Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: J. A. Konrath

New Year’s Resolutions from a Very Successful Author


This will be the 35th post I’ve done that relates in some way to Joe Konrath.

Jack Daniels and Associates

Click this image to find out how to “borrow” Joe’s characters…

He was very successful when he used a recognized publisher and he became even more successful when he went Indie.

And, if I can offer an idea for a writer’s New Year’s resolution, I’d say pay close attention to what’s related about Joe in my past post, Should Rejection by a Publisher Be Praised ?

Here are some excerpts:

In 2011, Joe Konrath wrote the article, The List, A Story of Rejection.

He begins with:

“…I garnered more than 500 rejections before getting published.”

Then he relates how his book, The List, was rejected by Ballantine Books, Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, Talk Miramax Books, Doubleday, Little, Brown and Company, Hyperion, New American Library, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, William Morrow, Warner Books, Pocket Books, and St. Martin’s Press.

By the way, if you go to the full article, you can read all those rejections

Joe goes on to say:

“In April of 2009, I self-published The List.”

Which is followed by an extremely enlightening sentence:

“As of this writing, December 26, 2011, The List has earned me over $100,000.”

So, just before I direct you to Joe Konrath’s New Year’s resolutions, I need to mention that clicking on the Image up there ( “Jack Daniels and Associates” ) will take you to the guidelines for Joe’s offer to “borrow” his characters. He wrote about it here & here’s a brief excerpt:

“You can take any of my characters from eighteen of my novels, and write stories about them. I have no rules or boundaries, and you can mix and match.”

Now Joe Konrath’s New Year’s Resolutions <<< that link will take you to 12 years of resolutions, about which he says, “…a lot of the advice from a decade ago still holds true, so take these resolutions for what they’re worth to you.”

And, his resolution for 2017 is:

Change with the times.”

By the way, he says a lot (at that last link) about his resolutions and you just might resolve to do some of what he says :-)
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Should Rejection by a Publisher Be Praised ?


Traditional Publishing demands an author find an agent (some strangely lucky folk avoid this)—said agent to deal with various publishers and secure a contract for the author’s work.

Needless to say (?) — Traditional Publishing rejects more authors than they publish

This fact may be the primary driver of Self-Publishing.

However, of those lucky few who do (finally, after many, multiple rejections) get selected to make money for the Publishers, there are a sub-set who have a strange mental ability—RejectionPraise—claiming that an author’s worth can be directly correlated to how often they’ve been rejected.

So…

Is the author in the image doing a victory scream or are they experiencing RejectionRage?

The Atlantic magazine has an article called Writers Shouldn’t Romanticize Rejection.

That article has this sentence:

“Time and time again, the literary establishment seizes on the story of a writer who meets inordinate obstacles, including financial struggles, crippling self-doubt, and rejection across the board, only to finally achieve the recognition and success they deserve.”

Just a bit later, the article says:

“This arc is the literary equivalent of the American Dream, but like the Dream itself, the romantic narrative hides a more sinister one.”

And, that sentence is swiftly followed by:

“Focusing on how individual artists should persist in the face of rejection obscures how the system is set up to reward only a chosen few, often in a fundamentally unmeritocratic way.”

“…how the system is set up to reward only a chosen few…”

Naturally, Traditional Publishing is a Business and how various organizations within it are set up depends on how much money is being made.

The truly weird thing is that there are other organizations dedicated to accepting all authors, paying them all a decent royalty, and still making money for the founders

The Atlantic article goes on to treat, in detail, how writers of color are rejected disproportionately more often—it’s worth a thorough read

If you want a weirdly mixed-bag of opinions about rejection, check out the Aerogramme Writers’ Studio article, 12 Famous Writers on Literary Rejection.

In 2011, Joe Konrath wrote the article, The List, A Story of Rejection.

He begins with:

“…I garnered more than 500 rejections before getting published.”

Then he relates how his book, The List, was rejected by Ballantine Books, Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, Talk Miramax Books, Doubleday, Little, Brown and Company, Hyperion, New American Library, HarperCollins Publishers, Bantam Dell Publishing Group, William Morrow, Warner Books, Pocket Books, and St. Martin’s Press.

By the way, if you go to the full article, you can read all those rejections

Joe goes on to say:

“In April of 2009, I self-published The List.”

Which is followed by an extremely enlightening sentence:

“As of this writing, December 26, 2011, The List has earned me over $100,000.”

I’m hearing an echo from that article from The Atlantic—“…how the system is set up to reward only a chosen few…”

That “system” is still making scads of money; but, so are thousands of self-published authors who never suffered from rejection

However, before anyone thinks that Self-Publishing is a magic road to a self-sufficient writing career, my post, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?, should be carefully studied………
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Making Certain Authors Eat Their Own Words . . .


Can over 900 authors all be wrong about the same thing?

Authors Eat Their Own Words

Image courtesy of Ry Young ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/ryasaurus

Well, I think most authors can be dead wrong about many things.

Take this Amazon-Hachette tussle.

Huge publisher, Huge retailer—a fight over pricing—some authors feeling they’re caught in the middle.

