Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You Should Self-Publish

One of the traits I value most about myself is my ability to change my mind about something as more data becomes available.

Well, the data is in. And I'm reversing one of my long-held beliefs about writing.

For many years, I said DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH.

I had many good reasons to support this belief.

1. Self-publishing was expensive
2. The final product was over priced and inferior
3. Self-pubbed were impossible to distribute
4. Most self-pubbed books weren't returnable
5. Chances were, the reason you had to self pub was because your writing wasn't good enough
6. Most POD houses were scams

I had ample evidence to support my opinion. Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors and Absolute Write all had detailed tales of authors being screwed. I'd done enough local signings with self-pubbed authors to see how epic their failures were. I was a judge for several self-pub contests for Writer's Digest, and saw firsthand the dreck being released.

Yep, I was pretty confident that traditional publishing was the only game in town.

Then, in 2009, I became aware of the Kindle.

Even though I began to experience some success self-publishing my ebooks, I still believed in traditional publishing. For all of its flaws, signing with a Big 6 house was still the best way to make the most money and reach the most readers.

So now it's December 2010, and I'm selling 1000 ebooks a day, and I'm ready to change my mind on the matter.

Two close friends of mine have books on submission, waiting for the Big 6 to make offers. They've been waiting for a few months, and will probably have to wait a few months more.

Even being conservative in my estimates, these writers have lost thousands of dollars, and will continue to lose money every single day their books are on submission, rather than on Amazon.

Selling 1000 ebooks a month equals $24,000 a year. Being on submission for 6 months is a loss of $12,000, and then waiting 18 more months for the book to be published is a loss of another $36,000.

Even if they got a nice advance, say $100,000, they'd still be losing money hand over fist.

Let's compare:

Self-Pubbing
Two years of extra sales (the submission time and the time to publication) = $48,000
Three years of sales beyond that @ $24k per year = $72,000
Total five year earnings for self pubbing = $120,000

Traditional Pubbing
Advance = $100,000. But the agent takes $15k, and the advance is broken up into three payments of $57,000 each over three years
Five years of sales = $0 (a $100,000 advance, in today's market, with bookstores closing all around and ebook royalties at 17.5%, will never earn out)
Total five year earnings = $85,000

1000 ebook sales a month for a $2.99 self-pubbed ebook is a very conservative number--I have ebooks regularly selling 2000 or 3000 a month.

But I've NEVER had a $5.99 ebook sell 1000 copies a month, and that's what a traditional publisher will price their ebooks at. Each $5.99 ebook that sells will earn the author $1.05, and they'll sell considerably fewer (as many as ten times fewer, according to my numbers) than the $2.99 ebook earning them $2.04.

Yes, there will be paper sales, but my best selling paper book, Afraid, didn't even earn me $25k in print royalties, and it has a hardcover, trade paper, and two mass market releases on three continents.

I'm also very concerned that many print publishers, in the next few years, are going to go bankrupt. I'd hate to wait 18 months for my book to come out, then have it canceled. And if it is canceled, what happens to the rights? Do they get tangled up in some lengthy court battle? Do I ever get my erights back?

And how about after the five year period? Chances are high, five years from now, that ebooks will be the dominant format. Do I want to be locked into a contract making 17.5% on every sale when I could have been making 70%?

Let's say publishers wise up and begin selling ebooks for $2.99. That would mean authors only get 52 cents from each sale, or 1/4 of what they could make on their own. That's $6k a year in royalties, rather than $24k.

If that went on for ten years, an author who signed with a publisher would make $60,000. An author who self-pubbed and sold the same amount of ebooks would make $240,000.

Yes, traditional publishers offer editing and cover art. But is editing and cover art worth you losing $18,000 a year, every year, forever?

Even if we assume print will remain competitive, I can trot out the royalties I've earned on my Jack Daniels books over the last seven years. With six JD books, including ebook sales, I've made over $300,000.

I'm on track to make over $200,000 on ebook sales in 2011, and have made over $100,000 this year. So I can earn more in two years on my own than I could in seven years with a traditional publisher. Hell, I earned more this month than I got as an advance for Afraid ($20k for Afraid, $22k for this December self-pubbing.)

If I look at the poor royalty rates publishers offer, the changing, volatile marketplace, the long time to publication, and then add in the multitude of mistakes publishers continue to make (like high ebook prices), I'd be hard pressed to think of ANY reason to sign a book deal.

Unless it's for a huge sum of money. If that happens, take the money and assume you'll never get your rights back or make another cent off of that book.

Years ago, publishers used to grow authors. When authors reached a certain number of books in print, the publisher would have a huge marketing campaign to break the author out into the mainstream and hit the bestseller lists. That's how a lot of NYT bestsellers got there.

These days, you can grow yourself. You can put out books quicker than the Big 6, earn more money, reach more readers, and have more control over the entire process.

But don't take my word for it. Go to Kindleboards.com and look at all the self-pubbed authors selling like crazy. Go to Amazon.com and look at the bestseller lists, which are full of indie authors (who are competing with huge bestselling authors, and in many cases making more money than those bestsellers.) Crunch the numbers yourself, and try to find a scenario where you'd actually do better in the long term by signing with the Big 6.

I'll now take some questions.

Q: But Joe, I've got a self-pubbed ebook on Kindle, and I've only sold 6 copies. Wouldn't I sell more through a publisher?

A: I've seen evidence that the return rates on print books are over 70%. If your book is selling poorly on Kindle, what makes you think you'll sell well having two copies, spine out, in a bookstore that will soon go out of business?

And do you think you'll sell more ebooks through a publisher when they list it at $9.99 and only pay you 17.5%?

If your sales are poor, change the cover art, change the description, rewrite the book, write more books, change genres, etc. There are a lot of ways to improve sales, because you have control.

You have no control once you sign over your rights to a publisher.

Q: Print is still the dominant form of media. Don't you think you're putting all your eggs in the ebook basket?

A: Not at all. Most of my self-pubbed ebooks are available in print, through Createspace. This December, I've earned over $2300 on them.

Q: You're such a hypocrite. You've got several print deals.

A: I signed those deals before I came to this conclusion. I highly doubt I'll ever sign another print deal.

Q: But I need the traditional publishing gatekeepers in order to know my book is good enough. Aren't you concerned a whole bunch of wannabes will flood the Kindle with self-pubbed crapola?

A: Decades ago, pulp writers learned to write while on the job. Early books by many of the greatest mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, and romance writers, weren't very good. But getting paid allow those writers to improve, and become the masters we now revere.

If you write crap, it probably won't sell very well. But you can learn from it and get better. You can rewrite and revise your early work to improve it. With self-publishing, readers become the gatekeepers, and if you work hard, keep an open mind, and learn from your mistakes, you'll improve as a writer.

Q: But what about editing and formatting and cover art?

A: See my sidebar for the folks I use to make my cover art and format my ebooks and print books.

As for editing, I'll be candid here. My last four print releases, all done my major houses, required very little editing. That's because I have writing peers who help me vet my manuscripts.

Join a writers group, or make friends with a writer in your genre and trade manuscripts.

Q: But I want to be traditionally published so my books are in bookstores, and so I can join professional writer organizations like HWA, SFWA, RWA, MWA, ITW, NinC, the Author's Guild, so I can get nominated for awards, and so I can get professional reviews in newspapers and Kirkus, PW, Booklist, and so my books get into libraries, and so I can sell to foreign countries and sell audio rights and get movie deals.

A: Years ago, self-pubbing was called "vanity publishing" because it existed to appeal to the writer's ego.

Joining organizations, winning awards, getting into newspapers, and seeing your books in bookstores and libraries all seems like it caters directly to a writer's vanity.

As a writer, I could give a shit what the New York Times thinks of my latest, or if MWA gives me an Edgar award, or if I'm on a shelf in the Podunk Public Library. Those are all ego strokes.

I care about money, and reaching readers, and none of these things are necessary to make money or reach readers.

As for foreign, audio, and movie rights, watch what happens over the next few years. Print is no longer a prerequisite.

Q: You're doing well because you have a platform in traditional publishing.

A: Will this assumption ever die? I'm not saying every self-pubbed writer will sell as well as I do. But there are many writers selling just as well, or better, and many of them never had a print deal. I'm sure my backlist helps. I'm also sure a backlist isn't needed to succeed.

Q: You're a bitter, angry man, your mediocre success has turned you into an insufferable egomaniac, and your bashing the publishing industry is petty and misguided.

A: I'm guessing you work for the publishing industry. Better get that resume up on Monster.com ASAP.

Q: But what if your ebook predictions are wrong? What if the bubble bursts? Do you think any publisher in the world would ever offer you another contract? I'd much rather stick with a multi-million dollar company who has had a hundred years of experience. Publishers are too smart, and there is too much money involved, for them to fail.

A: I'm sure a lot of people felt the same way about Enron, Delta, Chrysler, General Motors, Northwest Airlines, Montgomery Wards, Kmart, Delta, the Tribune Group, Pacific Gas and Electric, etc.

Bankruptcy happens to big companies all the time. And technology changes how media is distributed and sold.

I wouldn't want to be associated with any company who still supported Betamax, VHS, 8 tracks, cassette tapes, vinyl records, 35mm film, analog televisions, CRT monitors, dot matrix printers, etc.

I don't doubt that print will always exist.

I also don't doubt that digital will dominate print, just as it has dominated music, TV, film, communications, etc.

If you want to stick with the old guard, that's up to you. I wish you much success.

In the meantime, I'll be self-pubbing, making money.

447 comments:

1 – 200 of 447   Newer›   Newest»
Kent Conrad said...

Your experience has been an inspiration to me, Joe, as I've noted on my own blog. I've always believed that self-publishing was the mark of permanent amateurism. Now, I've self-published my own book, Dead Furst. I've sold... next to nothing. But I'm obscure, and patient, and have a lovely Carl Graves cover. So thanks, Joe, for providing a model, and some hope.

Joe Konrath said...

I just bought your book, Kent. The cover is indeed fantastic, and the description is right up my alley.

Moses Siregar III said...

You know I've been back and forth on this a lot, but my thinking now is that even if I want to picked up by a big publisher (and I do, if I get a good offer), the best way to get a good publishing contract is probably to self-publish my work first and hopefully (knock on wood) have success that I can leverage into better support from a publishing house.

However, I've also been studying the "indie" movement for almost a year now (seeing how people do it well) and I think I have the entrepreneurial temperament to at least have a fighting chance on my own. If I wasn't made out for running my own business and doing some kind of marketing on my own, I wouldn't want to self-publish right now.

So unless something drastically changes, I'll release my first novel in May and then go from there.

pathunstrom said...

Joe, I've been following your blog for a long while now, and this last semester in school decided to do a number of reports on the publishing industry at large, and more specifically with the e-publishing boom. Each class needed a slightly different focus, but it gave me a much more widespread view of the game as I mined various publishing resources as well as self-pubbed authors, agents, and publishers blogs for information. It's very hard, even from the outside looking in, to come to a conclusion that isn't the complete change of the market.

Publishers, though they don't say it out right, are scared. The market is changing faster than ever to the point where most of my research was from 2010, and by the time I turned in my papers, some of it was out of date, with e-book predictions growing exponentially with each new report and news from more and more authors moving to self-publishing, or fighting for the e-book rights in a few cases.

It's a fascinating time to be involved in publishing, and I'm enjoying researching it.

And to tie this all to the current blog, my biggest paper of the term asserted that at this point in time, it was absolutely worth it to attempt self-publishing works. Glad to have an expert voice to back up my own ideas.

author Scott Nicholson said...

I've called traditional publishing "the new vanity publishing" because some writers see only the illusion of legitimacy. And major writing organizations are actively supporting the structure of their own demise, not serving writers. Under the definitions, it's more "professional" to give away up to 96 percent of your income than to keep 70 percent of it. Good luck with that.

Scott Nicholson

Allison M. Dickson said...

I find this to be inspirational in many ways, but I can't swallow it all without a caveat. You cannot deny that, through traditional publishing, you were able to reach readers and grow at least a seedling of a fan base that you were at least able to take with you when you jumped ship. The vast majority of aspiring authors reading this blog will not have that kind of running start. They will have to grow it from scratch. Their books and their names will be floating in a vast sea of starving artists trying to make a minute fraction of what you made this year.

Would it be that we could all cut our teeth on the traditional market before striking it out on our own with an established following of sorts. Even getting a small advance from a traditional publisher that doesn't earn out would earn most of those trying to self-publish more money than they would if their works sat in the Kindle store getting a download or two a month (if that).

Your math is tantalizing and I congratulate your success and am grateful for you telling us what is possible in the best-case-scenario of self-publishing, but I dare not think for even a moment that your case is applicable to even the most competent of otherwise unknown self-publishers.

