Tuesday, March 05, 2013


It's 10am, Central time, on March 5th.

I've sold over 6000 ebooks, and had over 1300 borrows, on Kindle this month.

Considering the month has only encompassed four days and ten hours, I'm pretty blown away by these numbers. I'm making about $120 an hour, 24 hours a day, on ebooks I wrote years ago.

Someone call Ponzi and tell him there's a better system.

I've currently gone all in with KDP Select for the next three months, to see if I can't boost these sales up even more. With free giveaways, borrows, and judicious use of www.bookbub.com and www.ebookbooster.com, I'll always have at least three ebooks on the freebie list.

I now have more than 50 ebook titles to play with, plus four with Amazon Publishing, plus two available for pre-order.

Speaking of, I get a lot of email from folks wondering when the next Jack Kilborn is coming out. It will be available April 22, and Amazon was gracious enough to try an experiment with me and create a pre-order page.
HAUNTED HOUSE by Jack Kilborn
Available on April 22
$3.99 on Amazon Kindle
Amazon has been terrific to work with. Currently, my two Chandler ebooks, FLEE and SPREE, are on sale for just $1.99 and $2.99, and they are two of the most action-packed books ever written. By anyone. If you aren't out of breath reading those books, you don't have a pulse.

FLEE by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
$1.99 on Amazon Kindle
SPREE by JA Konrath and Ann Voss Peterson
$2.99 on Amazon Kindle
Chandler was an idea I had years ago. I wanted to do an American, female James Bond, and I wanted her to be the best assassin in the world. Then I wanted to see how much she could take before she broke, so my collaborator Ann Voss Peterson and I threw everything at her. The books literally never let up. Action, violence, sex, humor, super villains, plots to destroy the world, Presidential assassinations, gadgets, exotic locations, and more action. There have never been books like these before.

Free for the next few days on Amazon is BIRDS OF PREY, which I wrote with another collaborator, Blake Crouch.
BIRDS OF PREY by Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn
Free on Amazon Kindle
"But Joe, what does any of this have to do with tie-ins?" some of you might be saying, considering that is the title of this blog entry. "All you seem to be doing is pimping your titles."

How astute of you. Allow me to elucidate.

HAUNTED HOUSE is a sequel to my novels AFRAID, TRAPPED, and ENDURANCE. I took the survivors from those thrillers, brought them all together, and put them through a new kind of hell. I also included Dr. Frank Belgium, from ORIGIN.

All characters have back stories. In the case of HAUNTED HOUSE, these back stories exist in other books.

While HAUNTED HOUSE can be read as a stand alone, and may be the first Kilborn book read by a lot of people, if a reader enjoys it, she can read more about these characters in different novels. And fans of these other novels will enjoy seeing familiar characters show up again in a new novel.

In FLEE, Chandler needs some help during some key moments in the story. That help is given by my characters Jack Daniels and Harry McGlade, from my Jack Daniels series.

In SPREE, Chandler falls for David Lund, who was male lead in Ann's terrific thriller PUSHED TOO FAR. Val Ryker from that book also makes an appearance. BTW, Jack Daniels also makes an appearance in PUSHED TOO FAR.

SPREE also features my character Tequila from SHOT OF TEQUILA, more Jack and Harry, and two villains, Javier and Isaiah, from Blake Crouch's novels SNOWBOUND and ABANDON.

BIRDS OF PREY features so many characters from my and Blake's past work it is a who's who of villainy. Bad guys from every one of our books appear and interact with each other. Want to see how the Gingerbread Man from WHISKEY SOUR holds his own against Luther Kite from LOCKED DOORS? Want to see Donaldson from SERIAL run into Orson Thomas from DESERT PLACES? There's that and more.

If a reader is new to our work, this introduces them to characters that appear elsewhere. Which, hopefully, they will seek out. If they are already fans, this is a fun reunion/mash-up.

Superhero comics have been doing this for decades. So why not do it with books? Not only with your own characters, but with your peers' characters as well?

TIMECASTER features Jack Daniels's grandson as the hero, and she also makes an appearance, along with the ubiquitous Harry McGlade. Blake and I are working on another Jack Daniels/Luther Kite thriller, LAST CALL, and we bring in Letty Dobesh from GRAB and PAIN OF OTHERS, along with many familiar faces from SERIAL KILLERS UNCUT, plus Chandler and Tequila.

Blake and I call this the Crouch/Konrath Expanded Universe. It's over 2 million words of interconnected stories and characters.

Right now, on KDP Select, I'm looking for readers like that. I'm also working with Amazon Publishing to lower prices on backlist titles. Like STIRRED, which is now $1.99.

