Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Love is Murder

I've given up speaking in public, doing interviews, responding to people who want my help in some way, traveling around the country signing books, and several other things I don't enjoy about my career.

I no longer require the approval of others, no longer need to help everyone reach their goals, and no longer want to spend time self-promoting to sell print books in a dying industry. I've always believed advertising is worthless, and these days I see no need for extensive self-promotion.

After all, without doing any of the above-mention things, I made over $40,000 in January. All through self-publishing.

So I've finally reached a point where I can do what I want to do, maximizing my happiness, minimizing discomfort, without having to answer to anyone.

It's glorious.

That said, I'll be making what will likely be my final public appearance for a while, this weekend.

Love is Murder
is a Chicago-based mystery writing convention taking place this weekend, February 4-6. at the Intercontinental O'Hare.

I'm doing a panel about ebooks, and it'll be the last time you can corner me one-on-one and personally pick my brain.

My panel is 11 to 12 on Saturday, and Saturday night I'm also going to be hosting a gameshow with the headliners, including F. Paul Wilson, Joseph Finder, Rhys Bowen, and other big shots. The game is called Stump the Stars, where I read sections from their books and see if they recognize them. When they don't, I publicly humiliate them. It's a fun time.

So if you're a writer in the Midwest, it's worth digging out of the snow to attend Love is Murder. Lots of good panels, the fine company of your peers, and I'm bringing a few bottles of expensive whiskey and I'm known to throw room parties.

Hope to see you there.


Anonymous said...

Can't make that!

Damn it. What the hell? How am I going to debate with you?

Although, I'm not sure what we'd debate, but I would sure love to buy you a beer one day.

Thanks for everything so far and I will argue some point one day.

Otherwise, see you around...;-)

Have a great weekend at the panel.

gniz said...

Maybe you'll be like one of those celebs who gets paid 50-100 grand to just appear at a conference and hang out with people. Maybe that would make it worthwhile...

Congrats on not having to do the rat race anymore...

Vivi Anna said...

I'll miss you at the RT conventions, you were always colorful to talk to and well drink with.

Anonymous said...

Is your blog still going to run?

David Tanner said...

Glad to hear about the money, Joe, and that you get to kick back and do what you want now. I won't say that you've earned it ( I know how you feel about that) but will say that it couldn't have happened to a better guy.

Thanks for all the info and the inspiration over the years. I just got my first novel up on Amazon and Smashwords almost two weeks ago. Barnes and Noble should be soon. So thanks Joe and I hope that you keep making more and more money and keep writing great books.

Anonymous said...

Say it ain't so, Joe!!!

Stephen Prosapio

Anonymous said...

Never say never Joe! Thanks for everything and enjoy your life! I love your blog and read it faithfully and will continue until you stop writing it. Never say never!

Jude Hardin said...

I would almost leave the 70 degree weather down here to attend one of those room parties. Almost. :)

Anyway, have a great time.

I have a self-publishing experiment of my own right now, under a pseudonym, so we'll see how it goes.
Should have something up live by next week.

Kevin Lyle Dillon said...

First timer here. Anyway, I have to say as a young (age 22) writer/aspiring novelist, watever. Anyway, I'm definitely going the self-pub route. Why wouldn't I? I've spent the last few days reading your blog posts for the last few months.

I have to say all of your info, advice, guests post, etc..are invaluable. I don't think I could be anymore inspired.

And I don't know you personally, but it seems, from reading and such, to me like you deserve all the success you are currently having. I'm mightily jealous. I wish I could quit my office job and just write all day, every day! Keep up the great writing.-Kevin L. Dillon

Debbi said...

I wish I could be there, but I'm afraid it ain't happening.

Krissy Brady | Sell Crazy Someplace Else said...

Congratulations! Now you can focus on exactly what you want to focus on in life. It's a beautiful thing. :)

Brian Kittrell said...

I wrote you the other day, but feel free to delete it (if you haven't already). I wasn't aware you weren't talking to anyone anymore, so sorry for bothering you. I just wanted to talk publishing with someone who has done well since I publish my own books, too.

Have a good one!

Nicole said...

Well being in NZ I guess I would have missed it anyway *grin* good luck on your final speech and congrats at not having to do the nitty gritty stuff anymore :)

The Arrival, only .99c on Amazon/Smashwords

Dave said...

First of all, you're still helping a crapload of people just by writing this blog. Please don't give up on that---to be honest, I never would've discovered your writing if it hadn't been for this blog.

A little (little) part of me wonders if you are completely cutting yourself off from the ALL things that have contributed to you selling all these books now---at least a minor public presence can't have been a bad thing overall.

By the same token, I'll be interested to see how well you do by stopping doing all the extraneous stuff altogether.

But you seem to be pretty confident about what your intentions are, and you have a lot of experience under your belt.

I wonder how much of your success stems directly from your blog...

Thanks for being the guinea pig for all the rest of us ;)

J. R. Tomlin said...

For someone who says he's going to be dong what makes him happy, you sounded very angry.

