Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Time Investment

More guest posts are coming, but I wanted to take a moment to post some numbers and some thoughts.

So far this month, I've sold over 18,000 ebooks on Kindle.

When I include Smashwords, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble, my income for January will be about $42,000.

Last January, I made $2,295 on Kindle, and I was amazed I could actually pay my mortgage on books NY rejected.

"Amazed" is no longer strong enough a word.

In just 12 months, I've seen a 2000% increase in income. And ebooks are still only 11% of the book market.

What happens when they're 15%? 30%? 75%?

And yet, I still see some writers clinging to the notion that getting a book contract with a Big 6 publisher is the way to go.

But money isn't the only reason ebooks self-publishing is preferable.

Back in 2004, when my first novel, Whiskey Sour, was released in hardcover, my publisher forbade me from doing booksignings. In order to have an official signing at a bookstore, the publisher is required to pay coop. Since Whiskey Sour was a hardcover, and I was a no-name, they didn't want to pay coop to bookstores because it wasn't cost-effective. Even $50 in coop would mean I'd have to sell about 15 books for the publisher to break even. Newbies simply don't sell 15 hardcovers a day at a single location. Very few books--bestsellers included--sell 15 copies a day from a single location.

This irked me, because I'd already set up signings, and because I felt as if I was being prevented from doing my job. One bookstore was especially upset, because the manager was a big fan of the book, and he'd been talking it up to his customers. He begged me to at least drop in and sign stock.

I asked my publisher, and they were fine with that, as long as they didn't have to pay the store.

So I visited the store, and to my dismay, the manager had ordered 100 copies.

Having worked in a bookstore before, I knew books had a limited shelf life and were returnable. Seeing that many books, knowing they'd be sent back, made me nauseous. I'd worked like a dog to land a print deal, and I knew I had to sell as many books as possible if I wanted to ever get another contract.

So I hung out at the bookstore, and greeted people who walked in, and told them about my book.

It was brutal. All I ever wanted to be was a writer, not a salesman. But I smiled, and I pitched, and I shook hands, and by the time I was done I'd been there for eight hours.

And I'd sold all 100 copies.

The district manager of the chain got wind of it, and invited me to do the same thing at other Chicagoland stores.

I did. It was an exhausting summer. Weekends were spent traveling to stores, spending hours on my feet, smiling, schmoozing, shaking hands. But I made a small impact, and handsold hundreds of books.

The next year, my publisher toured me.

For Bloody Mary, my second novel, they sent me to the West Coast. I had ten official signings. But I quickly realized what a giant waste of money tours were. Why do signings at only two bookstores in L.A. when there were 30 stores in town? Why fly from city to city, and pass up all those bookstores between cities?

So, on my own, between official signings, I dropped in 95 additional stores and signed stock.

It was eleven days of busting my ass. No sleep, constant travel, constantly being "on." But I felt it needed to be done.

The next year, for Rusty Nail, I was on the road for 55 days, and signed at over 500 bookstores. I blogged about it, day by day, but here are the final stats for that tour:

Miles driven: 11457
Books signed: 4066
Books hand sold: 214
Booksellers met: 952
Bookstores visited: 504

It remains the hardest thing I've ever done. I was so exhausted after that tour--physically, mentally, emotionally--that it took me weeks to get back to normal.

If we assume that every book I signed on that tour wound up selling (which is a big assumption,) it means for every hour I spent on the road, I sold three books.

It was the very limit of what I was capable of doing, and the best I could do was a book sale every twenty minutes.

Now let's look at ebooks.

In January, I haven't done a single bit of promotion. No touring. No signing. No interviews. I've basically sat on my ass this month.

And I've earned, on average, a dollar a minute.

In 2006, it took me almost 8 weeks to sell 4000 books.

In 2011, it took me five and a half days to sell that many. And I didn't have to drive across twenty-nine states to do it.

Now the numbers I'm quoting from the tour aren't the only books I sold during that time frame. I visited 505 stores, but there were thousands of other bookstores also selling my books that I didn't visit.

Surely there's a huge advantage to having your book in that many bookstores, right?

I just checked my last royalty statement. Rusty Nail, that book I worked so hard to promote, has thusfar earned me $42,000. This includes all of my hardcovers, paperbacks, ebooks, and foreign editions, combined.

With self-publishing, in a single month, I was able to earn the same amount of money it took me four and a half years to earn through traditional publishing.

Back in 2009, I wrote a book called Afraid for Grand Central. It was a paperback original, and I got a modest advance of $20,000. But my publisher gave Afraid a bigger print run than any of my previous books, and gave it decent support. They put an ad in USA Today. They got the book into Wal-Mart.

I did my part as well. I went on a blog tour, appearing on 100 blogs in 30 days. That was hard. I also did a real tour, and visited over 200 bookstores. That was harder.

After the tour, I wrote a follow-up to Afraid called Trapped. My publisher didn't like the book, and refused to publish it.

Last year, I released Trapped on my own, on Kindle.

In the last 68 days, Trapped has earned me over $20,000. It's currently selling over 160 copies a day.

Because this is my career, I measure my success with how much money I'm able to make. But money is only part of the equation. The amount of time invested in order to earn that money is just as important.

I'm pretty sure I'm the only author who has ever visited 100 blogs in a month, or 500 bookstores on tour, or sent 7000 letters to libraries and bookstores (each with a signed drink coaster.)

These things took a considerable amount of time to do. Time I could have spent writing more books. Hell, I could have written a book in the time it took to put stamps on 7000 envelopes. And do you have any idea how many trips it took just to get them all to the post office?

My point should be obvious. Even if you promote your ebooks online, using websites, social networks, and blogs, it takes much less than promoting print books. I used to spend about 80% of my professional time self-promoting.

I've since stopped self-promoting. I don't do public speaking anymore, even though people offer me big money to do so. I turn down several interviews a week. I don't do conferences (the last conference I plan attend is Love is Murder, Feb 4-6, so if you want a chance to meet me or hear me talk about ebooks, this will be the last time.)

I'm a writer. So I'm devoting my time to writing, and quitting all of that other stuff.

Self-publishing ebooks hasn't just made me money. It has also given me my life back. And hopefully I'll never have to do something like this again:

147 comments:

Guy Dragon said...

Great post, Joe.

If there is one thing I've learned from reading your blog for the past year, is that you worked your butt off marketing your books. You deserve your success.

Another thing I've learned is that, with ebooks, the author's success is heavily dependent upon his or her willingness to do what you have done, participate in blogs, myspace, etc. Also, an author needs to overcome their reluctance to ask others to post a review on Amazon, review their work on a blog, etc.

It must have been difficult to walk up to people in the book store and say, "Hi, my name is Joe Konrath. I wrote this book."

A.M. Adams said...

Holy guacamole! You really put in a superhuman amount of effort in promoting and selling during your 'traditional print' days.

I'm published in traditional print as well -- wrote the book, got the contract, did the book signings and sales promos -- and found it all to be exhausting with very little to show in sales.

The folks who keep beating the drums for the Big 6 publishers as the only 'real way' to be a 'real writer' don't have the experience that you do -- and that's what separates you and your advice from the rest of the pack. It's time-tested and true.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge. I hope to soon join you in the ranks of epub sales!

Stitch said...

One of my all-time favourite quotes is:

"Quit whining you haven't done anything wrong because, frankly, you haven't done much of anything."
--- Nicole Blackman

Lexi said...

Joe, you did better selling hardbacks in eight hours than Christopher Paolini did with Eragon - and you weren't dressed in medieval costume. From Wikipedia:

Paolini said he "would stand behind a table in my costume talking all day without a break – and would sell maybe forty books in eight hours if I did really well. [...] It was a very stressful experience. I couldn't have gone on for very much longer.

Funny that doing book tours and signings is still part of the dream for aspiring authors...

Daryl Sedore said...

Incredible!

I cannot get over how big this is still going to get.

What happens when e-books become 20% or even 50% of the market? (Like you said).

What happens when the Kindle is being sold in a dozen more countries? Or more...

When the Kindle apps hit 200 million or even 500 million?

The e-book wave is one locust flying onto farmers field and sending the signal to swarm to the other billion locusts.

In time, e-book sales will be those billion locusts eating not just the farmer's agricultural crops, but all the land in a country the size of Australia.

Or bigger...

Daryl Sedore
www.spotlightonindies.com

Gary Baker said...

I can't help wondering how well your ebook sales would be right now without the 'traditional publishing' platform from which you started.
I don't mean to belittle your efforts at all, am just wondering ...

Joseph D'Agnese said...

Beautiful, inspiring story. Thanks, Joe.

Never heard of the coop thing before, I must admit. Was the bookstore a chain or an indie? Does it matter, I wonder?

@Lexi: We asked an actor friend to dress in colonial costume and read founder quotes to help us sell our RevWar history book. Sold 100+ books that day. The next day, he had to go home. We sold half that. I could not believe how hard it was to connect with people in that way.

--Joe

Mike Fook said...

God I love to read about your success. If that's all you posted about - and it seems like it is a damn big portion - that's cool with me. Keep on telling me how your sales are growing - and spur me on, because I'm where you were before last Jan. when you made $2,000+ on Kindle. Not there yet, but getting there.

You'll ignore this - like you have every email and comment I've bothered to write, but, would you like to be in my "Kicking Life's Ass!" book, to be released in the next 2 weeks? I have some profiles of people I know that are kicking life's ass. I think you probably qualify, but would require a short interview (emailed).

You in, or still ignoring me?

Cheers,

Mike Fook (.com)

Robert Burton Robinson said...

Joe, I had just begun to read this blog when you started your 500 bookstore tour in July of 2006. My first thought was, "this guy is crazy." My second thought was, "if this what it takes, I think I'm doomed."

