Friday, March 25, 2011

Depression and Writers

I get a lot of email, and though I try to read it all, I can't reply to everyone.

Here's one I replied to, reprinted with the author's permission.

It think it's important for reasons I'll disclose afterward.

So here's Kiana Davenport...

"Dear Joe Konrath...this may never reach you. You must have millions of fans. Nonetheless, I need to write and express my gratitude to you.

My last three novels were pretty good sellers. Scribners, Ballantine, you know the drill. A few years ago, sales dropped drastically, no more royalties, the recession hit and I started living on my meager savings. Other than that all I own are 3 acres of land here, which in this market no one wants to buy. I don't even own a house.

I studied Creative Writing at university, but for years I was a fashion model in NYC, lived it up and never saved a dime. Then I went back to writing, prepared to scale down and live modestly. But as you know, things got even worse with the economy. It took me four years to write the most recent novel for which a NY publisher offered me less than HALF my previous advance. A depressing figure, to be paid out in fourths through 2013! By then I could be dead, and it won't even pay my bills. I was so desperate I accepted. Now I have to wait another year for the book to be published.

Agents and editors were admitting we're in a 'dying industry.' With dwindling publishers, rock-bottom advances, I didn't see any reason to write anymore, which is what I LIVE for.

Unemployment is staggering here, I couldn't find a job. I sold my good clothes and jewelry, made out a will leaving the land to my daughter. I felt I'd rather die than scrape and starve. (I'm a good swimmer, I'm half Hawaiian, I know how to swim to exhaustion, then unconsciousness.) If I couldn't make a living at what I love to do - publishers and bookstores folding left and right - I felt I'd rather pack it in. I was dead serious, I've never been afraid to die. Its a Hawaiian thing - we always have one foot in the other world.

At first friends thought I was kidding, but then they saw me making plans, they watched me begin to withdraw. Then one day a friend came to my house and said two words. "JOE KONRATH." That's what she said. "This man is going to save your life."

I had never heard of you. She forced me then and there to sit down and start reading your blogs.

I read for two days straight.

You were my epiphany. You were telling me there was life beyond print publishing. In fact a WHOLE NEW WORLD in digital. You led me to the revolution. I started reading your books. So far I have loved SHOT OF TEQUILA and TRUCK STOP. They're tough, fast-paced and humorous, and now and then poetic. I'm still reading.

Most importantly, within one month, following your example, I had uploaded onto Kindle my first indie ebook, HOUSE OF SKIN - PRIZE-WINNING STORIES by Kiana Davenport. All the stories I could never get published in NY as a collection. I kept my price low as you suggested, $1.99. Reader reviews have all been 5 stars.

Its selling well. I may never be a bestseller like you, but I am a HAPPY WRITER AGAIN. In fact, I'm ecstatic. My book is mine. My cover is mine. I can write what I feel, not what a publisher demands. I'm now working on my second collection of stories and a new novel. I am digital for life!

Joe, I hope you can go to Kindle and check out HOUSE OF SKIN...I owe it all to you. I kid you not, you saved my life. I am your fan, and have never said that to anyone, not even Norman Mailer. I read everything you write, I take your advice. I thought your recent interview with Barry Eisler was brilliant, shocking and prophetic as hell. I have recommended it to everyone, everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I'm just building a website and will highly recommend you there as well.

Again, I want to say a million Mahalos! Thanks! For giving me back my deep joy in writing, and my life. I so glad I didn't take that swim. With my alohas from Hawai'i..."

Joe sez: Well, first of all, I'm not deserving of her gratitude. I'm just a writer sharing what I've learned, which is something we all should be doing. I don't have millions of fans, and though she said kind things about my writing, having bought and read a few selections in HOUSE OF SKIN she's much better than I am.

And of course I didn't actually save her life. Kiana did that all by herself. It's a nice thing for her to say, but it was her own inner strength that kept her going, not the stuff I blog about.

As you might expect, I was humbled, touched, and ultimately concerned by this letter. Artists by nature are temperamental, and depression is common in this business.

When Hyperion dropped my Jack Daniels series, I was pretty much a mess. I'd worked like a dog to make sure those books sold. And they were selling. Still are. But I was counting on that next advance to feed my family, and when it didn't come I felt devastated. Worthless. Helpless. It made no sense (still doesn't) and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.

There are few worse feelings than trying your best and it not being enough.

I wound up getting another contract a few months later, for much less money. And I kept a brave face in public, downplaying how badly I felt.

I know for a fact I wasn't the only one who had to go through something like that.

Over the years, I've lost count of the conversations I've had with writers who had similar experiences to Kiana and me. Tales of rejection. Of bad luck and stupid publisher decisions. Of getting the shit end of the stick, over and over and over.

It got me thinking. For every writer popping open the champagne because they just got a new deal, there are dozens who have gotten screwed. And no doubt some of them thought about swimming out to sea. While my depression never got that severe, I certainly wouldn't want to relive those dark, depressing, frightening months without a publishing contract.

But I never have to feel that way again. None of us do. We don't have to rely on a gatekeeper's "yes" or "no" to dictate how we feel about ourselves. We don't have to put all of our eggs into the legacy publishing basket anymore. Hell, we don't have to put any eggs in there at all.

For the first time ever, writers have a choice.

Choices are empowering. Having the ability to control our futures, even with something as simple as self-publishing an ebook, means we aren't helpless anymore.

That's a very good thing.

Kiana's latest advance for her upcoming novel is a shame. And though she says her self-pubbed ebook collection is selling well, her current rank is so-so.

HOUSE OF SKIN is $1.99. I already bought a copy.

I'm asking you to buy a copy as well.

Let's see how low we can get her Amazon ranking. Right now it's #134,555.

I'd really like to see it crack the Top 1000.

Help me spread the word.


1 – 200 of 296   Newer›   Newest»
AuthorVStone said...

What a touching story. I'm rooting for you, girl!

Nobu said...

I grabbed a sample, read a few pages, then grabbed the whole book. Beautiful writing so far.

Thanks for passing along the info, Joe. And for paying it forward :)

Jack D. Albrecht Jr. said...

Wow! this is an amazing story! I usually stay strictly to the Fantasy genre, other than helping you get The List into the top 100. But I think i will break from tradition. For $1.99, What the hell. I'll do without my 1 liter of Diet Mountain Dew tomorrow and drink iced tea.

Unknown said...

I've tweeted it and posted it on Facebook. Supporting other writers is something I'm more than happy to do, and I'm very touched you even bothered. I mean, you're famous in your own right. The fact that you give a fuck is encouraging.

Jack D. Albrecht Jr. said...

Would you allow me to re post this story on my blog?

Chris said...


Gary Ponzo said...

Just downloaded the book. Glad to help a fellow writer.
Good luck Kiana.

Jack D. Albrecht Jr. said...

Bought it just seconds ago. With the "Konrath power of persuasion" as I like to call it. I think we can get her into the 400's Easily! But I want updates........

Michael McClung said...

True story: In July 2003 my fantasy novel (Thagoth) was published as an ebook by Ballantine. See, it won the Del Rey Digital Online Writing Workshop First Novel competition. Between the time it won and the time it was published, a regime change of sorts took place at Del Rey, with new people in and old people out, and all us ebook ‘winners’ (I think there were six, total) were sort of left to twist in the wind. Truly horrible covers, absolutely no marketing, nada, as Del Rey shifted their focus, from my purely subjective but absolutely dead-on view, to movie tie-in books. I was basically told in a ‘nice’ way that they were no longer interested in pursuing ebooks, with the unspoken being they were no longer interested in me. I was kinda crushed. My first novel- an award winner! a competition winner!- was in essence consigned to the scrap heap of corporate restructuring. Ebooks were relegated back to afterthought status, ‘also available as’. A bitter pill, because I was never going to get the book in print unless I pulled off major sales on the ebook. And that was the longest of long odds given the sales hurdles I was quoted for ‘consideration’ for print publishing.