But you have helped a lot of people, even if you don't enjoy doing that any more so a lot of us are grateful to you anyway.

All the best.

New Impression said...

I hope that you have a great turnout in spite of the historic snow storm. I am from Chicago and according to my family the city has came to a complete standstill. I found your site and will stay connected. Good Luck Jurline

Aimlesswriter said...

Wish I was in Chicago! Wait...I've seen the news...too much snow. I'll stay in NJ where we only have two feet of snow. . .
Have fun Joe! Sorry we never met in person. You've been a great inspiration. Maybe some day I'll come across you in some bar and buy you a beer.

J L said...

Assuming my flight can land at O'Hare, I'll be there. I enjoy LIM. I know how you feel about the whole promotion thing. When I started being published, I decided to do only promotion that I felt like doing because, like you, I have no idea if anything really 'works' or not. It's made my publishing journey a nice mix of fun and profit.

I'll be leaping into self-publishing later this year with some books whose rights were returned to me. Hope I succeed even a tiny bit as well as you! I'm switching genres with those books, so it'll be an interesting experiment, that's for sure.

Oh, and glad to hear you're bringing the booze. I was going to suggest you pick up the bar tab, but a few expensive bottles is okay, too.

See you there!

Lynne Spreen said...

Joe, does this mean it was all a ruse? You don't really love us? Bummer that you had to suffer so much, my friend! Well anyway, thanks for the posts - you've been a huge part of my education, in spite of the price you paid.

Traci Hohenstein said...

Did someone pee in your cornflakes this morning? Geesh.

Best of luck anyways!

JA Konrath said...

wasn't aware you weren't talking to anyone anymore, so sorry for bothering you.

No offense meant by it, Brian, but I get over a dozen requests per day, mixed in with all the fanmail.I simply don't have time to help the world. Nor should I. After all, no one helped me.

Anything you need to know about publishing is on this blog somewhere.

Joan Sween said...

I'm sure that with success come too many people wanting a piece of you, making it necessary to sever a plethora of ties. I hope, however, that some small part of you still believes in giving back to the writing community.

Anonymous said...

Easy, Joe. You're committing the cardinal sin of blogging --- admitting a desire to be left ALONE once in a while!

Enjoy your success. Thanks for all your effort, and all the inspiration you provide.

JA Konrath said...

Just reread my post, and I don't see any anger there. Or whining.

I've been toying with the idea of making my email address private like a lot of bestsellers do, but instead I stated clearly on my webpage that I can't answer all email.

I'll still blog because I enjoy it. I'm lucky enough to focus on things that I enjoy, like writing. How nice it is to actually be a writer, not a speaker/salesman/promoter.

For those readers who have followed this blog from the beginning, you know I've done my best to learn about the publishing industry, and tried hard to succeed. Success didn't come until I stepped outside the industry.

All the things I thought I had to do, like traveling, book signing, speaking, teaching, promoting--didn't lead to success. So it doesn't make sense to do those things anymore, especially considering how difficult they are.

James Viser said...

Hey Joe - thanks for the service of writing this blog. You've traveled a long road to reach this level of financial success and it appears you are taking some time to enjoy it.

I do hope that you continue to share your experiences and maintain your blog as a forum for those who are not as far along the path as you. That alone is a huge service to us.

So, thank you for your inspiration and unselfishness in sharing your experiences and reminding us that success is more about making the pie bigger for all and not just carving-out a bigger slice for ourselves.

Robert Burton Robinson said...

I understand, Joe. Just reading the hundreds of comments to your posts takes me away from the writing for too long. But I do enjoy most of those comments. And I particularly enjoy your posts.

And it's great to get fan mail. But once you start getting more than two to three per day, particularly if they are asking for advice, it begins to overwhelm.

Then there's Facebook, maintaining your website, getting book covers made, having books edited, etc., and most importantly, family time and me time.

If you never do another thing to help indie writers, Joe, you've already done more than we could have possibly hoped for. As you say, everything an indie needs to know is already on this blog. Great job! Many of us would be nowhere right now without your generous efforts.

Justin said...

So, you don't enjoy going to things at all?

I used to go to comic book conventions to work as a reporter, and I liked and still like actually getting to see people I normally only communicate with online.

Of course, I am a gregarious egomaniac, which helps.

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

Anonymous said...


I'm glad you're seeking balance in your life.

Writing demands nearly all of me. I don't have Facebook, twitter, blog, and I don't offer up my email address to fans. My contribution to them is my writing, and that takes so much out of me that I don't have more to give. I sell plenty, so I figure my writing does the talking, and my writing is what ultimately sells -- promotion is fine but a good book is what sells.

I totally get the JD Sallinger lifestyle. It works. Focus your energy on good writing, and the rest will follow.


Selena Kitt said...

Healthy boundaries are...well, healthy. Otherwise, you get crazy and burned out and have no danged time to write! I've had to do the same thing myself and I totally get it.

