you want to criticize someone, at least have the guts to sign your name to it.

I think Joe should do one of two things:
1. Disable anonymous posting all together (like most of the agent blogs I read do).
2. Change them from "Anonymous" to "Anonymous Coward"

AB said...

Michael who said "So when you look at an hourly breakdown, with each book taking 1,900 hours to write (roughly 8hrs/day/week for a year)"

Few things not quite right about your breakdown here. First, a year of 8 hour work days (weekends off) works out to about 2,080 hours. That's without vacations or sick days.

Second, for me at least, it takes about an hour to write 1,000 words. Break down writing 8 hours a day, five days a week for a year and you get 2,080,000 words in a year. That's about 20-22 books a year (if the book lengths are between 80k and 100k words).
If I wrote 20 books a year, I'd be an insanely fast writer. If each of those books went up on Kindle and sold say 100 copies a month each, at 2.99 I'd earn about 4k a month, or about 48k a year. Which works out to about 23 bucks an hour. A ton more than minimum wage. And it would start to add up even more. Look at the math.

1st year- 20 books (we'll pretend I spent year zero writing 20 books for sake of simplicity and that I spend each year getting 20 books done before I put them up and that each book will only sell 100 copies a month forever) = 48,000 dollars gross

2nd year- 40 books = 96,000 dollars gross
3rd year- 60 books = 144,000 dollars gross
4th year- 80 books =192,000 dollars gross
Etc...

All this assuming you can write 8 hours a day (which is really tough, at least for me. My hands start to hurt after about 4, so I limit my sessions), and that your books won't ever sell better than 100 copies a month of any given book.

Still, the idea that there is no money in writing fiction (either for kindle/self pub or for trad publishing) is a myth. It's like succeeding in any other small business... put in the work and learn everything you can and you'll get there.

Paul Levine said...

Can't we all just get along?

Inspired by Joe, I put three of my out-of-print backlist on Kindle last month at $2.99. One is selling briskly, the other two are okay. All are selling better than the five in-print books currently placed on Kindle by my publisher, and listed at $5.59 to $12.79.

I think New York publishing will survive, and digital publishing will thrive.

As for the brickbats hurled at Joe, I'm wondering if Charles Dickens caught grief for publishing "The Adventures of Oliver Twist" as serial in Bentley's Miscellany in the 1830's. Yes, there were some others doing the same, but were they all looked down upon?

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

Drat, drat, drat HTML fail.

View from another shore.

Australia seems to be just getting into the action and I followed a link from DearAuthor.com to read this:

Right now Australian publishers are offering authors new contracts – or asking them to sign addendums to existing contracts – that pay only 7% to 25% royalties on e-books. That sounds like a lot, but the way online selling works means that it’s a lot less than the standard 10% royalty on a print book.

Angelo Loukakis, the ASA’s executive director, advises local authors of print books that sell as e-books with a list price between US$10 and US$20 to aim for a minimum e-book royalty of 35% of what the publisher receives from the online reseller.


As the author of the blog post which contains this quote states, Australian paperbacks have been over priced for decades. Plus, it's not often that an Australian author gets to break into the US market, which is a dead shame.

Audible carries a number of Australian books and I would like the option to buy more.

Morgana Katz said...

The Writer's Digest August 2010 article "Publishers win back control over e-book prices" discusses the Amazon/Macmillian pricing issue.

A quote from the article: "In the coming months and years, publishers anticipate erosion in Amazon's e-book dominance. One thing is certain: After the massive changes this year, publishers have regained some of the control over e-book pricing."

Propaganda-wise, I suppose raising their prices to an unrealistic level and anticipating is the least they can do.

Thanks for blazing the trail, Joe.

Selena Kitt said...

"Can anyone here tell me about a true independent author who has had success on par, or anywhere near, Joe's? I'm talking about someone who has never been published in print by an established publisher."

Me.

That's right, anonymous.

I'll make over $100,000 this year on my work.

I'm exclusively self-e-published.

And I write erotica and erotic romance. Nothing as lofty, even, as horror and mystery! ;)

My stuff on Kindle has been pretty well-received - I'm #1, #3 and I think #5? in the erotica category on Amazon. My print books (all POD/CreateSpace) are doing fairly well, too. I make between $1500-$3000 a month on those alone. Plus I take advantage of other venues as well that are a little more geared toward my genre - places like All Romance Ebooks, Bookstrand, Fictionwise, My Bookstore and More, etc. I'm on Kobo, and I'll self-pub on Barnes and Noble when they've got their self-pubbing software up and running.

My numbers on Kindle look similar to Konrath's - about 10K a quarter.

It CAN be done. Even if you've never been published in NY (or even thought about it!)

JoePike said...

As a reader I'm jazzed that I'll be able to read more new books by some of my favorite authors much sooner in e-book format than with traditional publishing. TRAPPED & ENDURANCE are examples.

Knowing that TIMECASTER is done and ready to be read is very frustrating to me. Joe, I wish Kimball had gone Kindle with that book and not traditional publishing since I want to read it now! But I know timing wise that's just the way it worked out.