Thanks goodness that's not what it takes anymore.

Would you be as successful with your Kindle books right now if you had not first been traditionally published? Who knows?

But if you hadn't been out there constantly pushing the envelope---being willing to do whatever it took to get the job done, we wouldn't have had a believable voice inspiring us to join the ebook revolution.

Guy Dragon said...

Gary Baker: I can't help wondering how well your ebook sales would be right now without the 'traditional publishing' platform from which you started.
I don't mean to belittle your efforts at all, am just wondering ...


Without his traditional publishing platform Joe might only have the level of success of someone like Amanda Hocking, who does not have a traditional publishing platform. ;)

Layton Green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guy Dragon said...

Robert Burton Robinson: Thanks goodness that's not what it takes anymore.

An author may not have to do the same activities as they used to, but it still is going to take a lot of hard work to get your product noticed.

Layton Green said...

1) Joe -- you earned it. Wow.

2) Those numbers are simply shocking. From 2k/month to 42k/month in one year, with essentially the same products. Um, holy crap. Revolutionary.

Joshua James said...

Great post, Joe,

I've been reading you and your blog since before you went on your radical tour across the country ... please keep up the good work, and should you find yourself in NYC, I'd love to buy you lunch.

gniz said...

What Joe is talking about is real. Many aspiring authors and even those in the earliest stages of their careers don't realize it yet. They still hold onto the dream, a dream that was always like winning the lottery and nowadays may be even further from reality.

The dream of writing for a living, glorious book signings attended by hundreds, interviews with Oprah, New York Times Bestseller lists...

The truth of the matter is what Joe describes and worse. I am close with a successful author and have seen the underbelly of the business. I've also been through the ringer myself having had multiple agents, rounds of queries and editor rejections from the NYC houses...all leading nowhere.

This is my first full month having my books for sale on kindle and amazon and I have broken 200 copies sold. Not much compared to Joe, but it's a start. It's 200 more copies than I ever sold before, and I hope to follow the pattern of people like Amanda Hocking who kept putting up material and building their fan base.

I'm grateful for this blog and for people like Joe that are willing to stick their necks out to let authors know what they are missing.

An E-Publisher's Manifesto

Heather said...

Wow- this post came at the perfect time for me. I am in the middle of pages of notes about how to begin and go about marketing my novel: Across the Galaxy. I just released it on Sunday on Kindle, and am overwhelmed with where/how to go about e-marketing myself. I was already beginning to struggle with splitting my time and leaving time to actually write. But Joe has (as usual) put things into perspective for me. It could definitely be worse! I mean, I don't even have to leave my house for this kind of marketing. AND I get to decide what's worth my time and what isn't. And for someone who loves control as much as I do... that's the best part! Thanks Joe!!

Anonymous said...

Damn, you inspire a writer. I read this piece first thing this morning, and I can't wait to plant my butt in my writing chair.

How wonderful it is to have more time for the actual writing (vs promotion), and your family will see you for supper more often. And then there's your readers, who get more books from you.

Win-win-win. The internet age is amazing, and everyone loves the HEA (happily ever after) story.

Thanks.

David N Alderman said...

Joe, I've been following your blog for a while now and decided maybe it was time to drop a line and comment on how encouraging I find your posts to be.

I've been doing the self-publishing thing full time for a year and a half now and am just now turning a lot of my effort toward ebooks after seeing your success and the success of other authors like Amanda Hocking.

I've done the book signings, and aside from it being difficult to get some book stores to even allow a self-published author to do a signing, selling the books to people who don't even know who you are is even tougher. Like you said, we are writers, not salesmen. I hate sales and I'm not all that good at it, though I have improved a little bit since the signings.

But to be honest, I'd much rather be writing. That's what I'm wired to do and that's what I know I need to do.

I am encouraged by your candid posts regarding your sales figures because it shines a light on the true success digital publishing and self-publishing is bringing to the table.

Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I think the lightbulb moment for me (as a result of your blog, of course) is when I redefined my definition of success. I now realize that it's possible to separate earning a living as a writer from traditional validation/visibility. I mean, do I want to make money or do I want a pat on the back and an income that doesn't begin to make up for my time?

When we cut out the "romance" of writing and start looking at it like a business, self-publishing makes complete sense.

Have I taken the plunge? Not yet. But by this summer I hope to release several books on Kindle.

Vive la Revolucion!

Joe Konrath said...

You'll ignore this - like you have every email and comment I've bothered to write, but, would you like to be in my "Kicking Life's Ass!" book, to be released in the next 2 weeks?

LOL, Mike. I ignore praise and those who agree with me. If you want a response in the comments, you gotta say I'm wrong. :)

Joe Konrath said...

I can't help wondering how well your ebook sales would be right now without the 'traditional publishing' platform from which you started.

It....just....won't....die......

Joe Flynn said...

I'm happy to say that with this January's ebook sales on Amazon I'll be able to make my mortgage payment, too. I have to admit, though, that my house payment is undoubtedly more modest than Joe's. Still, as of today, I've just about tripled the sales I had in December, and with six days left in the month I could come close to quadrupling December's sales. My second Jim McGill novel, The Hangman's Companion is leading the way in sales. It got a big bump when my former publisher dropped the price on my first Jim McGill novel, The President's Henchman to $2.99. I'm with Joe all the way on making the most of self-pubbing ebooks. I can't wait to see what my sales figures are a year from now.

Joe Konrath said...

Never heard of the coop thing before, I must admit. Was the bookstore a chain or an indie? Does it matter, I wonder?

I think I was the first author to post Kindle numbers, and compare them to print numbers.

I also believe I was the first author to talk publicly about coop.

Coop wasn't a secret so much as publishers didn't discuss it with authors. When Hyperion wouldn't tour me, they wouldn't tell me why. No straight answer. I eventually worked it out of my publicist after learning about coop from some booksellers.

I've done a few firsts on this blog. I was the first one to talk about how blurbs are often BS, the first one to talk about the NYT Bestseller list not actually reflecting sales, the first to show that a blog tour could be successful.

Ah, those golden days when I wasn't a broken record prattling on endlessly about ebooks....

Tony said...

Honestly, Joe, I think your books are mediocre at best (and that's being kind), but there's no denying how hard you've worked. Whatever success you've had or will have in the future, on the level of hard work, you've earned every penny. Congratulations.

J. Viser said...

Your results must have agents and publishers biting their fingernails wondering "WTF are we going to do?"

If the myth of "validation" has been ripped aside, how are they going to compete for authors and talent?

Your success continues to insspire. Thanks again for fighting the good fight and encouraging people to empower themselves.

Rabid Fox said...

I imagine the lessening of travel is a great plus when it comes to e-publishing. Those seemingly extravagant book tours from the biggest authors--fiction and nonfiction--always struck me as self-defeating on some level as far as raking in the money was concerned. Although, Hollywood spends such exorbitant amounts of money marketing their movies, it's a wonder any of them make a profit.

If nothing else, it's good to see that the e-books are giving you more time to actually sit down and write even more books.

Joe Konrath said...

Honestly, Joe, I think your books are mediocre at best (and that's being kind).

It you're the Tony I deleted previously, I applaud you for being respectful this time.

I no longer care what most people think of my writing, good or bad. I care about the opinions of a few friends whom I trade manuscripts with, and the opinion of my wife, and that's it. It's healthier that way.

J.T. Bock said...

Thanks so much for all this great information. Your blog has started changing my tune about traditional publishing in regards to fiction.

My husband and I own a business that sells graphic books and products. We are both designers with access to editors and were able to design and edit and publish our own graphics book that no agent or publisher would take on believing that our subject was too niche. Given that, we've sold about 2,000 books on our own (and used several hundred for our graphics training classes), so the agents and publishers were wrong. There was a market for our book. We are moving to e-books soon with the advent of readers that have full color displays. We've been happy with the results, since the book has led to sales of our other products and training and more widespread awareness of our business.

Encouraged by your results, I'd like to test publish one of my fiction stories on Amazon. I have the ability to design the cover and editors who can help me revise it. Do you know a resource or a website with tips for how to properly format for e-books?

Tom said...

Inspirational stuff, as always. And I do wonder what would have happened if I'd gone down the self publishing ebook route instead of traditional publishing. My book came out in hardcover early last year and is currently selling 10-15 kindle ebooks a day at $12.99. At $2.99, who knows how many they would be selling? I almost don't want to know. But, of course, I could also be selling a lot less without the (albeit limited) exposure I've received. I've also been picked up in the UK, Germany, Holland, and Japan, with others likely to follow. Which wouldn't have happened if I had self-published.

Certainly in Joe's case e-books are what's making him a real success, but I don't think they're the Holy Grail for every writer out there. It will work for some, and not for others. Like traditional publishing. I don't believe ebooks are ever going to get into the 50%+ market share. They are still a luxury item and an unnecessary gadget to most people, and no one is going to read extensively on their backlit smartphones. But the exact share they do take up is hardly relevant, they'll continue to grow until they reach a natural saturation point.

It seems to me that those writers doing best at being indies are those who can churn stuff out. I'm not one of those writers. That said, my scepticism towards self-publishing via e-books is slowly being hammered out of me by Joe's blog and in particular the guest posters and their own success stories. So much so that I'm now thinking about writing to self-publish alongside traditional publishing.

Joe Konrath said...

A writer named Guido Henkel has an in depth explanation of ebook formatting.

www.guidohenkel.com.

If you email him for one-on-one advice, be nice and buy one of his books first. And tell him I sent you. :)

wannabuy said...

Joes, 1st, you worked you a$$ off. I'm glad to see you gaining rewards for the hard work.