Now it’s 2011. A few days ago, after reading about Amanda Hocking, I let my facebook friends know that I had a novel out there in ebook format for $2.99 as an experiment. In 36 hours it jumped 353,134 spots on Amazon to #45,093 (yes, I know about Amazon’s weird algorithm issues, but still). It jumped 144k spots on B&N.
The moral of the story: Times have changed. Electronic self-publishing is a real, viable alternative to jumping through the traditional publishing hoops. It’s certainly not longer odds than finding an agent who will find a publisher etc., because let’s be honest, hundreds if not thousands of damn fine writers out there fail to find an agent or a publisher every day. If they turn their back on the established route in frustration or disgust and self publish, and fail to ‘make it’ a la Hocking, are they any worse off than if they shelve their writing aspirations after the hundredth rejection slip?
I look back on the changes of the last eight years with a sense of amazement.

(Yes, I've written this before elsewhere recently, but I've got to go look at a new place to live and shoulda beenout the door 5 miutes ago, but couldn't go without sharing my own experience)

Ellen Brickley said...

Looks like a great short story collection, I'd been dithering about my next Kindle purchase.

I hope Kiana takes over the world :) In the digital age, there's room for so many people.

Rex Jameson said...

A year ago I had sent out a few queries and then spent another year trying to figure out how to be a better writer. I was fully prepared to go back to the traditional publication industry and get on my knees, but after reading your blog, I found out about the Kindle boards and other indie author resources, and I haven't looked back since.

I appreciate your humble reply to her message, and that's what is great about you. But to be honest, Kiana is not the first person you have shown a way out too; she is just one of the latests. A lot of people appreciate what you are doing.

Jack D. Albrecht Jr. said...

Rex said "I appreciate your humble reply to her message, and that's what is great about you. But to be honest, Kiana is not the first person you have shown a way out too; she is just one of the latests. A lot of people appreciate what you are doing."

Konrath has become my favorite author because of his desire to promote OTHERS above himself. I am even promoting his books in the Pharmacy tech classes I am taking. His books are just so much fun, and who could dislike someone who drinks beer during an interview??

WayneThomasBatson said...

Joe, I was stunned to see this headline on your blog. But thanks. It needs to said. My pastor calls it the dark side of the writer's talent. One of the reasons we're so good at bringing out the thoughts of our characters is that most of us are insanely introspective. We are also an emotional bunch. I've got 8 books in print now, 5 of which have been Bestsellers in some YA markets. And yet, even with close to half a million books sold, I'm still not even close, I mean not even in the same ZIP code of being able to support my family without also teaching full time. Why? Because print publishers are keeping the lions share of the royalties. It's so frustrating...and honestly depressing. I've literally had anxiety attacks over having both jobs to do and never feeling like I can devote the time to either. This summer, I'm releasing my first eBook. Hopefully things will change. Again, thanks for posting this.

Unknown said...

A copy is winging its way to my Kindle as I write this.

Good luck Kiana!

Archangel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joshua Guess said...

I bought a copy. As a writer whose sales on the Kindle and Nook have literally been life-saving (and will hopefully become self-supporting) myself, I empathize very strongly. Eventually the market will grow to the point that many, many more people will be able to make a living through eBooks. I hope she gets there soon almost as much as I hope I do. =)

Archangel said...

dear Kiana, when I read your letter, I knew right away you could write the paint off a board. When I read the part about swimming to exhaustion, I knew you are like many of us Latinos: walk with Lady Muerte as well as Lady Vida. WHen I read that you had been brought to the "Joe Hospital" and that you took the meddies and recovered, I felt like Ellen mentioned above: hope you take over the world.

And. I love the cover of your book; tribal with love handles, manly and just right. Beautiful. I've gotten your book but have not read it yet, but will very soon.

You are not alone in being sucker punched by big 6. Been there, done that, or rather 'been done to', too. Called my agent and said something desperate at the time. Went into huge debt to keep going. My former pub still squats on my rights. But. There is a roller coming from deep in the water. And its not a steamship come to drown us in side-swash. Its a beautiful roller wave. Oppty, comes in cycles, I feel sure. You are right to rise up and ride the he-- out of it now. Someday hopefully I'll be able to stand on the board also. All others here as well

Joe. Just this: I thank the 'muddy angel,' you know who you are ... for letting the true and the real be said by Kiana, and by yourself too. This will lift so many to know they are not alone in la lucha, the struggle.


Ey Wade said...

Wow Joe,
This is exactly why you (and your rss feeds) are titled my hero on my website and blogs. I am totally in her shoes. Feeling the same way since I lost my home and business in a hurricane. Got the screw job from an agent. But one day I ran into your blog (when you were doing the book tour thing), won a copy of your book Bloody Mary and decided I wanted to be like Joe.
I've put my books on kindle and am doing the social network scene. Totally following your directions. No sales yet,but I'm keeping faith. If I had the funds I would buy her book, no one should be in such dire straits they know each dime in their pocket. I'm squeezing mine so hard they bleed cooper.
At least for one more day I can tweet,fb and blog it. Every writer needs help from friends.

Michael Allen said...

OK, will do.

I have written elsewhere on the dangers of writing and the risks to your health and sanity. It is not melodramatic to think in those terms, and Kiana's story is another personal experience to prove it.

Glynn James said...

Now my kindle and in my reading list. I love short story collections.
FYI: it's at #5507 on already :) Good luck Kiana!

Linda Acaster said...

Know depression; know prizes; know publishers kicking you in the teeth; know agents where you're a number; know feelings of worthlessness. But this morning I whooped round the house because Amazon UK have dropped first royalties into my bank account. Last week I whooped because I clutched my first Amazon USA dollar cheque.

I don't want to be in Amanda Hocking's financial shoes or, truth to tell, Joe's. I'd just like to have the wherewithal to buy them lunch. And I'm on my way. Yay!

antares said...

jack said...
Would you allow me to re post this story on my blog?

On my blog, I put in a permalink to Kiana's story on Joe's blog.

How to find the permalink? Click the title of the post. When the page refreshes, it will display the permalink as the new URL.

@Joe: You're a generous man, giving your time to others in this blog. I agree with you that Kiana saved herself, but you were the role model she looked to. Who else stood up to be that role model?

Michael said...

Great story, and thank you so much for sharing. Let's hope we can give her the boost she needs to take it to the next level.

Karen McQuestion said...

"There are few worse feelings than trying your best and it not being enough." Oh man, Joe, you do have a way with words.

I just bought Kiana's book. I hope she sells a million more. :)

Edward L Cote said...

Without getting into all the gory details, I've had similar (if less severe) problems, and they have interfered with my work. I guess that means Kiana has more guts than I do, if she can go public about that and I'm not quite there yet.

Just on the professional side, though? I couldn't get a single agent (out of what, 20?) to even jot a quick note on a form letter. When I got the rejection notice from a small local publisher (after three months of silence, and they had never even read a WORD of the book) part of me thought that it was just the first in a long line, and I just had to pay my dues and take my beatings from the gatekeepers.

The rest of me thought it was hopeless. How long would it take to get an agent and then a publisher, and was it supposed to go in that order? I'd heard it both ways. Then I heard that the slush pile at my favorite publisher was TWO YEARS deep. And how would I really know when to give up? A year? Two? Five? What was I supposed to do in the meantime? Keep writing stuff I can never publish?

What if I really could never get published? Who was going to touch fantasy novellas (even in YA) from an unproven author with a ten-foot pole?

I really was ready to give up, even though I didn't have anything else to work toward in the middle of the recession. I didn't have much in the way of positive feedback or reason to believe in my talent, either.

Then a friend of mine mentioned this new-fangled self publishing thing and sent me a link to Joe's blog. It didn't take long for me to come around, first accepting the possibility and then embracing the certainty.