STIRRED by Blake Crouch and JA Konrath
$1.99 on Amazon Kindle
With low prices and freebies on over fifty ebooks, I'm hoping to find some casual readers. But I'm also hoping to find new fans who then want to read everything. I'm happy to give them ten ebooks for free if they go on to buy the other forty. Hell, I'm happy to give them all fifty free, because people who like the books may talk about them.

"But Joe," you might be thinking, "with everything low priced or free, won't readers start expecting that? How will writers make a living if readers want cheap and free?"

The worry shouldn't be cheap and free ebooks. The worry should be not getting read.

Show me a famous artist who doesn't make money (and exclude all the famous artist who are getting screwed because of bad deals they've signed). If you get enough fans, and you control your IPs, the money will come. That's just how it works.

"But Joe," you might insist in a grating way, "with so much out there that's free and cheap, won't all books get lost in a tsunami of crap?"

I've already debunked the tsunami of crap argument. Bottom line: if you are writing lots and lots of good books, and making them cheap or free, people will eventually find you, and that will eventually translate into money.

Interconnecting your backlist and frontlist titles and having your characters appear in multiple works is one more thing you can be doing to interest readers and reward fans. It's one more arrow in your quiver, to go along with writing great books, having great covers, using great descriptions, experimenting with price and freebies, and careful use of advertising.

Yep, I've changed my mind on my long-held "never advertise" philosophy. If used correctly, free ebook websites can drive sales. But that's a blog for another day...


Bob said...

Tie-ins are always good. I think we'll see more and more. I just merged my Green Beret and Chasing series, bringing the two lead characters together in my next book. And I slid my Cellar organization from two books into my next Nightstalker books. For me it's about building a world.

Anonymous said...

Bookbub appears to hinge its success on only offering books/authors who've already made a name for themselves.

This explains their good numbers. It's a good service if you've already been a best-seller, but if you haven't, they're generally not interested. Just a heads up.

JA Konrath said...

Agreed, Bob. And when you introduce multiple authors into the mix, it becomes a Universe.

You might consider getting some Cool Gus authors to all contribute to one story, then share the profits. Take a look at the ebooks of Spree, Serial Killers Uncut, and Stirred, which show how I link those ebooks with other ebooks when I introduce chartacters.

JA Konrath said...

It's a good service if you've already been a best-seller, but if you haven't, they're generally not interested.

I know they only do novels, and they may have standards as far as number of reviews/review average, but I haven't heard of them saying no for no reason. Please detail your experience.

Anonymous said...

"Please detail your experience."

I'd looked into advertising through other services, and those that had specific standards tended to be somethin along the lines of "no less than 10 reviews, 4 star average or better"- criteria my book met.

It seems that deficiencies in these can sometimes be supplimented by reviews outside of Amazon, mentions in multiple places or just a few respectable places.

My work met the standard review criteria, (significantly exeeding it when websites other than Amazon were included) along with having various reviews and mentions in smaller literary sites, review blogs, inclusion in art fairs, and a respectable web presence. Nothing on par with a true best-seller, but decent for an indie.

My book was rejected due to lack of critical acclaim. Now, this isn't sour grapes, I'm not calling for a boycott. Just letting folks know that their numbers are as good as they are because the people they help don't need that much help.

It sounds like a good ad service for the already well-established, but if you're crawling your way toward the second-tier of noteriety (not a complete nobody, but still far from a household name) they aren't intersted.

Hope this helps folks.

Anonymous said...

-Do forgive the rushed typing. I assure you, I wasn't rejected for spelling and grammar. ;)

Jude Hardin said...

Superhero comics have been doing this for decades. So why not do it with books? Not only with your own characters, but with your peers' characters as well?

I'm adding a female secret agent character who will share top billing with Nicholas Colt, starting with book #6. Her name is Chandler!

Just kidding.

Her name is Diana Dawkins, and I'm totally digging writing about her. She's not quite the female James Bond. More of a cross between Chandler and Clarice Starling, maybe.

Sariah Wilson said...

"Bookbub appears to hinge its success on only offering books/authors who've already made a name for themselves.

This explains their good numbers. It's a good service if you've already been a best-seller, but if you haven't, they're generally not interested. Just a heads up."

Um, I'm a no-name nobody, and BookBub picked me up on my first attempt. I contacted them a month before my free promotion and was approved the next day (which surprised me because I didn't realize there was an approval process).

I didn't get on to any bestselling paid lists until AFTER my free promotion with BookBub.

Newbies can get picked up by BookBub too!

Anonymous said...