As a very newbie writer I'm encouraged that I may be able to make some cash on my writing through Amazon (and others) and not have to go through years of potential rejection by trad. publishers. Even make a living selling e-books someday if my writing proves worthy and my marketing skills are sharp.

Should all writers have to go through what Joe did before they can start making money on their books (500 rejections)? I don't think so. The bottom line is...if my writing is crap it won't sell in any format. But I don't think it is, and now I have a chance to prove it.

Joe, you proved it with THE LIST and ORIGIN. I loved those books...and NY didn't want anything to do with them way back when.

wannabuy said...

Aaron,
Wow! That is great. Congrats! I'm glad it is paying your enough to eat this month and who knows with a few more books!

Joe,
Please keep posting the details. It really helps give a flavor of how a "mid-list" author is doing. Oh, can I scuba dive off your island? Please?


JT, again welcome to a profile.
I still don't get the anger thing.
Trigger words. They are used to indicate anger on the web. e.g., the way certain cuss words are used. If not your intention, no harm done. But the web is 100 cultures intermingling that has adopted its own standards.

Also, you were anon. Indie authors are attacked in a spiteful way by anons every day on this blog. Somehow having a name, even an alias, tones things down. It is hard to take anyone who posts as anonymous seriously.

MJA said:
I've started just skipping over the anonymous posts.
I should, but as a speed reader... its too easy to soak it all in.

I'm still amazed at how much is happening in e-books. Some of what is happening shouldn't be until e-books (not just Kindle, but e-books as a whole) reach 20% market share. It could be that I'm looking for the change; it could be that between the various e-readers (including smart phones) and laptops/PC's as e-readers) we're approaching the tipping point faster than I thought possible.

Or is it that the publishers pay so little to so many that even with e-books at ~10% of the total market that anyone mid-list and up should defect? Seriously, 8% is pitiful. I bet at 15% few would defect. But now Amazon/Apple/B&N and ??? are offering 70%.

When you starve your talent, they are not loyal. Heck, Adam Smith wrote about that in 1776.

I love seeing the backlists being 'published' on Amazon. The tyranny of shelf space is over.


Neil

Ellen Fisher said...

Thanks for that info, Selena. I'm counting the days till I get my one erotic romance back from its publisher. Maybe I should quit counting, and start writing more erotic romance:-).

Selena Kitt said...

"The tyranny of shelf space is over."


That's lovely! :)

Selena Kitt said...

@Ellen

It's quite a popular category in the ebook world, and I think it will remain so. As I've said before - no one can see what you're reading on a Kindle (or a Nook, or an iPad, or whatever!) - no racy covers to goggle over. You can read it in public, privately, all you want. Which, in some ways, can make it even more fun ;)

Victorine said...

Great post. I totally agree. The readers will know what is good and what is not. They may not be able to say "this book is full of passive language", but they will know if something is well written or not. Thanks for the excellent post.

Laura Resnick said...

"I think New York publishing will survive, and digital publishing will thrive. "


I agree with Paul.

(On a separate subject, I encourage anyone posting here or anywhere else as "Anonymous" to use their real names. Anonymous commentary has no credibility.)

I believe that digital self-publishing will be very good for some writers; and I think digital self-publishing will make no real difference for others.

I think a lot of people who think electronic self-publishing will revive their dormant writing careers or successfully start their writing careers aren't taking into account how competitive the market is and what's involved in building an audience.

There will be some people who currently don't have an audience and who make a success of digital self-publishing, and those people will be much-cited and touted.

But I believe that most people who currently have no audience and who upload their books to e-formats will continue to have no audience.

The much-reviled "gatekeepers" of professional publishing don't just nefariously keep breathtaking works of staggering genius from being published. They also (when they publish a book well) invest enormous resources to get a writer's name known to readers and to get readers looking for the writer's next book.

Even taking into account that the drastically smaller (or even non-existent) overhead of a digitally self-published book means the author can sell far smaller quantities of a book and still see a profit or tidy income--the marketplace (where books vie for readers' limited time and attention) is so competitive that I doubt most self-published writers will succeed at the PR/business end of this endeavor well enough to attract even -that- much of an audience.

Getting printed was never the key to succeeding as a novelist. Lots of books get acquired, released, and disappear overnight, along with their authors. Getting WELL PUBLISHED has always been the key.

Now that the "getting printed" portion of the equation--making a book widely available in a consumer format--is so affordable, easy, and accessible, the question remaining is: How many of those will be WELL PUBLISHED--specifically in terms of effectively attracting attention to the author and building audience? Probably very few.

So I think that digital self-publishing will change things for some writers and for a few aspiring writers, but for some writers and a lot of aspring writers, it won't really change anything.

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Show me one true independent who has matched Joe's success, or even come close. And I'm talking straight to ebook, no previous print versions.

I'm making more than Joe as a self-published non-fiction writer using POD. I have one Kindle book in print. I have never been published by any traditional press, although I have had articles published in mainstream magazines.

Joe will overtake me by the end of the year, because my books are technical in nature and my potential buyer market is very small (about 10,000 people take a specialized tax exam every year, and I write a study guide for it).