I didn't have to jump through hoops without even knowing where they were. I didn't have to hit upon the magical combination of what each different agent wanted to hear and how she wanted to hear it. I didn't have to turn my work into something that it wasn't. If I thought I could sell novellas, I could try it.

I'm convinced that the market is there, but now it's only me on the hook if I'm wrong. So I don't have to convince anyone in an industry that moves slowly and doesn't adapt to the market.

No agent, no editor, no runaround, no slush pile, no lag time, no waiting months for more rejections, no contract to get locked into, no loss of rights or control.

And all I have to do is a little extra work and scrounging up some cash?

So I finished the book and put it through five revisions with feedback from my colleagues (many of whom I met in the self-publishing community) and I'm now polishing it for publication at the end of April. I hope to have the second book out for Christmas.

None of that would have been possible if I had not seen such a solid case made by Joe Konrath, right here on this blog. I'd probably never be published at all. Whether that would have been a great loss will be up to the readers, but we'll see in a year.

And not five.

Chris Stout said...

Bought it. Reading and loving it now. Thanks Joe, for the recommendation. Thanks Kiana, for hanging in there and making this collection available and affordable. I wish you the best and look forward to your next book.

Joshua James said...

Joe Konrath, have cape, will travel!

Great post, Joe, and don't underestimate the effect you've had.

Christine Kersey said...

I have a good idea how she felt. When my publisher declined to publish two of my novels, it took the wind right out of me. I pretty much lost all my desire to write. But with indie publishing my passion is back full force! It's fantastic!

Scott Marlowe said...

Just bought a copy.

Christopher Marcus said...

What a wonderful story - and now that it is shared it can also be an inspiration to the rest of us! Thanks to both Joe and Kiana!

The Remembrance Tree said...

Great story Kiana...I'm in with a buy and hope good things for you.

Joe...did you ever think this blog would generate these kinds of life-altering events? Nice work JK.

Mark Edward Hall said...

Great and touching story. I see her sales rank is now about 7000. Good luck to you.

Unknown said...

I've never bought a short story collection in my life, but I just bought Kiana's book and reposted your blog entry on my blog to ask my readers to do the same.

Let's hope for the best for Kiana.

Robert Bruce Thompson

Mark Feggeler said...

I've worked in sales & PR for almost 20 years and have been "restructured" out of a job three times due to swings in the economy. The feeling is the same as you describe about your book series being dropped. I felt helpless and, more importantly, like a failure because I was no longer providing for my family. We have been fortunate on all three occasions, with new work (and often better pay) coming within 30 days. Resiliency is key, a sense of self-worth beyond a singular understanding of career is essential, and supportive friends & family are critical. What's the expression? "If a door closes, open a window." I've opened three windows so far, and there are plenty more to go before I'm done.

Mike Dennis said...

Inspirational story, Joe and Kiana. Thanks for posting it.

Naomi Clark said...

Amazing, amazing, amazing. I've suffered depression on and off throughout my life, going back to my early teens, and so much of that depression has been focused on how I'm not "making it" as a writer, or frustrations with agents, or frustrations with feeling I have to write to a certain market.

My decision to focus on indie and small press/epub writing has lifted so much of my anxiety, and if it wasn't for people like Konrath, Hocking, and Winters paving the way, I'd never have dared try. I've been able to redefine what "making it" actually means.

I hope Kiana has great success. Off to buy my copy of House of Skin!

L.C. Evans said...

I love this story. Kiana, thank you for allowing Joe to share this with us. I'm buying your book as soon as I leave this page.

You've expressed so well what many of us have experienced, both economically and in our writing careers. I worked hard on my writing for years and though I was able to get my short stories published in magazines, I never got anywhere trying to attract the attention of the big publishers with my novels. Now I consider that a blessing. I eventually realized I'd be dead before I ever made any money publishing the old fashioned way. Once I discovered—with Joe's help—that there was a better way to reach readers, I left those gatekeepers in the dust where they belong.

JD Rhoades said...

no doubt some of them thought about swimming out to sea.

This story really resonated with me, because I went through something very similar, including thinking very seriously about driving to Masonboro Inlet and walking into the channel. At least my family could have the insurance money to live on.

Putting my backlist and some previously unpublished work up for sale as e-books hasn't started paying the bills--yet. But just having an option to get my work to readers without having to wait and wait and wait for some faceless person hundreds of miles away to decide my fate has been enormously liberating. It's even made the day job easier to take.

I still believe in keeping all options open, but for the first time in a long while, I'm seeing more options. Thanks for the advice and encouragement, Joe.

Now off to buy House of Skin...

billie said...

Love this post. I'm a therapist as well as a writer and one of the things I most love about this indie movement is that it gives writers the ability to take control, which in addition to allowing many of us to get our books out there, is also a very empowering thing psychologically.

Thanks for sharing this story and this writer's work - heading to buy right now!

Priscilla TheGreat said...

Wow. Powerful stuff. I remember how I felt when I was rejected by one of the big six even after going through three complete revision over the course of 8 months. I think I ate everything off the Wendy's dollar value menu. I am now extremely happy with Indie publishing. No more chasing the trad pub carrot.

Heather Hildenbrand said...

Love the post. Already bought the book.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to you Kiana!

I just bought the book and I cannot wait to start reading it.

You have an incredible resume and an respectable education. Traditional publishing is lost when they allow someone like you to miss the life-saver in that rapidly flowing river.

Good luck on your new journey...


Christine said...

I think that I battle doubt, depression and the disappointment demons a lot, but I manage with the realization that I am not defined by only one thing--whether it is my gender, my age, my calling, my weight, my health. I am a combination of many things that help balance out the negatives.

Writing is tough. Not being published is tough. Rejection is tough. But I muddle through--I'm glad the author who wrote to you found a way to survive in this world.

Thanks for sharing!

Candice Davis said...

I've got my copy, and will start reading as soon as I get to my own writing quota for the day.

Kiana - get that website up and rolling!

jaz said...

Just bought the book. Best wishes, Kiana. Be well.

Algot Runeman said...

Get that book into ePub format so I can read it on my Nook! I'm ready to take part. For now, I'll just have to buy Shark Dialogues, though it may not help the ranking issue (and probably won't earn the same for Kiana).

Summer said...

I bought it. I didn't read the descriptions. I don't care what it's about or even if I never read it (although I know I will devour every word tonight.) I figure buying the book and being part of her rise in the Amazon rankings is the best thing I can do for Kiana right now and I LOVE being part of such an effort! Joe, you may not give yourself the credit you deserve for making a difference in this woman's life but it is indeed well-deserved. You inspire so many of us and you provide the encouragement we need, when we need it. And for that, I thank you. (I still have goosebumps!!!)

Michael McClung said...

Reading all these comments, especially from Archangel, Edward Cote, Naomi Clark, L.C. Evans, and Sybil Nelson has reminded me of something I read in Milan Kundera's 'The Art of the Novel' regarding a Kafka-esque world. I'm going to steal shamelessly from it, and apply it to writers and the major publishing houses:

"The [writer] is confronted by a power that has the character of a boundless labrynth. He can never get to the end of its interminable corridors and will never succeed in finding out who issued the fateful verdict. He is therefore in the same situationas Joseph K. before the court, or Land-Surveyor K. before the castle. All three are in a world that is nothing but a single, huge labrynthine institution they cannot escape and cannot understand."

But now writers are learning that they can indeed escape the labrynth.

Jude Hardin said...

Bought it.

Awesome post, Joe.

I would urge Kiana to raise the price to $2.99 to take advantage of the 70% royalty rate.

JL Bryan said...

I feel this post very deeply. After so many years of struggling & getting nowhere, indie publishing has greatly improved my feelings about my life.

Victor Gischler said...

Good post, Joe.

Glad that you and Kiana both made a comeback.

Victor Gischler

Robin Sullivan said...