"Um, I'm a no-name nobody, and BookBub picked me up on my first attempt."

I congratulate you on your success. I can't speak for your experience, though I'm glad it went better than mine.

What happened with me, however, was a rejection email. I emailed back, asking what they were looking for, and was told that they "only take on books or authors with 'significant critical acclaim."

If this attitude was atypical of them as a whole, or if your book was simply able to slip through the cracks, I can't say.

I hope others get the response you did; I merely them caution them not to be too suprised if they don't.

Jill James said...

I only have one series so far, but I'm having some crossover characters to my next series. Sounds like a good plan anyway!

Andrea said...

BookBub worked for me - I just had my promotion last weekend. I'm wondering if the reason they accepted my book was because I was celebrating the release of the fourth book in my series by putting the first up for free (it's actually permafree) and lowering the price of the second from $3.99 to $0.99. They knew I had been putting work into the promotion already? Not sure.

My downloads and sales went really well, and the first book in my series, The Key of Kilenya, is still fairly high up on the charts. Super cool.

I do know people who've been rejected by them, however. Pretty rough!

And hi, Sariah! Fun seeing you here!

Andrea said...

Joe, I'm wondering if you've heard about two things going on in the Indie publishing world. I'd love to hear what you think - whether they're true, and how they'll affect Indie Authors.

The first is this: Amazon and Createspace failing to report sales correctly and honestly to Indie Authors.

Article here: http://jeanettevaughan.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/do-amazon-and-createspace-rip-off-indie-publishers-with-failure-to-correctly-report-sales/

The second is this: signing a publishing contract for a book and being forced, by Amazon, to refund past customers. Apparently this is happening to Jamie McGuire, author of Beautiful Creatures.

Here's the link: http://selfpubauthors.com/2013/03/03/if-a-publisher-offers-you-a-contract-for-your-self-published-book-will-you-be-forced-by-amazon-to-refund-past-customers-who-bought-it/

Thank you for your work!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on all the continued success, Joe, and thank you for years of advice, strategies, and insight. Due in part to what I've learned from your blog and others, I am planning to walk away from a fairly successful run in traditional publishing to go all-in on my own later this year. And I can't wait!

I just liked and pre-ordered HAUNTED HOUSE. FYI, the Amazon page is stating the page length at 10 pages. I don't know if that's just a placeholder number for the pre-order page, or a mistake on KDP's part, but thought I'd mention it. I'd hate for potential readers to be gun-shy about clicking the buy button if they fear the book is really a short-short story. Best of luck with the pre-orders!

Sariah Wilson said...

Hi Andrea! I was going to cite you as one of my friends who also got picked up with BookBub without being a huge best-seller (not yet, anyway, right? ;) ), so I'm glad you came in to show that newer authors are getting picked up by BookBub without huge critical acclaim.

John R. Platt said...

More than 50 books -- that's another number worth celebrating!

Anonymous said...

From the Bookbub website:

"Top Quality Content: We only feature books that are bestsellers or written by a bestselling author, were published by a top-tier publisher, or have received strong reviews from critics and readers."


There's a lot of room from discretion in that final requirement, I suppose. It may be prudent not to portray unusually lucky experiences as the service's stated general practice.

By all means, do try them. Whether you're a complete nobody or a star. Just be aware that lesser-known writers and books are UNLIKELY to be allowed advertising, if the website is to be believed.

I, once again, am very happy for your atypical acceptence and subsequent success, and I bear no ill will toward Bookbub.

JA Konrath said...

FYI, the Amazon page is stating the page length at 10 pages.

Good eye. It's been fixed. :)

Veronica - Eloheim said...

Decided to do a select promo for the beginning of April and try both BookBub and ebookbooster.

I hope that BookBub approves me. I'm non-fiction. They have a category for that so I'm not sure about the comment that they only take novels. They require 150+ pages, but do take non-fiction.

I paid the $45 to ebookbooster because that seems like quite a fair price to pay for the service they offer.

I've done select promotions before, but never a campaign like this. I would just announce to FB (6000 friends) and Twitter (2000 followers) and that's about it.

Keen to see what a more focused approach will yield.

Thanks for sharing Joe. I really am glad you are blogging again and thrilled for the major money flowing your way!

Anonymous said...

I'm still finding no precise rhyme to giveaways. Six weeks ago I made a title free for 5 days, got 33,000 downloads and went to #2 in the store. Afterwards, almost no bounce (maybe 100 copies).

A few weeks ago I put another title up, got 10,000 downloads (#48 in free store) followed by considerable bounce, which is still holding strong.