My company became a C Corp this year. I started with nothing, and it took four years to get where I am now.

My point is that anyone can do this, as long as they are stubborn enough and have fairly good writing skills. What most people don't realize is that this business is 90% stubbornness and 10% talent. You have to work hard, long, and have a thick skin.

You have to accept rejection, criticism, and still get up and write every day with no guarantee of sales or success. That takes a special type of crazy. If you can manage to ignore all the voices that tell you that you are "never going to make it," then you can make a living as a writer.

Anonymous said...

The last post standing wins! Good luck to everyone. Don't quit now, you're in the final stretch. You can do it!

Selena Kitt said...

See? You can do it writing horror or mystery! You can do it writing porn and tax exam guides! You can do it in a box or with a fox! You can do it here or there...

Heck, even Dr. Seuss can do it ;)

evilphilip said...

"The iPhone? The first day, people go "Oooh," and load up with cheap or free apps. As their relationship with the device matures, they delete the chaff and stick to good, useful stuff?"

The new iPad is selling a million units a month. I read a quote from an anime director who said that you can't go anywhere in Japan without seeing people glued to their iPad screens.

That is on top of whatever Amazon is selling in Kindle's per day, B&N is selling in nook's per day and Sony is selling in their ereader.

ASUS is launching a an excellent looking eBook/document reader (e-ink) with a camera in the fall at a discounted price. (It will probably be the first real $99 eBook reader.)

The market for eBooks is growing in leaps and bounds and new consumers will enter that market every day.

Even if I subscribed to the theory that people purchase a ton of cheap eBooks the day after they get their reader to "Fill it up", with an ever-expanding market there will always be tons of consumers willing to try out your cheap eBook vs. the $12.99 eBook from the Big 6.

Who knows, they might even like my book better. :)

Laura Resnick said...

BTW, Joe, it's worth noting that my experience is that exact opposite of yours. Where I encounter anger, vitriol, and a kind of tedious aggression about this subject is from:

1. Pro-digital-self-publishing aspiring writers who've never sold a book to a professional publisher or worked in the industry, and who now vehemently declare that professional publishing is dead, a dinosaur, a bad "alternative," etc. Some are tiresomely pushy about it, including trying (in arguments heavily laced with common misconceptions) to explain an industry they've never worked in to those of us who've been working in it for years.

2. Pro-digital embittered professional writers who haven't sold a book in years. Not every writer who got squeezed out of the market is bitter. But the ones who are bitter tend to be noisily gleeful these days about (as they imagine it) dancing on the grave of professional publishing. Their attitude doesn't seem to be about happily embracing a new opportunity in the digital world nearly so much as it seems to be about vengefully predicting the doom of an industry that rejected them.


All the writers I know who have a healthy career in professional publishing are taking far and away the most moderate view I encounter. Most say things like, "I've got some backlist and a couple of trunk books I'm going to self-publish digitally. Wonderful opportunity!" No anger or vitriol involved, not toward anyone.

None of my under-contract writer friends go around saying, "Digital is crack! It's rubbish! It's a flash in the pan!" We think about it a lot, we discuss it a lot, we're interested in exploiting it.

And we're also daily deflecting misinformed, emphatic, sometimes angry, and sometimes even vitriolic comments about professional publishing from writers who are no longer selling to professional publishers and from aspiring writers who've NEVER sold to professional publishers.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Konrath,

I am posting under anonymous because I don't know how to use the other stuff.
I have asked before and hope to be answered now but I see the ebook as the future of younger readers, mainly grades 4-8. Plus if they are enhanced ebooks that makes it even better. Video, vocabulary lists, author interviews, it can be endless.
I am not sure I can say if my YA novel will do well on Kindle but I told my publisher, who didn't want to do a Kindle version, that it was a must. I haven't gotten any records of sales but I am glad I pushed it.

Does anyone else see a market for YA titles? For teachers I would think it would be great.

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club
Secrets of the Magical Medallions

C. Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

And we're also daily deflecting misinformed, emphatic, sometimes angry, and sometimes even vitriolic comments about professional publishing from writers who are no longer selling to professional publishers and from aspiring writers who've NEVER sold to professional publishers.

I understand why writers are angry. I did a talk last week for an indie publisher/writer org, and at least 1/2 of the people who were there were publishing company layoffs or writers who had been traditaionall published and now were put out to pasture. I felt bad for them. They were there to hear me talk about self-publishing, but only because many of them felt like they had no other options.

I've never felt that way, because I never had a publisher lay me off, and I never had any rejections on my manuscripts because I knew that they would never sell to a traditional publisher(a very small niche market).

Debbi said...

Wow, Joe, I don't envy you having to answer all these comments (some of them mind-bogglingly angry, misleading or misinformed).

Anyway, I couldn't be happier for you. For all of us, actually.

rex kusler said...

I've reached a turning point in my life:

Old Whiskey River. After a lifetime of preferring Jack Daniels, I think this is better. I'll have to confirm it, though.

jtplayer said...

Re: "JT, again welcome to a profile."

Thanks wannabuy.

I really don't get why so many of you are so uptight over anonymous posters.