Breaking out is hard to do. Isn't that a song? ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm playing it safe and pursuing trad and indie pubbing together.

Easier said than done, of course, I'm on my third literary agent and still waiting for that initial offer from a major house ...

What do you think, Joe, about asking my agent to approach Amazon Encore with my thriller? He's with Dystel so I know there's a history there...

EC

Kent Conrad said...

My devious scheme worked! Months of planning, and it culminated in success! Joe bought my book!

Seriously, Joe, I deeply appreciate the sale, but even more so the constant stream of advice and encouragement you’ve been giving out for free over the last six months of my life. I’m super excited about electronically self-publishing, and I’m trying to get my mother, who has been writing category romance for the last 30 years, to jump into the electron-pool as well. I’ve seen the royalties in her contracts, and without giving away specifics (she can still disown me) they’re just criminal.

Hope you enjoy the book.

Joe Flynn said...

I've written four mainstream published novels: one with Signet Books, two with Bantam Books, one with Variance Publishing. But over the same period that those books were published, I wrote another nine novels that were equally as good or better that never sold.

I love the idea of self-pubbing these titles. I have eight titles up as e-books. I haven't hit a home run first time out, but in the four months that I've been at this sales have increased every month. I changed the cover on one ebook — Hot Type — and saw the sales shoot up dramatically. This month between e-books and PODs, which spiked when the e-books went up, sales will approach 150 books sold.

Next month as I add new titles, I expect to sell more. After that, as I improve at marketing my work, I'll do better still. The whole process is tremendously exciting.

It sure as hell beats letting good stories sit on a shelf or waiting for someone else to give your work his or her blessing.

Anonymous said...

OMG you rock! I read your blog all the time at work. I love you man!

Gustavo said...

Joe I am also convinced that ebooks will rule and the traditional publishing industry is in the edge of a very profound precipice. They will change, but they will not be the ruler of the industry. And for a pretty good example, and sorry to say the same that I have said yesterday, Black Friday's Kindle sales rose up to 13.7 million in just one day. So you have 13.7 million more readers, that should help to boost ebook sales.

So to those all sceptic out there, this is not the future, this is not a wannabe technology, this is Now, this is trend, and as Financial Markets say, Trend is your friend...

Also, have anybody saw PW where Random House sales of the 24th and 25th of December rose to 300% of its ebooks. Think that the trend is clear.

So, next month in the CES show in Las Vegas we will see a lot of companies jumping in the Tablet world, and 2011 will be the consolidation year of ebook markets, but not its best, this is escalating and this business will grow at double digits for at least the next five to ten years.

Who wants to be left behind your friend: Trend.

Derek J. Canyon said...

Great post, Joe! I just blogged about the same issue: There's a new career in town: self-pub authors. My post comes to the same conclusion as yours, but from the viewpoint of a neophyte self-pub author who just had my first 100-copies-sold month in December.

Frank Marcopolos said...

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, too, and I appreciate your insights on the topic, Joe. I'll be dipping my toe in the water in 2011, and seeing where it leads.

Thank you for being a leader in the field!

Ellen Fisher said...

"1000 ebook sales a month for a $2.99 self-pubbed ebook is a very conservative number--I have ebooks regularly selling 2000 or 3000 a month."

Hmmm, I'd say that's stretching it a bit at this point, frankly. I don't see a ton of indie authors selling a thousand copies of one book a month. Most of those of us who are hitting the thousand-a-month mark seem to have quite a few books available. I will agree that more and more people are hitting higher figures, but I still wouldn't call that a conservative figure.

Not saying your conclusion is wrong, but it's really hard to assign concrete figures to calculations like these, because the figures vary so wildly from author to author. It's a gamble either way, but I think the loss of two years' sales up front very likely makes up for any benefits one might obtain from traditional publishing at this point.

Marie Simas said...

I was a judge for several self-pub contests for Writer's Digest, and saw firsthand the dreck being released.

As long as there are vanity publishers, there will always be dreck. Dreck sucks, but it's part of this business, just like transvestite hookers and great sushi-- you've got to take the good with the bad.

Nice to see you've changed your mind. I always knew that fat paychecks had a positive effect on men, but it looks like the Kindle is going to be thsource of endless happy endings for authors.

You had me convinced a long time ago.

Marie
Do Tampons Take Your Virginity?

Jude Hardin said...

EC,

The book you have on submission is a good example of why it might be better to get a traditional deal before self-publishing. I happen to know that it's a great book and that you self-published it for a while with mediocre sales results. With some publishing cred and the national exposure that goes along with it, subsequent self-pubbed titles would probably do much better. That's my theory, anyway.

Joe's numbers are amazing; but, like Allison said, without an established following most writers aren't going to see sales anywhere near his.

And, you know, I have to somehow rationalize my decision to sign with a traditional publisher for my first novel. ;)

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

Joe, I'm totally drinking the kool aid and passing it on to my friends. I'm posting modest numbers (an ebook a day) but I've only been selling for 2 months. It's getting better and better every day as word gets around. My book is doing great in reviews and I'm so excited to be doing what I've always wanted to do.

I'm a published author...and am making more money than my trad pubbed friends who are still waiting for that first big sale.

Thanks to Joe, Rob, and Carl for giving me the tools, the formatting, and the wicked awesome cover that gets compliments all the time.

Karly
www.karlykirkpatrick.com

Joe Konrath said...

I don't see a ton of indie authors selling a thousand copies of one book a month.

Yet. :)

Watching Amanda Hocking's star rise so quickly and dramatically, I see it is possible to sell hundreds of ebooks a day. And we're still in the infancy of this medium.

When 200 million people have ereaders, 1000 ebook sales a month will be considered entry-level and sucky.

All day, my wife and I have been shaking our heads and repeating "We made $22,000 this month." It's unbelievable.

And yet, looking at the trends, looking at Amanda, I think that it is entirely possible, some time in the future, for indie authors to make $100,000 a month.

And if you believe that print will fall by the wayside, and assume that ebooks will take up the slack, then an ebook bestseller might actually sell a million copies.

It blows my mind. It also makes me realize 1000 a month is a really low estimate.

Jamie D. said...

Allison, there are many authors self-publishing now without any sort of previous pub. experience who are doing great right off the bat (thousands of copies in the first 6 months). I'm an unknown, and published my first novella last fall - sold 5-6 copies per month at $1.99, I dropped the price to .99, and now it's selling over 30 copies a month (which, quite frankly, is far better than I expected for a first book). I have a novel to release next month, and another next summer, and expect a bump from each of those. I'm on my way, and optimistic about the future.

All that to say - I don't think you need an established fan base to do well self-publishing these days. Sure, it takes time to build a readership...but it would with trad pub. too - longer, since I'd have to wait for my book to be *published*. Like Joe says, you need a good book, a good cover, and a good blurb...after that, it's all about spreading the word.

Times are changing...it's a fabulous time to be a writer, IMO.

Thanks Joe. Your story has really helped me decide how to shape my career.

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

Oh, and by the way, this week I'll have an interview up on the blog with Tess Oliver, an author you mentioned in your list the other day, and I've also got one coming soon with Amanda Hocking! Hopefully they can shed some light on their successes as well. It should be interesting!

Karly
www.karlykirkpatrick.com

Ellen Fisher said...

"It also makes me realize 1000 a month is a really low estimate."

Maybe. I'm just saying that in my experience, sales can vary so widely that trying to assign future estimates is a pretty iffy business. I have one book that's sold thirteen copies this month, and that's a pretty typical figure for it, sadly. I have another (written under a pen name) that's sold around 1600 copies since I put it up for sale this month. The difference is presumably genre. There are a whole lot of variables involved.

Stacey Cochran said...

I count this as a personal victory. It only took 8 years of my telling you self publishing is the way to go.

Now, if I can only get you to believe in internet advertising revenue. I am making very good money via howtopublishabook.org.

As much as you're making with eBooks, you could be making ten times as much with Adsense.

I know you don't believe me, Joe. You used not to believe me with self publishing either.

Joe Konrath said...

You used not to believe me with self publishing either.

That's because you were wrong, Stacey. ;)

Self-pubbing wasn't a good route to take eight years ago, or even last year. But the industry has changed so much recently that self-pubbing isn't just viable, I think it's the only way to go.

As for advertising, I've always believed it is the future of ebooks. But there would be a conflict of interest if I monetized my blog, even if I made some money doing it. I don't want ads for AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica on my sidebar when I've told folks for years to avoid AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica. It would seem too much like an endorsement.

Anonymous said...

I happen to know that it's a great book and that you self-published it for a while with mediocre sales results. With some publishing cred and the national exposure that goes along with it, subsequent self-pubbed titles would probably do much better. That's my theory, anyway.

Thanks, Jude. We're thinking alike.

EC

Joe Konrath said...

There are a whole lot of variables involved.

Indeed. Those variables also apply to print.

You can get a $2000 advance, sell 800 copies, and then have your rights tied up for three years while making no more money on the property.

Even with variables, and taking low sales into account, I believe the average writer can do better self-pubbing than searching for a print deal.

Zoe Winters said...

Joe,

I really appreciate how your viewpoint on all this has evolved over time. My views on all this mirror a lot of yours. I remember back when we were debating how I knew I was "good enough" without a traditional publisher vetting me. And I was thinking... "Dude. Screw it... that vetting process takes too long. Even if I sucked, I can learn faster just getting out there and growing my audience on my own than standing in someone else's line waiting for permission to publish."

Everybody has different goals, so for people who are just writing for "the love of the art" or because they want the prestige of a big publisher or opportunities only available to "real authors", then their goals are going to be different and maybe traditional publishing is right for them. I'm not going to judge other people's wants an needs.

But Joe is right, if your goal is money and readers, you really can certainly get that in self-publishing while keeping creative control. It takes work, commitment, and different amounts of time for each author (hey, just like in traditional publishing.)

One thing I find interesting is that in all other forms of artistic expression if one can make money AND keep creative control, artist jump on that. In writing, we've all been brainwashed into believing somehow a megacorp knows our vision better than we do and that they are the only ones who can help us realize it. Writers as a group have always been very submissive.

Stacey Cochran said...

Incidentally, the "ten times" is not hyberbole. I have no doubt that you could be making 200 grand a month. Literally. Probably more.

Advertising on the internet is in its infancy, but understanding and mastering principles of good, high-quality advertising can literally make you a millionaire.

You're gonna force me to start posting my ad revenue income aren't you, just to prove to you how much money you're missing out on? ;)

Joe Konrath said...

I remember back when we were debating how I knew I was "good enough" without a traditional publisher vetting me.

You did wind up being vetted after all. The readers deemed you good enough, hence your terrific sales. :)

Zoe Winters said...

hehe, Thanks Joe.
But you know, I DID tell you the readers would vet and validate me and that I didn't need anyone else. You seemed to think that was bizarre troll logic at the time. :P

Vicki Hopkins, Author said...

Fantastic article. Thanks to successful authors such as yourself, it helps me solidify my decision to be an indie rather than going the traditional route. I'd still be sitting at home waiting for my dreams to come true while agents and publishing houses putter around trying to decide if I'm good enough. In the meantime, I'm moving toward book #4, making money, touching readers, and maintaining control over my craft.

Zoe Winters said...

@Vicki, I'm glad you didn't. I loved "The Price of Innocence"... when is the next book in that series coming out?

Joe Konrath said...

You seemed to think that was bizarre troll logic at the time.

I always knew readers could be gatekeepers, but in your case I feared that if your books were lousy, you'd lose any chance at getting a print deal.

It turned out your books were good, and print deals aren't what they used to be.

And while you've been a bit intense from time to time, I never thought you were a troll. ;P

Derek J. Canyon said...

Joe said: " I don't want ads for AuthorHouse and PublishAmerica on my sidebar"

Joe, you should check in to Project Wonderful. It's an advertising service that gives you complete control over who advertises on your site. You keep 75% of the bid amounts.

Chuck said...

You're having entirely too much fun, Joe !

Zoe Winters said...

hehe, Joe. That's true, but if my writing was lousy, I would never have made it traditionally either.
Either way I would have had to learn through rejection from editors or rejection from readers and practice, to get better. And of course I hope every book I write is stronger than the one before it. Because we're all hopefully always growing as writers.

Eden said...

Joe, thx for post - question for you. I'm a first time author who is self publishing. The price of my ebook has been priced at 9.99 by the publisher. There will be print versions available as well, but since I write erotic fiction, I expect the majority of sales will be online. Are you saying this is over-priced? Should I have it reduced to attract more buyers? Eden

Moses Siregar III said...

"1000 ebook sales a month for a $2.99 self-pubbed ebook is a very conservative number."