Now where are those promised scifi books? ;)

@JA"ebooks are still only 11% of the book market.

What happens when they're 15%? 30%? 75%?"

It will happen. The #1 and #4 book on Kindle are not to be found in a bookstoer. We're approaching the 'pull stage' of ebooks.

Neil

Joe Konrath said...

I don't believe ebooks are ever going to get into the 50%+ market share.

My mother is a technophobe. She finally got a cell phone because I bought her one.

But those in her generation who ignore technology will someday be gone, and the majority of people in the US will be those who grew up reading on their smart phones.

Ebook saturation hit 50%. It just may take a few years.

Angeline Kace said...

Wow Joe, thanks for this post! Any buried dreams I've had that I would get my name out there and a publisher might pick me up have completely vaporized. I congratulate you for working your butt off like you did. You deserve the success you are having right now.

Although it may feel like you aren't doing anything to promote your books, I bet you get a ton of sales from blogging.

Again congrats! You have done for writers what Stephanie Meyers and JK Rowling have done for readers!

Angeline Kace

Joe Konrath said...

Now where are those promised scifi books? ;)

Let's just say my publisher and are are trying to reach an understanding that will be mutually beneficial.

As you can guess, when I signed that contract in 2009, ebook rights were essentially worthless.

Now my ebook rights are worth quite a bit.

That's caused a bit of... friction.

Anonymous said...

I love the sound of this, Joe, and congrats on your amazing success. I just wonder if the fact that you were already a mid-list, NY print author made it possible. I would love to release some of my work on my own, but as a new author without a ton of name recognition and a decent backlist, this seems almost impossible, even on a smaller scale. Do you think an author needs to work within the system for a while to get their name out there and the credibility that goes with big publishing before doing something like this? And is there a risk involved as well? I have multiple contracts with three of the top e-pubs, as well as a smaller pub, and I wonder if there would be some backlash if I turned to self-pubbing. Then, if I blow it and can't move my e-books, I'm really up shit's creek. Maybe writing new work for pubs but releasing work independently when the rights revert to me is the way to go? For the purpose of scale, I'd be thrilled to pay my mortgage every month from my writing. Right now I'm making about 450 a month.

Tom said...

I don't think it's about age, Joe. I'm in my early thirties. I know lots of people, younger and older, and only one has an e-reader and he's not a prolific reader. But he is a prolific collector of gadgets. I don't have an e-reader and I read lots. But I don't want to spend a lot of money on something that allows me to do something I'm already doing without that expenditure.

The average man on the street feels the same and isn't going to part with a big chunk of cash to then spend more money getting an ebook when he can just go and buy a book. It's not as if everyone is flush with cash at the moment either.

Like any technological gadget, not everyone needs one or even wants one.

Joe Konrath said...

You deserve the success you are having right now.

Thanks, but I really don't believe anyone deserves anything. It's all luck. You can work hard to maximize luck, but at the end of the day you still have to be in the right place at the right time.

Though I feel justified, and perhaps even smug, about the course my career has taken, I don't feel entitled.

I bet you get a ton of sales from blogging.

I highly doubt it. I'm known among writers, but the average reader has no idea who I am. Why would the average thriller reader care about a blog about the publishing industry? They just want a good thriller, not a pep talk about how ebooks are a revolution.

I remain unconvinced that individual blogging sells a lot of books. John Scalzi is a good example, His blog is ten times as popular as mine, but I just checked the USA Today bestseller list (more accurate than the NYT because it uses Bookscan) and he hasn't appeared on it.

But with both Afraid and Draculas, I have shown that soliciting reviews on blogs does lead to sales.

Blogs can be helpful if they target readers. Because this blog doesn't target readers, I don't think it helps very much.

The majority of my sales have been, and continue to be, readers who have never heard of me. But they're browsing Amazon, see my ebooks for cheap, like the covers and read the good reviews, and click on them figuring to give an unknown a shot.

But based on the number of emails I get from people who discover me and then buy more of my ebooks, I'm pretty sure I'm getting some repeat business.

Joe Konrath said...

But I don't want to spend a lot of money on something that allows me to do something I'm already doing without that expenditure.

Ereaders will drop under to $100 this year. I wouldn't be surprised to see them go down to $79.

They'll take over, just like mp3 players did.

noothergods said...

This post is really encouraging Joe, thanks.

Anonymous said...

"The #1 and #4 book on Kindle are not to be found in a bookstoer. We're approaching the 'pull stage' of ebooks."

My books are e-books only; friends are relatives have purchased Kindles because "I wanted to read your books."

One called me the other day. "I got my Kindle and your books were the first ones I purchased!"

The pull is huge . . . this is why Amazon pursued an "indie friendly" policy early on.

Tom said...

I have no doubt they'll keeping coming down in price. But will they come down so low that no one thinks twice about buying one? I doubt it.

Yes, MP3 players caught on, but they are so much better than CD players it's like a blowpipe vs a machine gun. But you need a device to listen to music on. If you want to listen to music on the move you can't carry the songs in bag, you need a player to play them on. But you don't need a device to read on. The book is already the player. That's the difference. An e-reader isn't essential to the process.

Therefore I don't see how we can assume that they're going to take over.

wannabuy said...

"I don't believe ebooks are ever going to get into the 50%+ market share. "

Trending to slow after 40% and end up in 5 to 8 years at 70% to 80% market share.

@Anonymous:"The pull is huge . . . this is why Amazon pursued an "indie friendly" policy early on."

First, please pick an ID. It is impossible to hold a thread to thread conversation with an Anonymous.

2nd: I wouldn't call this the 'pull stage.' We've exiting the 'innovators stage' and are just getting into the 'early adoptors stage.' The 'pull' starts with the 'early majority' stage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations

Note: I believe we can discount all of the numbers by 25% as some people will just not adopt ebooks. (Instead of the pull starting at 34%, it will be at ~25%.)

We are getting "push." It amazes me how bookstores are cutting the number of midlist titles. Yes, I'm aware that half the market is happy with the 800 titles at Target. But if bookstores keep reducing the number of titles, you'll have big box on one side and ebooks on the other.

Neil

wannabuy said...

"I have no doubt they'll keeping coming down in price. But will they come down so low that no one thinks twice about buying one? "

If ereaders can get down to $69, the adoption rate will double. It isn't about getting people to not think twice, it is about market share.

Great research in this link, see figure 11. (click 'download' for the pdf):
http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/entertainment-media/publications/future-of-ebooks.jhtml

What will bookstores do once ebook market share breaks 25%?

Neil

Selena Kitt said...

Joe, I am just SO glad for you. It makes me nauseous and dizzy just reading it. You must feel better, I know your family must feel better, and hey, look at that, you get to spend MORE time with your son! :)

In my former life, I was a doula and I was on-call 24/7. I would often spend 24-48 hours away from home, awake the whole time, helping a birthing woman. Now, I LOVED my job, but it was exhausting, emotionally, physically and mentally. With a family and young children, I eventually burned out and couldn't do anymore. All this to say, I have a small inkling of what it's like to work your ass off and be so exhausted you couldn't get out of bed afterward and it took days, sometimes a week or more, to recover.

And in that scenario, at least I was doing something for someone, and the world got a baby out of the process. What were you busting your ass for? So the publishing company could make more on your work that YOU were?

Now THAT really makes me nauseous.

I never did what you did - I never had to go through what you went through, and what so many authors here and elsewhere talk about. Publishing and publishers SUCK as a business model. I don't get why people don't understand this, just from an objective point of view.

They're little more than thieves. And I understand why you're so passionate about getting the word out there. When you've worked THAT hard to get where you are, and have seen what you've seen, why would you want anyone else to have to go through that again if they didn't have to?

Unless you were a sadist. (Although sometimes I think those diehards pushing the Big 6 are, a little bit... :x *ahem*)

It's one of the reasons I refused to take any cut from other authors' work at Excessica for so long (and we now only take 10% to cover expenses). I want authors to earn ALL of their profits they can. I didn't want to profit from anyone else's work, just my own.

That only seemed fair.

But "Fair" doesn't seem to be in the Big 6's vocabulary.

gniz said...

People that say print books won't someday be dominated by ebooks amuse me.

Everyone said newspapers wouldn't be dominated by news via the internet...but they were wrong. People said that records wouldn't fully go the way of the dinosaurs, and they thought the same about CDs, DVDs, etc.

But even those older technologies that still remain (such as DVDs) are going quickly by the wayside. Video stores and record stores, how many major chains have closed over the last 2-3 years?

THE SAME WILL HAPPEN WITH BOOKS AND BOOKSTORES. Books do not occupy a special, protected place in the market. Technology will advance, as it already has, and that advance will continue unabated.

Adapt or not, but please don't come crying here when you realize you missed the boat...

An E-Publisher's Manifesto

jrlindermuth said...

Amazing and inspiring.

David A. Todd said...

Joe: Great post, again speaking to the many advantages for the writer for e-self-publishing. Today an agent whom I follow blogged an excellent post about the writer's platform—when it's needed and when it isn't. I commented about the e-self-pub revolution and some writers earning thousand dollars a month, and asked how many such sales it might take for a publisher to consider that a sufficient platform. Her answer: "If a self-published author is really making 'thousands of dollars a month,' why on God's green earth would they even want a traditional publisher? The number of authors who make several thousand a month with a traditional publisher is miniscule."

Ben said...

The benefits of ereaders to the author are obvious.

But speaking as a reader, I didn't want an ebook. I professed that I was attached to the physical book. And, I would never change my mind on that. I wouldn't even pick one up in a store.

I bought a kindle simply to be familiar with the format as I intend to self publish soon.