There are lots of valid reasons why someone might want to remain anonymous. It doesn't diminish their opinions, in the least. IMO.

And as far as the anger things goes, I've read very little here that comes close to being downright shitty. But then again, maybe I've just got a thicker skin than most.

I do know there's one poster here who has some serious anger issues, coupled with an overdriven sense of judgment, as well as a real problem with reading comprehension. My hope is that person is not reflective of the community as a whole.

There seems to be lots of very cool people here. I hope to learn much from you guys as I weave my way along my writer's journey.

Once again, thanks Joe for providing this forum, and for being so forthright with the details of your career. So much of this business is a mystery for those not "in the know". You've been instrumental in lighting the way.

-jt

Ty Johnston said...

rex ... Knob Creek. That's what you want. Promise.

Jude Hardin said...

Well said, Laura Resnick.

rex kusler said...

Well said, Ty Johnson. I'll try it.

Erik Williams said...

"If I can poop into a Word .doc and make a few grand, why on Earth would I stop?"

Regardless of what anyone thinks, that line is classic. Good one, Brookside.

Moses Siregar III said...

On the vitriol, as a regular at Casa de Konrath, I've seen plenty of folks show up and claim that self-published works are shit, self-published authors don't possess x, y, or z (good qualities), and many other vicious, personal-sounding insults.

There are also some self-publishing proponents who put down the institution of traditional publishing, but you practically never see these people insulting traditionally published authors in general.

I think my first paragraph scenario is much harder to fathom. It's one thing to rail against an industry, especially if you're someone who has been frustrated by that industry.

It's something else to claim that people writing independent novels are some lower form of life. How can one insult wholesale the creative endeavors of gobs of thousands of people, especially with all of the changes happening to publishing?

Joe Konrath said...

Knob Creek is nice.

Blanton's is better.

jtplayer said...

Re: "There are also some self-publishing proponents who put down the institution of traditional publishing, but you practically never see these people insulting traditionally published authors in general."

Moses- I would say that's a purely subjective statement.

Just for kicks go to the Absolute Write message boards and check out the "feelings" expressed by many towards authors like Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyer, and James Patterson. Snobbishness is prevalent on both sides of this debate, and insults run rampant.

I for one do not believe that ALL self published works are shit. I do believe that many are, probably a high percentage if the truth were known. I've bought many of those works.

I read probably on the order of 70+ novels a year, in addition to short stories and non-fiction. I take a lot of chances on new and unknown authors. Sometimes it doesn't work out. Oh well, that's just the way it goes.

If you believe in your work and you've found an audience, who gives a crap what anyone else thinks?

I've expressed here an opinion that the ebook revolution will lead to lots of amateur writers uploading garbage to Kindle and the like. I also think it will make it harder to find the good stuff, and in the long run will hurt more than it will help.

But that's just my opinion. After all, I'm a wannabe too, just like my profile says. A wannabe with an opinion, that's a laugh.

-jt

rex kusler said...

It's never too late to learn new things. I've written all of this down.

rex kusler said...

Well, not all of it.

Moses Siregar III said...

Just for kicks go to the Absolute Write message boards and check out the "feelings" expressed by many towards authors like Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyer, and James Patterson. Snobbishness is prevalent on both sides of this debate, and insults run rampant.

That's different than what I was talking about. I said there are self-publishing proponents who attack traditional publishing as an institution, but you practically never see them insulting traditionally published authors in general.

In other words, you'll rarely if ever hear things like, "traditionally published books are shit," or "traditionally publishers authors lack x, y, or z good quality," or some other wide net insult like that.

You'll hear that the way the business of publishing is run is moronic, but you don't see generalized personal insults much from that camp.

As for the authors you mentioned like Dan Brown, Stephanie Meyer, and James Patterson, they probably get criticized by people pursuing traditional publishing as much as by people pursuing indie publishing.

evilphilip said...

Lara, has Tor ever paid you an advance more than $20k?

Zoe Winters said...

LMAO @ Selena "You can do it in a box or with a fox".

I had no idea you were exclusively self-published. That's great!

Zoe Winters said...

JT,

You most definitely do not have a thick skin. Be respectful of people and they will be respectful of you. Make gross generalizations about people and, well, people will get irritated and call you on it. Simple as that.

jtplayer said...

Moses - fair enough.

I know that lots of self published and unpublished writers post at Absolute Write, alongside traditionally published authors.

I'm not sure either group is more or less guilty than the other when it comes to "inflammatory" opinions.

On a completely unrelated note, I noticed you live in Prescott Arizona. My dad lives there as well and I've visited many times over the last 10 years or so. It's a beautiful place to live. Lucky you.

-jt

jtplayer said...

Ignore please.

Life is so much easier that way.

Zoe Winters said...

JT,

I find it curious that I'm not the only person who called you on things you said, and yet I'm the one that you totally shut down on. Now every time I type something you say, "Ignore, please" like I'm beating you with a stick. You posted a comment, I replied. That is the nature of discussion. You are welcome to ignore me if you don't like me. I don't ever just "ignore someone" if I have something to say to something they've said. That's just how I roll. If you roll differently, that's fine, but I reply to things I want to reply to.