Based on all I've observed at places like KindleBoards.com, I'd say that's only true for authors who do one or more of the following:

1. Write paranormal romance
2. Write a huge number of good books
3. Write a moderate number of good books along with good marketing/promotion
4. Write a small number of books (let's say 1 or 2) along with excellent marketing/promotion
5. Get lucky (for example, some people have lucked into getting Amazon to reduce one of their books to free, which produces a huge swell of sales after the book is no longer free).

For everyone selling 1,000 books a month, there seem to be many, many more selling less than that.

HOWEVER, those who do one of the things I listed above probably should feel good about their chances. I think "very conserative" is still too strong, but 1,000 sales a month seems very possible for those who fit one of the categories I mentioned. This also assumes they have good books with good covers and good book descriptions.

But I would say that, 1000 ebook sales a month for a $2.99 self-pubbed ebook is a very attainable number if you take the business of writing very seriously.

Cathryn Grant said...

Crunch the numbers yourself, and try to find a scenario where you'd actually do better in the long term by signing with the Big 6.

I did ... and I couldn't. Now I'm ready to pull the trigger before the new year.

Thanks for all your info and inspiration.

Oh, and btw I'm a member of MWA via short story publications ;)

Moses Siregar III said...

Something to add to my last post: Also be prepared to wait a while before expecting to sell at that level, assuming you ever do. Maybe a year or two. Some people have pulled off numbers like that within a few months, but those are exceptional cases. Then again, maybe you're exceptional ;-)

You feeling lucky?

KevinMc said...

Eden, if you're self-publishing, why is someone else setting your prices?

Maybe this is a good time to talk about some of the dark side of self-publishing... I think a week does not go by where I don't hear about someone being taken by a "self pub company" that for the low, low, price of $1000 and half your profit forever will format your book to e and print, slap a cheap cover on it, and get it up for sale.

A good article on some of the scams here:
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=2656

Don't be taken in. Part of the point here is the freedom to control things yourself, and the right to earn your money from this, not to hand it to some third party for a few hours of their labor.

wannabuy said...

Derek,

Your post is definitely worth a read.

In general
For most newbie authors, the market has changed. Too many ereaders were sold this holiday season. (Almost 50% better than I hoped.) Too many now know they can read a book on their IPod touch (#2 after Kindle at Amazon electronics), laptop, etc.

We're now past early adopters. Ebooks are still in their childhood, but the infancy is behind.

Neil

Amanda Hocking said...

Prepare for a minirant:

I am sick of people saying that Joe did this because he had already been published and already had a following. Yes, that may have helped Joe, but I think even if he hadn't been previously published, he would still be selling well now because he understand how to write and sell books.

Prior to April 15th, I'd never sold a book in my life. Not one. Not to anybody. Then I self-pubbed, and I haven't sold less than 2000 books a month since May.

I'm not saying that every author will be successful with self-publishing. But I am saying that it evens the playing the field. We all get the same shelf space and we all get a chance.

wannabuy said...

Amanda said:
" We all get the same shelf space and we all get a chance."

The "Tyranny of shelf space" is over. As a reader (and only a reader) that is the most exciting aspect of e-books. No limits on selection. No artificial 'windowing' of titles, etc.

And unlimited backlists... :)

Neil

Zoe Winters said...

@Amanda

You fall under the "magical elf" clause. :P There is always going to be someone who wants to make excuses for why someone else succeeded but it won't work for them. With Joe the cross he has to bear is: "previously NY published". For you it is "magical elf". It's always going to be something.

Oh and I'm not sure if you've got a NY print deal or if you're looking for one, but if you get one, be prepared for folks to rewrite history and talk about how "Amanda Hocking wouldn't be where she is now if she hadn't gotten a big NY pub to splash her name everywhere" blah blah blah.

It's always going to be something.

Moses Siregar III said...

I am sick of people saying that Joe did this because he had already been published and already had a following. Yes, that may have helped Joe, but I think even if he hadn't been previously published, he would still be selling well now because he understand how to write and sell books.

What it might require, though, is for J.A. Konrath with a magical portal in this world to travel to a parallel world to tell the Joe Konrath who was never traditionally published how good the ebook thing is.

Because without J.A. Konrath's blog to tell the other Joe Konrath about the great self-publishing craze of 2010, Joe might still be sending query letters.

Though perhaps the other Joe would've discovered Zoe Winters anyway, and Zoe would've berated him about how he shouldn't need the traditional publishing world for validation (Joe would still be friends with Jude, you see).

Zoe Winters said...

@Moses

Yeah, but what if alternate world Zoe was all rah rah traditional publishing? It could happen! :P

Joe Konrath said...

It's human nature to automatically reject things that don't mesh with preconceived notions. We're all guilty of this, me included.

It's much safer to defend your beliefs than change your mind. Change is scary. Admitting you're wrong hurts. Insisting your way is the right way, even in the face of evidence that shows otherwise, is the kind of ignorance that has been around since the dawn of humanity.

So we'll never hear the end of "Konrath is successful because he has a backlist."

The doubters need to be able to pigeonhole and label things in order to feel better about themselves. They have to make excuses for things that don't fit inside the world order they've created for themselves.

Of course, these arguments are easy to pick apart. If my backlist is the key to my success, why weren't my print books hugely successful? Why aren't other authors with backlists like mine selling as well as I am?

There will always be naysayers. Non illegitimi carborundum.

evilphilip said...

"And, you know, I have to somehow rationalize my decision to sign with a traditional publisher for my first novel. ;)"

Except that you didn't sign with a traditional publisher, you signed with an independent publisher who prints an average of 1000 copies of each book.

I'll let you do the math from there.

Joe Konrath said...

Another quick point. It's very easy to be a Monday morning quarterback, and ascribe significance to things after they have happened.

For you to be right, you have to be able to predict what is going to happen, and why.

One of the hurdles publishers have had to face is that they can't predict hits. They can guess. They can hope. But when the day is done, after the vetting and hard work and years of experience, only 1 out of 5 books they publish make a profit, and a 50% sell through is acceptable.

It's the same with ebooks. No one knows why some succeed, and others don't. But it is finally an even playing field.

Write good books that people want to read. That's what we need to focus on.

Jude Hardin said...

Sorry, but Oceanview is most definitely a traditional publisher, in every sense of the word. The fact that they're independent is irrelevent. They pay advances and royalties and their books are distributed nationally. And, while their print runs are relatively small, they are well over 1000. They get over 150 submissions a week and publish 12 titles a year. I'll let you do the math from there.

bowerbird said...

joe said:
> My last four print releases,
> all done my major houses,
> required very little editing.

i can't help but note the irony.

-bowerbird

Jude Hardin said...

Write good books that people want to read. That's what we need to focus on.

Damn right.

Michael Allen said...

Thank you for taking the time out from what must be a hideously busy schedule to write such an informative and helpful post.

Robin Sullivan said...

@allison You cannot deny that, through traditional publishing, you were able to reach readers and grow at least a seedling of a fan base that you were at least able to take with you when you jumped ship. The vast majority of aspiring authors reading this blog will not have that kind of running start.

I've said and thought eactly what you expressed here...but then I started some research. There are MANY people doing similar to Joe that don't have his traditional publishing background:
Michael Sullivan Amanda Hocking
Nancy Johnson
Chris Graham
Christopher Smith
H.P. Mallory
D.B. Henson
Scott Nicholson
Victorine Lieske
Karen McQuestion
Cort Malone

Are all doing it as well.

Robin Sullivan said...

Just to clarify - there was not 13.7 Million Kindles sold on Black Friday there were 13.7 Million Amazon items sold on Cyber Monday. Amazon sells all kinds of things many of which are not books at all.
click here for details on 13.7 Sales

Barbara Morgenroth said...

Writers, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

Some people are not constitutionally bold nor are they early adopters. Joe obviously is. Some of us follow in his wake. Others want guarantees and predictability. That's fine, come here and be gloomy. Be reluctant. I sold 700 books this month with no platform, no name recognition, no tradpub books out at the same time and in a very ignored category. You're not changing my mind. If it makes you feel good, keep finding the reasons this won't work for you.

Fortune favors the bold.

Edie Ramer said...

I'm selling more since I put Cattitude on sale for 99 cents. I was reluctant to do it, but though I was getting a lot of great reviews, I wasn't getting a lot of sales. I have another book out and plan to put up another one within the next few weeks.

My start has been slower than I'd like, but I have faith that I will be successful. At least I'm making progress and not waiting to hear from an agent or an editor. I'm making money and people tell me they love my books. It's all good.

Anonymous said...

"We all get the same shelf space"

That's true, but not all shelf space is at the front of the store. Get your book in at least one TOP 100 category list, otherwise your book doesn't exist.

The lists are your advertising. For my last book, I had rave reviews from Library Journal, Booklist and others. They meant nothing.

Getting the book onto the first page of a TOP 100 category was the advertising that potential buyers consulted and what drove my sales royalties to more than $9K this month.

So, how do you get on a list? Like JA said, basically via good cover and good description. That's your hook.

Karen McQuestion said...

Another great post, Joe! My favorite part?

Q: You're a bitter, angry man, your mediocre success has turned you into an insufferable egomanicac, and your bashing the publishing industry is petty and misguided.

A: I'm guessing you work for the publishing industry. Better get that resume up on Monster.com ASAP.

Ha! I suspect some of those publishing industry people are also leaving bad reviews on Amazon, just for spite.

For what it's worth, I'm one of those who self-published and sold tens of thousands of e-books (and counting) without having been previously published. And believe me, I'm the ultimate nobody. My neighbors and many of my relatives didn't even know I was writing novels.

And those of us who are doing it successfully are not flukes. There are just too many (and more are coming up the ranks all the time), and in all different genres.

I have a friend, Jon Olson, who just put his novel The Petoskey Stone on e-book and I'm having fun watching the book's progress. This is a novel which had some close calls with NY publishing, but didn't sell, probably because as a mystery it didn't fit into the box. Before e-books that would be the end of it--a terrific book never seeing the light of day. Now we have options.

Ursula said...

As a writer, I could give a shit what the New York Times thinks of my latest, or if MWA gives me an Edgar award, or if I'm on a shelf in the Podunk Public Library. Those are all ego strokes.


You made me spit up my mornign tea I was laughing so hard at this. Yes, you are so right. And yes, more people need to get with the program.

Kait Nolan said...

It's been a really exciting thing to switch over to the indie movement. I see friends still stuck on the hamster wheel of traditional publishing, waiting to hear back on queries from agents, waiting for the monolith of the Big 6 to actually get the book out, and it's so stressful for them. I, meanwhile, just put out my second title. I'm not selling 1,000 books a month yet (about halfway there), but I am making modest progress and slowly building a following. In it's not quite first week out, my latest release, a short novella called Devil's Eye, has already outsold the first 2 and a half months of my debut from back in March. It's not rocket science or an explosion, but it's steady progress.

I do think backlist is really important to visibility and really growing a readership. Certainly most of the successful indies I know of have built one and have multiple titles out. There's a multiplicative effect, seemingly, and certainly sales seem to grow exponentially the more you have out.

I can't imagine going the traditional route anymore and losing all control over the pricing, the covers (mine are done by the fabulous Robin Ludwig. I can make a living wage a LOT faster on my own than waiting around for the slowpokes in New York.

Blake Crouch said...

Jude - I think it's awesome that you're releasing your first novel with Oceanview and huge congrats on that. A major accomplishment, and you will accumulate some pubbing cred. For sure. But...there will come a time, trust me, when you pray that Pocket-47 goes out of print and you get your rights back so you can reap the full benefit of what's happening. The way I figure, a conservative estimate is that I'm currently losing $2,000/month on Abandon (09) and Snowbound (10), my last two books which St. Martin's published and I don't have the rights to. It may be several years before I get those back. It's KILLING me to consider the $$ I'm losing. I didn't know when I signed those deals that all this would happen, but I would not take anything less than major money ever again to tie up rights to my books for 5-7 years. It simply doesn't make sense anymore.

Jason said...

"Q: You're such a hypocrite. You've got several print deals.

A: I signed those deals before I came to this conclusion. I highly doubt I'll ever sign another print deal."


I love Sci-Fi, so am really looking forward to TIMECASTER...while being frustrated I can't read it now as an ebook. If only you'd known it would be much more financially beneficial to hold off and e-pub instead...

I remember the blog post where you said SHOT OF TEQUILA was the slowest selling of your non-pubbed backlist e-books. Ironic now that it's currently your top selling title. Does that surprise you too Joe? Is it all because you tweaked the cover/description over and over?

Maria said...

Joe,

It's always so difficult to tell where you stand on an issue...

Robert Burton Robinson said...

@Joe: "No one knows why some succeed, and others don't."

So true. The second book of my suspense series took off a few months ago and has stayed on the Kindle bestseller list for Romantic Suspense. I didn't even intend to write a romantic suspense, but the book does have enough elements of the genre to be included in that category.

How could I have known that going a bit off-course into a related genre would be the key to my success? It's crazy.