Gonna go buy a copy and gift a few - pay it forward ;-)

Robin | Write2Publish | Michael J. Sullivan's Writings

Pam Asberry said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I have battled depression throughout my life; as a beginning fiction writer trying to break into the industry at such a precarious time, I have questioned my sanity many times. But this story gives me so much hope, as does your blog. Congratulations to Kiana for pulling herself out of the puts and to you for providing her with the inspiration and information in order to do it. I bought the book myself and cannot wait to get started on it.

Unknown said...

Thanks, Joe.

Go, Kiana.

Merrill Heath said...

Candice said: I've got my copy, and will start reading as soon as I get to my own writing quota for the day.

Good for you, Candice!

I'll bite. Hope my $1.99 helps.

Alec Stover Mysteries

Author Scott Nicholson said...

Got mine. Go for it, Kiana.

Creativity is a weird tangle of ego and business, if you want to do this for money. I bottomed out in 2006 (ironically, shortly after I met Joe at the first Thrillerfest). It was hard to get traction but I just kept writing, with a faith that somehow if I kept doing what I loved it would work out. Luckily, all this happened--and, strange as it may sound, the bottoming out and dealing with it has been the best part of my life--and now I am living the only dream and goal I ever had, to create for a living.

"Empowerment." That is a great gift Joe has shared with all of us, and we share with each other. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

A prime example of why so many folks believe in you, Joe. Keep up the good work, keep helping your fellow writers. God bless.

Unknown said...

I agree with raising the rate to 2.99 for the 70% royalty. I really think that we as writers have a tendency to undervalue our work.

As someone who's just beginning to dip my toes in the water, I am watching this revolution carefully. I really appreciate articles like this that continue to give me hope.

David Barber said...

A very honest and touching email. I'm glad you "helped" her and I hope she goes from strength to strength.

You have a new follower.

Michelle Muto said...

Okay, Indies! Let's band together here. Buy Kiana's book... AND one of Joe's.

They've both earned it. What do you say?

Michelle Muto
The Book of Lost Souls

Selena Kitt said...

Paid it forward. Needed something to read during the boy-child's state wrestling tournament this weekend anyway. Besides, the sample rocked!

Also FB'd it.

I happen to know lots of readers who like erotica :) so let's see what happens now...

Ranks at #3931 right now - and it's (maybe more importantly) now in the erotica Top 100. Yay, Kiana! You're a welcome addition to the category!

You know, they say for every letter you get about something, there are 10 people who felt the same way who didn't write a letter. I'm sure Kiana isn't the first life you've saved, Joe.

It's a good day to be alive.

Myrx said...

Thanks for sharing Joe. Don't sell yourself short though. You are an inspiration for a lot of people, and I'm sure you've contributed to saving more than just a few careers. Best of luck to you and Kiana.

Ben is Writing

Lynda Hilburn said...

Joe: Great post. I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing your more vulnerable side with us. And for always supporting the writing community. Happy to buy Kiana's ebook. Here's to success for all of us.

Sheri Leigh said...

I wish I was a cover artist. I'd donate a new cover for your book. I bought it and love it so far, but I really really wish it had a different cover. No offense. Honestly. I just think it would sell better with another cover. :)

Unknown said...

What a lovely and sincere letter. You never know how you are going to touch another person's life so, even if YOU think you don't deserve her praise, she feels that way and it is obvious you made a difference in her life.

That's something to be very, very proud of and humbled by.

JA Konrath said...

Here's a great reaction to this:

fatcaster said...

I'm in. Looking forward to reading it.

Cherri Galbiati said...

Joe, you do way more than you give yourself credit for. Thank you.
Kiana, Skin is now on my Kindle :>) I'm linking this blog post on my fb page!
What a story--keep your chin up!

Cherri Galbiati
"Tracking Perception"

Unknown said...

Absolutely beautiful.

Nicole Ireland said...

I just went and bought a copy too.

I'm also one that has struggled with depression for most of my life. It's not easy to deal with, and it's struggle everyday to not fall back into that abyss. So if I can help a fellow author out and help raise them up by supporting their dream, then I will.

Thanks for sharing the email with us. It was very touching.

Bella Andre said...

A lovely post from both of you. Just got my kindle copy. I think it will easily be top 1000 in the next hour or so. And it will keep climbing and climbing! You're a good man, Joe.

Kiana - I suspect your writing life will never be quite the same after this.
:) Bella

Patricia McCallum said...

What a touching story. I bought the book already, let's get her up there!
Thanks so much Joe for suggesting that we all buy a copy, very supportive of you.
I enjoy your blog very much.

Thrilling Covers said...

Kiana, Thrilling Covers is dedicated to helping self-published authors. In that spirit, TC hereby offers you a free ebook cover. Just email or call us if you're interested.

Robert Bidinotto said...

Very moving. Purchase made.

But just a damned minute, Konrath. According to the latest memo from Legacy, Inc., you're supposed to be a self-absorbed s.o.b. who is only concerned with raking in the moola for yourself and keeping the spotlight focused on YOU.

So this post is clearly "bait and switch." You've been accused of that before, and now it's all here for everyone to see. Anyway, time for you to get back on message. You're supposed to be a bastard. Ask anyone in New York.

Remember that.

--Robert Bidinotto

JA Konrath said...

Here's that post I wrote when I was trying to put on a happy face for the public:

I'll also a dd a link to the blog post, because I think it's still holds true.

Sheri Leigh said...

Kiana, Thrilling Covers is dedicated to helping self-published authors. In that spirit, TC hereby offers you a free ebook cover. Just email or call us if you're interested.


Maybe ask Joe if he has a direct contact? I think it will go a long way (not that this blog post isn't a fantastic start!) toward keeping her at the top!

Henri said...

A spot of sunshine on a depressing day. I'm saying this after viewing the world news. My own life is not in trouble.

Moses Siregar III said...

I decided I'd buy it if I still wanted to keep reading at the end of the sample.

I just bought it.

Kiana is a wicked-good writer! Thanks for sharing, Joe and Kiana!

Jamie D. said...

Got my copy, and am very much looking forward to reading it soon. I actually really like the cover, but I have an affinity for ink. ;-)

Best of luck to you, Kiana, and thanks for sharing Joe. I'll share this out across my networks tonight.

Coolkayaker1 said...

The mutual admiration society continues it march onward to encourage every B and C level writer to upload rubbish onto Kindle and sell it for 99 cents a pop.

"I'm a writer! I'm somebody now! I own my own book and I beat my chest and praise myself and you buy my book and I buy yours and we can all sit around and trash the publishers, those foolish Luddites, for not seeing my genius."

Ha ha. Miss the days when Joe and others spoke of quality (as in his Newbie's Guide To Publishing book of old blog posts), not merely quantity and money. Sad, really.

Jack Eason said...

We've all been there depression wise Joe. I'm no exception. If like us someone else is considering taking up writing full time, I have only one piece of advice - epublish!
Forget the mainstream publishing houses.
Forget spending months trying to get a literary agent to take you on.
Either publish yourself - a fairly expensive way of doing things, or do what I did and make yourself known to a small press publisher.

I've just shared the article on Twitter, and Facebook. :)

William J. Thomas said...

Coolkayaker1, your post made zero sense regarding this blog article.

But your opinion is duly noted, and I'm sure it will greatly influence Joe's future blog writings...

Joshua said...


I tweeted and shared this post. I'd buy the book too, but I just have no money right now.

I know how Kiana feels about being so depressed you just want to die. I've often felt that way.

I recently tried to write my own fantasy fiction book. After trying to get feedback for the first part, everyone basically said the same thing:

It sucked.

Maybe I could make it better if I had an editor (could never afford one anyway). I don't know.

But right now, it seems best if I just give up on my dream to be a novelist. Doesn't look like it'll ever come true at the rate I'm going.

Sorry about that. Didn't mean to go on like that.

Well done Kiana, and good luck for the future. :)


Dawn said...