I started gathering material about this business fracas weeks ago—started getting fed up with all the childish behavior—told my Best Friend I wasn’t going to blog about it…

Then, I spotted an article from Publisher’s WeeklyOver 900 Authors Sign Open Letter to Amazon—read a bit of it and immediately went off to see what Joe Konrath had to say about it.

Joe is an author who fought his way out of the trenches of traditional publishing and has become a bestselling self-published author—he knows what he’s talking about—he’s been-there-done-that…

So…

His response to those over-900 authors who are complaining about their treatment by Amazon is amazingly straightforward and will probably force a few of them to eat their own words…

Joe’s article—Authors Behaving Badly and Authors Who Aren’t—is fascinating reading—here are just a few excerpts:

“So a bunch of legacy authors–many of them smart and who should know better–just signed a letter accusing Amazon of things that simply make no sense.”

“Preston [the author who wrote the letter other authors have signed-on to] recently said:

‘If I were Jeff Bezos, the one thing I would fear most is if authors organized themselves and took broad, concerted, sustained, and dignified public action.’

“Konrath replies:

‘If I were Jeff Bezos, I would know that legacy authors have no power, because they signed away their rights to their publishers. Patterson, Turow, and Preston couldn’t remove their books from Amazon even if they wanted to. But, strangely, I don’t hear any of them demanding it, or even mentioning it.'”

[Preston] “…in this case, Amazon has done something unusual. It has directly targeted Hachette’s authors in an effort to force their publisher to agree to its terms.

“Joe sez: Amazon is engaged in blatant acts of capitalism. It hasn’t ‘targeted authors’. Last I checked, Jeff Bezos isn’t sending authors hate mail, or hiring people to follow authors around and push them into puddles, or making public statements about how Hachette authors are boycotting common sense.

“What Amazon is doing is not allowing Hachette to control ebook prices, because Hachette wants to raise them.”

[Preston] “As writers—some but not all published by Hachette—we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation.

“Joe sez: Again, look at the purposely provocative, incendiary choice of words. ‘block the sale of books’ and ‘discourage customers’ and ‘signal out a group of authors’.

“Amazon doesn’t sell beer. Are they blocking the sale of beer? Amazon doesn’t sell Glocks. Are they discouraging customers from buying Glocks? Amazon isn’t signaling out a group of authors. They are in a business negotiation with the authors’ publisher.”

[Preston] “Our books started Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations.

[Joe] “You didn’t form Amazon from the ground up. You didn’t innovate the world’s best online shopping experience. You didn’t invent the Kindle.

“Amazon has made YOU millions of dollars. Customers have chosen where and how they want to shop, and savvy writers have run with the advantages Amazon has offered us.”

There ya have it—a bunch of screaming authors and another guy who tells it like it is :-)

If you really want to understand what’s going on with the Amazon-Hachette dispute, do go read Joe’s full article…

In the meantime, any Comments?

And, don’t forget, Today’s the Last Day to take our Latest Poll…
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The Successful Writer


Becoming a successful writer depends, completely, on your definition of “success”. Success for Writers

Success As Money is the most uncontrollable goal you can set.

Sure, there are things that can be done to enhance a writer’s chance of making money; but, none of them is a sure bet.

Success As Readership is a goal that’s easier to reach if you’re willing to give away lots of copies of your work.

Combining success goals is probably the most reliable way to find “success” but, if you never define the word, you may never know if you’ve reached it… 

So, what’s a writer to do if they honestly can’t seem to define the kind of success they want to pursue?

Perhaps, reading a book by an author who was successful with traditional publishing then went on to become more successful with self-publishing?

An author who loves the money he makes but has other goals wrapped up in his success-strategy?

An author who has a highly developed sense of humor?

An author who wrote the book that’s over 350,000 words long and is called The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing (Everything A Writer Needs To Know)?

An author who’s name is Joe Konrath?

The guy I talked about and shared a video of in the past post, The Best Book On How To Be Successful As A Writer?

Yeah, that guy

So, this is a very long book but it’s only $2.99 on Amazon.

And, because it’s a compilation of four years of Joe’s blog, it’s in handy blog-sized chunks.

Plus, it covers nearly any aspect of working toward nearly any success goal you can imagine.

It does have typos in it; but, do check out my past post concerning typos—A Book Review That Teaches The Author Something About Typos . . .

And anyway, even though I’m always brought up short when I notice a typo, it somehow just doesn’t seem to matter all that much when reading Joe.

He’s a very personable writer.

And, even though I have no interest in genre-writing and Joe is a genre-writer, he still “Speaks” to me.

So, if you’re just not sure what “success” should mean to you as a writer (or, if you’re someone who thinks they may want to be a writer) this is the best book I’ve yet found to help you massage your mind and figure out your own personal path toward “success”

Here are some of Joe’s ideas from the book:

“Luck Is Important

“I say this all the time. In fact, I think it’s the #1 factor in determining success in this business. But I’ve never specifically identified what luck is. In essence: Getting someone within the industry with enough power and money to recognize they can make money from your work. That’s luck. It involves having the right book, in the right place, at the right time. Too soon, too late, wrong person, not good enough — these all can minimize your luck. But hard work, paying attention, and being willing to roll with the punches and accept criticism can maximize your luck. Still, at the end of the day, it always comes down to a roll of the dice. No one said it would be fair, easy, or fun. But if this is your dream, it is worthwhile to pursue it.