Moses Siregar III said...

For the late night crew.

A very good read on self-publishing (though not every point is gospel)

The much better than average list of top ten tips for writers, on craft. This was recently mentioned on Nathan Bransford's blog.

Megan said...

I'm new to all of this, but am lovin' it just the same. I do believe this is the rising tide, and I want to be on it!

Laura Resnick said...

@ evilphilip:

Yes.

Silverwing said...

Agree with you 100 %.

But your post reminds me of something: whatever happened to your Piracy experiment? Do you have any feedback on that yet?

Anonymous said...

You know the old saying, that good judgement comes from experience, and that experience comes from bad judgement? I think that's how it is with self-publishing. You'll make mistakes and publish hings you shouldn't have. But it's not fatal. You have very little financially invested; you can live to fight another day. Experiment, see what works and what doesn't, and learn. It's what we humans do best.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote: Your posts remind me of the late Ed McBain's quote: "When things go badly, the amateur blames the publisher, and the professional blames the book."

If the book is to blame, and the publisher bought rights to the book, where does that leave the publisher?

jtplayer said...

Zoe - it's simple...you have a mental problem. IMO. This is evident by the email you sent me.

Here's an idea, why don't you post that email and let everyone else see how out of proportion your response was to the opinions I posted here.

Hell, you even implied that somehow I'd be embarrassed if you did post it publicly. Go for it dude.

And for the record...out here in Cali, we call chicks dudes. That's how we roll.

And likewise, you can roll any way you see fit.

But this much is fact...you think you know me, but you don't. You've said things here that would indicate you know me...but you don't. You've made gross generalizations about me that are completely wrong. You've taken my words, filtered them through your lens, and told me what I really meant to say. Nice work.

So get off it lady. I'm done with you. I'll continue to participate here and express my feelings and opinions...but not about you. You clearly don't like me. SO IGNORE ME. As I will with you.

-jt

Anonymous said...

Zoe - it's simple...you have a mental problem.

But this much is fact...you think you know me, but you don't. You've said things here that would indicate you know me...but you don't.

Yet you seem to think you know Zoe.

A writer should choose words carefully.

Yours often contradict.

jtplayer said...

Re: "Yet you seem to think you know Zoe."

Listen dude, I only know what she's posted here about me, and what she said to me in a private email.

There's no contradiction here.

Thanks for playin'

-jt

jtplayer said...

Moses - thanks for the links. Good stuff for sure.

-jt

lots of questions said...

I am pretty new to you, and I find it all very interesting, what you're doing.

Are you suggesting that right now (July 2010), a smart competent writer should self-publish on the Kindle? That if a writer has a work that's good, it'll be discovered in the slush of self-published Kindle books and the writer will achieve an audience?

I do believe there are many good books, and whole types of good works, that are ignored (purposefully and not) by NY publishing. I also know that a great deal of NY-published books are awful -- bad books, unoriginal, trendy, stupid, immoral, you name it. Just the same, most self-pubbed books are horrid in other ways. Unoriginal and bad, sure, but also grammatically goofed, misspelled and otherwise unprofessional.

Also, you seem to endorse Kindle as a proper route for writers. What about POD paperbacks? Or other forms of digital eBooks? Or how about posting a book on a web site, or in a blog? Maybe that's not a way to make money, but if the writing's good will the writer attract an audience? And what's after Kindle?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that none of your thrillers are in the Amazon Top 100 for Kindle sales?

Does that mean that all these other 'name' authors are selling many more copies than you are?

Does it mean that you can make $600 a day or whatever awesome amount you're making, for books that go for just $2.99, and your books don't even have to be Top 100 sellers?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/digital-text/157305011/ref=pd_ts_kinc_nav

Ellen Fisher said...

Anon above me, at least one of Joe's recent Jack Kilborn books was in the top 100 for a while. Being in the top 100 is clearly the best way to rack up big numbers (Vicki Tyley has sold a boatload of copies in just a month or two), but being in the top 500 is sufficient to make quite a bit at the newer royalty rate, I think.

Joe Konrath said...

Again, let's be nice.

What about POD paperbacks? Or other forms of digital eBooks?

I'm trying both. Don't have any numbers yet to report, so I can't comment.

Or how about posting a book on a web site, or in a blog?

I've been doing that on my website for years.

Does that mean that all these other 'name' authors are selling many more copies than you are?

No one, me included, fully understands Amazon's ranking system. But I do know that you can be selling more books at #300 than a book at #200. Dunno why, but I've confirmed it watching my own numbers.

Right now there are over 700,000 ebooks on Amazon. If you have a few in the top 2000, you can make decent money. Very decent money.

a lot of questions said...

I'm trying both. Don't have any numbers yet to report, so I can't comment.

So would you say that POD paperbacks are no longer in the realm of the vanity press and amateur author? I had been thinking that there was somehow a difference between self-publishing a Kindle book like you've been doing here quite successfully, and putting out a novel on iUniverse or something like that. (I've yet to see a good literary novel on iUniverse and as far as I know most only sell a handful of copies and none make their authors decent money or NY publishing level money at all.)

