Monday, August 26, 2013

Jack Daniels Franchise and the 8 Hour Ebook Challenge

Color me impressed.

Earlier this month I blogged about franchising my intellectual property. In short:

1. Reaching out to new writers by having them do a Jack Daniels short story, teaming Jack up with a character from their series.

2. The writer writes the story, without input from me. If my wife likes it (she's my first reader and knows my universe better than I do), I'll do the rewrite and editing, pay for the cover art and proofing and formatting, and then publish the story through my agent, Jane Dystel. Jane will pay us monthly and provide royalty statements. She'll also seek out interest in audio and foreign rights.

The author and I split the profits 50/50, and then do the same thing with a novel (novels sell much better than shorts.)

3. If my wife doesn't like the story, the writer can self-publish it without me, changing the names of my characters. So Jack Daniels would become some other female cop, and the writer would have full rights to the story.

So far I've accepted seven short stories. I'm doing some rewriting/polishing on each, but overall I'm thrilled at the level of quality I'm getting. The goal is to get all of these live in September.

I'll soon be posting a copy of the collaboration agreement, with terms along these lines:

The copyright for the Work is shared equally.

We each own the rights to the characters we've created.

All rights and royalties for the Work are split 50/50, minus my agent's cut. She gets 10% for ebooks, and in exchange she does all of the uploading to ebook websites (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes) and also pays monthly and issues combined royalty statements. My agent is NOT the publisher. She's acting as a manager/accountant here.

If both me and my co-author agree, my agent can shop around the work to foreign and audio publishers. Neither can sell any subsidiary rights without the other's approval. And both authors must agree which venues the ebooks are published in (but I'm happy to let my co-author decide if they'd prefer Amazon KDP Select exclusivity or all ebook platforms--I don't care one way or the other.)

I pay for the expenses to publish (cover art, formatting, proofing, editing). I don't recoup these expenses. Meaning they are sunk costs I cover, and my co-author doesn't have to pay them back.

If, at any time, either party wants out of the contract, they can end it by submitting a written request. Then the book will be unpublished within 10 business days, and all rights will revert to the co-author for their original version (not the version I added to/edited/rewrote) provided the names of my characters are changed or removed. If there are outstanding subsidiary rights (say we sold a five year term to Germany) those will have to be honored per those contracts. But otherwise, if either of us wants to end it, we can end it.

My goal here isn't to screw anyone. It's to give a hand up to those looking for a wider readership and some extra money, and to make money on my intellectual property in a fair way.

I don't believe this fits the definition of joint authorship, but rather the efforts of two authors temporarily combined so long as both agree to continue working together. Once one of the parties wants out, the story will revert to the co-author as long as my characters are removed or my characters' names changed. Example, if you wrote a Jack Daniels story, and I reject it or you want out of the deal, just change her name to something else and you can publish it yourself. I'll have no claim to it. So I'd only share rights to the story if my characters are in it. Once they aren't, rights return to my co-author for the original version they've written (minus my editing/additions).

It's basically a risk-free way to piggyback on my name recognition and help your series character find a larger audience by teaming them up with my series character.

If I like the short story, the writer has the option to do a novel featuring Jack Daniels (or any of my IP characters/settings--for example, a sequel or spin-off to Afraid or Origin.) My short stories earn a few hundred dollars a month. My novels earn thousands of dollars a month. Novels are where the money is.

If anyone wants to submit a Jack Daniels story, reread the original blog post for how to do so

Which brings me to the 8 Hour Book Challenge from last blog post.

Holy cow. Over 70 people have beaten the challenge and emailed me. Congrats to all who did it, and I'm pleased to have inspired so many.

As promised, I'm going to post links to all the winners in an upcoming blog. Here's what I need from you in order to do this. Follow these directions EXACTLY or I won't post your link.

1. Email me the header 8 HOUR WINNER in all capital letters.
2. In the email include the Amazon link, a five sentence book description, and the price
3. Attach a jpg of the cover art.
4. Do this by midnight, August 29.

On August 30, I will post a blog featuring everyone who followed the above instructions. You might consider making your ebook free on that date in KDP Select, because the more freebies there are, the more traffic the post will get, and the more downloads you'll get.

I'm not doing any handholding on this. I appreciate that a lot of people have already sent me links, but I'm not going to send emails to 70 people asking for cover art and descriptions. This is already going to take me a few hours to put together, which is waaay more time than I expected to put into this. Who knew you guys could write so damn fast?

Anyway, congrats to all the ebook challenge winners, and to all my future collaborators.