I've had it for two weeks. I'm not going back. I can bounce between the kindle and the iphone app. Both devices have made reading much more convenient. I'm flying through books now. I struggled to find time at home to read. Now I'm reading on the freaking elevator.

I may miss the book on the shelf. But, now I can read more books for less.

As the price comes down and people get to experiences ereaders first hand they will take over.

I'm a stubborn jerk and I gave up my resistance after only a couple of days.

Laura said...

Wow, that's a lot of dedication. You've definitely earned the recognition you have, Joe.

I just released my first book, and I have noticed that people are really interested in a print edition and not at all interested in an ebook. I don't know if that's because sci-fi hasn't hit its peak in ebooks yet, or it's because I haven't tapped into the right market.

Watcher said...


I have no doubt they'll keeping coming down in price. But will they come down so low that no one thinks twice about buying one? I doubt it.


Remember when USB drives cost a lot of money? They give them away for free at conferences now.

Remember (if you're old enough) when you dropped EVERYTHING when there was a long distance call, because long distance was expensive, so the call must be IMPORTANT? I barely even know when I'm calling local versus LD anymore.

Remember when there was an Alpha Graphics in every town, because printers were expensive enough that many people didn't have them, and it made sense to drive to a store to print? I'm sure Alpha Graphics is still around, but there's none in the nearest hundred miles of me anymore.

Remember when you paid $1 a disk for 5.25" floppy disks? (Am I dating myself? ;-))

And you think there will be a floor on the price of e-readers why, exactly?

all-things-andy-gavin.com said...

The self publishing market doesn't even require the success of the e-reader, as it's trivial to arrange print-on-demand paper volumes now and take home 70%. Still, the e format will come to dominate, the writing's on the wall. People won't even need the dedicated readers as in a few years a knock off iPad type generic Andrioid 11.0 tablet will be $50.

So, how does a starting author with a single book begin? How about authors that don't have a backlist and do 10 drafts for every novel, so they can't churn out a pile. Just as you have written about time, not all books are fast food, and $1-$3 is low for a book that took 3000-4000 hours to write.

What are the best avenues for an unknown author to start promoting a book online? Assuming it's good of course :-)

STH said...

Goddammit, Joe. You're being way too one-sided.

Why don't you take the blinders off and post something about how laziness and an attitude of entitlement can net great results too?

I'll be standing by (idly)... waiting...

On second thought... I'm purposefully not reading the comments board so I can write all day. Bye all. :)

Joe Konrath said...

Remember when you paid $1 a disk for 5.25" floppy disks

Remember when DVD players were $600? Now, new at Target, you can get one for $30.

Joe Konrath said...

When you've worked THAT hard to get where you are, and have seen what you've seen, why would you want anyone else to have to go through that again if they didn't have to?

You've pretty much summed up this blog in a single sentence.

BTW, if you put the sybian on the bed it doesn't shake the floor and wake the kids.

Just sayin'. :)

Selena Kitt said...

BTW, if you put the sybian on the bed it doesn't shake the floor and wake the kids.

Bwah!

(I wonder how many people Googled it? Sheesh, I dirty up your blog - incest and Sybians, oh my! :)

Jeanne Tomlin said...

Joe,

Thanks for all of your blogs.

That is an amazing story and has a lot of us thinking hard about the right way to go. It helps so much to have facts and not just rumors and guesstimates. And it's great that you feel like you have your life back!

You have worked your butt off for your success and you are incredibly generous in sharing what you've learned with other people. Thank you.

You're fantastic!

Selena Kitt said...

On second thought... I'm purposefully not reading the comments board so I can write all day. Bye all.

Good luck with that! :x

Joe Konrath said...

Why don't you take the blinders off and post something about how laziness and an attitude of entitlement can net great results too?

You know what? You're right.

Next blog, I'm going to talk about how lazy publishers with a sense of entitlement screw the writer.

Joe Konrath said...

So, how does a starting author with a single book begin?

The same way you begin a 1000 mile walk.

You take the first step, then follow it with another, and another.

One book at a time. In 2021 you'll be ten years older. You can have ten books on Amazon by then, or zero because you found it too daunting.

Stacy Juba said...

Thanks for the information and congratulations on your success, Joe. That's inspiring!

I've sold about 500 this month between Kindle and B&N, which has been a great improvement considering my Kindle sales in November were 17. I think experimenting with different marketing strategies and getting the book out there as much as possible can really help new authors, and then once you get a burst of sales, Amazon helps you out by recommending the book more and more so that people stumble across it. This is really a great time to be an author.

Virginia Lady said...

Thanks for some excellent information and congrats on your success. You're right, people do tend to think a writer can only succeed with a big publishing house. Thanks for helping to open everyone's eyes to the truth.

Eliza Gayle said...

Joe, I am about where you were a year ago in regards to how I am doing with self publishing.

Yet, somewhere in the back of my head I still struggle with am I doing the right thing for my career even though I have never been what you would call traditionally published. I haven't even given the big print houses much of a try.

I started publishing with small digital first publishers back in 2007 and quickly got into a groove of writing a lot of stories over the next few years despite the money being rather small. I figured I'd go for the big NY publishers when I was ready.

Long story short, I tested the self publishing waters back in Sept. and everything turned upside down. Or at least what I thought I knew did.

I've still got a few publishing contracts to fulfill, but there is no denying the evolution of publishing.

As for eBooks... Ever since I started reading on my iTouch (that's the size of a smartphone for anyone who doesn't know) I've never looked back. In fact I just packed up 100 unread brand new paperbacks that I'm never going to read. I want to read them but I can't got back.

I've read 10 ebooks so far this month. It's time to face the fact those paperbacks I own will never be read. :)

Mark Young said...

Thanks for keeping us updated, Joe. You do a great job in presenting valid reasons why authors need to re-think how they are doing business.

One question: In an earlier blog, you mentioned offering hardcover copies in the near future. Who are you considering going through to meet this need?

J.T. Bock said...

Thanks, Joe! I'll check him out.

Basil Sands said...

You're a motivation to writers like me who are trying to jump in on the new paradigm. I will say that following some of your advice has already gotten me in three months more than I got in four years of slogging up the traditional route. Here's to hoping I can one day join you in those $500 beer bottles.

www.basilsands.com

Justin said...

"People said that records wouldn't fully go the way of the dinosaurs"

Those people were correct.

Records reached their low point in selling a while ago, and they've been growing in sales for years now.

There are still lots and lots of CD's sold every year, despite the near ubiquity of smartphones and mp3 type players.

Ebooks will be the dominant form at some point, that's essentially a given. That's not the same animal as no print books.

We're coming up on ten years with the iPod, and CD sales have declined, but they still sell billions of dollars worth every year.

So if you're expecting all or even mostly ebooks anytime soon, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Records are actually worth discussing, because they actually peaked in sales in 1991, until 2009 when they beat that number.

This is in contrast to cassettes, which are essentially gone, and VHS, ditto - both of them disappeared to something that gave a superior experience.

Records have survived, albeit as a niche, because they offer something that CD's and downloads don't, at least in the minds of fans.

I'm not, at all, against ebooks, but reading a book on the Kindle is a different experience than reading a hardcover, which is a different experience than reading a paperback.

Like records and unlike cassettes and VHS, books are unlikely to ever go the way of the dinosaur, and if they follow the same pattern as VHS and CDs, it'll be the better part of a decade before they're dominant.

HyperPulp 5000: Fresh Fiction Daily, Now With Added Pulp Goodness

Justin said...

"So, how does a starting author with a single book begin?"

Write more? That's my plan.


"How about authors that don't have a backlist and do 10 drafts for every novel, so they can't churn out a pile."

Well, they probably have a couple of options:

Write faster - I have very serious doubts that in most cases the difference in quality between the fifth and the tenth draft is going to be noticable. Changing things is not the same as improving them.

Sell More - Dedicate themselves to the idea of spending a good chunk of their day out there doing the online equivalent of handselling.

Be A Hobbyist - Which, essentially, most published writers are. If you can only write one book a year and that book won't sell enough to live on, then you can kiss making a living goodbye.

"Just as you have written about time, not all books are fast food, and $1-$3 is low for a book that took 3000-4000 hours to write."

Well, that's insane. That's ten hours a page. There's no way that's all productive time.

But time does not necessarily equal quality. A book written quickly isn't necessarily any better or worse than a slow book.

Art takes however long it takes. More time only equals better if you're skimping on time in the first place.

The cliche is that stories are never finished, only abandoned, and that that's a cliche because it's mostly true. It's possible to sit on a novel forever, constantly changing things.

But time doesn't have any bearing on user experience, which is the thing in mass media. You pay the same amount to see the 300 millions plus Avatar as you will to see the 1 million dollar Blue Valentine.

HyperPulp 5000: Fresh Fiction Daily, Now With Added Pulp Goodness

Tara Maya said...

There are some things I will miss because I've decided to focus on ebooks. It's giving up a childhood dream of seeing my paperbacks on the shelf of my local bookstore.

Book store signings are one nightmare I will definitely NOT miss.

Although I think new authors still have to go through the stage of butt-busting self-promotion if they want to break out, it better suits my personality to promote online. I'm pretty shy. It's hard enough for me to approach a stranger in email and say, "Hey, would you like to read my book?" never mind in person.

And I do like that I can control my own promotion. I made the decision to give away a free copy of the first book in my series to anyone who asks. (If you're interested, email me: tara@taramayastales.com). I couldn't have made that unilateral decision if I worked for someone else.

Tara Maya
Read excerpts from The Unfinished Song: Initiate

Tie W. said...

Joe, this seems like the place to ask your opinion.

