Thursday, May 20, 2010

E-Optimism?

I am still trying to get a handle on e-publishing, how it will work, and what it might mean to me and others. So I continue to research. Recently, my Type My colleague Peter May posted “Talk of the Devil” in which he questioned the need for publishers, suggesting writers use the e-book format to go it alone. I countered that theory in my post “Why We Need Publishers,” but I’m still not sure about any of it.

However, a recent article has me thinking.

The May 17 online edition of Publishers Weekly has an industry news brief titled “Konrath Moves 'Jack Daniels' Series to AmazonEncore.” The article made me more than a little curious and, upon reading more on the topic, has me thinking optimistically about some options for my first novel CUT SHOT, now out of print.

After publishing six novels with Hyperion, Konrath is changing publishers in large part because of Amazon’s electronic means. “I signed a print deal with a company that can e-mail every single person who has ever bought one of my books through their website,” Konrath wrote on his blog A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, “plus millions of potential new customers. I’ve never had that kind of marketing power behind one of my novels. I’d be an idiot not to do this.”

When it comes to e-publishing, Konrath knows what he’s talking about. He pays to have covers designed, uploads to books using Amazon's Digital Text Platform, and charges only $1.99. Some of his titles were never published, having been rejected by New York’s traditional houses. He reports that by keeping his prices down, he currently sells 180 e-books a day. I have no way to verify his sales figures, but PW took his word for it. And, according to a recent interview, Konrath estimates that given such a brisk sales pace coupled with Amazon’s new electronic royalty rates (70%), he’s on pace to earn $134,000 a year on e-titles.

Too good to be true?

I don’t know. I have read Konrath’s blog for years, so I am well aware that few writers know grassroots promotion as well as he does. But I think 180 books a day is pretty remarkable. Konrath says he’s “making $4k a month selling ebooks that NY rejected.”

7 comments:

Vicki Delany said...

Read Jason Pinter's response (in Huff Po) to Konrath. Jason says that Konrath has first of all a following and a track record that he made while being published by a major publishing house. That meants rewrites/edits/more rewrites/rejections. That is where Konrath honed his craft and created a following, and that is the only reason his new venture is successful. Pinter, in fact says, that self-publishing will destroy promising writers by not making them revise and learn.

Charles Benoit said...

No one promotes himself (or admires his own abilities) more than J.A. Konrath. He's an amazingly driven author with an ego to match and he's always ready to tell you all about his latest masterful achievement. But the man is brutally honest and if he says he's selling 180 e-books a day and he says he's on pace to earn 134K from e-book sales this year, I believe him.

John Corrigan said...

I'm just trying to read all I can on the topic. And as a guy with his first novel out of print, this may provide opportunities to breathe new life into that first book.

Rick Blechta said...

Hey John,

I have 3 books out of print (the first 2 self-published with all the problems Vicki refers to -- but they did get me a publishing contract).

I can set type pretty good. Let's publish e-books! (to paraphrase Mickey Rooney)

Christine Mattice said...

Wow...where do I sign up? I think that this is an awesome achievment for Konrath (materful promoter or not)and should give us writers pause as we ponder how best to market our books.

Donis Casey said...

If you already have as much name recognition as Konrath, I think that would help your e-sales very much.

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