This past weekend I put another title up and will end up with only about 2000 downloads. Time will tell if there will be any bounce.

Every single time, it seems like a crapshoot. One thing is consistent, though. There's always some measurable benefit.

JA Konrath said...

This entire business is a crapshoot.

I have no idea why some ebooks outsell others.

No idea why some promotions work wonders, and others don't.

No idea if changes and experiments are what result in sales, or just randomness.

This isn't scientific. There is no control in the experiment. But there are some correlations between actions and results that can be drawn. YMMV, and MMMV too.

Ryan Schneider said...

This is all really good stuff, Joe. Thanks for sharing. Same to everyone else, too.

I also have crossover characters in my books. It's a fun thing to do. Like when Mork froze Fonzie.

Jude Hardin said...

Like when Mork froze Fonzie.

There are certain memories imbedded deeply in my subconscious, memories that just shouldn't be dredged up. This is one of them.

Ripley King said...

Smashwords is having their Read an eBook Week until the 9th, and I’m there with five free reads. While I’ve been trolling the lists of places where readers find us, doing what I can, I’m not holding my breath. I did get one five star review for Love Dark that thrilled me! I do know that this will take some time, and paying five to ten bucks for a preferred listing on a discounted book has me thinking that’s my next move. Several sites are cheap enough for me to try this route, and look as if they have the readership.

Check out my covers if nothing else.


Selina Werch said...

I actually came across one of those books, and was interested, but now, after reading this, I'm going to quit before I start.

If I see 50 books of different genres, length and even authors interwoven like this, I'm back out the door quickly.

It may sound like a good idea for an author, but for me as a reader (who can get quite anal about the order of a series) it looks like a nightmare, I'm not going to touch with a 10 foot pole.

I guess if you can make money with people who are less anal about such things, or people who only get overwhelmed after they bought a book or ten, then it's easy to forget that you shouldn't write for marketing strategy's, but for readers.

I'm not mad, but I am glad that I found out about this first.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not going to touch with a 10 foot pole."

Actually, they don't make 10-foot poles anymore. It seems that every time someone bought one, they ended up refusing to touch stuff with it, all kinds of stuff, girls, boys, and you name it. Thus the demand waned, and eventually the supply. Go to Home Depot and try to buy a 10-foot pole. You won't be able to do it.

Just saying ...

Anonymous said...

As of 10pm on March 5th I have sold 1,100 books this month, earning just shy of $2,700 on 12 titles - also utilizing Select and Bookbub.

This blog was my sole reason for self pubbing my first work in Feb 2011. Good to see you talking numbers again Joe - it can be done everyone, just keep at it.

Jude Hardin said...

Go to Home Depot and try to buy a 10-foot pole. You won't be able to do it.

DUH! Everyone knows that they use the METRIC SYSTEM now.

JA Konrath said...

If I see 50 books of different genres, length and even authors interwoven like this, I'm back out the door quickly.

I hate to find a book I love, and realize there are 49 others out there.

Umm... not.

Unknown said...


I am a lifelong comic book fan and have an UF series planned and several other stand alones that will tie into it in one way or another.

I liked when Stephen King started having the Dark Tower touch everything he produced so I am going to go that route as well.

Nice to see it's working out for you and SO glad to see you blogging again.

Vince said...

Joe -

The comment above about not wanting to read books with interconnected characters... I kinda get, kinda don't. I want to read those books, but can be anal about wanting to read them in the correct order... is there an order to how I should read the books? Even if they work standalone, just knowing they're interconnected drives me nuts and makes me want to seek some sort of order. Lord knows I can't start a TV show when it's on season 4 if I haven't watched the first three seasons first.... :)

Mike Fook said...

I figured you were heading this way - all in with KDP Select. I'm going to throw my second in series, Thailand's Sickest - Hell To Pay, in there and see how it does. I made the first one free and it's being 'sold' about 2,000 times per month at Amazon. I don't check at Apple, Barnes, and the rest of them.

I think it makes sense to go all in with KDP because regardless what I do on my own to market my books - it pales in comparison to sales at Amazon.

Amazon is IT right now - jump in and give them all you've got, at the worst you can pull out in 3 months. It's a gigantic pain in the ass to remove all my other books from Smashwords, Apple, etc. But, for now - nobody is doing anything that approaches the Big A.

I think too - jump in now, get well known, and later I can control my buyers through new releases on my author site.

Cheers, MF

France Forever 24/7 said...

Congratulations! As a new indie author, I can only hope to emulate your methodologies. My books, Solitary Desire and Sun, Sea & Savoir-Faire focus on the French Riviera, so I guess that would be my tie-in. Thanks for the great tips in your post and bonne continuation!
Book Trailers also at http://twentyfourseveninfrance.com

Unknown said...