A friend of mine, who is against self publishing because she doesn't want to do covers and marketing, was recently approached by Amazon Encore to publish her novel. She's also had interest from a big 6 traditional publisher. She seems enamored by the traditional deal, even though it seems like the potential from Amazon Encore is greater than what the traditional publisher is offering. I was wondering, as someone who published through Amazon, what you thought of going with Amazon Encore.

To me, Amazon seems like the perfect cross between traditional publishing and self publishing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but AmazonEncore places the books in stores and they promote through the Amazon site, don't they?

I think she should tell the traditional publisher to kiss off and go with Amazon, but I'm afraid the years of aiming for the major publisher has her brainwashed.

Thanks for your time.

-Tie Watson

Selena Kitt said...

Well, that's insane. That's ten hours a page. There's no way that's all productive time.

Hey, you forgot - you have to search for pr0n on the Internetz on a 1:1 writing ratio, it's like a law or something... :)

Re: Amazon Encore

No personal experience here, but from what Joe sez about his, if it were ME, I'd take the Amazon deal hands down UNLESS the Big 6 folks were offering me something in seven figures - or they'd let me keep my erights (bwahhahahhaaha!)

David said...

Joe -

I look forward to your post on publishers vs. authors. My first book made the NYT list back in the 90s ... and then my publisher went bankrupt. The last accounting I got said that my book had generated $1.725 million in revenues.

Of which I receive $0.00 in royalties.

Did I sue? Sure. Cost me a couple grand to file. Found out that I was way, way WAY down the list of creditors. At which point I was given the choice of continuing to pay my attorney's retainer to try to fight for whatever pennies would be left over after YEARS of wrangling.

Or I could walk.

Net effect: my royalties for that book now stand at -$2250.

You'd think I would have learned my lesson. But no, I still clung to the Old Media-centric model of making money.

Starting about 2 years ago, the media company that we were producing content for - and for whom we were their best-selling talent (since branched out into video-multimedia) ALSO made galactically stupid business decisions.

You can see this coming, can't you?

This time around, the revenues were more than $3 million. And still accruing. Once again: royalty payments halted. The choice: sue & pay an attorney in the hopes of getting a sliver of the money owed, or just bend over & grit our teeth.

So. Is it risky to self-publish & take control over your own sales? Sure.

But it is also risky - bordering on insane - to place your trust in media companies these days.

They will go under. Most of them are teetering right on the brink these days. They will not pay you. And they don't care.

Tara Maya said...

Tony: "books are mediocre at best"

I've heard this and much worse said of Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer, Dan Brown, Nora Roberts....

I believe there's an Aesop fable about a fox and some grapes that explains the value of this literary critique.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

Fran Yoakum Veal said...

When most of use were kids, ebooks weren't an option to dream about anyway. Tara, you're in control girl. Sell your ebooks, and when you're rich and famous, print some and get them in bookstores for fun!

Derek J. Canyon said...

So, how does a starting author with a single book begin?

This is exactly what I did back in October. I'm slowly selling more each month (220 so far this month), finding marketing avenues, publishing more books. It's slow, but if things go like they are now, I should be able to make several thousand dollars in 2012.

The only thing stopping you from doing the same thing is YOU.

Adventures in ePublishing

Selena Kitt said...

Tara Maya: I believe there's an Aesop fable about a fox and some grapes that explains the value of this literary critique.

You're my new girl crush.

Just sayin.

:)

bowerbird said...

i just made a comment
in another thread which
i could have posted here,
since it is appropriate...

> http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/01/guest-post-by-jeremy-robinson.html?showComment=1296073691704#c6478211912400547984

-bowerbird

Naomi said...

Well, Joe, after years of reading your blog and musing over the pros and cons, I self-published a novella last week and will have a novel up next month.

I don't know what to expect, and I'm certainly not convinced I'll have the success that you and others have had, but I feel like there's nothing to lose. I've loved and left two agents since 2006 and neither of them got me any closer to the dream of being published than I did alone. So I'm fully prepared to give the indie route a shot and see what happens.

I figure the worst that can happen is nothing... which is about what's happening to me now!

Joe Konrath said...

I would probably sign with AmazonEncore again, though I'd never again sign with a traditional publisher.

If your friend got an offer from Encore, she should seriously consider it.

JL_Bryan said...

Such an encouraging post, Joe! And thanks for all the advice on this blog.

I've gone from selling a few dozen books in July, to a few hundred in December, to 1500 so far this month. And I was able to do that without leaving my house. I can't imagine doing the kind of grueling promotion you used to do!

I'm so glad Kindle, Nook, etc. are making it easier on all of us. No more query letters, postage, or years of hopeless struggle!

Caroline said...

Jon, I really hope you're right about e-readers dropping under $100. That's what I'm waiting for before I buy one, and I bet there are a lot of people like me (who aren't technophobes - just cheap).

I remember reading a few years ago about your hand-selling at book signings and thinking, "I couldn't do that."

But self-pubbing an e-book is something I'd seriously consider (once I finish my WIP and study the marketing more).

bowerbird said...

gniz said:
> THE SAME WILL HAPPEN
> WITH BOOKS AND BOOKSTORES.

let us be more precise...

chain bookstores will disappear.
totally and completely. goodbye.

dovetailing that change will be
a downfall of publishing houses.
(but they won't disappear, since
they still have the asset of their
intellectual property backlists,
exactly like the m.g.m. catalog
which is re-sold every so often.)

independent bookstores
will _largely_ disappear,
but there will always be
_specialized_ shops and
_used_ bookstores and
_rare-and-antiquarian_
dealers with storefronts.

physical objects, especially
ones with high collectibility,
will always manifest in stores.

so that's the story with stores.

_books_, however, print-books,
physical books, ink-on-paper,
those will be with us _forever_.

(or until we run out of paper,
but that would mean that we
lost all of the trees, meaning
we will have bigger problems
on our hands, like extinction.)

the espresso machine makes
you think print-on-demand
requires heavy machinery, but
in reality, it's just a glorified
laser-printer. which means
your local convenience store
_could_ do print-on-demand.
eventually, it'll be ubiquitous.

a book costs a-penny-a-page
to print-on-demand, plus $1
if you demand a fancy cover...

$4 ($3 cost plus $1 profit) is
a reasonable price to pay for
a 200-page p.o.d. book, and
there are lots of cases where
even an e-book enthusiast
would pay for such an object.

and that's not even taking into
consideration home-printing...

so let's not get it twisted, ok?

stores will largely go away...

but print-books? here to stay.
in fact, with p.o.d., we might
have more p-books than ever.

-bowerbird

wannabuy said...

@Justin:"So if you're expecting all or even mostly ebooks anytime soon, I wouldn't hold my breath."

Define 'soon.' No one expects all books to go ebook. It will be a transition, but in a few years it will be 'mostly.'

The issue with books is variety.
Target 800 titles
Indie bookstore: 10k titles
B&N: 15k to 25k (down from 35k)
Borders: ~100k (down from 150k)
Ebooks: 800k+

Right now bookstores are removing floor space from book selling and turning it over to anything else that will bring in a customer. This reduces the variety of midlist books for sale. The 80/20 (Paretto principle) rule applies. e.g., the 800 books at Target meet 50% of the demand of the 100k titles at Borders.

As Borders contracts and B&N sells more toys and lattes... Those wanting more variety will have to go to ebook.

Oh, as to CDs, they aren't holding on so well. So much for nearly a billion albums:
http://www.cnn.com/2010/SHOWBIZ/Music/07/19/cd.digital.sales/index.html

10 billion Itunes downloads are being touted. 8.2 billion total music downloads in 2010... 114 million albums? Not much.

I bet the last 20% to 25% of book readers resit the change to digital. It is a generation thing. But Ironically, it is the 50 something jumping to ereaders.

There just isn't much out there printed in large font...

Neil

Ellen O'Connell said...

This post is absolutely on target about what is to me the best part of the indie world - the opportunity to make money while retaining control and having quality of life. Thanks, Joe.

@J.T. Bock - A good book with instructions for formatting for ebooks for Kindle is Joshua Tallent's "Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide." I also found this website helpful and imagine it would be especially helpful for those with graphics in books:

http://www.robotcomics.net/2009/08/adapting-comics-amazon-kindle-part-2-html-doc-tutorial/

Rebecca Stroud said...

Although I have a loooong way to go to get even close to making a bundle on my books, I have - nevertheless - published three ebooks in the last four months (and the next one should be done by early February).

In other words, if I'd have waited for traditional vetting/publishing, I'd still be waiting. No thanks.

Admittedly, my work is diversified (nonfiction, short stories, suspense fiction and whatever other genre I decide to pursue) but, again, I am writing. I am publishing. I am selling. I. Am. Not. Waiting.

Devil's Moon
The Animal Advocate
Zellwood

Tom said...

I notice that no one has addressed the point that e-readers allow you to do what you can do without them: read a book. Blu-ray will take over DVDs who took over VHS because each is an improved way of doing what the previous format did. Same with records, CDS, MP3s etc. But reading a book on an e-reader offers nothing more in the reading experience itself than what a book already delivers. That's why it's different from the other mediums everyone is so keen to bring up.

They're going to take a large chunk of the market, sure, but these huge publishers aren't going to go under without a fight. And for all those media formats people are so keen to point out to make there case, there are Laser Disc, MiniDisc, Betamax etc. As of yet there is no basis to think that ebooks will wipe out paper books other than wishful thinking.

wannabuy said...

@Derek:"I'm slowly selling more each month (220 so far this month),"

Congrats! I know it is tough work. Once you have out 4 or 5 books, I'm sure the momentum will propel you forward. :)

Neil

The Daring Novelist said...

Gavin said: "So, how does a starting author with a single book begin? ... What are the best avenues for an unknown author to start promoting a book online? Assuming it's good of course :-) "

You start by writing another book. An then another.