Depression and writers:
There's a whole study by Kay Redfield Jamison (my hero) about a genetic link between creativity and bipolar disorder. Of course, it's always easy to play "armchair shrink" with famous writers of the past, but in her book "Touched with Fire" she explores the family history of these writers.

---It was my own struggle with the disease that "inspired" me to write Saint Jude --and I want to say:
--to Kiana: you are not alone. I think more of us have danced on that edge that we are willing to admit. Congrats, thoughts and prayers out to you. Good luck and Godspeed.
And check out Jamison's autobiography "An Unquiet Mind"-- Jamison is bipolar, a leading psychiatrist, and a pretty darn good writer to boot.

Katie Klein said...

"There are few worse feelings than trying your best and it not being enough."

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Best Wishes, Kiana!

Moses Siregar III said...

"... march onward to encourage every B and C level writer to upload rubbish onto Kindle and sell it for 99 cents a pop."

Worse things have happened. At least people can create something and find some audience even if it's a small one. As Zoe Winters might say, I don't see anyone losing kidneys over this.

The market, the product, and the marketing will determine who sells a lot of copies. Seems like a fine new world to me.

I'm with you on wishing the indie author community talked more about quality writing, though, whatever that is. You do have a point that when agents and editors were the gatekeepers, we had to focus more on "writing the best stories we could," and now we tend to focus more on how to sell ebooks. That is kind of sad, but the world changes and so it is.

The people who dedicate themselves to studying the craft of writing and improving their work will still have a leg up.

Style Edit said...

Amazing story!!!

Check out another great story! A throwback to the Agatha Christie-style mysteries, Richard Sullivan takes you into a world of Manhattan, circa 1930. A young, up-and-coming socialite falls several stories to her death from the window of her apartment in then-swanky Unadilla, an art deco apartment building in midtown. Was it murder? Or was it suicide?

Dawn said...

@ Joe

I think Joe deserves some Kudos here, not just for his column but for not being a dick about how influential his blog is--particularly in this case.

I know some writers who would be tempted to say "yes, I am all that--I saved someone's life-- My blog is worshiped in certain states-- FEAR ME" --but you were very gracious and pointed out her inner strength that was there all along and turned this in a way to help her sales as well.

Granted, I've never met you. You may actually be a dick, but I have mostly seen graciousness and a sense of humor at this blog--and unlike some, you are not "threatened" by the success of others....and you're turning this into a chance to help another's ranking. Heck, I'm gonna buy it.

JA Konrath said...

But your opinion is duly noted, and I'm sure it will greatly influence Joe's future blog writings...

LOL. And if that was about Kiana, she was in the Pushcart Prize and the O'Henry Award anthologies, along with Best American Stories of the Year.

Does that qualify as quality?

JA Konrath said...

Check out another great story!

Wow. That's moxie, hijacking a thread to spam it. Especially this thread.

And by "moxie" I mean "epic fail."

shana said...

Thank you, Kiana, for sharing.

And thank you, Joe, for giving her this platform.

Shana Hammaker
Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

William J. Thomas said...

The bottom line are not going to see any quantity sold or make any money without quality work.

If your e-book sucks it simply won't sell.

I think Joe and others have continually and sufficiently pounded out this point in this blog. So when posts focus on copies sold or money made, it goes without saying that the reason behind the success is quality work. Sure proper promotion helps, but all the promotion in the world won't sell a crappy book.

We all know Joe puts out quality books. He doesn't have to keep saying "I'm a great writer, and my books rock!" every time he focuses on dollars made or amounts sold in a blog post.

Quite a few commenters here who said they bought Kiana's e-book also greatly complimented her writing. They didn't have to do that. Again, this proves the point that quality is essential and is spoken of often around here. Even lately.

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

Wow, Kiana. What a story. Glad to see you've rejuvenated your inner muse and are feeling in control again. Best of luck to you and I wish you a million ebook sales!

<3 Karly

Unknown said...

Bought it immediately after reading this post. Three reasons:

1. Writers should encourage each other. You go, girl!

2. When Joe Konrath says someone writes better than he does, I want to read that someone.

3. I want to be part of the pack that demonstrates the power of indie publishing, and if we can move together to push this book up in the numbers, good. Let's see what we can do and how fast we can do it.

God bless us all, writing isn't for sissies.

Nakia, a Social Butterfly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nakia, a Social Butterfly said...

Go Kiana! Wishing you ALL the best. $1.99, I got you. And Joe, what a really nice thing to do.

shana said...

Reba said: "Writing isn't for sissies."

Amen to that!

Just checked and House of Skin is #856!

We're a FORCE!

Shana Hammaker
Twelve Terrifying Tales for 2011

Sharper13x said...

Goddammit, Joe. You really know how to talk to your audience.

Thank you.

And best of luck Kiana!

Anonymous said...

Got it-- happy to help and I'll leave a review.

Anonymous said...

She's at #856!

"When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true" Paulo Coelho

Sharper13x said...

Scott said "Empowerment." That is a great gift Joe has shared with all of us, and we share with each other. Thanks."

Yep. Always been a writer. Never a time when I felt like the financial success of my efforts didn't rely on the whims of others until now.

Actually, let me rephrase that - never been a time when the idea that the success of my efforts depended on the whims of others wasn't hammered into me over and over again to the point where unfeeling callouses formed that only disguised the pain until it could later manifest in some unexpected and unpleasant way... until now.

Again, thank you. This is a very big thing you've done for me and lot of other people.

Suzan Harden said...

Thank you to both Joe and Kiana for sharing this story. Kiana, please don't give up. You're a beautiful writer.

Andy Conway said...

Moving story and a great response. I'm very interested to see what happens to her sales now seeing as she's not a genre writer and it would be good to see some literary fiction up there accompanying the genre hits.

Romana Grimm said...

Unfortunately I can't buy the book on because I don't have a Kindle. If Kiana reads this, perhaps she could be persuaded to put her stories up on smashwords as well?

Now that that's out of the way: Thanks for sharing the story and helping Kiana find her way. You're a great guy :-)

Cheers from Germany,

Romana Grimm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Romo said...

Joe - I'm adding her to the Indie 500 Booklist ( on Monday's post. I hope it helps her. Thanks for sharing.

Kathryn Magendie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gisele said...

Thank you Joe for doing this and allowing all of us to participate in this touching act of kindness.

Will Kiana make House of Skin available on Nook soon?

I want to read it too!

Tomas Rofkahr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

She's at 554

This is great to see!

Michelle Ann King said...

This post made me cry.

I bought the book. If Kiana's stories are half as emotive and compelling as her letter to Joe, I am in for a rare treat.

Thank you to Joe for the post, the blog, and all that he does for writers - and to all of us who read this and acted. Go Team Kiana! :-)

JD Rhoades said...

The bottom line are not going to see any quantity sold or make any money without quality work.

If your e-book sucks it simply won't sell.

As I've said elsewhere, quality does exist, and it does matter. It's just that in this arena, decisions about what is quality are made from the bottom up rather than the top down.

Joshua said...

@Belinda: Okay, first of all, well done at getting linked to from the awesome guy known as Joe Konrath.

I'm glad Joe does help out those who deserve it, but I hope he doesn't get a bunch of sob stories from people like me (sorry about that Joe).

Hats off to you both. :)

RNoble said...

Absolutely. Just bought it. We have to support one another. Take care all. And, thank you, Joe.

JA Konrath said...

@Joshua - Misery loves company. If ever there was a comment thread where sob stories should be posted, this is it.

Joshua said...

@Joe: Well, it's your blog. Still, I don't see how it's going to help us solve our problems.

Heck, I even feel worse after posting. It kinda feels like admitting defeat.

Oh well. With no job (and being a college drop out), nothing short of a miracle will change things for me. Which isn't going to happen.

But that doesn't matter. It ain't about me. It's about Kiana, and I'm super-glad her life has been turned around.

And yikes! She's already almost in the top 500, AND she's #8 for her genre. This is pretty cool stuff.