Joe, I've reading your blog for about a year but this is my first time commenting since I've now entered the Amazon world.

I was really looking forward to using Bookbub but the revelation about the 'critical acclaim' requirement is a bit disappointing.

I guess I'll have to doorknock all my neighbors and ask them to leave reviews.

Colin M said...


Personally, I've loved the Konrath/Kilborn/Crouch/Voss Peterson Universe. It's a brilliant technique. Can't wait for more.

I just finished Rattled -- great read. I'll definitely be trying one of your novels next...maybe while I'm waiting for Haunted House.

Jude Hardin said...

I just finished Rattled -- great read. I'll definitely be trying one of your novels next...

Thanks! Crosscut is on sale right now if you want to try that one.

Mark Edward Hall said...

Amazing numbers, Joe. I'm working to catch up. Thanks again for the inspiration.

P said...

Joe, Ann, Barry, Blake...

Might you consider a next step in filling out your expanding worlds to be letting others write with your characters/worlds, under licence/commission, etc? Step up the gears further...

Separately, I'm still left wondering about what I understand to be Select's t&c preventing any marketing by non-Select means. If that's correct, how do all these other ways (listings, etc) fit? If not correct, are they meaning no selling but all else is ok?


Anonymous said...

"If I see 50 books of different genres, length and even authors interwoven like this, I'm back out the door quickly"

There is some truth to this. Bernard Cornwell is one of my favorite historical novelists but I've never touched his most famous series b/c there are so many books in the Sharpe series. The volume is almost off-putting (how could Sharpe survive THAT many battles) and also I don't know where to begin reading: chronologically or by publication date.

Using one of Joe's paradigms, if as a reader I have these reservations, then other readers probably might also.

That being said, it's all about experimenting and figuring out what works. Like Barry (and Joe?) says, this is a business not an ideology.

adan said...

first off, much thanks and appreciation for your continuous updates and honesty regarding the selling of your books, and that much of what you decide is, well, simply business

that said, i'm beginning to believe that one of the fundamental things for me at this time to take from all your years of efforts, is to remember that your current efforts and preferences, are also very much subject to change, again

and in such a new climate as ebooks are, there might not be much alternative to an active marketing approach, so with, best wishes, as usual, to all of us ;-)

second, in re to cross-appearing characters, problems with keeping up with them timeline wise, etc, and whether to read them chronologically or someone other way, i sympathize with the sentiment against that, but like the idea

i don't have a firm answer for that, but entertain the idea that, reading and liking a character in a particular book, and finding out he or she is also appearing in books written much further back, or forward, in time, is to me, like when i discovered the thin man series in the old movies (one of the middle ones) : once i decided i liked that character and wanted to know more about him and his wife and his dog, i found the other movies available, and watched them in the order that appealed to me; watching older movies of the same characters, earlier in the over-reaching arc, was like an extended flashback or prequel, didn't bother me, and found it enjoyable

so in that regard, again all the best wishes ;-) thanks joe

JA Konrath said...

Even if they work standalone, just knowing they're interconnected drives me nuts and makes me want to seek some sort of order.

In many of my ebook product description, it lists the order for those who desire it.

I do understand that some readers may find a large series daunting. But that means I have a dilemma. Announce that there is a large interconnected body of work so fans can find it all? Or let readers discover it themselves, then send me constant emails like "what are all the titles and what order do I read these in?"

I chose to show how my ebooks connect. If that means I scare some people off, I'd rather be upfront and honest than silent and letting them figure it out on their own.

JA Konrath said...

Might you consider a next step in filling out your expanding worlds to be letting others write with your characters/worlds, under licence/commission, etc?

Leed Goldberg is doing that with his Dead Man series.

I'm picky on who I let write my characters. Ann and Blake have, and so have Henry Perez and Tom Schreck, and Barry Eisler put an alternate version of Harry McGlade in Inside Out. But all of these folks are friends, and professional writers who have proven themselves.

It is certainly something I'm considering, ala James Patterson and his many collaborations, but I already have a lot on my plate now and no time to vet newbies.

Darlene Underdahl said...

Aw man, you, Blake and Ann are eating up my Amazon gift cards, and I love it.

P.S. Power said...

I think it's also important to remind everyone (possibly Joe included?) of something I have seen a few times around here: Your millage may vary.

Notice how many of the people going on about how well things are working for them have old (or new...) big six publishing credits. Then look at the Indies. Even ones that were once popular.