Seriously. When you only have one book, you've barely got your feet wet. You've got time.

Selena Kitt said...

or until we run out of paper,
but that would mean that we
lost all of the trees, meaning
we will have bigger problems
on our hands, like extinction.


Funny, that. Hubby has been buying up ebooks on sustainable living,etc. "Just in case" (in that Y2K end of the world sense) and I had to laugh. Reminded him that we wouldn't have, you know, electricity if the world were to end. Now he's buying them in paper form. :)

But reading a book on an e-reader offers nothing more in the reading experience itself than what a book already delivers. That's why it's different from the other mediums everyone is so keen to bring up.

Not true. I can't take 500 paper books with me to the dentist office. Or on vacation. I can't adjust the type size or brightness/contrast for my aging eyes on my paperback book. I can't change the screen color for my dyslexic daughter who can read much better against a colored background. Lots of things you can do with ebooks you can't do with paper. Not to mention the potential for "extras" - multimedia or not. Look at ALL the stuff packed at the backend of Joe's Draculas. Cool stuff, like DVD extras for books.

I could still listen to records. Or tapes. (I still have tapes I listen to actually). But most people have moved on. And most people will move on from print too.

bowerbird said...

tom said:
> As of yet there is no basis
> to think that ebooks will
> wipe out paper books
> other than wishful thinking.

wishful thinking?

i don't know anyone who
_wishes_ the bookstores
would go out of business.

just like we did for their
brethren "the record stores",
we will mourn their passing
with sadness in our hearts,
remembering the good times
we had browsing their aisles.

it's similar to how we think of
our good friend "the newspaper"
whenever we see him looking
so weak and frail these days...
he used to be strong and robust.
especially on sundays! just huge!
i can remember times when i was
actually _startled_ by the sound
of him hitting the doorstep. bam!
now he's but a shadow of himself,
and everyone knows he won't last.

it's very obvious if something is
on its last legs, and checking out.

however, no one even entertains
the notion that p-books _will_ be
"wiped out". they will flourish...

it's just that corporate publishers
won't be issuing them in big runs
for sale in stores. it's corporations
that are washed up, not p-books.

instead, books will be sold as
e-books, and printed mostly
one-at-a-time, by the person
who is willing to pay that cost.

the exception will be the author
who engineers a "group buy" for
fans, and then does a print-run
to lower the costs below p.o.d.

-bowerbird

CJ Archer said...

Thanks for the post, Joe. It couldn't have come at a better time for me. I'm about to jump into the world of indie publishing and while I wait for the cover to be created I've been researching how to promote. And it was giving me a headache. All I want to do is write the next book. It's a big wake up call for me to know that as a traditionally pubbed author it would be even worse. I don't want to go there. I'll stick with promo-ing online. That way I can still spend time with my family and sneak in a bit of writing as well.

Thanks again, Joe. This blog is a gem!

batesy said...

Years ago I went through film and tv production school. I, like many of my friends, were hell bent on doing the indie thing. This was at the time of Tarantino, Rodriguez, Kevin Smith et al. Great days of Hi8 Video, Super 8s and 16mm Arris. Anything people could get their hands on to make film for as close to zero dollars as possible.

Of course, people self-published books back then too. Probably with the same intensity and passion for their craft.

Nowadays, a new indie movement has arrived. Many of us writers, film-makers and musicians know we are in game-changing times. For the indie hustler it gets no better.

I urge you all to read Kevin Smith's take on his newest indie adventure in film... it may have some relevance to you.

http://theredstatements.com/

Ante up and take control.

STH said...

Okay, I'm back. Had a productive several hours, and now I'm back reading this flypaper comment board again.

"Hubby has been buying up ebooks on sustainable living,etc. "Just in case" (in that Y2K end of the world sense) and I had to laugh. Reminded him that we wouldn't have, you know, electricity if the world were to end. Now he's buying them in paper form. :)"

That's very funny, Ms. Kitt. :)

I have a general blogging question for anyone who knows. What does is it mean (besides the obvious) to "Link to this post" (at the bottom of the blogger window)? I clicked some of those links, and while interesting, they do not seem to reference this blog. So what else does this function do?

If I were to link my own deeply fascinating ­blog to this one, through that button rather than in this comment, what else happens?

LP King said...

Just love your hard-nosed analysis, Joe! The accountant in me salivates over all those numbers.

A question: the $42K, did it include the advance?

Since starting to carefully follow your blog in December--after being an occasional drop-in for a couple of years--I've been seriously debating taking your well researched advice. That rejection letter I received this morning has provided the tipping point. Cheers!

David A. Todd said...

Just wondering: Would a stand-alone short story (as opposed to a short story collection) priced at
$0.99 make any sense as an entry into e-publishing? I have one I could go with right now, while I'm working on finishing the book I'll go with first. So long as I say it's a single short story in the blurb, I'm not short changing anyone.

Basil Sands said...

Big downside of ebooks taking over, and perhaps a reason they may never fully take over, is that when camping and an emergency potty moment arises, one cannot tear the blank pages of a kindle out to use as toilet paper...well, I guess one could, but....well, yuck.

Selena Kitt said...

...when camping and an emergency potty moment arises, one cannot tear the blank pages of a kindle out to use as toilet paper...

This is why God made leaves, silly!

The Daring Novelist said...

David Todd:

(re 99 cent short stories) I personally consider that too high of a price for a single story, unless it's a novelette -- but there are indeed lots of people writing them and getting experience and cash with it.

Dean Wesley Smith is running a short story challenge this year. He has challenged himself to write and epublish 100 short stories (on top of his full time writing career). You might want to browse through the december postings on his blog.

Here's a link to his more general challenge to others -- the eRace.

http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=2617

Rob said...

Great post, man. I am amazed and applaud your determination and it's outcome. You got it made. Just to let you know, I've recently bought and read three of your books.

I've read Origin, Truck Stop, and Serial. They are really intense. But really addictive as well.

I reviewed Origin on my website at www.robertoscarlato.blogspot.com if you care to take a look or just drop by and say hi.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. The other titles are five stars all the way. You've really made me a constant reader fan. I hope to move on to Draculas and The List next. I've just been itching to read those. Hope all is well and keep up the good work. Ciao.

From,
a writer.

Basil Sands said...

This is why God made leaves, silly!

Oh...you mean I didn't have to....my fingers.....oh....oh my.

that's embarrassing.

Selena Kitt said...

I've read Origin, Truck Stop, and Serial.

I loved Serial. What a riot. I am working my way through Suckers and Horror Stories now. Loving them both. Joe has a way of writing characters you can't help but like. Kind of like him. ;)

bowerbird said...

joe said:
> my income for January
> will be about $42,000.

the quick calculation is
12 * $42,000 = $504,000...

but january has 31 days,
so that's an overestimate.

will he hit a half-million?

dividing $42,000 by 31,
and multiplying by 365,
totals to $494,516.12...

ooh, just barely misses!

and it would be _such_
a nice catchy amount,
so pithy and succinct...

"yeah, i made a cool
half-million dollars
on my books in 2011."

so you'll have to tell us,
mr. joe, once you know,
what's the exact amount?

and so you can visualize,
the number you'll need
for your january sales to
project to a half-million is
$42,465.76.

$42,465.75 would project to
one nickel short, which might
be more poetic, donchathink?

-bowerbird

p.s. it's _humor_, folks, so
savor the moment and don't
ruin it by pointing out that
february's numbers will take
all of the suspense out of it,
and the _real_ question is if
joe's total doubles to a million,
or if selena hits two million,
or whether amanda hits four.

STH said...

Sorry if my question made no sense. It actually says "Create a Link." what does that have to do with the blog you "create it on?"

Justin said...

@wannabuy

"So much for nearly a billion albums"

Over billion in sales, is what I said. Which is true, as that article sites 114 million CD sales in America. Which is a lot of damn CD's.

The thing about music and movies is that they require something to play them on, as do ebooks, which means that adoption of the new technology is probably going to happen faster than it will with ereaders.

Books are their own thing, and you won't have people getting the new stuff because the old one was worn out, or even to be able to keep a bunch of books on them at once.

(Which, because people will argue, is precisely why some people will get ereaders, but most people don't have any particular desire to be able to have hundreds of books on them at any time)

The variety thing actually ties into my point. Most people aren't really interested in that much variety.

I am. You are. Probably most people are. But the average person wants their Stephen Kings and Mary Higgins Clark and doesn't give a rat's ass about the rest.

For those people (and I spent the last give years running a library program where my job was to buy books) you'd need the bookstores to contract a lot before they noticed or cared.

Ereaders are not necessarily something that's going to immediately appeal to them, at least in part because the books that they want aren't being sold especially cheaply compared to buying the paperback version or the hardcover version, in some cases.

So by soon, I meant that I wouldn't expect ebooks to overtake actual books within the six or seven year time frame that it took mp3 players and Dvd players to overtake their predecessors.

The other thing that makes this murky is that more ebooks sold doesn't necessarily mean less actual books being sold.

Even with digital music sales, it's not an either/or proposition for buyers, which is good. Things likes the iPod have lead to people buying more music overall, which I'm pretty sure is happening with the Kindle and the like.

HyperPulp 5000: Fresh Fiction Daily, Now With Added Pulp Goodness

Justin said...

@Selena

"Hey, you forgot - you have to search for pr0n on the Internetz on a 1:1 writing ratio, it's like a law or something... :)"

That's productive time!

;)

Not that I am necessarily always searching for porn* but my number one rule is to unplug the Internet when I'm trying to get stuff done.

* I totally am.

HyperPulp 5000: Fresh Fiction Daily, Now With Added Pulp Goodness

Christopher Bunn said...