JA Konrath said...

She's at 554

This is great to see!

Look at how much power you folks have. Look at what you can do.

This wasn't me. I didn't buy all those copies to get her that ranking.

You did.

Good for you, gang.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I deleted my first comment because it sounded weird :-D Like, I don't know - like, I was ready for a swim, too!

Good Luck to the author - and I love the cover. Soon as I finally purchase an ereader, this is one I'll check out (Yeah, I'm still behind the times).

Anonymous said...

Look at how much power you folks have. Look at what you can do.

This wasn't me. I didn't buy all those copies to get her that ranking.

You did.

Good for you, gang.

I can't speak for everyone else but it has been an honor.

Most of us writers struggle and claw at the dream. So to read this story and how you affected this writer...

Well done Mr. Konrath. We can all see today that books alone isn't a writers legacy.


Stanfield Major said...

I just bought my copy of The House of Skin.

I'd like to point out that there's another lesson here for all of us: the power of our new community.

We just lifted a book from an Amazon ranking of 134,555 to 856 in a matter of hours. It's going to go higher. That's real power.

I could relate to so much of Kiana's story. I've devoted my life to writing (primarily song lyrics although I do write some fiction) but at the age of 58 I have very little to show for all that effort. Certainly no substantial money. So yeah, depression is a friend of mine; we go everywhere together.

But the sweet delight of finding an exquisite turn of phrase that makes life worth living is also my constant companion.

What Joe's story has given me, and Kiana's too, is a sense of hope. A belief that I too can find a pathway to making a living with my writing.

The music business took a different approach to the digital age. They fought it every inch of the way while the print publishing companies pretended that ebooks couldn't touch them.

Those who listen to music, so turned off by the greed of the music business, now expect to get their music for little or nothing.

I'll keep writing songs because It's something I love doing. But I'm definitely going to turn more of my attention to writing ebooks.

Stanfield Major said...

By the way... for all of you who are waiting until you have a Kindle...

You can get a PC version of the Kindle free from Amazon.

That's how I'm reading my copy of The House of Skin :)

Robert Burton Robinson said...

Thanks, Kiana, for sharing. I just bought the book.

@Joe: Here's that post I wrote when I was trying to put on a happy face for the public.

I remember that post, Joe. I was losing all hope of success around that time. But the next year things began to turn around for you via Kindle. Glad I jumped in that boat with you. ;)

Anonymous said...

This one hit a bit too close to home.I pent 30 years in a pretty successful high tech career and then 3 years ago I lost my sight to an auto immune disease and could no longer work. I had dabbled in writing my entire life and decided I could still contribute that way. The disease comes with a few add-ons, like depression. I used to laugh at people that said they were depressed, figuring they were just looking for attention. Not so easy to laugh now, and I may never ever make a living as a writer, but reading Joe and some other authors and writers gives me hope.You may not have "saved her life" but you gave her a reason to hope.

Unknown said...

Up to 391 overall and #6 in erotica. You go, girl!

Robert Bruce Thompson

Sam said...

Great story, Kiana.

I find exercise is the best way to keep depression at bay, so by all means--go swimming! Just not too far :-)

ADBBingo said...

Up to #386 when I just bought my copy. Can't wait to get on the train tonight and start reading it !
This is at least the 4th new author I've found through this blog. Good luck Kiana !

Unknown said...


If you're reading this, *please* consider boosting your price to $2.99. You'll make nearly three times as much money on these sales. I seriously doubt that anyone among us who've just bought your book would have worried about paying an extra buck.

Robert Bruce Thompson

JD Rhoades said...

@Joshua: Spider Robinson wrote: "Shared joy is increased, shared pain is lessened," or words to that effect.

It's about Kiana, and I'm super-glad her life has been turned around.


Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joshua said...

@JD: Just because I feel glad for Kiana doesn't mean I feel any better about myself. The only what that could happen is if I somehow managed to write a novel people actually liked, and managed to get a mention on a popular blog like this one.

I'm happy for Kiana, because that means one more person in this world has found hope. I'm glad for other writers who have found new hope from her success.

I feel no hope whatsoever for myself, and I don't feel inspired in the slightest by Kiana's story. On the contrary, it makes me wonder if I'll ever see the light of success.

I'm not a Johnny Raincloud by nature. But life has been so...devoid of any success for me for so long, I've just given up. Right now, I'm just existing.

Lol, sorry to be so depressing, I'll stop now.

Dave said...

Very powerful post, and so uplifting to see the writing community helping a fellow writer who's down at the moment. There's nothing wrong with mutual support, and renewing someone's hope is a powerful thing.

I'll add my encouragement to the previous post regarding making the book available for the Nook. Kiana, I think you'll find the Pubit publishing program to be just as easy as the Kindle program, and I'm sure there are plenty more of us eager to buy it for our Nooks. Wishing you all the best on your wriring journey.

Joshua said...

Wow. She's at #391 overall. It would be awesome if she broke the top 100, or, dare I say it, top ten? :)

She's already become an Amazon bestselling author. That's pretty cool. I'd say it's going to be all uphill for her now.

JA Konrath said...

Check this out:

Here's a screen shot for posterity:

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

joe said:
> Over the years, I've lost
> count of the conversations
> I've had with writers who
> had similar experiences
> to Kiana and me.
> Tales of rejection.
> Of bad luck and
> stupid publisher decisions.
> Of getting the shit end of the
> stick, over and over and over.

over here in the poets corner,
we're not allowed to touch the
stick, not even the shit end, so
too many of my friends struggle
against the beast of depression.

so i'm very familiar with the drill
and i send my thoughts to kiana,
cheering her self-empowerment.

thank you, amazon, for making
self-publishing a viable option.


joe said:
> I'm asking you to buy a copy

so maybe this blog really can
help sell a few books, eh? ;+)

> Let's see how low we can
> get her Amazon ranking.
> Right now it's #134,555.

even a dozen sales would do
wonders for a rank like that.
and i'd guess you'll get more.

> I'd really like to see it
> crack the Top 1000.

oh ye of little faith...

as soon as i read that, i knew
that it'd crack the top-200,
and sure enough it's already
at #391, and likely climbing.

but i suspected that it would
even crawl into the top-100,
due to the feel-good factor,
and i see no reason to change
my opinion on that matter...

> Help me spread the word.

i'm sure that this entry will be
retweeted a lot, as it should be.
in its own way, it is even more
important to authors than the
recent dialog with barry eisler.
happiness is better than money.

i've said along that this new
ability for artists to connect
directly with their audience
will help artists make money,
but will be best for artists who
want to make art, not money.

there's nobody saying "no"
any more. you still have to
work to find "yes", it's true,
but there's nobody out there
saying "no" before you start.


Robert Bidinotto said...

This will be the Cinderella story of the year.

Brava to Kiana.

Bravo to Joe.

--Robert Bidinotto

Leon Ardkin said...

Getting the book right away. As a writer who just went live today on the kindle, I'd do anything to support other indie writers. It's tough enough.

Brian said...

Going to buy it now.

Thanks for posting this, Joe.

Kiana, I have no doubt you will be successful.

Rick Chesler said...

Kiana's sales ranks i now #305!

Selena Kitt said...

Karma is a funny thing. Joe talks about luck a lot here and it's on my mind. Random horrible things happen to us all if we live long enough. Even when we don't. We lost our son, William, stillborn at 39 weeks on apr 1 2009 and as the anniversary of his death rolls around I feel the weight of our loss heavier than usual but his loss was far greater - not having ever taken a breath in this terrifyingly beautiful world we inhabit. We can get lost in the "why me?" Stories like this remind me just how precious and precarious it all is. Writers are artists. We do what we love and we love what we do. THAT is what Joe has always been about here I think. Not the $$ but the freedom to do what we love.

Donald Wells said...

I just bought a copy.
Kiana, hang in there baby!
And Joe, you're all heart man!