Yeah. It might not be the magic of how well the system works, it might just be that you belong to the special club for some reason. Which means that claiming it's all about the wonderful system is right, just not the way you think.


Rick Schworer said...

QUESTION: What about tie-ins with public domain (or even historical like) characters that other people have written about recently?

For example, if someone wanted to write a story about the huntsman in that Snow White movie would that be illegal or maybe even unethical?

I haven't seen that movie and I'm not looking to write anything about the huntsman, I was just wondering.

Aimlesswriter said...

Dear Marketing God,
You are amazing.
(Kiss up over.)
Just wanted to say thanks. Your numbers are so encouraging to us peasants.
When I've feeling bummed because I only have two reviews on the only book I have up on Amazon I come to read your blog and I'm recharged and back at work to get things finished. I have several books finished that just need more polish. When I read your words it makes me think, "Times a wasting!"

Jude Hardin said...

Joe, have you noticed that Amazon's promotions don't seem to have the same impact as they used to?

I have a book in the "100 Books for $3.99 or Less" promo for March, as do you and Ann. My book, CROSSCUT, is currently ranked 8,314, and yours, SPREE, is currently ranked 8,773. In the summer of 2011, POCKET-47 was part of that promotion, and it stayed in the top 1000 most of the month. Even a big name like Lawrence Block, whose KILLING CASTRO is part of the promo now, is only ranked at 9,657.

Any thoughts on that? Do you think all these freebies and $.99 specials from sites like BookBub are leeching a good percentage of the buyers from other campaigns?

That's the way it seems to me, and it's disheartening, since the only books I'm really making any money on are with T&M.

Veronica - Eloheim said...

Update on my BookBub submission.

I was declined. My book is non-fiction in the spiritual category. It has twenty-three 5-star reviews. It is one of 21 titles I have for sale on Amazon.

Here is the message I received:
Thanks for submitting an order with BookBub. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept your listing at this time.

In order to preserve a consistent experience for our subscribers, BookBub employs an editorial team to review all listing submissions and approve those they feel are the best fit for the daily deal email. They base their decision upon a number of factors, which are outlined here:


Your listing may have been rejected because it did not fit one or more of these guidelines. However, since space is limited, it's also possible that your listing sufficiently met all of these guidelines, but simply was not as good a fit for our community at this time as others we may have received.

Regardless, we very much appreciate your interest in BookBub, and wish you the best of luck with your book promotions.

The BookBub Advertising Staff

I'm glad I could pay to use ebookbooster and that this entire process got me motivated to have a real Select campaign this time.

Rex Kusler said...

With all this money you guys are making--you gotta hope Amazon doesn't go the way of Montgomery Ward.

wannabuy said...

Yep, I've changed my mind on my long-held "never advertise" philosophy.

What?!? You're letting facts change your mind. ;)

I don't understand the complaints on series and interconnections. Asimov anyone? Heck, I'm on book 14 of the wheel of time series.

Do like Joe and let readers know the series order. I will *not* buy a series if I'm unable to tell the book order...

I'm only a reader... I wish you authors luck.

wannabuy said...


You are aware Montgomery-Ward failed due to anticipation of a 2nd depression instead of expanding into new markets and product lines, right?

So it isn't Amazon and Smashwords I would worry about... it is those not expanding into new ventures.


Ripley King said...

Real numbers:

So far with the Smashwords free week of unlimited downloads, I've given away 30 books. Half the books comprised of my four other selections, and "5" isn't doing well with one download. The other half my xxx erotica. Girl on girl action, boys . . .

When I had Lonely Hero Thing as a KSP five day freebie, 170 units downloaded.

Measurable bump in sales? Not that I can see. My rate has been steady for the last six months. I make about ten bucks every three weeks.

My Smashwords sales for the month is $28.

My wonderful review, which I'm most grateful for, reads as follows:

"Love Dark is one hell of a ride. This is the first Ripley King novel that I've read, and I'm glad I gave it a shot. The book starts out in a gritty, post‑apocalyptic world familiar to us, but it quickly takes a wild turn as main‑character Pap gets thrust head‑first into Magic 101. From there, King takes us a mind‑bending trip through time and space, into other dimensions and beyond.

In addition to creating unique characters and fashioning great dialogue, King really shines with visuals‑‑I could easily see this adult sci‑fi/fantasy tale in my mind. I pictured it like something I'd find in the likes of Heavy Metal magazine. If you're looking for mindless fantasy, don't read this one. It has layers like a mental onion: it will make you think, think deeper, and then think again. It's a heady work of epic fantasy that travels at light‑speed and doesn't let up until the very end. It's a really amazing read, unlike anything I'd read before, and I'd definitely like to read more works by this author again."