Rock on! You're the poster child for anarchic free market capitalism. I love it. Where are the Sex Pistols when we need them? They need to write a song about you. Maybe call it Konrath Calling, or something suitable. Okay, I'm going to go write.

Tara Maya said...

Justin: "most people don't have any particular desire to be able to have hundreds of books on them at any time)

The variety thing actually ties into my point. Most people aren't really interested in that much variety."

I'm more interested in reading people who buy and read the most books than "most people" who mostly don't. If someone only reads a book or two a year, do I care if that person has an ereader?

At least that's what I thought until I saw evidence that people are buying MORE books than they usually do on ereaders. People who read a lot read a lot more, but even people who read a little read a little more.

I think ebooks will dominate the market long before ereaders replace print for this reason. People buy more of them than they would have if they'd bought print instead.

Do I need to tell you how awesome that is for a writer?

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

Anonymous said...

Joe,

Congrats on the success and for the great advice on the blog.

Question: Would you trade everything you did back in the day or was all the learning worth it?

Sean McCartney
The Treasure Hunters Club
Secrets of the Magical Medallions

Zoe Winters said...

I honestly don't know how you did all that crap, Joe. I know I sure as hell couldn't have done it. After only a couple years being indie, and doing the little bit I've done in online marketing... already totally burnt out and focusing on just writing.

Joe Konrath said...

Would you trade everything you did back in the day or was all the learning worth it?


My past makes me who I am today. I'd do everything exactly the same, even though it was really difficult.

But you want to hear the ironic thing? I worked my ass off so I'd stay in print. And... I've stayed in print.

Mission accomplished, except now I wish I was out of print so I could get my rights back.

Still, I'd so it all over. Hanging above my desk is a magnetic sign that was on my car during my 500 bookstore tour. That tour is one of my proudest accomplishments. It's something that no author had ever done, or ever will do. The only one who has come close is Barry Eisler, who has broken 300 in a year.

That which does not kill us, makes us insufferable braggarts. :)

wannabuy said...

@Tara "I think ebooks will dominate the market long before ereaders replace print for this reason. People buy more of them than they would have if they'd bought print instead."

I found that to be true. Having an ereader always means having a book I feel like reading. And the ereader fits better into the diaper bag. ;) Yes, I'm a very involved father. :)

Article after article on ereaders boosting book reading/buying:
http://www.technewsdaily.com/e-readers-boost-reading-habits-1290/


"Amazon, the biggest seller of e-books, reports its customers buy 3.3 times as many books after buying a Kindle,"


I'm reading 30% more but buying 50% more with a Kindle. (Since books are 'cheap enough,' instead of trading, I just buy.)

The true holdouts are unlikely to be the type to even walk into a bookstore.

@Justin:" I meant that I wouldn't expect ebooks to overtake actual books within the six or seven year time frame that it took mp3 players and Dvd players to overtake their predecessors."

I can agree with that. But we're already 5 years into the ereader time frame. I'm watching people who only read 4 to 6 books a year buying Kindles.

Why? Their eyesight. The 45 to 70 year old crowd of readers will have little choice. Either buy an ereader or give up reading. So unlike CDs, you will also have many older readers defecting to ereaders. Their reading quantity is definately increasing post Kindle/Nook purchase.

Seriously, I know of 2 or 3 DOZEN people who recently (last six weeks) bought ereaders when they realized how much easier they were to read off of. People I never expected to be excited over Kindles and Nooks are rushing out to buy them.

My latest blog post goes into how ebook sales are just now (only the last 3 months) starting to impact print sales. What happens when print prices creep up due to the lower production runs? It will be a push and pull to ereaders.

So I do respect your points and I don't necessarily disagree with them... But the main readers are the young and the old, so this is a two sided squeeze.

I had a different opinion a year ago; I never expected such resistance to POD at retail! Sigh...

Neil

ps
The 'gateway devices' will be the cell phones and tablets everyone is crazy about. In two years it will be as difficult to buy a non-smartphone as it is today to find a phone sans camera. So I don't worry about 'devices.'

V. Furnas said...

Joe,
You are my hero!!! I have been following you for two years and am thrilled for you, and inspired by you.

azarimba said...

Further to what Neil/wannabuy just wrote, some of the projections and stats related to ereaders are mindblowing. A guy by the name of McQuivey from Forrester spoke at Digital Book World yesterday, so I looked him up. In a Nov/10 report, he wrote, "the convenient availability of the most popular books in digital form, often priced significantly below their physical counterparts [has] drawn consumers in more rapidly than we have seen in any other media..."

*More* rapidly than we have seen in any other media, he says. It would almost be worth blowing the $499 on the report, just to see how he arrives at that conclusion.

But probably unnecessary. One only needs to look at the success stories here, to get some idea.

evilphilip said...

"It must have been difficult to walk up to people in the book store and say, "Hi, my name is Joe Konrath. I wrote this book."

It really isn't that hard. I've been walking up to strangers in bookstores for weeks saying, "Hi, I'm Joe Konrath. I wrote this book."

It is amazing how many free dinners you can get using Joe's name. ;)

Melissa said...

I think some folks are underestimating the ebook market by discounting the market of readers who will read books on their phones. I don't have an ereader but I buy, on average, one ebook a week and read it in the dark on my smartphone in the wee hours while I nurse the baby. And if I happen to get stuck in line somewhere or am waiting for a meeting to start---I pull out my phone and read.

This from a 39-year-old former medieval lit major who worked as a book editor before law school. I love books, but I love reading more. Ebooks are inexpensive, convenient, and portable. They are here to stay. Children's picture books and board books are the only true exception I can think of.

Selena Kitt said...

It is amazing how many free dinners you can get using Joe's name. ;)

You're funny. You should write a book. :)

Merrill Heath said...

evilphilip, that's hilarious. BTW, I can't believe no one has called Joe on his math. Going from $2,295 to $42,000 is a 2,000% increase, not a 200% increase.

One advantage of the ereader over printed books is the convenience. Readers can read a sample of the book, at any time of the day, and immediately download the rest of the book and continue reading...without having to wait for the bookstore to open, making the trip to purchase the book, if the book is even in stock, and so on. Not to mention that the cost is less. I think there are a lot of ways the ereader is different than the printed book. Of course, Tom mentioned the "reading experience," which is a very limited view of the technology.

When I was in college I filled up the backseat of my car with stereo equipment, albums, and tapes. Now I can transport many more songs on my iPod which fits in my shirt pocket, the sound quality is better, the songs don't get scratchy or worn out after multiple playings, and I can plug the dang thing in and listen to it on my way to where I'm going. The same analogy to printed books is obvious.

Anyway, rock on, Joe. Congrats on your success. Maybe I'll be able to boast about similar numbers someday.

Joe Konrath said...

Going from $2,295 to $42,000 is a 2,000% increase, not a 200% increase.

Heh heh. Proof we were all liberal arts majors.

I'll change it---thanks.

bowerbird said...

joe said:
> Hanging above my desk is
> a magnetic sign that was
> on my car during my
> 500 bookstore tour.
> That tour is one of my
> proudest accomplishments.
> It's something that
> no author had ever done, or
> ever will do. The only one who
> has come close is Barry Eisler,
> who has broken 300 in a year.

buddy wakefield -- who is my
good performance poet buddy --
lived in a honda civic for 2 years
while touring hundreds of u.s.
and canadian poetry venues...

the practice did him some good,
i guess, helping turn him into an
international slam champion...

-bowerbird

Katie Klein said...

"Proof we were all liberal arts majors."

I'm just happy to see that successful liberal arts majors exist. :)

(This from someone still paying for her liberal arts education . . . w/ fingers tightly crossed.)

author Scott Nicholson said...

Very simply, no matter how one dresses it up, you used to work for somebody and were the worst-paid employee in the entire chain of production, even though you did most of the work. A contract employee without benefits whose employer held most of the authority in the contract.

Now, you do all the work, but get all the money, because you work for yourself.

Scott Nicholson
http://www.hauntedcomputer.com

author Scott Nicholson said...

Also, Melissa, don't be so sure children won't migrate to the -ereader devices. My color children's book "If I Were Your Monster" is my bestselling title for the Nook (though it doesn't sell crap for Kindle.) That leads me to believe there is a hungry market out there waiting.

Scott

Melissa said...

Scott,

Point taken. My kids are 5, 3, and 5 months old, so my thinking is I am not about to hand my android over to them! But I can see it as they get older. And that is actually an argument for a family eReader.

author Scott Nicholson said...

one last thing (I really should read the whole thread before I say anything...) I remember the Konrath 500 tour, Joe was always one to watch for the craziest-assed ideas.

Wannabuy, you talk of the limited 800 titles at Target--to me, the Kindle explosion points out, as much as anything, how incredibly hungry the readers of America are. They have been under-served, disrespected, neglected, and cynically belittled. They get a Snooki book shoved in their faces while 100 hard-working writers head for the coal mines. Great way to treat your customers...

Scott

Selena Kitt said...

"If I Were Your Monster" is my bestselling title for the Nook (though it doesn't sell crap for Kindle.) That leads me to believe there is a hungry market out there waiting.

Yay for you, Scott!

My daughter LOVES reading Nook Books on my iPad. And she is dyslexic, so being able to change the screen color background really helps her focus.

I think children's books are an underserved market in ebooks, but it will grow. I know it will.

Tara Maya said...

We read to the kids (4 and 2) from the Nook every night. If there were more books available, we'd buy them. We've been disappointed several times to find books we wanted not available. They both like to turn the pages with a flick of the finger (touch screen) which works like their computer (also touch screen). Definitely the future.