Barry Eisler said...

Kiana, you rock. Just downloaded my copy and looking forward to reading it.

Gary Ponzo said...

Joe, I think this might add fuel to the concept that your blog is an awfully powerful entity.
Just saying.

JA Konrath said...

Joe, I think this might add fuel to the concept that your blog is an awfully powerful entity.

I think it says a lot more about the quality of the people in this community than it does about me or my blog.

Anonymous said...

Just posted up to my blog to reach those three people in the world that don't read Joe's.
Downloaded the book too, now if FedEx would just deliver my laptop...

William J. Thomas said...

Good writing deserves to be read. But getting noticed is hard, even for an author who's had some previous success.

Kiana, you've been noticed again, and we like what we see. Now that we're familiar with your work we look forward to reading get that next collection and novel out soon. Ride this new momentum!

Coral said...

Bought. Power to the people!

JA Konrath said...

Stephen Windwalker, the mastermind behind Kindle Nation, has picked up the story.

Lucas Nicolato said...



from #134,555 to #273 in a few hours!

just bought the book.

i actually bought it before finishing to read the post. it was a powerfull story, and when i got to the cover i had to at least read a sample.

reading the product description convinced me to buy the book upfront, though.

can't wait to read it!

David Wisehart said...


Thanks for sharing Kiana's story. She's an excellent writer and deserves a wide readership.

Depression is something most writers struggle with from time to time. It can be a lonely and insular career, and many of our greatest writers have been lost to despair.

I'm glad to see that after your recommendation Kiana's story collection is quickly climbing the Kindle charts.

For those interested in learning more about Kiana Davenport, here's an interview I did with her back in December.

Kiana Davenport interview


Sean Thomas Fisher said...

Amazing story! Can't wait to read HOUSE of SKIN.

Cheers to Kiana and Joe!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Joe, I just bought a copy, hope Kiana's collection flies to the top of the list fast. Thank you for being so kind to this lovely woman. We've all been there, and it is such a thrill when things finally go right. I pray she writes for the next fifty years, largely due to your brilliance!

And thank you for sharing your own success story in its glorious detail with us. Your premises are sound, and I'm behind you 100%. Just downloaded the list and can't wait to get started on it.

Jack D. Albrecht Jr. said...

#273 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

* #3 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Erotica
* #3 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica
* #50 in Books > Romance

Looks like my prediction of easily getting her into the top 400 was a bit understated. I would like to update that prediction to top 50 overall e-books. I apologize for underestimating the "Konrath power of persuasion". The fact that she moved this far, this fast, and has so many now joining in with the rally call. She may even reach number 1. With writing as good as she does, she will stay up there for a long time. I bet she wakes up, checks her numbers today, and then faints!! This is awesome, and for a very good writer!

JA Konrath said...

House of Skin from yesterday to today has had a 45,000% increase in sales.

That ain't too shabby.

Jack D. Albrecht Jr. said...

This is what Joe does with 12 hours. 8 of em being sleep. What have you done today?

Cricket_Nelson said...


It was a touching story, and I was totally moved by the support of Joe and the whole community, to the point that my eyes welled up with tears several times and I had to look away for a few minutes before reading on.

People are even tweeting about it!

Awesome! I can't wait until it is available on the Nook!

Jacqvern said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ty Hutchinson said...

Hana Hou Kiana. Good to see another Hawaiian author making it happen.

Joe, keep doing what you're doing. You're a good man.

Chris said...

I would not have bought this if the writing wasn't good, but I also wouldn't have if it had not been recommended. Happy to help! Best wishes to you Kiana. (I've also lived in both Hawaii and Japan; I look forward to reading the rest of the book.)

Tom Dulaney said...

Way to go Joe and Kiana....its at 257 at the moment and I hope it keeps going.

Kiana....been there, and like you haven't taken the swim. In the darkest hours, we all need to hang on because something out of the blue can--no guarantees--happen.

In 2006 who would have imagined a Kindle outside the walls of Amazon? Further, who would have dreamed of the opportunties ebook publishing offers we unknowns.

Good luck and thanks for the addition of yet another favorite author for me to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of a line from Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving. "Keep passing the open windows".

Jacqvern said...

Actually now I got it. I don't have a Kindle and I'm not a US resident nor UK, so I couldn't buy it from Amazon.
I bought it from LULU though.

I was touched by Joe's gesture. No need to say more

V said...

#136000 this morning when I checked around 0630 and now its #257! Awesome.

design4life said...

I bought it! No sample, don't sample anything under $5. I do know a lot of other writers in her situation. Some have been published by legacy pubs, other just starting out. Myself included. If my day job suddenly goes away (and it might because I am a print book designer just getting into ebooks) I could well be on the dole. Yay for writers and creative supporting each other.

I have a long list of "to reads" in my iPad. But now Kiana's book is among them. More power to us!

Lee Goldberg said...

I read her book SHARK DIALOGUES years ago and loved it. In fact, I think my copy is actually signed by the author. She's a terrific writer and am glad to have an opportunity to buy more of her work.

You've done a good thing, Joe.


Unknown said...

I bought it. Thanks for the recommendation.

Jenny Melzer said...

I needed to read that today. Thank you for sharing her letter.

Laura said...


Michael said...

The writing is good. She deserves every bit of success Joe's push has given her.

RW Bennett said...


254 as of ten minutes ago. Yay!

Lundeen Literary said...

Kiana (or Joe, if you know how to reach her)

Contact me, and I'll get your book ready for the Nook, or help you get it going. This needs to be in a lot of places quickly. I'd love to just help out by providing a few places to put your book, or give you some formatting advice if you need it. If you want a new cover, I'll be glad to do that, too, and won't charge a penny. But I actually like the cover. A few tweaks and it would rock even more.

Also, DEFINITELY up the price to $2.99. You need to be earning $2/copy on this, not 70 cents. You're worth it, even though you may not feel that way sometimes.

I owe my life to another writer. She gave me the strength to go on when it seemed like it would never get better. I'm glad you had a friend who told you about this place - she shares in the work of saving your life. Joe, you make too light of your contribution to this; you were a catalyst to Kiana's recovery by the good work you do. I respect and admire you for this.

Your depression-racked sister writer,

Maryann Guberman said...

I'd be surprised if you DIDN'T get a TON of letters like this ... maybe without the darkest moments but definitely with praise and thanks for helping us navigate out of the old and into the new.

I've been touting your blog to all my writer friends for a year now so it's time to say THANK YOU.

Marie Simas said...

So much awesome sauce in one place. So much!

If the book hits 100, I call this an official pwn of the legacy publishers. Not because of Kiana, because she seems too good-hearted to ever want to drop the hammer on anyone; but mainly because this all happened on Joe's blog-- the guy all the traditional publishers ignore, marginalize, and dismiss.

I bought it. Now I'm having a frothy beer, and I'm enjoying the show.

Beth Ciotta said...

Wow. Stuck for words here. What an amazing story. Touches so many nerves, and of course the heart. Shared this on Twitter and FB. Now off to purchase my copy.

Looking forward to HOUSE OF SKIN, Kiana. And thank you for allowing Joe to share your story.

Gabriella said...

Joe..I have a new Kindle thanks to you and I have one book on it. Seriel. Scared the living shit out of me. When Donaldson was cutting up Bretts eyelids, I had to close the Kindle. No offense to you, but I AM A WIMP! That night I woke up screaming with a nightmare. Your Donaldson was sitting on me slicing my eyelids. This kind of stuff freaks me out. I think maybe all the job stress of knowing these people want to fire me after many many years is what brings the nightmares on.
So I'm re~writing some old stuff from years ago and as soon as I have a great cover I am jumping in. I want to quit THIS year. Pipedream...but I'm determined. soon as I send this post I am buying your book. I felt ya in your email to Joe.
Welcome back to the living hon. :)

Faith said...