So, I'm selling 1,500+ books per month, half of which are the second book in the series. Who could have predicted this?

Joe Konrath said...

Get your book in at least one TOP 100 category list, otherwise your book doesn't exist.

That helps, for sure, but the "Customers who bought this also bought..." feature, and Amazon reviews, and forums, and lists, all can lead people to you as well.

Lots of folks lost their ranking after Xmas, but sales doubled anyway.

Mike Cane said...

>>>For many years, I said DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH.

Yes, and the way you went about shitting on people who did will always be remembered by us.

Will Entrekin said...

You know, Joe, I've watched this blog from afar for a while. I've vacillated between agreement and disagreement with your points.

I like that you're pushing things, though. I like your outspokenness.

I think it's an exciting time for writers.

This? Good, thought-out, cogent post. That I'll stand behind, definitely. I may not agree with all of it, but who's supposed to, right? Especially great points about business and finances.

modicumoftalent.com said...

Terrific post, Joe. I've been lurking on your blog for some time as I've dipped a toe into this indie-self-publishing water, and I love the inspiration and advice you give.

Here's my question, and Moses Siregar III suggested it as well: Does genre or subgenre make a difference? PNR, UF, romance, YA seem to sell really well, really fast on Kindle. I write pretty traditional epic fantasy. I think speculative fiction readers are early adoters, so I think they probably read a lot of e-books, but do you think it's a slower climb for writers of certain genres over some of those that are "hot?"

I know there are some big indie successes in fantasy (Brian S. Pratt), but I'm just curious about a newbie like me. I think my writing is pretty good, and not just because my mom says so... I'm not shy about promoting, although I'm a bit overwhelmed by my options. I don't have a lot of titles/backlist, but I have an ambitious plan to improve that in 2011, starting with a full-length novel release on Feb 1 (I already have a novella online--just published it about 2 weeks ago). Are my chances great, pretty good, crappy??

And does genre make a difference?

Thanks!

D.D. Scott said...

Another gr8 post, Joe!

Thank you!

One thing I've finally learned is that for all these years (ten for me) when my family and friends have made what seemed at the time to be incredulous and hurtful comments like "what do you mean that's just normal for the publishing business...that's just bad business", and I've simply shrugged my shoulders and said "well, that's just the way it is", they were right!

The traditional publishing world is "bad business" for writers...there's just no other way to say it.

We've finally come to the time, thanks to Epublishing, that we can take back the control we'd amazingly, but willingly, forfeited. And at the same time, begin to line our pockets based on our skill versus lining corporate America's pockets...corporate pockets that seem to have big ass holes lately!

The Best to All of Us on our Epublishing Journeys --- D. D. Scott

Joe Konrath said...

Yes, and the way you went about shitting on people who did will always be remembered by us.

Since your memory is so good, please point out an instance where I shit on you.

Oh... wait. You can't.

Burritoclock said...

My favorite lines (because I almost typed something similar in the comments yesterday)

"As a writer, I could give a shit what the New York Times thinks of my latest, or if MWA gives me an Edgar award, or if I'm on a shelf in the Podunk Public Library. Those are all ego strokes."

and "I'm guessing you work for the publishing industry. Better get that resume up on Monster.com ASAP."

Great post!

Geoff said...

One of the best arguments you make here is that you might as well get the story out to the reader instead of on the desk of some editor in some high-rise that may or may not take it on. And the anecdotes in the comments support that.

As author blogs become more and more transparent on the struggles and successes of both tradition and self pub, its clear that the length of time it takes - the hurdles that must be jumped - to get the book into the hands of a paying customer and potential fan is just ridiculous. So you land that agent, so what? That agent then has to go through his or her own Gatekeepers to even try to get it published. Landing an agent is hard enough... I'm leery of the wait that comes after that as my novel shifts through house after house, editor after editor.

I wanna tell a STORY that people can enjoy. I don't want to waste my time convincing suits that its marketable and profitable enough for their attention.

Keep kickin ass Joe.

Joe Konrath said...

I remember the blog post where you said SHOT OF TEQUILA was the slowest selling of your non-pubbed backlist e-books. Ironic now that it's currently your top selling title. Does that surprise you too Joe? Is it all because you tweaked the cover/description over and over?

It's funny, because I have seven self-pubbed novels on Kindle, and six of them have all taken turns being the bestselling title.

First it was The List. Then Endurance. Then Origin. Then Draculas. Then Shot of Tequila. Currently, Trapped is ranked at #363, which is my highest. This just happened over the last few days.

I have no idea why some ebooks outsell others. I wish I knew, because I'd be able to cash in on it.

Joe Konrath said...

I don't want to waste my time convincing suits that its marketable and profitable enough for their attention.

Especially when, after you're finally published, the suits screw it up. Which they do.

I know hundreds of authors. 99.9% of them have stories about stupid things their publishers have done. Things that hurt their careers. Things that fly in the face of common sense.

Joe Konrath said...

Does genre or subgenre make a difference?

I dunno. Certainly some genres are more popular than others.

But Amazon has infinite shelf space, which means even niche books have a chance to find an audience. And the less popular the genre, the fewer titles.

I seem to be doing a bit better with horror than with mystery. Novels far outsell short stories or story collections. But no one can predict what the Next Big Thing is. If they could, every book would be a bestseller.

Better stick to writing what you love. You can keep an eye on trends, but chasing them seems ineffective.

Moses Siregar III said...

And does genre make a difference?

A huge difference, mon frere. Traditional fantasy seems to be somewhere in the middle of the pack from what I've seen. It's not paranormal romance, romance, or thrillers. But it's a lot better than limbo genres.

I've seen some indies in tough or unusual genres say they wish they were writing something like fantasy. I say, I wish I was writing about sexy vampires!

One thing we know about epic fantasy is that there is potentially a HUGE readership, but I haven't seen many indies tapping into that potential yet.

Here are a few names that are coming close, though: Michael J Sullivan, Ty Johnston, and David Dalglish. You also mentioned Pratt.

Michael J Sullivan is doing really, really well, so he's probably the closest thing to it. But what I'm looking at as the ceiling are the big boys: Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss.

My feeling is that if you aspire to that level it's going to take patience to do it in fantasy. A good PNR writer like Amanda Hocking, Zoe Winters, or HP Mallory can shoot up the charts in a relatively short time.

An epic fantasy writer can take off fairly quickly too, but not on the same scale as the above names. So my strategy is more like this:

Put out the very best book I can about once a year, hopefully books that people will call "special." Do that for 5-10 years and then see if you start climbing to lofty places. I think that's a better plan with epic fantasy, because if you do reach the larger audience in that category, the potential is enormous. But it probably requires more patience than with the hottest genres.

I want to write books that people will want to read while they're waiting for the next installments from Martin, Sanderson, and Rothfuss. Wish me luck.

Moses Siregar III said...

Yeah, but what if alternate world Zoe was all rah rah traditional publishing? It could happen! :P

Yeah right! And in this alternate world I'm not a hot vampire with six-pack abs, madly in love with an average-looking, insecure teenage girl.

Sure, that could happen.

p.s. I didn't see Joe's post on genre before I wrote mine.

Gayle said...

Careful not to assume that self-published means kindle-only. You can self-publish books and have them show up on Amazon just like any other book.

My self-published book ("Cracking the Coding Interview") is actually only available in paperback on Amazon and is usually ranked between #1000 and #3000 on Amazon over ALL BOOKS.

And I sell it at a premium ($30 per copy) whereas its professionally published competitor (which is quite well known) sells for $20 per copy. So there you have a self-published book, priced HIGHER than its competitors, yet outselling them.

I totally agree with this post. If you can take the time and effort to do self-publishing right (get it edited, get a good cover, etc), you can make far more money. The royalties from professional publishing just don't compare.

Allan R. Wallace said...

When I started my book a basic premise was: Authors write for agents, rewrite for publishers. Writers craft for themselves, rewrite to include a larger audience.

I want to be a writer. I now have a decent rough manuscript. This year I will publish online. Kindle, Nook, Apple, e-book distributors; they all give me access to potential readers.

My platform will broaden.

This is fun.

Randy Noble said...

Thanks Joe. Excellent information and a beacon of inspiration and hope for someone like myself just starting out. The mindset of having to go the traditional route is changing. It reinforces what I am doing now.

Randy Noble

wannabuy said...

Robin,
I assume you left Nathan Lowell off due to his prior audio books? ;)

Karen,
You are 100% correct in that more and more authors will succeed. f

Joe,
A thought related related to you post. So many ereaders were sold this year that it changes the pbook business case. In one month, perhaps six weeks, the book market changed more than it has in two years. I'm impressed how well the ePub readers sold (Kobo, Sony).

Authors, get your works ready and out on Kindle, B&N, and smashwords. Getting 'legs' is tough. It takes time. I'm not surprised Robert 'stumbled' upon his niche. There is some randomness in finding your customers.

But now, your work doesn't have a 'shelf life.' Once you 'break out,' than readers can find your other works.

Good luck to all,
Neil

modicumoftalent.com said...

Joe and Moses, thanks for your comments and input.

Moses, I think you have a point--where am I aiming? I'd love to be as successful as the big boys, but as Joe pointed out, it's not necessarily about being a "big name." It's more about reaching readers and making some money doing what I love.

I'll keep writing what I love and put it out there. And maybe the climb will be slower, but I'll keep improving, keep writing, and keep publishing. I always said I really just wanted to be a healthy midlist writer. A good midlist writer who is self-pubbing can certainly make a decent living.

Does it sound like I'm aiming low? I'm not. I'm just trying to balance realism with goals. And patience is not my strong suit... I'll keep trying to take the "long haul" perspective.... :)

I do know some of the indie fantasy names you mentioned, Moses. They're doing it, so I guess there's hope for me, too. :)

Thanks for the comments!

Amy

Tara Maya said...

When I self-published my anthology Conmergence I still had my novel out on submission with several publishers. I had a lukewarm "we're interested but need to think about it some more" response from one. Even if they had given me an acceptance right away, I knew I would be looking at two more years, probably, before publication. If they turned me down, I'd be in even worse shape, and have to start the tedious process of query and submission all over again.

My experience with the anthology convinced me that I would be better off self-publishing my fantasy series NOW rather than waiting for a publishing company. Rather than put my energy into writing query letters, I focused on getting cover art and editing for my book, The Unfinished Song: Initiate.

The build-up is slow. I put the book out while I was also trying to be a full-time mom to three kids under five and attend grad school. I don't have as much time as I'd like for publicity. But I am happy with my decision, and I plan to just keep working as hard as I can. Knowing it is up to me to p.ut the books out there is tremendously inspiring to write more.

Tara Maya
Initiate
Conmergence

bowerbird said...

mike cane said:
> Yes, and the way you
> went about shitting on
> people who did will always
> be remembered by us.

oh, poor little mikey...

-bowerbird

Coolkayaker1 said...

Joe-- please comnsider a guest blog post from Rob Siders about formatting for e-books. His services sound great, but homnestly, for John Q Novelist out here, the idea of formatting is a black hole. Amazon doesn;t format? Is the author involved? Does it include cover art? Some screenshots of poorly formatted ebooks would be helpful. I'd appreciate Rob's thoughts and expertise about formatting. Thanks.

wannabuy said...

Tara,

I wish you the best of luck going Indie. If the writing is as good as your painted worlds... It will sell well.

You were wise to publish NOW. I'm still in 'pleasant shock' as to how well ereaders sold this holiday season. My entire attitude has changed as the seeds are no longer shoots, but are now a viable, albeit small, forest.

I look at how empty the three chain bookstores are and wonder how long we'll have them. Two are Borders...

Neil

bowerbird said...

jude said:
> Oceanview is most definitely
> a traditional publisher,
> in every sense of the word.

well, that really depends on
how you define the word...

i think most people here mean
"big" when they say "traditional".

or at least old.

oceanview was started in 2006.

and it's definitely not big...

it's a boutique publisher.

which is fine.

but it's not what most people
are talking about here when
they contrast self-publishing
with "traditional" publishing...


> The fact that they're
> independent is irrelevent.

um... not really. the fact that
they do not have deep pockets,
or a large catalog, means that
they don't have a lot of power
when it comes to moving books.


> They pay advances and
> royalties and their books
> are distributed nationally.

given the average press-run that
one can expect from a boutique,
i'm guessing your advance was
well under $10,000, and that
very few bookstores will have
your book up on their shelves,
which means that you probably
won't earn out your advance,
let alone receive royalties...

you can feel proud that you ran
the oceanview gantlet and got
their "stamp of legitimacy", but
in the new world of publishing,
the _readers_and_profit_ count.
and you will not obtain either...

what you _will_ have is a stamp.