And I expect middle grade and YA to follow soon. It's funny these ages are holdouts rather than leaders. Anedotely, it seems to be because parents don't want to buy the devices for their kids yet.

I think if parents realized it would mean more reading, they might change their minds.

Tara Maya
500 Words

Lee Goldberg said...

Fantastic post, Joe!

(...Though I would argue that the time you spend blogging here, and responding to comments, counts as self-promotion...not that there's anything wrong with that.)

I have followed your advice on this front and have become very selective when it comes to speaking events and conferences that I attend. Now I turn down probably 95% of invites that come my way, much to the delight of my family.

But what's surprising to me - and I don't know if you encountered this -- is the negative backlash. People get REALLY MAD when you say no, regardless of how polite you are about it.

For example, I turned down an invitation from a local reading group to be their guest speaker. The guy showed up at a bookstore signing that I did with Tod and asked again..and I politely turned him down...prompting him to give me a stern lecture that I had a responsibility to do his event, that I'm not "giving back" or "paying forward" if I decline his invitation. I still politely declined. Today he sent me ANOTHER invite...which I declined. Can't wait to see the stern email that's bound to come.

And he's been nicer than most.

Lee

Joe Konrath said...

I'm sure this blog helps increase public awareness of me, but I'm not sure how many people who read it go on to buy my books. After all, this blog is for writers. The average thriller fan doesn't care about my ebooks rants.

If I had to guess, I'd say less than .1% of blog visitors actually buy my books. Also keep in mind that the vast majority of visitors never post comments, either. I get around 4000 hits a day, so even when a thread goes to a few hundred comments, that isn't a large percentage.

Joe Konrath said...

People get REALLY MAD when you say no, regardless of how polite you are about it.

I know. Though it is self-serving and perhaps even rude, I no longer respond to the majority of my email. On my website I say:

"I read all of my email, but I've reached a point where I get so much of it I'm unable to reply to everyone. If I answered all the questions I received, and thanked every person who said kind words, I wouldn't have any time left over to write. In fact, I'm so behind in my work that I've stopped taking interviews and speaking engagements, and have cut out all traveling.

Let me assure you that I'm grateful for the kind words and offers, and that I'm not trying to be rude. I've toyed with the idea of making my email address unlisted, but I still want people to be able to reach me, even if I'm unable to reply.

So thanks for writing me, and I'm sorry I couldn't respond."

Which means I often don't engage those who ask me for something, and therefor don't risk them getting angry when I say no.

I'm flattered people ask, but they could also read my site FAQ and save themselves the trouble.

Cathy Keaton said...

I bought one of those 18,000 e-books on Kindle this month! I look forward to reading it.

Russell Brooks said...

Joe,

I can't help but be happy that all the work you put in in the beginning is paying off today. Way to go! But the truth is that when you're unknown, either if you're traditionally published or go Indie, you have to put in several hours in the beginning to self-promote. Local or national media won't pay you any attention, unless it involves some sort of scandal or being a freeloader. And even then, that's only five minutes of fame. Remember Joe the Plumber and his book? Nuff said.

My debut novel's been out for almost three months now, and only now is it beginning to pick up a little bit of steam (after busting my chops to get the 30 reviews it has now). I'll most likely still shoot for reviews, but the best publicity would be for me to get the paperback edition out by next month, my second book edited and published by the end of the year, while I write the third book. The more material you have out there, the more people will slowly discover you. At which point sales will increase exponentially. Like you once said, Joe. Leave the cheese out and the mice will come.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession.

Guy Dragon said...

It really isn't that hard. I've been walking up to strangers in bookstores for weeks saying, "Hi, I'm Joe Konrath. I wrote this book."

It is amazing how many free dinners you can get using Joe's name. ;)


I decided to give this a try, but all I got was a black eye! Before he hit me, the guy said something about seducing his wife during a book-signing tour. ;)

Steve said...

Joe, I hope you have or will take the family on that long deserved vacation. You may not need a break, but I'm sure they would enjoy one.

Prophecy of the Medallion

Kai said...

YES! Thank you! One of the reasons I really love ebooks as a writer is that it DOES give me more time to actually WRITE. And when I'm still juggling two Evil Day Jobs in order to do just that, I need to put my time where it's most valuable. Promo mostly isn't it.

Thanks for being an inspiration.

JL_Bryan said...

"I think some folks are underestimating the ebook market by discounting the market of readers who will read books on their phones."

I've read that in Japan, 50% of books are read on people's phones now.

Mythos of an Indie said...

"I've read that in Japan, 50% of books are read on people's phones now."

J.L: I lived in Japan for three years - been back in the states almost a year now. I would have a REALLY hard time believing the market percentage for books on phone is that high.

Yes, the Japanese cellphones are demigods of the technological era - you can get coupons, bills, e-mail, shopping, TV and just about any other functionality you could want (rarely did I see people actually TALK on their phones), but the visual media for them is still very very high. I rode the crowded subways in the morning and more than 70% of the people had some sort of newspaper, magazine, manga, ect.

The Japanese character system allows for a much smaller print for long books. A 500 page novel for us... may be only 200 pages and fit in the palm of your hand.

It was a real shock to see how thin their books were, even if it was a book written originally in English. The bookstores I visited were also always thriving, though they had pretty severe multimedia (movie/music rental plus game sales and books).

I would argue the percentage is not that high - YET. I could definitely see it going that way. Are you sure it didn't say 50% predicted by such and such a date?

Anonymous said...

Latest milestone: Kindle books outsell paperbacks on Amazon

http://tinyurl.com/4njj753

EC

Russell Brooks said...

Anonymous, those are most likely US figures. I've discovered that Canada and the Carribean are still behind the US when it comes to converting to eBooks.

Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession.

Debbi said...

I'll miss seeing you at the bar at B-con. :)

Joe Konrath said...

I'll miss seeing you at the bar at B-con. :)

I may go to B-Con. But I won't do any panels or any signings. I'd go as a guest, not an author.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Hey Joe, another interesting post.

You're so right about the average sales authors make at book signings. In Canada the numbers are even lower. I've done well over 200 book signings and am considered one of the high sellers. In fact, I was told by Chapters & Indigo managers in Edmonton that I had the highest, most consistent sales at signings for two years straight out of all visiting authors. It was damned hard work, though I never did the touring you did. And I'm glad.

The cost of touring across provinces or states just doesn't make it worthwhile in the end, especially when most authors are responsible for those costs--or at least a large portion of them.

I watched so many authors at signings. I even organized multi-author events at major trade shows and elsewhere. Most authors were lucky to sell 5 books. Many went home without a sale. My average was a bit higher than the number you quoted represented a decent signing.

By the way, my last virtual book tour (for my debut romantic suspense Lancelot's Lady) was 118 stops in 14 days. It took me 3 months to organize and write all the posts. I guess I beat your record. ;-) I know what you're saying about exhausting--even an online tour can leave you feeling like you've just crossed the country...on foot. lol

This is where the ebook revolution makes it so much easier for today's authors. Why spend 8 hours in a bookstore only to sell a dozen books, when you can promote online and use social networks to get your name out there?

I used to do 40 signings a month for 3 months before Christmas. That's a LOT of hours spent with little return. When you calculate hours, gas, travel etc, it didn't pay well. But I have to admit, I do miss the social aspect. I love meeting readers face to face. I loved doing signings. That's what separated me from most, I think.

Now I meet readers online. And I use creative ways to connect. Though I'll always be grateful to all the bookstores that hosted me and I miss the "action" (but not getting asked where the bathroom is), I can use my time far more wisely by promoting my ebooks.

Authors who want to succeed must learn to change with the winds, adapt to new technologies and step out of their comfort zone. Take a risk, try something new.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif
bestselling author
www.cherylktardif.com

Verilees said...

@Joe Konrath I noted that review copies of Shaken were available on Vine this month. Print version to be released in February. Also noticed paperback review copies of one of Karen McQuestion's books were available on Vine also.

I always wondered how effective Vine was, even as I dutifully wrote my reviews. If must be effective if Amazon uses it for their own publications.

jtplayer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cash advance california said...

Goodluck for investing your e-books. Hope to see lot of sales from you. Make a good marketing technique in selling your e-books.

Natalie Sisson said...

Phenomenal is all I can say. Thank you for sharing this incredible insight from your hard earned and fought lessons.

You have made up my mind about self publishing in no uncertain terms. I thank Seth Godin for sending me the link to your blog.

You're an inspiration.

chris said...

Joe,
You haven't even begun to scratch the surface of eBooks sales. I'm sure the English language market is still the bulk of sales so far but in future years you will hire translators and market them in Chinese, and any number of other languages. Or maybe you'll work with some agency that does that, but the point is that not only will more eReaders be sold but more markets will open to them. It has barely begun.

It really makes me want to be a part of that future.

Eric D. Goodman said...

Great post. I have a question for you. Although you are selling more books and finding more success wiht ePublishing than you did with your traditional books, would you say that a big part of that was the groundwork you built earlier with your traditionally published books -- and, of course, the heavy marketing you did?

That is, if the average newbie offers their book as an eBook, it's not likely they'd have the same success as you did, already being a highly-successful author. Right?

My first novel, Tracks, is being published by an independent press, Attics Books, on June 30. It's being offered as both an eBook and original trade paperback. I plan to do the traditional book tour and a bit of online marketing. But I imagine I can only dream of waking up to the kind of numbers you do!

Here's to your continued success,

Eric

Dan Brown said...

One thing that all writers need - traditionally published, Indie or self-published - and that is good reviews. What do you all think of these new services, like The Digital IN, which enable authors to commission reviews @ Amazon and Goodreads and other key book sites? I know publishers have been giving away ARC review copies and other premiums to reviewers forever, but is this different? And how important are these reader reviews anyway?