I thought in your "Newbie's Guide" book (the PDF) you recommended against iUniverse and Lulu and companies like that. Has this changed? I guess I'm trying to figure out where POD fits into the equation. Is it part of the gold we're finding in this revolution, or is it fool's gold?

I've been doing that on my website for years.

Has it helped you? Does it help give you visibility or find other deals or contacts? I think it's pretty interesting that all of your work is apparently free to download. Would you suggest that an author who hasn't gotten the big NY deal yet but who is a good writer try posting his novel(s) online, and also make Kindle versions available, without even bothering with NY?

Thanks.

Ty Johnston said...

I have nothing bad to say. About Blanton's Bourbon.

Rebecca said...

You go, Joe! As you've said before, this is a wonderful time to be an author. For me, I see it all as opportunity. Opportunity in the digital world and opportunity in the world of physical books. I hope (and believe) both will have their markets. The more and different ways we writers can sell our work and get it in front of readers the better.

Bring it on!

Jeff Narucki said...

Thanks for the data, Joe.

I don't get the anger thing myself. If writers are pissed off about what you're saying enough to do something about it, maybe they should put that into their own work and maybe even (gasp) trying something new.

Jeff Narucki said...

Thanks for the data, Joe.

I don't get the anger thing myself. If writers are pissed off about what you're saying enough to do something about it, maybe they should put that into their own work and maybe even (gasp) trying something new.

Suzanne White said...

Let them talk. They are the self same people (in 21st c. clothes) who warned that TV would annihilate radio. They slept with 78 rpm records under their pillows, lost their lunches at The Beatles and puked on The Pink Floyd. They are not wrong. They are imbecilic and narrow-minded.

I have been selling my books as e-books from my web site since 1998. Over the years, with each contract, I refused to sell audio visual (digital) rights. I just kept 'em. Now I sell more of my books as e-books than my print publishers sell paper books. I am not up to your record yet. But all my books are on Kindle. I went to Smashwords twice over the weekend just to get acquainted.

I have always said the world would be a better place when everyone was beige. Fusty old guard white people lose their minds when they hear that. They rend their New Yorkers to shreds and whack their servants over the cabeza with a nine iron at the very hint the white race is over. They do not exactly espouse change.

You are doing what they long to do but never dared. Disregarding glaring evidence to the contrary, they want to believe that one day Mr Simon & Schuster or St Martin himself will coming Knopf Knopf Knopfing at their door begging for their Literary masterpieces and Joe, it ain't gonna happen.
Suzanwhite@aol.com

Daniel said...

Joe,
I'm a young writer who's been fiddling around with a pen for about 7 or so years, and am finally determined to finish the book that I've been rewriting over and over for maybe 5 of those years. There have been a lot of things that have encouraged and discouraged me as I've been writing, but your blog is definitely among the encouraging.

It's exciting to see that there is such a new, untapped market to dive into. I'm young, so change isn't something I've learned to fear, I'm part of the generation that believes the only thing worth fearing is when the times stop changing. I'd love to help revolutionize and revitalize the art of authorship, because I truly believe a renaissance in literature may be what inspires young readers to really embrace books as a valuable form of instruction and entertainment, instead of as a chore or an assignment.

Keep doing what you're doing, and don't let anyone hold you back from that. Hopefully soon I can be considered a peer as a self-published author instead of an admirer.

Selena Kitt said...

"No one, me included, fully understands Amazon's ranking system. But I do know that you can be selling more books at #300 than a book at #200. Dunno why, but I've confirmed it watching my own numbers."


This is actually true, and I can confirm it by my own numbers as well. I wish SOMEONE could explain the Amazon rankings to me. I don't get it either. It must be some sort of secret algorithm involving pi plus the square root of craziness.

Sarah J. Bradley said...

Joe, you are an inspiration to those writers among us who want to actually get PAID for our work.

We are looking at a new world where the iPod generation doesn't want to take up space with chunky bookshelves and cd racks. Anyone who is angry with your success should take a step back and decide what their writing goals really are, and let you do what you chose to do.

My next book is going e-book thanks to you! I dipped my toe in the e-book waters with my first one, going through a small epublisher, but now I want to get PAID...so, I'm jumping on your bandwagon, my friend, and I'm ready for the ride!

Robert Duperre said...

Amen, brother. This post is one of the reasons I frequent this place...

Timothy James Dean said...

Joe - my author-friend Donnie Light turned me onto you and your work. Thanks Donnie - and thanks, Joe, for telling it like you see it!

As for me, your story is an inspiration.

I enjoyed one successful career as an indie producer/writer/director of TV programs, and I always had the gatekeepers at the various broadcasters to contend with. To paraphrase what's been said in another field, "those who can, do. Those who can't, become jealous guarders of the network gates, and become professional meddlers with what the really creative doers produce."

Same in book writing. I believe what's going on in ebooks and author-to-reader direct access, is the most profound and exciting thing since the invention of the printing press itself. It is that profound.

One author I know in the niche of religious novels, Wm. Paul Young, sold "The Shack" worldwide without a NY agent (or agent of any kind) or trad. publisher. 10,000,000+copies in circulation, last I heard. He had a number of co-authors, but I hear he personally netted out about $3-million. Not bad for 1 thin little self-published book!