“Why do I pursue it?

“First, because I love to tell stories. I think it’s a fundamental part of the human experience.

“Second, because making a living doing something I love is the whole point of life.

“Third, because I’m ensuring my little place in history.

“The most important thing I can do as a human being is be a good husband and father. And yet, who remembers husbands and fathers? How many can you name that you don’t personally know? But writers — everyone can name a dozen writers. That I’m able to reach people, and at the same time become immortal through my work; that speaks to to the essence of what I believe humanity is. As a species, we love to create things. I’m doing my part and making my mark, in a way that makes me thrilled to be alive.

“Understand The Industry

“The publishing industry is broken. No doubt about it. Any business that allows returns, where a 50% sell-through is considered successful, where no one can figure out why things succeed or fail, is fundamentally flawed. But the more you know about how things work, the better you can manipulate the system. Good decision-making comes down to facts. The better informed you are, the likelier your decisions will be correct. Listen. Ask questions. Follow examples. Experiment. Take chances. Stay alert.

“The Harder You Try, The More Books You’ll Sell

“You will not become a bestseller by doing all the things I tell you to do, no matter how logical or well-informed I appear. You will not become a bestseller through your blog, your touring, your speaking efforts, your internet efforts, or you social networks. The only way you will become a bestseller is to have your books available, at a discount, in as many places as possible. And that’s beyond your control. That said, every little thing you do to sell your books can help your career. Books sell one at a time. If you’re the one that sells them, one at a time, its one more that probably would not have sold without your efforts.

“The Race Is With Yourself

“You can’t ever compare yourself to any other writer. EVER. This isn’t like the business world, where certain positions have a salary range. You can make $100 a year, or $5,000,000 a year, with no discernible difference in your output or your quality. If you want to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to yourself. Monitor your successes. Learn from your failures (and if you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying hard enough.) Try different things, make mistakes, grow, adapt, evolve. Your peers are a tool you can use to better yourself. But they are NEVER something to aspire to. Your only aspirations should be within your control. Which brings us to:

“Set Achievable Goals

“Goals should be within your power. In other words, anything that involves a yes or no from another human being isn’t a goal, it’s a dream. You can and should dream, and dream big. But ‘I want to be a bestseller’ isn’t a goal. ‘I want to attend three writing conferences this year, polish my novel, and send queries to ten agents by November’ is a goal. Learn the difference. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach those goals.

“Love It

“The term ‘tortured artist’ is an oxymoron. Art is not food, clothing, or shelter. Art is what we do to express and entertain ourselves…”
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How To Sell Ebooks


“There isn’t a single thing I’m saying here that you should automatically believe. Don’t trust me, or any other so-called expert. Instead, try things out for yourself and draw your own conclusions.”

Well, I didn’t just say that

That was Joe Konrath and I’m going to share an article he’s written about selling e-books; but, first, I want to link to a couple past posts where I featured Joe because he really ( no, Really ) knows what he’s talking about:

Copyright and Book Piracy

Protection from Publishers ~ Critical Info…

Writing Can Be A Very Dangerous Business . . .

The Best Book On How To Be Successful As A Writer?

O.K., back to e-books.

Joe has recently written a post called, simply, How To Sell Ebooks.

He begins by saying:

“I just hit a milestone that is hard for me to grasp. As of January, I’ve sold over one million ebooks.

“That’s a lot of ebooks.

“The question I get asked more than any other is: How can I make my ebooks sell more copies?

“That’s actually not the right question to ask. Because there is nothing you can do to make people buy your ebooks, except maybe hold them at gunpoint or kidnap their pets.

“This business isn’t about what you have to sell. It is about what you have to offer. And luck plays a big part.

“But I’ve found you can improve your odds. Here are some things I’ve done that have seemed helpful.”

So, without copying the whole post, here are his topic titles:

GOOD COVERS
GOOD PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
GOOD BOOKS [duh…]
GOOD PRICE
VOLUME
SOCIAL MEDIA AND ADVERTISING
And I can’t help but put just a bit of what he says on this topic: “My take on Twitter and Facebook is similar to my take on advertising. Maybe it’ll bring in some sales, but I haven’t found it brings in enough to justify the time and money spent.”
PLATFORMS
FOREIGN SALES
AGENTS
EXPERIMENT
The first paragraph at the top of this post is from this topic :-)

Then he asks a series of questions that, if you read the full article, will tune you in to the ways Most people do Not find e-books:

“When was the last time you:

  • Bought an ebook you saw in a tweet?
  • Clicked on an Internet ad?
  • Followed a Facebook ad?
  • Bought an ebook because you got a postcard in the mail?
  • Bought an ebook because you got an email about one?
  • Read a free ebook?”

So, if you want to know some of the ultra-real methods of giving e-book sales a boost, go read Joe’s article.

Then, come on back and let me know what you think in our Comments :-)
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