All this after six months of doing what I can the hard way. I have to afford the recommendations made here. I do reinvest my profits.

There are lots of us indies living paycheck to paycheck, and that's just the way it is. Like Joe says, and if I'm lucky, I've got thirty more years to write books, and invest in finding my fans.

Tie-ins? Somewhat with Burnt Offerings.

I don't mind a continuing series, that's this year. Most of my stuff is stand-alone. However, Burnt Offering should be read first, and then And Jesus Wept. I also mention that in the front matter.

Unknown said...

> I actually came across one of those books, and was interested, but now, after reading this, I'm going to quit before I start.

> If I see 50 books of different genres, length and even authors interwoven like this, I'm back out the door quickly.

The way I read Joe's posting is that he was telling us as authors how he creates tie-ins, rather than promoting to us as readers.

> It may sound like a good idea for an author, but for me as a reader (who can get quite anal about the order of a series) it looks like a nightmare, I'm not going to touch with a 10 foot pole.

I used to have a 10 foot pole, but it only 9 feet long now, due to the "use it or lose it" principle.

No, no, that wasn't my main point. My point is that a reader would not necessarily see, and thus be overwhelmed by the huge number of tie-ins. Instead, a reader would be happily and unsuspectingly reading along and, to his delight, recognize an old friend, and smile. Or, he would later browse for books and recognize a character name or author and say, hmm, that name sounds vaguely familiar, I think I'll read the book description or download a sample.

To the reader, it is probably one little tie-in at a time, even if it is a massive, organized campaign to the writers.

(one more day to go on my free Mobi Machine (Your Kindle Formatting Butler) on Amazon KDP Select)

Andrew Van Wey said...

Thank you for the recommendation and congrats on your success. I finally got around to reading AFRAID and quite enjoyed it. Not so sure I'll ever respond to an invitation to share a lottery prize, however.

I'll be giving Bookbub a try on 3/30 in combination with a KDP giveaway. I have no idea what to expect, since the readership/numbers for horror seemed rather low compared to thrillers, which I'm guessing was the category you booked yours under.

That I love their site and interface. As a reader it seems like a great service.

Jacqueline Stigman said...

Jacqueline Stigman

Unknown said...

Love the tsunami of crap argument. The economy's going to collapse, but not because of ebooks...the $1.4 trillion deficit's going to take care of that...

But I agree with your logic on ebooks. To each individual reader Amazon just means more choice, and if the books are enjoyable then they're going to sell. I'm really pleased with my sales, and I'm about to run a promo on some of them in advance of a new publication so I will be interested to see if that pushed sales up again.

T. M. Hunter said...

I know a lot of people who won't write tie-ins, and I can't imagine why not. Myself, I've created a whole series of novels that can be read standalone, but are all tie-ins. Along with that, I've created novellas and short stories (that have either been published in magazines, or put into collections/anthologies) that are all tie-ins. My take is the same: People read any of them, like what they see, and then go off to buy the rest.

I just don't see how an author could build an audience if they didn't tie in future works to their current ones in some form or fashion...

AC Adams said...

It's fantastic to not even have your book out and already it ranks around 22,000. Congrats to you.

robert bucchianeri said...

I've been accepted several times by Bookbub and rejected one time. Right now under the mystery/thriller category they're getting so many top selling writers that it's difficult for an Indie without already brisk sales.
You have more chance in some of the other categories where the demand is less.

Gary Ponzo said...

Since my books are a series, I've noticed a definite improvement on sales of the 2nd-4th books once I had a sample chapter (of the next book)placed at the end of each novel. Very helpful.

Emilia S said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,
Just curious, can you briefly explain how film options for books work? Does a film production company pay an author an advance based on the amount of money a book has already made in sales? Does the author get a percent of gross or net ticket sales if the movie is made? Does the option agreement expire after a certain time period if the movie is not made? Do you use an agent or lawyer to negotiate the option?

Jude Hardin said...

can you briefly explain how film options for books work?

Hollywood production companies spend half the year sending out emails expressing great interest in acquiring the film rights to books. They spend the other half of the year rolling a pair of dice to choose the books that will receive offers (anywhere from seven figures to seven bucks), the lucky .01%.

After all that, it's time to start sending out emails again, and they allow the option to expire without making the movie.

Somehow, they make millions of dollars doing this.

Alan Tucker said...

One thing many authors tend to forget is: Nothing is universally liked. Not even ice cream.

Yes, there are people who won't like the fact that Joe has characters criss-crossed over 50 books and will be put off by either the volume or lack of a linear path. But there are obviously many people who don't care about those things and buy his books anyway.

