Thursday, November 14, 2013

Straight Up and Racked and Amazon's Also Boughts

The ultimate goal, naturally, is world domination.

Before that, baby steps.

Some of those baby steps involve me allowing authors to write stories and novels using my intellectual property, and then collaborating with them, publishing their stories, and splitting the profits while giving them full power in the relationship.

I blogged about it here, and here. My first collaboration, Jacked Up, which I did with Tracy Sharp, has been available for a few weeks.

Two more collabs are now available. Both were a lot of fun for me to work on, and are a lot of fun to read.

Iain Rob Wright is my kind of writer. He specializes in horror and technothrillers, and did a great job teaming up Jack Daniels with his new heroine, Sarah Stone, in the story Straight Up, now available on Kindle for $1.99.

Lieutenant Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels hates to fly. She hates the cramped leg room and the recycled air. She also hates the fact that she can't get a decent drink. The short flight to Florida is a necessary burden to visit her mother, but what escalates it beyond a mere inconvenience is the fact that the pilot is a gun-toting maniac.

Teaming up with an irritable, badly scarred woman from England, Jack sets about trying to protect the plane and its passengers from the homicidal Captain Clive while also making sure that they don't end up taking a deadly nose dive into the Sunshine State.

STRAIGHT UP by J.A. Konrath and Iain Rob Wright
Air Travel can be murder.

Rob is close to finishing a new novel; a sequel to my technothriller Origin called Holes In The Ground.

Jude Hardin has been commenting on my blog for as long as I've had a blog. It's been fun watching him launch a writing career, and it was really fun teaming Jack Daniels up with Hardin's PI Nicolas Colt in Racked, now available on Kindle for $0.99.

A private investigator, a police lieutenant, and a man wearing a Bugs Bunny mask walk into a bar...

Unfortunately, it's no joke when Bugsy rigs the barrel of a twelve-gauge pump to the back of the bartender's neck.

Together for the first time in this explosive, lightning-paced tale of greed, betrayal, and blood-soaked terror (not really, but it's a fast-paced and funny mystery-thriller), Florida PI Nicholas Colt (Crosscut, Key Death) and Chicago cop Jacqueline Daniels (Whiskey Sour, Shaken) team up to stop the robber before another shotgun shell gets RACKED.

Jude just finished a full length Colt/Daniels novel called Lady 52, which should be available before Christmas.

If you're reading this blog, stop right now and go buy those two ebooks. You can spare the three bucks, and the knowledge I'm about to impart is worth the expenditure.

Are you back? Good. Thanks for your support. :)

And now I'm going to share with you a very cool trick which will allow you to sell more books.

If you've been following this little project of mine, you already know a few things. For the uninitiated, I'll recap.
  • My wife, Maria, reads all the submissions and decides if they fit in my universe or not.
  • I pay for everything involved in the publishing process, and don't recoup my investment. 
  • The co-author gets paid monthly by my agent, and we split the money 50/50.
  • The first draft of the story is written by the co-author, then I do the second draft, rewriting and adding about 20%-40% to the content.
  • The co-author has all the power: they can cancel the deal whenever they'd like, and they have final say over price, platforms, and sub-rights.
  • No one gets rich writing short stories, but I'm using shorts as a testing ground for where the real money is--novels.
Earlier I mentioned world domination. Here is my nefarious scheme.

Amazon has provided two big ways to assist readers in finding new ebooks to read. The first we're all familiar with; bestseller lists. Readers who like Female Sleuths can browse that list for the Top 100, and find new authors who write stories similar to the ones that they enjoy. It is possible to manipulate the bestseller ranks by using promotions such as social networks, blogs, Bookbub and Book Blast, and sales.

The second assist Amazon gives readers is the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section on the ebook's Amazon page directly under the description.

The items that appear in that also bought carousel are the result of Amazon keeping track of purchases. Any reader who likes Konrath can look at the also boughts and discover new authors they haven't read before. It's like a reader making a recommendation to another reader. "You like Konrath? Try Eisler."

Right now, in the also bought carousel for Racked, there are ebooks by Konrath and Hardin, which is to be expected. But there are also books by Blake Crouch, Henry Perez, Tracy Sharp, Jeff Strand, and F. Paul Wilson--all authors I've collaborated with. But it doesn't only link to our collabs, it links to these authors' ebooks written without me.

Customers who bought Run by Blake Crouch also bought Jacked Up by Tracy Sharp, and customers who bought Jacked Up also bought Kutter by Jeff Strand, and customers by bought Kutter also bought Animal Kingdom by Iain Rob Wright.

This isn't coincidence. This is lineage. 

How many authors will be linked with also boughts when I have twenty more collaborative stories and novels live? Forty more? A hundred more?

Does my world domination comment seem a little more plausible now? How soon before every thriller ebook on Amazon has a Konrath title in the also boughts, which not only increases my visibility and sales, but also the visibility and sales of everyone who has ever worked with me?

And what's really cool is that readers benefit as much as the writers do. The collaborators I work with are vetted by me. Co-writing with them is a seal of approval, giving my fans opportunities to discover new voices. The first person I did this with was Blake Crouch, and when we began it was pretty one sided--I sent my fans his way. But as Blake's star has risen, he's been sending more and more fans my way... and Jeff Strand's way... and Henry Perez's way... and Ann Voss Peterson's way... etc etc etc.

I wish I could clone myself so I could get through these collabs faster, but I'm only one guy and I also have to run the business side of my growing empire, so it's taking longer that I'd like. But I'm getting through them, slowly but surely. 

If you're a writer, and you haven't written a story in my universe yet, what are you waiting for? Follow the guidelines and submit one. If my wife rejects it, you can always rename my characters and publish it yourself.

And if you're a Jack Daniels fan, I encourage you to read not only Straight Up and Racked, but other collabs I've done, all reasonably priced:

And coming soon...