-bowerbird

Lee Irons said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Joe! I've been doing other people's writing for years and have just started doing my own. What you have shown me is that it is possible to self-publish and it is worth it.

Tara Maya said...

Here's an interesting tidbit, and good news for indies. All Romance Ebooks used to have a policy meant to keep out indie publishers, which they've now changed.

Lori James explained the reason: “Some of our hottest selling books are coming from indies. More importantly, the change in policy is in response to author and reader requests.”

I wrote more on my blogTara Maya's Tales.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate
Conmergence

Derek J. Canyon said...

Coolkayaker1,

I have a blog post that gives step by step instructions on how to format your ebook for Kindle. Check it out here:
Step-by-by step Kindle ebook HTML formatting instructions

Karen Cantwell said...

I love it when you interview yourself, Joe.

Thanks for the great post - I'll be sending this one around.

Jude Hardin said...

Jude - I think it's awesome that you're releasing your first novel with Oceanview and huge congrats on that. A major accomplishment, and you will accumulate some pubbing cred. For sure.

Thanks, Blake!

But...there will come a time, trust me, when you pray that Pocket-47 goes out of print and you get your rights back so you can reap the full benefit of what's happening.

So maybe there's an up-side to having a small print run. ;)

The way I figure, a conservative estimate is that I'm currently losing $2,000/month on Abandon (09) and Snowbound (10), my last two books which St. Martin's published and I don't have the rights to. It may be several years before I get those back. It's KILLING me to consider the $$ I'm losing. I didn't know when I signed those deals that all this would happen, but I would not take anything less than major money ever again to tie up rights to my books for 5-7 years. It simply doesn't make sense anymore.

I prefer to think about what I've gained by signing with Oceanview instead of what I might be losing. At this point it's the best I can do. And, who knows? Lightning might strike and I might do well with subsidiary rights. At any rate, what I've learned (and continue to learn) by going the traditional route first is priceless. And, I'm looking forward to seeing my book in stores and libraries and to the signings and launch parties and everything else that goes along with being connected to a publisher. Ego? Maybe. I don't know. But it sure felt good when I finally got that call of acceptance and when my editor spent hours and hours helping me shape the manuscript into the best it could be and when I first saw the cover and then got the first ARC in the mail...

And won't it feel good when that first box of hardcovers finally arrive?

If I had the chance to shred the contract with impunity today and publish the book myself, would I?

No way.

John Ling said...

"you can feel proud that you ran
the oceanview gantlet and got
their "stamp of legitimacy", but
in the new world of publishing,
the _readers_and_profit_ count.
and you will not obtain either...
what you _will_ have is a stamp."


This is essentially what author Michael Stevens encountered when he signed on with Oceanview Publishing. Check out his blog here, if you haven't already: http://fortunathebook.com/blog/

John Ling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Ling said...

"I prefer to think about what I've gained by signing with Oceanview instead of what I might be losing. At this point it's the best I can do. And, who knows? Lightning might strike and I might do well with subsidiary rights. At any rate, what I've learned (and continue to learn) by going the traditional route first is priceless. And, I'm looking forward to seeing my book in stores and libraries and to the signings and launch parties and everything else that goes along with being connected to a publisher. Ego? Maybe. I don't know. But it sure felt good when I finally got that call of acceptance and when my editor spent hours and hours helping me shape the manuscript into the best it could be and when I first saw the cover and then got the first ARC in the mail..."

Yes, it's worthwhile to go down that route, if only to see what it's all about. Especially if you're a first-timer in the woods and the magic of it is still new and shiny. =)

Anonymous said...

"I'm looking forward to seeing my book in stores and libraries"

Jude,nothing personal but very small publishers with small print runs almost never get stocked on the shelves or BN or Borders. The buyers for those stores are very particular. In fact, a good percentage of books published by even the big 6 never get picked up by the stores for shelf space.

Indie stores are even more particular than the chains. They're fighting even harder to survive.

A few libraries might pick it up IF it gets a good review by Kirkus, PW, LJ or Booklist. Those journals end up reviewing about 10% of the submissions prsented to them. Even if the book gets one or more favoable reviews, library budgets are way down. Most libraries are shying away from HC except for bestselling authors.

I don't want to be the rain, I'm just telling you how it really works.

Blake Nyquist said...

Blogger cut me off on word limit, I guess, so here's a chunk I ripped out of my post just above...

I've actually been working on hashing out some ideas along the lines of low-cost book translation, so would be very interested any author's (accomplished, aspiring or otherwise) feedback on this. Some questions include:

** Does anyone have experience with translating a book being a worthwhile venture? It seemed to work well for Stieg Larsson... RIP.

** Are there services that already do this well, fast and affordably?

** What is needed to translate a book well? What could best help streamline the process, similar to what self-pubbing as experienced?

Again, I'd love to hear/read any feedback anyone might have. Thanks!

Tara Maya said...

My first two books were published by a traditional but small publisher, and I don't regret that. It was a great learning experience. It's true that I might be making more money on the books now if I had control of them, but I don't know. They were in another genre and under another pen name, which I don't do anything to promote. I'm willing to just let them go.

On the other hand, I'm very glad I didn't sell my fantasy through a small publisher. I thought I was holding out for one of the Big Six, and it says a lot about how much my opinion of self-publishing has changed that I now consider self-publishing to be the equivalent -- or better.

But I'm very sympathetic to all those authors who want the hardcover and the ARCs and the traditional label. There are still many reviewers who turn up their nose at self-published books. If I'd had an offer on the table from a Big Pub, I would have been very tempted, even AFTER I decided I wanted to self-pub.

Old thought habits die hard.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate
Conmergence

scott neumyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scott neumyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
scott neumyer said...

What I do, in fact, love about the indie movement is that you CAN make it a success if you work hard enough. I never imagined how well my book, Jimmy Stone's Ghost Town, would do in its first month, let alone its first three weeks available. It's been overwhelming and it's all due to how much work an author wants to put into making it a success over there. Empowerment, man. Kudos!

Stephen Prosapio said...

Uptick in sales anyone???

I'm sure others have much more detailed information on this, but I just got back from a 6 day trip to my (and Joe's) hometown of Chicago. During those 6 days (Dec 22-28) I sold nearly as many copies of my novel DREAM WAR as I did the first 21 days of the month...and while my sales ranking rose, it didn't skyrocket to crazy high catagories that prior sales of that amount would have risen it to. My hunch is that *everyone* is experiencing similar upticks post holiday?

Yes? No? Maybe? Hold onto your socks kids, 2011 is gonna be a barn burner!

Karl said...

What a well compelling and well researched post. With so many still apprehensive about self-publishing, it's hard to argue with the numbers. Self-publishing is an increasingly viable and even preferred option for authors for a number of reasons, as you point out.

Ruth Harris said...

I have a fairly lengthy TradPub track record. I've been published by Simon & Schuster, Random House, Macmillan and St. Martin's press in hard cover. By Ballantine, Fawcett, NAL and St Martin's in mass market. My experiences have been encouraging (NYTimes bestseller list) and crazy-making (In one case, a new publisher came in just as my book was being prepped for publication and decided "meh." The publishing effort was "meh," too. Big surprise. In another, the entire publicity dept walked out just as my book hit the stores. Do I really need to give the gory details?)

I've just started making my backlist available in e-versions, will follow up with new, never-before-published fiction. I understand completely where Joe is coming from. The process of going from 100% control (when writing) to just about 0% control standard in TradPub is very, very difficult for any creative person to deal with.

Anonymous said...

"Delusional writers take short cuts, like self-publishing, yet persist in believing their work is indeed good enough for worldwide acclaim and big money even though industry professionals (editors, agents, publishers) haven’t agreed."

-Joe Konrath, 2009

Helen Hanson said...

I heart numbers. In and of themselves, there is no ambiguity. Interpreting the numbers is where objectivity leaves the room and subjectivity struts the dais. Joe, you routinely provides more numbers, with analysis, than anyone else in the world of publishing. Many thanks!

Two years of extra sales ... $48,000.

The run rate of 1000/month is tough to hit out of the gate. I've hit double-digits with my novel, 3 LIES. It was released earlier this month on Kindle and went up on Pubit and ibooks this week. The sales are paltry by any measure, but I'm excited about the possibilities.

However, by the end of two years, earning 48,000 for a single title is a reasonable goal. A mega-trad deal would be lovely, if I could get one. Searching for that particular truffle requires a sustained effort. But what do I lose in the interim? Accountants call it Opportunity Cost.

The number that I find unlikely:

Advance = $100,000.

How many times, during all of 2010, did publishers make advances of this size or greater?

What percentage of all publishing deals involve advances of this size or greater?

If any anonymous reps from trad-pub houses have these stats, I'd sure like to see them.

Joe is like the investment guy telling you what's going up. Either you believe him, and put your words out there, or you don't. It's certainly worked for him. Unlike many writers, he doesn't have an other day job . . .

Congrats on the 22K! Huzzah!

Anonymous said...

"There are always exceptions. Don’t base your career on an exception."

- Joe Konrath, 2009

Anonymous said...

There's an easy way for Joe to prove the "it's because of the NY print deal he had first" wrong:
Write a couple of books under a pseudonym and publish them as eBooks.

:-)

Course as a marketing move it's likely complete idiocy, but it _would_ likely answer the accusation.

Anonymous said...

"Is self-pubbing bad? Hell no. I’m doing it myself, on Kindle, and doing pretty well. But I don’t consider those books published, and I only have confidence they are any good because they were vetted by my agent and fellow professional authors."

- Joe Konrath, 2009

Anonymous said...

"If we agree that it’s very hard to be objective when it comes to your own writing, then who can decide if our writing is indeed worthy of publication? I say, those who get paid to decide. That’s why they get paid."

- Joe Konrath, 2009

Anonymous said...

"I’ve said (again and again) that validation from the traditional publishing gatekeepers is a good indicator that your writing meets a certain minimum standard."

- Joe Konrath, 2009

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting how your opinions have changed in the last 18 months, Mr. Konrath. I've followed your blog for 3 years. I've followed your arguments and respected your opinions. I was even aware of this conversation last year, where you spent a great deal of time arguing for the Gatekeepers you are now telling fairy tales about.

You are lucky. You were lucky to get published originally, and you are lucky to be at the forefront of the self publishing movement. However, you are not deserving. These commenters who idolize you and your "ra ra self publishing" speeches should look into your history.

But hey, as you've said, authors who self publish are delusional, right? They won't bother to look at how your opinions changed when your latest book was rejected and your Kindle books started selling. Before, you didn't believe in self publishing and you were condescension itself to those who did. Now the shoe's on the other foot.

Do the real self-pub community a favor and stop pretending to be a visionary. The true visionaries are those who started the movement, who saw the potential before they made thousands of dollars.

Tell your audience to Google Mike Cane, Henry Baum, or Andrew Kent. Remember them? The true visionaries that you insulted?

Cathryn Grant said...

You are lucky. You were lucky to get published originally, and you are lucky to be at the forefront of the self publishing movement. However, you are not deserving. These commenters who idolize you and your "ra ra self publishing" speeches should look into your history.

I don't idolize anyone. I read this blog because Joe has a blunt opinion, he's funny, he provides great info, and sparks good discussions.

From my perspective, he started writing a blog to help other authors with what he learned along the publishing journey, just as he's doing now.

I don't think he was "lucky" to be published, he learned the craft, found his voice, persisted, and busted his ass.

He had a view of publishing based on his experience to-date and now his view has evolved.

As I said, I don't idolize him and I doubt many other commenters do either, it kind of goes against the nature of someone who has the vision and drive to work hard at becoming a successful author -- not the hero-worshiping type.

As I said, he freely offers details that have helped me focus on what's required as I pursue the indie author route. He provides a forum for writers, and he can be very motivational with his "work hard" messages.

And he's hilarious. I, for one, need to laugh from time to time about something I take very seriously.

Derek J. Canyon said...

Anon, the fact that Joe required financial proof that self-publishing was profitable is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. He was cautious, just as we all should be.

John Ling said...

Anonymous: Did you actually read Joe's post before you commented? If you haven't, let me reproduce the key points for you:


I had many good reasons to support this belief.

1. Self-publishing was expensive
2. The final product was over priced and inferior
3. Self-pubbed were impossible to distribute
4. Most self-pubbed books weren't returnable
5. Chances were, the reason you had to self pub was because your writing wasn't good enough
6. Most POD houses were scams

Then, in 2009, I became aware of the Kindle.

Even though I began to experience some success self-publishing my ebooks, I still believed in traditional publishing. For all of its flaws, signing with a Big 6 house was still the best way to make the most money and reach the most readers.

So now it's December 2010, and I'm selling 1000 ebooks a day, and I'm ready to change my mind on the matter.


If that's not humility and realism, then I don't know what is. It's certainly a darn sight better than slinging mud anonymously.

Helen Hanson said...