Bruno Stella said...

Formidable. Konrath is a volcano of ideas. I think it's very cool that you try stuff like this, sir.

Ashy said...

Crud...I thought the original blog post mean any eight hour period, not the eight hour period immediately following the blog post... :(

Oh well.

JA Konrath said...

Any 8 hour period after it, Ashy. Didn't have to be immediate.

Ashy said...



Ashy said...

One other quick question, Joe. Where might we find your email address?

Gary Jonas said...

E-mail on the way. Just want to say thanks for doing this, Joe. You rock!

Set my parody to go free from Aug 30-Sept 3.

What cracks me up is that I've already sold some copies of both the e-book and the paperback.

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

Also sent email under the regulations!

I sold 6 copies this weekend. This was really awesome. I intend to keep doing this every month just to bring in new readers. And it's so great to get the publishing rush/satisfaction in a shorter amount of time. Loving the short fiction!

Thanks again!

James Andrew Wilson said...


Your current email is: joekonrath (at)

I.J.Parker said...

Nah! Don't believe into turning this into a factory. However, that's what happens when you're successful. See Patterson et al.

JA Konrath said...

yep, that's my email

Unknown said...

I have sent in my details too.

Thanks again Joe for setting such a fun challenge! I look forward to more of them.

J.E. Taylor said...

Details sent and while my price is in the email - I've set it to be free through select.

Scott Gordon said...

Just sent the e-mail, per your instructions. Although I took the challenge twice, I only sent one entry since the list is already getting quite long.

Thanks again for doing this. Between your post and Dean Wesley Smith's about rewriting, by productivity has gone through the stratosphere!

Cindy Carroll said...

Sent! I've also set mine to be free for the day of the post.

Jill James said...

This has been so cool to watch. Loving all the people getting involved.

Anonymous said...

I sent all of my 8 HOUR BOOK info to you yesterday in accordance to what you requested- thank you again for this fun creative challenge:)

Lois Lavrisa

PJR said...

@ Joe

"Any 8 hour period after it, Ashy. Didn't have to be immediate."

I didn't realise, then smiled and wondered, for it was after midnight in UK when I read your answer. Result? In under seven hours, and at that time of day (night!), I came up with a 2.5k original short story, and cover. Only the title and some vague notions had been in my mind beforehand, almost forgotten. No notes. Nothing.

And, it wasn't the first idea I turned over in my mind in wondering hat to write, but it was one that made me laugh at that point. So it was picked and produced!

Really, really surprising. Yesterday I was swamped with other stuff, a re-polishing text on a big existing project. I had no clue that before the next morning I would have written a short story.

Sure, I've imagined doing so, believed I could, and have read the advice of folk to just write, write, write. But to do it, actually just blast it...and get it done, not as a chapter or a scene, a bite of something bigger, but a story itself - what a feeling!

Imagine doing that every day? What would that feel like? Cumulatively, what would come out in a week... a month...a year...

Another thing that came out of the first session? A new pen name! I hadn't even come up with it until the story was written.

Joe, thanks.

A shout out also to Dean W Smith. His "writing in public" challenge had me primed and so I was receptive to your open door invitation. I'm still stunned at the volume that he, and other pros like you, almost constantly write.



MAGolla said...

Thanks for offering this challenge, Joe!

Though I'll not meet your qualifications for this challenge (I made my cover on one day, but worked on content another day, and some of the content is already written--recipes/blog posts). This challenge was enough to get my ass in gear to put this book together. I had been overwhelmed with the enormity of the task, but this breaks it down into doable pieces.

I'm calling it, HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT WHILE EATING BONBONS by Candy D. Licious.. . . hmm, that sounds like a porn star name. Hey, I might be hitting a slightly broader market, right?

Thanks again,
Candy :-)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how to find an agent who will do what yours does. I'm a self-publisher who is ready to start producing other's work (turning myself into a small press) and an arrangement like you have would be worthwhile. More details? A blog post?

TR Goodman said...

Submitted my entry per your instructions.

Thanks for the idea, Joe. I wasn't sure I would be able to do it, but I squeaked in a little under 8 hours. I never knew I could write so fast.

Anonymous said...

I finished mine and I'm still waiting for it to upload on Amazon. Does this mean it's too late?

Laura VanArendonk Baugh said...

Did it! and blogged the process here:

7500 words and a cover in 7:58. Whew! Email going out as soon as Amazon is done processing, and it will be free on blog post day. Thanks!

Hope Welsh said...

I admit, I had a lot of fun with this. I just might try another one today, in fact--under my own name.