If you make it available on Smashwords I can buy it. Amazon won't allow for Paypal purchases.

Robert Bidinotto said...

The book has cracked the Kindle 200 rank; it's down to #191, as of 9 pm Friday. Also, #28 in Romance, and #94 in genre fiction.


Well done, Joe, and congratulations, Kiana.

Donald Wells said...

It is at 191

ModWitch said...

#193. Freaking insane. What a joy-ride you've gotten today, Kiana. Savor every moment! Joe, for a guy who knows the numbers cold, you really underestimated your reach :).

Moses Siregar III said...

A lot of people are suggesting she goes up to $2.99, but she might be better off going down to 99 cents once this ride is over. It's 8 short stories with 1,853 locations on my kindle. It's definitely "worth" $2.99, but as we've seen on this blog before, sometimes 99 cents is what kills and her short story collection might be a good candidate for a strong 99 cent run. It's the length of a novella when you add up all the words.

If she lowers the price to 99 cents while she's riding high in the Amazon rankings (that's what Victorine Lieske did after a KND promotion and the rest is history), the momentum might continue for a long time. If she raises it to $2.99, it's possible she'll lose the momentum and be back to meager sales in a month.

It would be a tough call for me, if I were in her shoes. I'd probably try 99 cents before I tried $2.99, though.

Phillip Thomas Duck said...

Fantastic story. I immediately called my significant other and asked that she download the book along with me. Two more sales. Go, Kiana!

Newbie Author said...

I'm just starting out, with an upbeat, pie-in-the-sky attitude. I'm just happy to be writing,

Both stories are inspirational. Thanks for sharing.

I just ordered my copy, Amazon says it's now #191 Paid in Kindle Store.

Debra Lee said...

On my way to get a copy. Kiana, thank you for allowing Joe to share your letter. Joe sure knows how to play it forward.

Jude Hardin said...

Wow. It's #188 right now. Congrats, Kiana!

clr said...

Downloaded, and link tweeted/facebooked.

Add me to the list of grateful folks. After my agent took three months to get back to me - only to tell me she didn't think she could sell this latest ms - we shook hands and said goodbye.

I registered my d/b/a and bought a block of ISBN's. I've hired a copy editor. I have cover artwork under development. I've picked out a blog template, registered domain names. I own my career now, I don't have to wait for someone to say "Well, I really want to wait until you're done with this manuscript, I dont think we should submit the other one to this small press" - I can just do it.

I'll be back when I'm ready to rock. But thank you. Just - thank you.

Coral said...

Joe, it's Mexican saying we got down here - you're going to go to heaven with both shoes on. Lol It's a good thing! I laughed til I cried when I saw the up by 45000%

nwrann said...

Clearly this blog carries some weight. If House of Skin breaks the top 100 does that throw off the LIST experiment? Does it raise a question that maybe The LIST made it to the top 100 because of the frequent updates about it? Did it make it to the top 100 because of this blog rather than the price point?

Also, will anyone notice that there is a top 100 selling book with only 7 ratings/reviews? Will that raise any eyebrows amongst the potential readers?

Just some thoughts.

Congrats Kiana.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
glitrbug said...

Got my copy. Current stats:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #188 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#2 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Erotica
#92 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Genre Fiction

Unknown said...

Okay, I bought the book this morning after reading the post, and the blurb. Did you guys notice the blurb by Alice Walker? That alone was enough for me to buy it.

But OMG, the writing is incredible. It's lush and evocative, and drove me back to the computer to work on my own stuff. After I crank out another few hundred words, I'm settling down with a glass of wine and finishing the rest of the stories.

I just left Amazon, and she's now #92 in paid books, and she deserves it.

Joe thanks for sharing her story with us, and giving a much deserved shout out.

Tara Maya said...

I was just in the mood for a collection elegantly written short stories, and wondered where I'd find one, since it's outside my genre. Perfect timing!

I also bought Thagoth by Michael Mcclung, because any book that won a competition on the OWW has got to be good.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate (on sale now for $.99)
The Unfinished Song: Taboo (coming out March 28)

Romantic Heretic said...

"There are few worse feelings than trying your best and it not being enough."

That's a feeling I'm way too familiar with. I'm looking at self pubbing because, as you noted, it gives me control.

I hate others having control over me.

Sariah Wilson said...

Bought it! I hope we can raise her ranking!

Kiana Davenport said...

Hi, everyone...I'm Kiana Davenport, author of HOUSE OF SKIN. Joe Konrath's blog about my letter to him, and your amazing responses, have left me in shock and momentarily brain-dead. Your words of encouragement and support reduced me to tears over and over. And I am not usually a cryer.

But I am slowly rallying, and I want to say mahalo! Thank you ALL, with all my heart. I am especially amazed because, in my experiences in print- publishing, writers were not usually that kind or generous to each other. Why? Because we were all so desperate, fighting for our lives, lives we were not in control of. The publishers were.

Now, perhaps as Joe wrote, he didn't literally 'save my life,' but it was his generosity, his large-heartedness, and willingness to share his know-ledge and experiences online that truly pulled me out of the black pit. What he offered me was HOPE, the possibility of a new way to make a living, if I just had the courage to take the leap.

This sounds maudlin, but I need to repeat it. I had all my plans made, everything was in place. Clothes sold, jewelry sold, what bills I could afford were paid. Will made. Letters written. I was ready for that final swim. There was one last thing - what note to leave on the windshield of my car, which would be left at the beach. (I had tried, but couldn't even sell the car.)

But then a friend came to me and said two words.
"JOE KONRATH." Well, you all know the rest. His website, his blogs, his how-to books, his bio and
his novels are like a huge compendium on HOW TO SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE! I read most of it in two days and it really was an epiphany.

Now, I wonder how many writers have thought of this: each time Joe Konrath writes another blog, offers another dozen tips on how to self-publish, and thereby empowers another writer, HE IS CREATING HIS OWN COMPETITION. How generous is that? How heroic is that?

The man is an author, not a self-help columnist.
Why does he do it? I believe its because he's been burned by his print publishers, as have I, he knows what its like to lose face, and pride, and income. That either makes you mean and self-serving, or it makes you compassionate. Joe chose the high road. I hope I can do that, too.

'Paying it forward' should be considered a sacrament in this world of indie publishing. If we help each other, we help ourselves. As Joe and all of you helped me today - in the most extraordinary and really unbelievable way! I am truly still in shock and will be for days.

But in future I am going to do all I can to follow Joe's example and share whatever experience I've gained as a writer. In the next few days I'm going to try and answer the questions some of you posted in your responses to Joe's blog.

Its the most magnificent way I can thank him for what he has done for me, someone he doesn't even know. Please all of you, keep buying his books. Keep him a bestseller FOREVER.

We have a wonderful word in Hawaiian. An old warrior word. IMUA! (EE-MUA) It means Press on! Press on! No matter how big the obstacles. Look neither left or right. Press on! Press on!

I close for now, saying to all of you IMUA! Press on! Press on! Never give up. And again, thank you with all my heart for your support! I will be onboard again in a few hours, answering your questions.

For now I send my deepest alohas from Hawaii....Kiana Davenport

Eric said...

Bought my copy. Long live the self-pubber!

Selena Kitt said...

Beautiful Kiana.

You are a gift to the world today and every day.

I have been blessed a few times to be part of an online community full of amazing souls and the indie writing community is most definitely one.

I'm proud to be a small part. Lifting one lifts us all.

Archangel said...

just lovely Kiana. and as of 10:10 pm Mountain Time: #2 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica
#28 in Books > Romance
#90 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Genre Fiction

way way way to go


Anna Elliott said...

One more sold. Best of luck, Kiana! And thank you to Joe and everyone else who makes this blog so useful.

Don RN said...

# Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #189 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

* #2 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica
* #28 in Books > Romance
* #90 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Genre Fiction

Amazing response!

Echoing others -- please put up on Nook!!

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 296   Newer› Newest»