Anon:

I've been reading this blog long enough to remember those same comments made by Joe. It doesn't change the fact that his blog offers an insight into e-publishing unlike any other. He consistently provides hard data from which I can inform my opinion. That's why I'm here. Conclusion-making, however, is an individual sport. I step off the cliff for no one.

STH said...

Anon, John Ling already made the point I wanted to (that you don't seem to understand the conversation). So instead of repeating what he said, I'll just ask -

Did something bad happen to you that prevents you from publishing a book because of this blog? Did Konrath kill you dog? What's the problem?

James Harden said...

Joe, you are my effing hero. Basically you are the wind beneath my wings.
(Am I allowed to say effing? Am I allowed to quote Bette Midler songs?)

Anonymous said...

@John Ling et al.

No, you miss my point. The point is not that he said those things. The point is that he insulted the entire self-publishing industry in the process. He consistently and continually put down everyone involved. Of course, now that he is self-publishing, not everything self-published is bad. But he made a hobby of tracking down self-published authors on their own blogs, engaging them in insult matches veiled as "debates," and publicly undervalued everything self-published.

I have an issue with him standing up and proclaiming he is ready to "change his mind" and thus all his past behavior is supposed to disappear. Perhaps he sees himself as the self-appointed voice of self-publishing, but this member of the self-publishing community at least doesn't want him. I remember his derision, his insults, and his arrogance. And so do others. Nothing has changed except his target. And he is using the arguments of those leaders he disparaged to push his own popularity and sales.

Know your heroes, folks. They may be funny and friendly on the outside, but if they make it their hobby to keep people in their place and crush others dreams, perhaps they aren't worthy of the adulation.

P.S. I find it amusing that people think quoting Konrad's own words is slinging mud at him. Nicely done.

gniz said...

This blog has changed my life. Seriously. In the last couple weeks, after reading some of Joe's posts on the matter, I finally self-published 5 of my "drawer novels" on Amazon.

I'm still working with an agent on my most recent YA book but no longer counting on that elusive NY publishing deal to save me.

You can follow my adventures here: http://epubmanifesto.blogspot.com/

Thanks again Joe for the encouragement!

Robin Sullivan said...

@modicumoftalent.com said...
I write pretty traditional epic fantasy. I think speculative fiction readers are early adoters, so I think they probably read a lot of e-books, but do you think it's a slower climb for writers of certain genres over some of those that are "hot?"

My husband has an epic fantasy series The Riyria Revelations book 5: Wintertide just came out in October. He sold 1,000 books in Sept, 2,500 books in Oct, 7,500 books in November and 10,000 books in December - Yeah I think that genre you can "make it"

Robin Sullivan said...

@wannabuy said...
Robin,
I assume you left Nathan Lowell off due to his prior audio books? ;)


Actually I left him off because he's not craked the magic 100 - I think the best he's come is 340ish - but he will trust me. All the ones I listed cracked 100 except for Michael who hit 102 and I called that "close enough"

STH said...

"P.S. I find it amusing that people think quoting Konrad's own words is slinging mud at him. Nicely done."

I think the point is that you are quoting words out of context that were perfectly true at the time they were spoken. That's why everything your saying comes across as petty at best, with a chance of moving into downright odd and hiding-in-Konrath's-shower-with-scissors, later on.

And I can't speak for everyone, but I don't think there is a lot of hero worship going in here. There is gratitude about the guy posting so many facts, figures, and opinions that help shed a lot of light on the situation, sure. I think this is another area where that bitterness you're feeling over... still not sure what (blog traffic, maybe?)... is skewing your read of the situation.

John Ling said...

It's called an opinion, Anon, and opinions are always fluid and evolving. Observe, for instance, how Japan and Germany were once reviled as enemies by your country and mine, but these days, they are considered our bosom buddies.

At any rate, the year is ending, and we are now moving into 2011. There is little sense in rehashing what Joe said in 2009. So much has changed in the self-publishing landscape since then. If anything, you should treat what Joe said as part of a healthy, rigorous debate instead of taking things so personally.

STH said...

@Robin,

Congrats to your husband! If you can tell, how long ago did the first book in his series go live? It's nice to get barometers about how different authors reach those September numbers you mentioned. Thanks!

bowerbird said...

john said:
> This is essentially what
> author Michael Stevens
> encountered when he
> signed on with Oceanview

oh man, i read that blog...

it was heart-wrenching how
uninformed and delusional
mr. stevens was. really sad.
not atypical. just depressing.

and once his book came out,
it's been nothing but silence.

but i suspect that jude has
a bit more spunk than that.
now that he's got a "stamp",
he can self-publish proudly,
secure in his superiority...

-bowerbird

Robin Sullivan said...

I think one thing people should remember...when Joe was traditionally publishing it was a "different time" it made sense then because for the most part - it was the only game in town.

New opportunities have arisen and now writers have a choice. More choices is always a good thing - Your own goals will decide which path you take - going traditional isn't ALWAYS bad. And going indepenedent isn't ALWAYS good.

Robin Sullivan said...

@STH said...
@Robin,Congrats to your husband! If you can tell, how long ago did the first book in his series go live? It's nice to get barometers about how different authors reach those September numbers you mentioned. Thanks!


The Crown Conspiracy hit the street Oct 2008, Avempartha April 2009, Nyphron Rising Oct 2009, The Emerald Storm April 2010, Wintertide Oct 2010. - So one book every 6 months like clock work - final book of series Percepliquis is due April 2011.

John Ling said...

Michael Stevens' blog highlights a very important point: if you want total control over the publication process, if you absolutely refuse to accept the judgement of others, then, yes, you are better off self-publishing.

The prevailing argument seems to be that self-publishing is not for everyone. Well, the same could be said of traditional publishing. It's certainly not for the choosy and nitpicky and those who refuse to compromise.

STH said...

Thanks Robin. Very interesting. It sounds like he hit some kind of critical mass/tipping point in September. Maybe a combination of building a fan base, adding books and the steady increase in e-readership across the board in 2010? Great story. Thank you. - Steve

bowerbird said...

"anonymous" said:
> Tell your audience
> to Google
> Mike Cane,
> Henry Baum,
> or Andrew Kent.
> Remember them?
> The true visionaries
> that you insulted?

what a load of smelly rubbish.

mike cane is not a "visionary"...
he's merely a hyperactive clock,
which means that he's correct
about five moments a day, and
dead-wrong all the other time.
30,000 tweets; noise, no signal.

and henry baum? full of himself.
did you hear he won an award?

i don't even know andrew kent,
which probably means he's the
slasher hiding behind the mask.

add up the sales for all 3 of 'em,
for all of 2010, and you will find
they don't even match joe's take
for the first half of december...

go back to twitter, and do your
snow-job on your "followers"...

-bowerbird

JaxPop said...

Hmmmmm....
1. Self-publishing was expensive

Depends who you use - I did okay

2. The final product was over priced and inferior

Print version (POD) is too expensive, especially for kids books, which is what I write. Haven't had an issue with inferior product.

3. Self-pubbed were impossible to distribute

Not easy - Luckily I found a niche market for print & now I'm jumping into ebooks.

4. Most self-pubbed books weren't returnable

Okay with me. Never understood that business model anyway.

5. Chances were, the reason you had to self pub was because your writing wasn't good enough

Dunno - Readers can decide that. Never submitted. Seemed like the process was a crap shoot with loaded dice. Willingly admit that my 2nd book is much tighter. (But I've been selling & making money, so #1 couldn't have sucked THAT bad.)

6. Most POD houses were scams

Did a lot of homework in advance. No regrets & I'm using the same POD company for my new book.

Bottom line - I have a great day job, like to write & didn't want to go thru the traditional publishing crap. Got nothin' to prove to anyone & sure as hell don't want to turn writing into a job. So I self pubbed. Call it whatever - I'm havin' a blast.

Daryl Sedore said...

Joe,

Wow. Great job stirring it up.

Love your blog! Love the comments!

This is Indiana Jones in a rattlesnake pit that's rapidly flooding and there's no anti-venom. You're the only one who can swim and all you're doing is calmly talking about swimming.

Sink or swim people, sink or swim.

Anonymous said...

@STH

Mm hmm. Implying that I was hiding the context when I provided link in my comment. And then implying that I'm going to harm Mr. Konrath. Hang your head in shame...you shouldn't have slept through debate class. If you can't reply to the content of my comment, perhaps you shouldn't reply at all, mmkay?

@John

Feel free to brush everything under the rug, if it makes you feel better. After all, they're only words, right? What a thoughtful post from a "writer."

I do hope that more of Mr. Konrath's visitors are more open-minded and less frightened than his regulars. Don't take my word for it. Google is friend. Don't believe me...find the truth for yourselves.

John Ling said...

Feel free to brush everything under the rug, if it makes you feel better. After all, they're only words, right? What a thoughtful post from a "writer."

As opposed to someone who hides under the rug and opts to remain anonymous? Well, if you have a beef with Joe, get over it. Because Joe has quite clearly gotten over his beef with self-publishing. He's evolved since 2009. I invite you to be mature and do the same.

craig said...

bold predictions for publishers and their employees, but it's probably spot on, unfortunately.

Educational institutions are slowly but surely switching over to ereaders, and laptops and dumping printed books. Traditional Publishers need to make a move, and quickly change their business model before ereaders become mainstream.

craig
www.authoragency.com

Moses Siregar III said...

My husband has an epic fantasy series The Riyria Revelations book 5: Wintertide just came out in October. He sold 1,000 books in Sept, 2,500 books in Oct, 7,500 books in November and 10,000 books in December - Yeah I think that genre you can "make it"

Michael is also someone that benefited from getting a book listed for free at Amazon. That takes nothing whatsoever away from what he's accomplished, but we'd agree that his numbers would not have spiked so dramatically in November if it hadn't been for that.

He would still be selling more and more books every month, but that gave him a very big boost.

Again, his books were very much finding an audience before the Amazon freebie happened and they were destined for greatness all along. I know I really enjoyed his first book (I plan to read the rest of them once they're all out). I also interviewed him earlier this year if anyone is interested.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Joe, thank you for this post. I've got a couple of questions as I'm a newbie to all this. What about e-publishers? I have a short story in e-book form out now with Damnation Books and I was very impressed with the editing, the great cover art, and perhaps most important, the promotion they do for all their titles. Should someone who is fairly new to all this, and not technical at all, start with e-publishers? I'm thinking especially with establishing a niche, platform, whatever.

Any advice/opinion you give I know will be knowledgeable and greatly appreciated. Thanks!

wannabuy said...

Robin,

Only 340? Wow... Well, I want him to do better. ;)


Everyone: I'm highly amused as how one upset anon is 'stirring the pot.' Let's face it, what shelf publishing became in 2010 is not what self publishing was years ago.

Neil

Conda V. Douglas said...

A follow up question to my previous comment: I find that I'm spending lots of time promoting and too little time writing--when it's writing I want to do! So, isn't it useful to have a publishing company doing part of the work of promoting? And I don't mean the big 6, I mean the new hungry e-publishers.

Moses Siregar III said...

Everyone: I'm highly amused as how one upset anon is 'stirring the pot.' Let's face it, what shelf publishing became in 2010 is not what self publishing was years ago.

That's a nice slip. Shelf publishing really changed in 2010.

John Ling said...

Everyone: I'm highly amused as how one upset anon is 'stirring the pot.'

Yes, it is rather interesting to have an Anon is accusing others of dishonesty while he is being dishonest about his own identity. It would be far better for him to step out into the light so we can better examine his credentials... or sanity.

Angela Perry said...

I thought Chuck Wendig had a great post today on balancing traditional publication and self-publication. Don't read it if you are offended by language, but it's funny and right on. His opinion: do both! Why not take advantage of the pluses and minuses of both systems?

Another of my favorite authors, Randy Ingermanson, suggested that self-publication might become the filter for large publishing houses. They will see which books do the best and pick up the authors for international distribution, etc.

Personally, I'm excited about the time we live in. We as authors have so many options! I don't think we should limit ourselves to just one. Each publishing route (self, small press, and large publisher) has it's own benefits, depending on the project and subject matter. We should objectively evaluate our options and choose the best one.

Just my two cents ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is rather interesting to have an Anon is accusing others of dishonesty while he is being dishonest about his own identity. It would be far better for him to step out into the light so we can better examine his credentials... or sanity.

And invite retribution from Konrath's brainwashed minions? No thanks. I'm just as afraid of someone in my shower with scissors.

The only reason you want to know who I am is so you can attack me personally, since you can't address any of my points.

modicumoftalent.com said...

@Robin, thank you so much for posting that information in response to my question. I really appreciate it. And it's good to have a benchmark/starting point for how your husband grew his backlist and built his audience.

I'm just starting. I have little audience, one title, and a lot of ambition. I hope in two years I'm posting numbers like you just posted. :)

Thanks!