I'm pretty sure Stephenie Meyer and E.L. James fret all the way to the bank about the people who don't like their work. Not.

Dj said...

I found two of your books (Serial,Wild night is calling) through your free promotions on Amazon, and I ate them up and became a HUGE fan!! I was new to Kindle and made the mistake of deleting those books from the MYK not realizing they would be gone for good. I went to your author page and started buying up all of your books whenever I could afford them, as well as the books from Blake Crouch and Jeff Strand. I didn't just find you and support you - I found two other fantastic authors and support them as well.

I agree with you about offering a freebie to entice new readers, it certainly worked for me, and like you said - If the writing is great, the readers will come back and not only spend money but talk about you to their friends! I do!

Can't wait for Haunted House! Going to pre-order it now. Keep up the amazing writing, your fans always want more!!!

Mark Edward Hall said...

Hey, Joe, My wife came home from shopping today and presented me with a hard cover copy of Fuzzy Navel she picked up for a buck at the Dollar Store. Thought you'd get a kick out of it. Looks like Hyperion is dumping unsold copies.

David L. Shutter said...

Hollywood production companies spend half the year sending out emails expressing great interest in acquiring the film rights to books

I subscribed to Creative Screenwriting and Script for about ten years. I think maybe one of a hundred "big sales" of scripts that I read about actually made it to the screen. Ask anyone in Hollywood, studios habitually stockpile books, scipts and other properties that they never produce. And there is (or was) an entire culture of screenwriters making extremely good livings only doing treatments, reviews, chops and passes on scripts that were never made. I would take the money for a film deal but wouldn't hold my breath, not unless a major figure like a name actor or director was doing the buying. Otherwise it's "greenlight" by committe. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Joe, loved Afraid, Endurance, and have Trapped on my TBR...silly question here: I am a Nook user, so how can I buy ebooks such as Origin, etc? Thanks!

Walter Knight said...

You're the pimpresario of self published books.

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe, can you confirm your stance on this?

"I'm all in Select."

On Feb 08, just four weeks ago. http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-to-sell-ebooks.html

“I like dealing with Kobo. They're dedicated, hungry, and also extremely smart. If you haven't visited Kobo.com lately, you should. They're doing some really cool stuff, making the shopping experience easier, better, and more fun.

Smashwords continues to raise the bar, innovate, and blaze new trails. Coker is one of the smartest men in the biz. I've done well with Smashwords.

I'm just now uploading my titles to Apple.

As a writer, you should be on as many of these platforms as possible. The more places your books are available, the better.

Competition is good, because it makes everyone try harder, forcing them to raise their game to higher levels.

As a result, I haven't gone all in with Amazon. I don't like the exclusivity aspect of KDP Select. Amazon customers would have more choices, and authors would make more money, if it wasn't exclusive."


THREE weeks ago.

"I don't like the fact that Amazon demands ebooks in KDP be exclusive. I think customers, and authors, would be better off if Amazon allowed KDPS ebooks to be nonexclusive. It would mean more ebooks in KDPS program, which is good for Amazon customers. It would also mean authors could earn more money, freeing up their time to write more books.

I'm not going to go all in on KDP because I don't like the exclusivity aspect. As a result, the majority of my ebooks are available on all platforms, and eventually I will get my Jack Daniels ebooks on Kobo and B&N and Sony and Apple and Smashwords. I don't like to exclude fans because they chose a different ereading device. I also personally know authors who have made a ton of money with these other etailers, and I did very well on Kobo in December. So I'll be back.

I also like having complete control over my assets. A diverse portfolio is wise. Putting all your eggs in one basket is asking for trouble."


JA Konrath said...

"I'm all in Select."

I don't like the fact that KDPS requires exclusivity.

I do like that I'm making $2100 a day in KDPS.

As data comes in, I change my mind. I sued to think self-publishing was a waste of money, years ago. I used to think working with a legacy publisher was a good idea. I used to advocate conferences and book tours.

Times change. I try to change with them.

JA Konrath said...

I am a Nook user, so how can I buy ebooks such as Origin, etc? Thanks!

None of my ebooks have DRM. So you can buy the ebook on Amazon, download to Kindle for PC (or Mac), then use the free program Calibre to convert to epub format, which Nook can read.

Jeff Canner said...

Will Haunted House be available in paperback format? I've only seen the kindle edition listed on Amazon. I don't mind getting it as an ebook to read, but with books that I really enjoy, like your previous books under your Jack Kilborn pseudonym, I like to keep a paperback copy.