I'm glad for you that you are experiencing such success in the eworld, and that you care enough about other authors to share the hard numbers, and the techniques.

Good for you, Joe - and more power to you!

One of the best ways to achieve success is to find someone already doing it, and model their strategies.

Therefore, I am following in the novel writing and publishing world in the interesting footsteps of Joe Konrath.

Best of success to you - and may many of us do what you have done, and more.

An apt quotation: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at your, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhhi

Again - thanks, Joe. Keep on keeping on!

Robert Christopher said...

@Joe I agree. Fresh, new voices will finally get a chance. A renaissance it just might be!

I was going to ask about audio books, but you answered that in your blog post. Perhaps, you could delve further into that subject in a future blog post; Did the audio book companies reach out to you or was this all the work of your agent?


Thanks for the info. Very interesting, very provacative post!

Jack H. H. King said...

Joe,

If you can write a novel in 6 weeks, can you write 6 novels per year?

Can you write 6 novels per year, every year, for the next 30 years?

What do you believe is your limit?

- Jack

Anonymous said...

Lots of unpublished writers ready for the ride. Where are they all going? Any established writers taking this ride too? Why aren't they commenting on here? Why isn't the established media writing about this? Lots of midlist authors across genres have web sites and blogs and why don't they come here to comment? Is it really all about anger?

The Lahiri Wannabe Club said...

Does anyone have any thoughts on self-pubbing and literary fiction? Or Multi-cultural fiction?

Seems more like you need a gate keeper with lit ficiton--a 3P to say something is "good." But lit fiction is the hardest to get published so I can see why some might want to go it on their own. (I have friends who are making that decision currently) Possible? Impossible to have any cred/chance of being read??

evilphilip said...

"Why isn't the established media writing about this?"

The established media does write about this, but until someone breaks that magic wall where an original eBook sells over a Million copies it doesn't get much attention.

Zoe Winters said...

JT,

I emailed you in private, yes. You are welcome to think I'm a crazy person if you wish. But I don't think you would have freaked out like you did if I wasn't close to the truth. Few things irritate me more than people who are verbally abusive who then get moreso when it's pointed out to them, and THEN retreat into some shell like they're being attacked when they're simply called on it. You spent two days talking crap about indie authors in general. Then you turned your entire story around like we can't go back and re-read.

Now suddenly I'm the bad guy. Please. You are welcome to think I have mental problems. I think BOTH of us look like lunatics in this thread if we're going to be really honest about it. But yes, you pushed every button I have by behaving in that manner and THEN having the audacity to act wounded about it. You came in here guns blazing. I (and others) called you on it, and suddenly you've got selective amnesia. I'm willing to drop it, but you keep bringing it up.

I would have let it drop a long time ago if you didn't feel the need to imply I'm a crazy person. Now you want to bring up a private email. Hell, you post if if you want the world to see it. I don't care. You only prove the points in my email.

Zoe Winters said...

@Selena I'm just guessing but I know that our rankings are in relationship to everybody else's in any given hour and I think it's weighted somehow toward a trend. So you can't have a bunch of people buy your book in one hour and shoot up to number one. But, that's just my best guess.

Anthony said...

Why isn't the established media writing about this?

Because outside of this blog and the Kindle forums, it's really not that big of news. Sure it's great for those of us who do it and make a few bucks, but the majority of self published ebooks don't sell, and the ones that do don't sell well enough to be newsworthy.

Those numbers you hear about how the ebook market is now 10% of the entire book market isn't talking about what we're doing, they're talking about published books. The self published ebooks aren't even a fraction of a fraction of that overall number.

Anonymous said...

I think BOTH of us look like lunatics in this thread if we're going to be really honest about it.

Um, no... Just you.

You know that little voice in the back of your head telling you to shut the F up and not respond? This is a good time to listen to it because you're making a total ass out of yourself by keeping this psycho shit going.

Cut your losses and move on, sugar.

jtplayer said...

Hey crazy lady...enough already.

This is getting old.

Zoe Winters said...

LOL

Anonymous said...

This is the coolest flame war I've ever seen! Thanks Zoe, JT, Evil, Anons and all the rest. Please don't stop!

jtplayer said...

Now that's the spirit anonymous!

Rock on baby!!!!

Although I think the anon at 2:49 made the post of the day.

Hey man, without a sense of humor all is lost.

-jt

Coolkayaker1 said...

"Well, I don't know what of our culture is going to survive, or if we survive. If you look at the Greek plays, they're really good. And there's just a handful of them. Well, how good would they be if there were 2,500 of them? But that's the future looking back at us. Anything you can think of, there's going to be millions of them. Just the sheer number of things will devalue them. I don't care whether it's art, literature, poetry or drama, whatever. The sheer volume of it will wash it out. I mean, if you had thousands of Greek plays to read, would they be that good? I don't think so."-- Cormac McCarthy in his interveiw for The Road with Wall Street Journal (available online).