Amy Rose Davis

Tara Maya said...

I read Joe's ebook version of A Newbie's Guide to Publishing over a weekend a few months ago, right when I myself was in the midst of re-thinking my (previously very negative) views on self-publishing. It was interesting to see the slow change in attitude.

Frankly, one of the things that convinced me about Joe's arguments *was* that he knew both sides of the game, and was willing to follow the money, and do WHATEVER WORKED BEST. I had known a few blow-hard self-publishers before that who were so bitter, I considered them as a good reason *not* to self-publish. When people who were pragmatic, not with an ax to grind, started proving it could be professional and profitable, that's when I became interested.

That, and Joe backed up his arguments with $$$ facts and figures.

A decade ago, the only ones I saw who did well self-publishing were non-fiction and very niche writers. Now it's very different. I don't understand why anyone would be bitter about someone realizing that.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate
Conmergence

wannabuy said...

Moses,

ROTFL. 'Nice slip' as you put it. However, 'Shelf publishing' has further change ahead. ;)

Interesting tidbit:
Kindle and Ipad production at the same rate!
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Amazon-Now-Making-As-Many-siliconalley-1282091575.html?x=0&.v=3

1.6 million Kindles per month... Gee, that won't accelerate the change in the publishing game.

Neil

John Ling said...

The only reason you want to know who I am is so you can attack me personally, since you can't address any of my points.

No. It's because you're the only one here who is anonymous.

Secondly, what exactly is it that you want addressed? The facts are clear as crystal -- Joe has converted from traditional publishing to self-publishing, and he's outlined his reasons for doing so. What more do you want?

Robin Sullivan said...

@moses the numbers I posted for November had the "freebies" backed out. Total books "moved" in November was ineed 26,807. Taking book 2 free for 3 weeks was a great marketing coup for me. I won't price Michael's books at $0.99 but free did what it was suppose to. Sales for book #1 were 5x the previous month. But sales in December (when no freebies) was even higher.

Glad you liked the first book - the others just get better from there!

Robin Sullivan said...

@wannabuy said...
Robin, Only 340? Wow... Well, I want him to do better. ;)

You and me both - he deserves much success. Keep in mind that is 340 in "rank" not number of books a day - I don't want to "out" Nathan's sales without nis permission but he has sold over a thousand every month since his release in May.

Book 2 of his Half Share - is just out (live on Kindle - just got final proof on DTB version) and already has more than 1,000 copies sold in just 7 days!!

Robin Sullivan said...

@modicumoftalent.com said...
@Robin, thank you so much for posting that information in response to my question. I really appreciate it. And it's good to have a benchmark/starting point for how your husband grew his backlist and built his audience.

I'm just starting. I have little audience, one title, and a lot of ambition. I hope in two years I'm posting numbers like you just posted. :)


You are most welcome - in the fantasy genre - series work well - it is part of Michael's success so try to think along those lines and get them out close to one another. Michael's came out one every 6 months which was a very good rate for him.

Moses Siregar III said...

@moses the numbers I posted for November had the "freebies" backed out. Total books "moved" in November was ineed 26,807. Taking book 2 free for 3 weeks was a great marketing coup for me. I won't price Michael's books at $0.99 but free did what it was suppose to. Sales for book #1 were 5x the previous month. But sales in December (when no freebies) was even higher.

I know, but it's clear that getting nearly 20,000 free Amazon downloads in one month helped you guys to sell a lot of books in both November and December (and forevermore due to momentum). For anyone who doesn't know, as an indie you CANNOT list one of your books for free at Amazon (yet?), but a small number of indies stumbled onto this good fortune in October and November (long story short: Smashwords ported their stuff for free to sites like BN.com, then Amazon matched the price).

You already sold 2,500 in October when the fifth book in your series came out and I have no doubt you would've kept selling more and more books without the Amazon freebie. But the freebie had to have boosted your numbers by a lot.

The only reason I pointed that out is because people reading this shouldn't think that it's normal to shoot up to 10,000 traditional fantasy ebooks sold in one month after working at it for a couple of years. And you and Michael are some of the smartest and best promoters around, too.

I see you two as the perfect storm. Great, fun books in a series. Great covers. Great marketing. While Michael writes, you work full-time promoting his works. And then a TON of free Amazon downloads just prior to the 2010 holiday shopping season. You couldn't have drawn that up better than it worked out, and you guys deserve full credit for all of that. You're treating this like a business and you are kicking serious ass.

Another reason this worked is because Amazon made the second book in the series free. This meant that a lot of people downloaded the second book for free, then went and bought book 1.

I think all of that is awesome and you know I'm really happy for you guys. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving author, IMO. And like I mentioned to you earlier today on KB, if you're ever available, I'd also like to marry you (maybe we could become Mormons?). You help Michael out a ton, and I think that's beautiful.

Moses Siregar III said...

Since we've talked about ebook prices before around these parts, Robin mentioned something interesting earlier today on KB. She said that when they lowered the price of one of Michael's books to $2.99 from $4.95, they actually got fewer sales. Not just less money, but fewer actual sales, too.

bowerbird had asked me for examples of that sort of thing and I didn't have any off the top of my head, but I knew I'd heard multiple examples of that sort of thing at Kindleboards. Granted, most of the big indie success stories are using prices like $2.99 and $0.99, but Michael J Sullivan is an example of someone who isn't. Lower prices DO seem to be the safer bet if you want to sell more copies, but there are some exceptions and I've also heard of more than one author who's experimented with $3.99 vs $2.99 and found that they made more money (despite fewer sales) at $3.99.

Robin Sullivan said...

@moses - you are so terribly sweet. Thanks for all the nice things you said. When I told Michael I was taking book 2 down to $0.00 instead of book 1 he looked at me like I was crazy. I told him to let me worry about marketing he should go edit Percepliquis. It was a kinda a crazy idea - and I didn't even know if the my scheme would work - It took several weeks for the Bots to make it free but yes - they couldn't have timed it better. You are 100% right it was a nice kick in the pants momentum builder - whether it will "carry over" past these two months....we'll see.

BTW - you are not the first proposal I've gotten from writers - I KNOW how hard this business is and I wish I could clone myself for others. You made me feel very wanted though - thanks for the smile on my face.

Brian said...

One truth I've learned over the years...those who can, do; those who can't, criticize those who do.

Joe, you've earned your success. Congratulations. You've also helped to inspire me as I now pick up fiction writing again after a thirteen year hiatus. The timing couldn't have been better actually; with the eBook revolution in full swing I have opportunities available to me I never had before.

By the way; I liked "Afraid" so much that I bought "Origin" as well. Just doing my little part to help you pay your mortgage.

Anonymous said...

I liked the post and found it very informative, but I'm wondering if you think Young Adult fiction/fantasy writers would do better to self pub or to go through the traditional agent/publishing house route. While Kindle and other e-readers are becoming surprisingly cheap, I think that most children/young adults probably don't have them, and for YA writers, relying on e-books would cut out the majority of their targeted demographic. Your thoughts?

bowerbird said...

> Robin mentioned
> something interesting
> earlier today on KB.
> She said that when they
> lowered the price of
> one of Michael's books
> to $2.99 from $4.95,
> they actually got fewer sales.
> Not just less money, but
> fewer actual sales, too.

let's have the full details please.


> I've also heard of
> more than one author
> who's experimented with
> $3.99 vs $2.99 and found
> that they made more money
> (despite fewer sales) at $3.99.

bring full details here please...

any reports saying "i've heard"
are rubbish without details...

there's also lots of lag effects,
so you need to do the research
in both directions, with random
assignment to conditions, or else
it's little more than guesswork...

***

i also find it quite curious that
you're more than willing to grant
a "bump" by offering free copies.

***

meanwhile, joe says right here
in this post that his findings are
that a price of $6 versus $3 can
mean _10_times_fewer_sales..._

i think that's a bit extreme, but
joe does have much experience.

***

and really, i think you are all
obsessing about this too much.
price your book how you like,
and live with the consequences.

and go back and write more...

stop examining your numbers,
and how much money you are
making (or not making), and
concentrate on making _art_...

nobody wants an accountant
to be telling them stories...

we want someone who is
fluid with their creativity,
who lets their imagination
run wild in the sunshine...

you are now _free_ to be
anything you want to be.
so make it interesting...

-bowerbird

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous said...
I find it interesting how your opinions have changed in the last 18 months, Mr. Konrath. I've followed your blog for 3 years. I've followed your arguments and respected your opinions. I was even aware of this conversation last year, where you spent a great deal of time arguing for the Gatekeepers you are now telling fairy tales about...

Also in response to the critics of that anonymous commentator, I think that comment is appropriate, along with the comments in response to it, because all of those comments identify Joe's point about self-publishing as a point to be argued, and not accepted without personal attention. Joe also initially indicates to us the point he he intends to argue, the worth of self-publishing, and alerts us to counter-arguments in a numbered series, all before he argues for his present position. What we're missing isn't the point or the argument, we're missing what is integral to each of those interests, our recognition of the value of argumentation. Granted, previous comments have involved this value implicity, but I hope the forum will find worth in an explicit statement. The worth of an argument (and the worth of an anonymous commentator) is to communicate the presence of compelling circumstances without inflicting harm (like with scissors). I think there are good points on all sides here. Maybe long-term and short-term integrity are mutually exclusive, the whole endeavor of integrity is a sham, and the true account lies in the words.

Someone had some difficulty finding material ("material") from Andrew Kent, which is understandable if "Andrew Kent" is in fact a pseudonym of Kent Anderson, but this appears to be some relevant work: . It's fascinating, and backed up with similarly immediate evidence.

Thank you for talking.

Anonymous said...

Someone had some difficulty finding material ("material") from Andrew Kent, which is understandable if "Andrew Kent" is in fact a pseudonym of Kent Anderson, but this appears to be some relevant work:

.

It's fascinating, and backed up with similarly immediate evidence.

It looks like there was some trouble with that link before.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, the article that isn't coming through in those links is at Self-Publishing Review dot com, with the title A Publishing Person Self-Publishes, by Kent Anderson.

Shaun said...

It's easy to self-publish, but hard to get people to know about your book :/

Anonymous said...

The only reason you want to know who I am is so you can attack me personally, since you can't address any of my points.

They're hardly worth addressing. Joe was right to be against self-publishing then, and he's right to be for it now.

Joe Konrath said...

But hey, as you've said, authors who self publish are delusional, right?

Last year, they were. Now, they aren't.

Anyone in 2009 who thought they could make a living at this was misguided. But times change.

I stand by everything I've ever said, because everything I've ever said was relevant in context and history.

Joe Konrath said...

Since your memory is so good, please point out an instance where I shit on you.

Seen a lot of my quotes here, but still haven't seen any shitting.

I'm all for having critics. But methinks there is some sour grapes, envy, and perhaps even a touch of the crazy here.

Joe Konrath said...

Did Konrath kill you dog?

Spit coffee reading that. :)

Joe Konrath said...

The point is that he insulted the entire self-publishing industry in the process. He consistently and continually put down everyone involved.

Wow. You are so wrong.

Every single point I made was valid.

More than that, most of those points still stand.

While it is now possible to make a living self-publishing, there is still no way to know if you're meeting the minimum quality standard of writing simply by uploading a book to Kindle.

If a writer manages to sell a good number of books, I'd say that's validation the work has merit. Just as getting an agent proves the work has merit.

In 2009, if you wanted to self-pub, it was a costly, uphill battle.

In 2011, if you want to self-pub, it's obvious common sense.

But as I've said many times, just because you CAN self publish, doesn't mean you SHOULD self publish.

Joe Konrath said...

What about e-publishers?

I haven't had any experience with them, so I can't say.

But if you can do for yourself what they do for you, and keep more of the royalties, you should think about it.

Joe Konrath said...

The only reason you want to know who I am is so you can attack me personally, since you can't address any of my points.

Dude, seriously, you haven't made any points.

Anonymous said...

congrats for your blog! i found it very useful and encouraging for someone starting to write fiction like i am. i think i will come back here a lot more once a finish my book and begin trying to sell it. thanks!

Joe Konrath said...

The true visionaries are those who started the movement, who saw the potential before they made thousands of dollars.



First of all, I never said I was a visionary, a hero, a guru, a pioneer, an outlier, a prophet, or a messiah. There were labels given to me.

Second of all, the ignorance of your statement is glaring.

If self-pubbed authors wanted to prove they were right, the only way to prove it WAS to make thousands of dollars. Otherwise it was just a load of hope and hot air.

Paying someone to print your book doesn't make you an author, and it doesn't mean your good enough.

In the past, the way to prove you were good enough was to have someone in the publishing industry vet you.

Now, you can prove you're good enough by selling a buttload of ebooks.