I think I'm going to try the Jack Daniels, too. Sounds like a lot of fun.

Thanks for doing this, Joe. It was very kind of you to offer. And, if my little booklet makes a few dollars along the way, it sure can't hurt! It's called: "So, You Want to Write and Sell Your Book?"

Again, thanks for the challenge.

Ashy said...


In the thread below, cinisajoy on Kboards has offered to give an honest review for all of your 8 Hour Challenge Participants:

Thought you might like to know/mention it tomorrow. :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I went to amazon again and I cannot upload my challenge book. Joe...I think your people broke amazon! I've been trying for an hour now and I get a code that says Service Unavailable and there's a bunch of html stuff that this site won't let put in this post. Not that it matters about the html.

John Erwin said...

Anomymous with the Kindle upload issue: I had the same problem, but it looks like the KDP site is coming back to functionality. You still have time to meet Joe's deadline, so keep at it!

Anonymous said...

I'm still keeping at it John Erwin! Thank you very much for the info!
This is so much fun!

Anonymous said...

8 Hours? No problem.
Didn't notice the date of the post.
Didn't notice today's date.
11:30 the night before.
No clue on plot, characters, setting...

But, I got me a title, so it's still on.

Kris said...

Hmm. I finished and it's in review but I'm not sure how to get the link to it while it's still in review. Or if that's possible? Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

Angelic Rodgers said...

Thanks for the challenge! I got it done in a little under six hours and it was an awesome opportunity for me to reconsider my writing attitude, for lack of a better word. I also had a moment of early morning brain fart (can Uberass write a "How to stop BRAIN farting"?) and forgot how to start a free promo, so even though the list price is 99 cents today, tomorrow it goes free for all for five days.

Edward M. Grant said...

Mine's uploaded and waiting for Amazon to publish it; hopefully it will be live before midnight! I'm expecting to make it free from Friday morning to Sunday night.

5,500 word short story in about 6 1/2 hours, plus $2 for a stock cover image. I should probably have spent another half hour looking for a better one :).

That was a crazy evening, but it's good to see I can write a new story in a few hours if I set my mind to it.

Dan Meadows said...

Oh man, I missed it. I didn't think it would move that quickly. I set aside Saturday of the holiday weekend to do it since my free non sleeping time has been non existent lately. But alas. It's great that you're throwing a wrench into the notion that writing is necessarily a long arduous process. I've always written clean and fast myself, so I've never really bought that myth. Congrats to everyone who did it.

Unknown said...

Hi Joe,
My 8 hour winner went live this morning (UK time)... Just after your deadline!

Ah well, thank you for giving us the motivation to get on and publish something.

My own tale of plumbing highs and lows is live around the world:

Completed in just under 8 hours, phew.


Anonymous said...

Hello :)
I tried to change the price to free for the next few days but am having no luck. Any ideas? Thank you in advance!

Angelic Rodgers said...

To make it free, check the box to the left of the title, then click on the "actions" button. Choose "Manage Promos." If you are KDP Select, you can make it free for up to five days. You can break it up or do a five day stretch.

Esther Jones said...

I had trouble with Amazon making me wait before it went live too. I really hope I made it in time! Mine will be free starting tomorrow for 5 days.

Unknown said...

I set my Art of Procrastination (Isle Doitlayter) to be free for today and tomorrow. This is so much fun!

I am now working on a much longer non-fiction book (serious rather than messing about), which I hope to have up over the weekend.

Anonymous said...


Did not make the deadline.

But to support this wonderful idea. I am going to download book which have been placed for free today, and write reviews for you guys.

They will be honest, and in some cases, I expect they will be somewhat brutal.

I doubt I will be able to get to all of them, but I will try. And while I am, in the literary world, a nobody, reviews are reviews.

And I promise not to give the one liner "Greatest book ever, it gave me a 4 hour boner, and won the lottery" bullshit.

Suzan Harden said...

Wow! Twelve hours since Love, War and a Bulldog went free and it's already at #5,327 on Amazon US. More interesting is the bump it's given a perma-free novella, and the European readers checking it out. This has been a fun experiment.

fannyfae said...

I am late to the party, but I DID IT, Joe! I made the cover art, uploaded the file and "The Bonny Swans" by Ashley Grigori is now going through the final publishing process on Amazon Kindle Direct.

Perhaps a challenge like this is something you consider doing every couple months or so?

Unknown said...

How is everyone finding the sales of their 8 hour eBooks after the first month?

I'm please with mine which are documented here: Little by little...