Cormac was speaking of films, and the plethora of films that are put out these days, devaluing film. He is prophetic regarding the future of e-puplishing. What is great will be lost with, as Jude suggested several posts ago here, the unedited junk.

A.R. Williams said...

"First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win."

~~Mahatma Ghandi

I think the reasons some authors are against e-books is because they haven't thought about what opportunity it offers.

Self-publishing in the past has been about companies trying to take advantage of an author's desire to be published. They continue to view it that way--a danger to be avoided.

They also have a tendency to lump all e-books and the authors who write them in a single category--horrible books written by ignorant, vain, and incompetent authors.

Yet, they ignore all of the badly written books published by the industry professionals.

What amazes me, is when a writer says: "I write because I love it. I would do it even if I weren't paid."

Yet, tell them you consider self-publishing an option and they will tell you that you will not get any sales or make any money.

Speak loudly about the merits of self-pubbing and they will warn you that editors and publishers might hold a grudge because of what you said.

When agents mention in passing, just as a thought, that they might need to raise their fees to 20% because they do more work now then ever before--authors fall over themselves to say the agent would be worth it.

Meanwhile, authors are asked to provide a platform, to submit a nearly perfect manuscript (publishers don't want to edit as much), and to do more promotion then ever before--yet get paid less no one bats an eye.

I think far too many writers are enamored with the idea of a struggling artist like the days gone by. You don't love it--if you do it for the money.

Wrong!

Their are two sides to writing. The first is the art of creation, yes. But the second is making sure you know how to take care of business.

Because all of those people you are going to be working with--they don't let their love of books stop them from treating it as a business.

Writers need to learn all of it. Not just the words they put on the page. There is a game that goes on after you write "The End" to your book.

Douglas Dorow said...

Interesting headline/article from NY Times.

Amazon Says E-Books Now Top Hardcover Sales

No longer a smaller audience at Amazon if you're publishing to Kindle.

Joe Konrath said...

If you can write a novel in 6 weeks, can you write 6 novels per year?

I still have deadlines and prior traveling obligations, so 6 would be pushing it.

That said, I've written three so far this year (and one of them was 145,000 words) and have two more due, even with all the shit that's going on.

Four or five a year, plus a few short stories, is a more comfortable pace. And I could keep that pace up until I'm dead. Especially since I've decided not to travel anymore.

Yep, the guy who once visited 612 bookstores in a summer is now turning down speaking engagements, avoiding conferences, and no longer doing any signings.

Dunno how long that will last, but I've already turned down some very nice opportunities, all expenses paid, some with stipends.

I just want to writer. And I'm finally in a position where I can. I no longer have to be a salesman, or a marketer, or a self-promotion machine. I no longer have to go on tours, or do the convention circuit.

I've got a few more events this year, that I committed to.

I will be at Bouchercon, but I'm not signing up for any panels. I'm going specifically to hang out in the hot tub and buy drinks for my peers.

In short, I'm becoming one of those eccentric recluse authors. And I'm majorly geeked about it.

Watch my productivity go through the roof as a result. Self-promo has always taken up about 80% of my professional life.

Not anymore.

Zoe Winters said...

@Joe

In short, I'm becoming one of those eccentric recluse authors. And I'm majorly geeked about it.

Watch my productivity go through the roof as a result. Self-promo has always taken up about 80% of my professional life.


I'll be glad when self-promo doesn't take up so much of my time. I'd love to have enough of a backlist and audience that I could stay off the Internet more.

Hot tubs and hanging out sound so much better than all the promotion. I like marketing, but it truly does take away from my productivity. :(

Anonymous said...

Cormac was speaking of films, and the plethora of films that are put out these days, devaluing film. He is prophetic regarding the future of e-puplishing. What is great will be lost with, as Jude suggested several posts ago here, the unedited junk.

Cormac still uses a typewriter. Not the go-to guy for grasping the digital era IMO.

The internet is stuffed with crap and yet it doesn't take much effort to find the best of what's in it. Why should ebooks be any different?

Moses Siregar III said...

Those numbers you hear about how the ebook market is now 10% of the entire book market isn't talking about what we're doing, they're talking about published books. The self published ebooks aren't even a fraction of a fraction of that overall number.

Let's define some numbers here.

AAP reports that their big boys say they're bringing in about $30 million a month in their take off of ebooks. That's not in terms of total retail sales, but their receipts (or royalties), if I understand that correctly (I may be wrong, but I asked Michael Shatzkin about this, and I think that's what he said).

Let's say "a fraction of a fraction" means 1% of 1%. 1% of 30 million is $300,000. 1% of that is $3,000. Joe meets that standard all by himself.

How about just 1%? $300,000? Are indie ebook authors, all across the board, making over $300,000 a month? If there are 1,000 of these authors out there making an average of $300 a month, then yes.

So I think it's probably safe to say that indie ebooks are making at least 1% of that big boy total, but I'm not sure how much more than that. I'm just guessing, of course.

Of course, times are a changing. We'll see what the percentages are like down the road--nobody knows, except the psychic octopus.

Moses Siregar III said...

(continued) Btw, I think the AAP numbers don't include the entire publishing industry, so take that with salt.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 303   Newer› Newest»