But you can't spout off about how you're right when you don't have any facts to back it up, and the only number you can show is the check you signed to PublishAmerica.

Robin Sullivan said...

@Konrath But as I've said many times, just because you CAN self publish, doesn't mean you SHOULD self publish.

I know exactly what you mean but just but I laughed as the title of this post is.. "You should self publish"

;-)

As someone who was involved with self-publishing a year ago I agree with Joe that it was not a venue that was condusive to making money. What Michael made in 2009 made his work little more than a hobby. In 2010 things have changed dramatically (over 10,000 sales in december alone).

A year from now, Joe may have an entirely different opinion because he is willing to adjust to the opportunities the marketplace presents. It doesn't make him a hypocrit it means that unlikes some he can adjust to his environment. I think the term is evolution and those that don't grow will wither.

Robin Sullivan said...

@bowerbird let's have the full details please.

Since inception the books were priced at $4.95. Hearing Joe's arguments for $2.99 made me think I might be missing something so I tracked sales and when they were steady at 310 a month, I dropped the first two books to $2.99. Sales went down to 240 a month. Then I put the price back they returned to about 330 a month. I wanted to see if it was a fluke, so I tried again, with similar results.

Now...I will say that my whole marketing strategy has been to position the books in the sphere of traditionally published fantasy books and I was leaving that echo-chamber for the self-pub chamber when I lowered the price. So this may not be a "fair test". It didn't work for me because I had not targeted that.

I do believe that many of the successes are due to the $0.99 and $2.99 getting people an audience. But once that audience loves their work I think these authors should raise the price of their books to $4.95 - it is not too much to ask for several hours of enjoyment.

But either way there are models for success and there should be no doubt that especially now there are opportunities that did not exist even six-months ago - for instance when Amazon Roylaties were 35% instead of 70%

Joe Konrath said...

I know exactly what you mean but just but I laughed as the title of this post is.. "You should self publish"

If your work is good enough, yes you should. ;)

Now there is an easy way to see if your work is good enough. Run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

This can be done for free, without risk, and I encourage it.

But I also encourage writers not to publish crap. :)

Aimless Writer said...

I've been rocking back and forth on this issue for awhile. Finding a print publisher and getting paid for my books will enable me to do what i love...write full time.
Now I'm thinking I can do that without a print publisher.
Thanks Joe! Can't argue with the facts.
I got my husband a kindle for his birthday in October thinking he might not even want one. He hasn't put it down and constantly trolls Amazon for new books. It was one of the best things I ever got him.
My one worry...I won't edit it enough and someone will see my mistakes. What can I do about that?

Jude Hardin said...

But I also encourage writers not to publish crap.

That's the thing. All babies are beautiful in their parents' eyes, even the shockingly ugly ones.

Chicago cleaning service said...

I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Jude, here's how Cervantes said the same thing:

"No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self-deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind."

EC

jtplayer said...

Re: "Paying someone to print your book doesn't make you an author, and it doesn't mean your good enough."
-------------

Oh really? And throwing your manuscript up on Amazon through DTP makes you an author? And likewise, it means you're good enough?

Give me a break Joe, that statement is just plain full of shit. IMO.

As is this:

"In the past, the way to prove you were good enough was to have someone in the publishing industry vet you.

Now, you can prove you're good enough by selling a buttload of ebooks."


So sales equals good? And conversely, no sales equals bad, or not good, or should I say not good enough?

Plenty of lousy movies and music and books sell all day long, hence the old saying "there's no accounting for taste".

And history's full of great authors who never sold shit when they were alive, or maybe not until late into their career, who are revered for the work they've done.

No Joe, sales do not necessarily equal good. They simply mean units sold, product moved, a barometer of commerce.

You put out lots of really good information here man, and your willingness to post specific facts and figures is very much appreciated. But sometimes the crap you post makes me shake my head. And the lengths you and some of your more sycophantic followers will go to debunk and smack down those "evil" anonymous posters is laughable. IMO.

Have a great day everyone.

Anonymous said...

The vetting system ain't perfect either. Agents and editors make mistakes all the time. Vetting and sales are both imperfect measures of quality. It's an imperfect world.

Robin Sullivan said...

Good and bad are subjective - Some love Twilight some hate it. But there is no doubt that if enough people are willing to open their wallets there is "value" and therefore validity can be had by thosands of people willing to pay for something you created.

John D said...

No Joe, sales do not necessarily equal good. They simply mean units sold, product moved, a barometer of commerce.

They are also the raison d'etre of publishing companies, large and small.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll bite. What about my last comment makes you continue to delete it? Is there something in it that offends your delicate sensibilities?

jtplayer said...

Re: "But there is no doubt that if enough people are willing to open their wallets there is "value" and therefore validity can be had by thosands of people willing to pay for something you created."
--------------

Gonna have to disagree with that Robin. Unless the purchaser knows your work, they are taking a chance on you. And until they actually read your ebook, the notion of "value" is irrelevant.

If anything the value comes from the book being so cheap, cheap enough that a buyer will purchase an unknown author figuring what the hell, if it sucks, they're not out a whole lot of money anyway.

Now some here are selling well across several ebooks, and I would say in that case they've found their audience and are producing work that speaks to that particular group of buyers.

But does it make it good?

Well any reasonable person knows the answer to that. What's good for me may not be good for you. That's the fallacy of Joe's statement regarding sales and being "good enough".

In my mind, whether I pay a POD to produce my book or go through DTP, it's merely a reflection of the business approach I've adopted, and to knock my work as somehow "less than" is pure bullshit.

And besides all that, Joe has no definitive idea why he's being so crazy successful with ebooks, and Kindle in particular. He's admitted that repeatedly. His print sales never pointed to this kind of result. And likewise, this whole thing could have just as easily been a total bust for him, at which point his rhetoric would reflect that reality.

jtplayer said...

Well duh John, that's the reason any business is in business.

But in the creative world, numbers of units moved oftentimes has no reflection at all on what is "good", whatever the hell that may be.

Look man, it's simple, Joe said you can prove you're "good enough" by selling a buttload of ebooks. I say that's bullshit. YMMV of course.

I've downloaded sample of ebooks written by members here, books that are doing very well sales wise, and all I can say is more power to you, 'cause I wouldn't buy it for a penny, let alone take the time to read it all the way through.

But that's just me. Obviously many others feel differently. And that's the beauty of art, it speaks to each of us individually, and we are free to buy what we like.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm amused. I posted a thoughtful response to Konrath replies to me. Several times. Each time it is removed. Apparently, Mr. Konrath's reply is "shut up you meanie!"

Anonymous said...

Dude, seriously, you haven't made any points.

Sigh. Shouldn't people who claim to be writers have at least a modicum of reading comprehension? Okay, here are the main points again, broken down into easy numbered items for the remedial reading crowd:

1. Your readers should be aware of your prior attitude and treatment of self-published authors, which was insulting, degrading, and dismissive.

2. Positioning yourself as the voice of the self-publishing movement is repulsive because of your aforementioned attitude (see point 1).

3. You are appropriating the arguments of your predecessors and betters and claiming them as your own.

(continued)

Anonymous said...

The point, Mr. Konrath, is that the game has not changed as much as you spout on your blog. There was no magic bullet that hit this year and made 2011 the sudden golden opportunity, whereas in 2009 self-publishing was vile and despicable. John Kremer has compiled a list of successful self-publishing stories going back years.

Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that one year has only made a difference in your knowledge of self-publishing, not in the reality of self-publishing itself. It was certainly not an uphill battle in 2009 that was solved for 2011. It's been easy for years. Ebooks are not new; simply because you didn't know about them or acknowledge their validity does not deny their existence or successes.

Anonymous said...

Want to garner the respect of the self-publishing community? The real self-publishing community, who paved the way for your successes, rather than the johnny-come-latelies who see a way to make a quick buck? Then give credit where credit is due. Pay it forward. Acknowledge those who came before you and made possible what you are cashing in on today. And perhaps apologize for your insults and derogatory remarks to self-publishers who were succeeding in their areas long before you learned to unhook yourself from the teat of traditional publishing and gatekeepers.

jtplayer said...

Some of you really need to lose your fixation with anonymous posters.

If a point is valid, it makes no difference how it's presented. IMO. Many members here use a screen name or block their profile. How is that any less anonymous?

I like coming here for the good and useful information Joe shares. The rah rah, "Joe is great and has redefined publishing" rhetoric is beyond tedious. As is the constant bashing of those expressing a differing viewpoint, anonymous or not.

When I first started posting here, after reading this blog for a very long time, I was anonymous. After numerous posts slamming the anons, I signed up and identified myself. It didn't change the nature of my posts in the least.

And let me add, I was rewarded for identifying myself by receiving a scathing, ranting email from one of your more esteemed members here. Complete unhinged, disturbing bullshit. Nice. And that person is one of the "successful" ones.

Moses Siregar III said...

Anyone in 2009 who thought they could make a living at this was misguided. But times change.

I gotta give some props to Zoe Winters (and who else? Karen McQuestion? Boyd Morrison? Selena Kitt? Michael J and Robin Sullivan?) for being a visionary on this issue. Girlfriend saw the potential early on and that's another reason she deserves congratulations, IMO. She's one of the people who saw the future before the other 99% did and started working toward an indie ebook future early on.

pathunstrom said...

Anonymous, you claim that nothing significant changed between mid 2009 and now that makes self-publishing more viable.

You miss that during these two years more book stores have closed than most of the last decade?

Did you miss that publishers have tightened their belts (Starting in 2008, but exasperated in 2009 and 2010.)?

Did you miss that Amazon's 70% royalty is from this year?

How about that e-books were a drip in the bucket of book sales last year, but are almost 10% of the market this year?

I'd say there are a number of trends that make 2010 unique, and set 2011 up to be a year for trying the self publishing waters.

What is amazing to me is that you continue to hold that data that is two years old is still relevant when even my data, which is 12 months old at best, is already showing its age.

Anonymous said...

@pathunstrom

So you agree with Mr. Konrath that anything self-published before 2010 was invalid and a waste of time then? Really?

The reason it's a more viable alternative now and all those changes are happening is because of self-publishers who wouldn't take "no" for an answer. And one of the biggest naysayers was Joe himself. If we'd all listened to good old Joe, we'd all still be waiting on the Big 6 to notice us.

Joe Konrath said...

1. Your readers should be aware of your prior attitude and treatment of self-published authors, which was insulting, degrading, and dismissive.

I've never insulted, degraded, or dismissed any author. I have, on occasion, pointed out why people are wrong.

Self-pubbing, up until recently, was a mistake. My points all remain valid.

2. Positioning yourself as the voice of the self-publishing movement is repulsive because of your aforementioned attitude (see point 1).

LOL. I'm not positioning myself to be the voice of anything. I can't help that people think I'm a hero.

All I'm doing is making a living and sharing what I've learned, which some folks find valuable.

3. You are appropriating the arguments of your predecessors and betters and claiming them as your own.

What predecessors? What arguments?

This has been my journey, and the conclusions I've drawn are based on my experience.

There was no magic bullet that hit this year and made 2011 the sudden golden opportunity, whereas in 2009 self-publishing was vile and despicable.

You're trolling now, right? You can't be serious.

The magic bullet is called KINDLE.

And I've never said self-pubbing was vile or dispicable, just like I've never insulted those who self publish.

But prior to this year, those who self pubbed were delusional. Some may still be. But at least now there's a chance to actually find an audience, and I don't see a downside to that.

In 2009, there were too many downsides to self-pubbing to count.

Joe Konrath said...

So sales equals good?

That's an old argument that has been ongoing on this blog for years.

In a nutshell: yes. Sales equals good.

Everything else is subjective.

Jude Hardin said...

Acknowledge those who came before you and made possible what you are cashing in on today.

My sincerest gratitude to everyone who had a hand in inventing e-readers.

Technology was the game changer, Anon. Not you.

Ellen Fisher said...

"The reason it's a more viable alternative now and all those changes are happening is because of self-publishers who wouldn't take "no" for an answer."

I'm fairly new to self-publishing (although not e-publishing), so I admit my ignorance. But how did this work, exactly? Did self-publishers put pressure on Amazon to allow indies to publish on the Kindle, or what? Because as far as I can tell, the only thing really making self-publishing genuinely viable now is the new emergence of e-readers. Certainly as an e-pubbed author, I never sold many books till the Kindle came along.

Joe Konrath said...

Each time it is removed.

I haven't removed any comments. But we can all thank Blogger for their awful new spam filter which we can't turn off.

Joe Konrath said...

The reason it's a more viable alternative now and all those changes are happening is because of self-publishers who wouldn't take "no" for an answer.

Holy grandiose narcissism, Batman!

I get it now. You're pissed I'm doing well, when you think you had this idea years ago and should be getting all the credit.

That's just lame.

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