I'm sure it's gratifying and a relief to realize that public appearances and all the traveling is now a choice and not a necessity to keep your career alive.

You may choose to do it, on occasion, but I'm sure it will feel very very different in the future.

Have fun in Chicago!

wannabuy said...

@Joe:"Success didn't come until I stepped outside the industry."

Thanks in part to your blog, that will become the industry norm. :)

@Selena:"I'm sure it will feel very very different in the future.

I 2nd that. By all means sit back and put your feet up. At some time in the future, a few trade shows might not seem like such an ugly idea.

I'm in shock at the 'destitute lifestyle' the old system impossed on authors. Something is very wrong when the 'talent' earns the smallest slice.

Interesting link:

"meaning that Kindle sales were 40 percent of the total sale in all formats for Room"

From that link on Christmas:
"About 3 million to 5 million e-readers were activated last week." note: Christmas week

"the number of titles with greater ebook sales than print sales had grown from the 18-19 range for the first three weeks after Christmas to 23 of the top 50."

and, not exactly pertaining to this crowd:
"However fast you think this change is happening, its probably happening faster than you think."

Judging from the few indie author reported January sales... Everything is happening *fast*!


JA Konrath said...

So, you don't enjoy going to things at all?

I did appearances for 8 years. That's enough for me.

Barry Napier said...

A quick note to say that I watched Kevin Smith's little speech from this year's Sundance and it reminded me a lot of your views on the publishing industry. If you haven't checked it out yet, I think you'll enjoy it.

Also, a thanks to say that many of your blog posts have played a aprt in my decision to self pub a novel in the coming weeks...this coming from someone with a moderate small press background. Thanks.

J. R. Tomlin said...

I'm glad to see you post that you weren't angry. Sometimes things sound differently online than intended even with writers.

If you don't enjoy going to conventions, talking to fans or even blogging then it is great that you're at a point when you don't have to do them any more. You deserve and have earned every bit of success you've gotten. I haven't posted here very often, but I have followed your blog for a long time and it has been more help to me and a lot of other people than you can possibly know.

All the best.

Kendall Swan said...

You rock in so many ways and this blog is definitely one. Enjoy your well-deserved success.

Unknown said...

I empathize with you Joe. My day job is an IT guy, people demanding attention all day long on everything from passwords to what laptop to buy their kids. Nights & weekends are spent teaching boy scouts & church kids. In the midst of it all I write novels & record audiobooks. Sometimes we just need to chill away from it all.

That being said, if there was one last question you would answer I'd like it to be a break down of your favourite beers...cuz $1800 a bottle has me curious. I thought Hennepin & Chimay were high end.


JA Konrath said...

If you haven't checked it out yet, I think you'll enjoy it.

I just watched it. Power to the artist, man.

We provide the content. We should be making the lion's share of the profit.

The system, be in music, movie, or book, is bloated and poorly structured. Strip away the excess, do it yourself, and see the money you should have been earning.

JA Konrath said...

I've paid $1850 for five bottles of Sam Adams Utopias, one from each year it was released, and $700 for a vertical flight of Dark Lord.

bertcarson said...

Outstanding - or as we say in the south - good fer you

knifight said...

Hey, I appreciate that you've shared this much with us. I'm going to be a graphic novel creator (once my military time is done) and you've confirmed so many of the things I felt I was learning about the publishing industry as a careful observer before I jumped in. Thanks. What you've shared is profound - your process of sweeping away the myths we're being sold as creative people who want to make a living doing creative things and the fear/joy/ understandings/questionings/realizations of your transition of perspective helps those of us still on the path to have the confidence to trust the reality we see with our own eyes despite the obfuscation and harpy songs designed to cause us to recast our own truths into mirages that keep us in a maze. Sorry to be so flowery. I want to be succinct but also communicate to you that some of your readers really "get" what you've been saying. I dare say most of us wouldn't have been as freely generous to strangers as you've been with your insights, so thanks again. May you have continued success and frequent inspiration.

Rob Walker said...

40 fuckin thousand fuckin dollars in a fuckin month? Fuckin smokin. Wow. I want to be Joe Konrath.


bowerbird said...

joe said:
> Just reread my post, and
> I don't see any anger there.
> Or whining.

me neither.

a lot of people see whatever
it is that they want to see...

> you know I've done my best to
> learn about
> the publishing industry,
> and tried hard to succeed.
> Success didn't come until I
> stepped outside the industry.

success didn't come until
jeff bezos handed writers
the key to independence...

it wasn't anything that _you_
"learned" or did, other than to
put your books up for kindle,
which -- if i recall correctly --
you did because fans asked...

if not for amazon groundwork,
you would still be in the slog...

> I've paid $1850
> for five bottles
> of Sam Adams Utopias

i'd think that for _that_ price,
they would have given you
the whole six-pack... geez! ;+)


Megan Duncan said...

Congrats on making yourself #1, you've definitely earned it.