Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Joe Konrath

Extending the Conversation about Traditional vs Self Publishing


Traditional vs Self Publishing Our current conversation, the longest one since I started the new format here, has covered this ground:

March 28th — Shifting to Self-Publishing

April 2nd — Readers as Gatekeepers

April 4th — Comparing Traditional Publishing & Self-Publishing

And, that last post has two comments that extend the discussion here…

From the U.S.A.:

“I enjoyed your comment: I realize Mr. Sparks has hit the Big-time with his books; however, I truly feel he should have used the phrase ‘make money’ rather than the phrase ‘become a success’…

“He actually did just that Alex, redefining success before he elaborated a very sad definition of success in my mind:

“’Success can be defined any number of ways. For the purposes of this section, let success be whatever “your” version of it is, with one caveat: you want to be able to write novels and earn enough to make a living.'”

From the U.K.:

“I write novels and I don’t ‘earn enough to make a living’ because I am retired. Published authors would consider me a hobbyist but that does not mean my writing is any less valuable than theirs.

“In fact, as long as I have readers I consider myself a success. I give paperbacks away free to the library and they are taken out until they wear out.

“There is nothing more satisfying than having a reader ask when the next volume is going to be published!”

The U.S.A comment is an extension of other comments we had about the traditionally published author, Nicholas Sparks, and brings out the notion many writers cling to: “If I’m gonna be a writer, I have to make money to be ‘successful’.”

And, Sparks’ clinging to money as “success” is really rammed home with his: “…let success be whatever ‘your’ version of it is, with one caveat: you want to be able to write novels and earn enough to make a living.”

And, interestingly enough, the U.K. comment describes a level of success with books that is free of money: “…as long as I have readers I consider myself a success.”

Admittedly, the two authors are not only on the opposite sides of the Big Pond, they’re also on the opposite edges of age; still, any writer can decide whether they want success yoked to traditional institutions that treat books as commodities and have shown vast disrespect to authors; or, hitch their hopes to their own gumption, whether or not they sell their books.

Thing is: innumerable traditionally published books fail to sell more than 500 copies; and, innumerable self-published books are bestsellers

Rather than me going on with my ideas about publishing, I’ll round out this conversation with some quotes from a writer who spent many years being traditionally published; then, found solid reasons to seed his fate with his own will and purpose…

Here is Joe Konrath from his article, You Should Self-Publish:

“For many years, I said DO NOT SELF-PUBLISH.

“I had many good reasons to support this belief.

1. Self-publishing was expensive
2. The final product was over priced and inferior
3. Self-pubbed were impossible to distribute
4. Most self-pubbed books weren’t returnable
5. Chances were, the reason you had to self pub was because your writing wasn’t good enough
6. Most POD houses were scams

“Yep, I was pretty confident that traditional publishing was the only game in town.

“Then, in 2009, I became aware of the Kindle.”

“So now it’s December 2010, and I’m selling 1000 ebooks a day, and I’m ready to change my mind on the matter.”

I’d highly recommend any writers reading this (even those who may already feel self-publishing is their path...) to read Joe’s full article

If you have a comment on anything you read in this post, it can be the reason this particular conversation continues

If you would rather, leave your opinion on what we “should” be discussing, in the realms of Reading, Writing, and Publishing
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Author Interview ~ Iain Rob Wright


Did you know there’s a link to a Free Course in Self-Publishing on this blog?

Yep—it was in that last sentence, it’s over in the side-bar, and it’s at the bottom of my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday posts…

When you go there, you’ll see something about a “fee” on the first page; but, you can take a Full Course about Self-Publishing for FREE—it’s the bonus material that has a small fee…

The man doing this is Iain Rob WrightIain Rob Wright - Author

I’ve read his Major Crimes Unit trilogy—fast-paced  stories, intriguing plots, and definitely page-turners…

I also joined Iain’s VIP Reader Club and got 5 books free !

Plus, he’s even worked with the inimitable Joe Konrath.

There’s much to admire about this man so I asked if he’d do an interview here; and, he even brought his own questions :-)

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Hi, my name is Iain Rob Wright; and, I’m a horror author (mostly). My fans on my Patreon Page had some questions for me; so, here are my answers.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you?

I once sat on a bench and an old lady on a motorized scooter circled me 3 times, staring me in the eye the entire time. In the twenty years since, I have never been able to understand why she did that.

When did you know you had the writing bug?

When I was about 8, I transcribed the entire film of Aladdin, just because I enjoyed the look of a page of handwritten text. I then started writing stories like Terry Pratchett. I love to read and write stories. Always have.

What convinced you that you were on the right path to being a writer?

The Final Winter - Iain Rob Wright When I replaced my income with my very first novel, The Final Winter. It was surreal, but part of me knew I had won the lottery. I never had to go back to doing anything else ever again. I’ve been a full time writer for approaching 7 years now.

Where do you get your ideas from?

From other creators more talented than me. I devour books, TV, and Film, which leaves my head buzzing with ideas. Most of my ideas are inspired from the things I have enjoyed.

What do you see happening during the next 12 months?

The business is getting tougher, so I will knuckle down and write as many books as I can. No more getting sidetracked.

Will you ever stop writing?

As I enjoy it so much, I can’t see ever retiring. When I get old, I may reduce my output, but I won’t stop.

What would you like to say to your fans?

I love you.

Anything else?

The Gates - Iain Rob Wright My newest release, House Beneath the Bridge, is about to go on sale this week, but until then, you can grab The Gates, book 1 in my Hell on Earth series, for just 99c. Check it out!

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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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Why is the Authors Guild so Mad at Google Books?


I’ve written before about the Authors Guild of the U.S.A.—rather critical articlesseems they’re organized more to favor legacy publishers than authors… 

The Guild’s latest outrage is directed against Google Books.

Recently, a federal appeals court ruled that Google’s scanning of “snippets” from books, to present in their search results, was legally “fair use”.

Yet, according to an article in Consumerist, the Executive Director of the Authors Guild had this to say:

“It’s unfortunate that a Court as well-respected as the Second Circuit does not see the damaging effect that uses such as Google’s can have on authors’ potential income. Most full-time authors live on the perilous edge of being able to sustain themselves through writing as a profession… so even relatively small losses in income can make it unsustainable to continue writing for a living.”

Joe Konrath, an author who’s had a successful career in both traditional and self-publishing, responded on his blog with Fisking the Authors Guild.

An excerpt from Joe (here’s a definition of “Fisking“, too):

“The Authors Guild has lost similar battles. During Authors Guild vs. Bill Smopey, they sued him because he’d sat in a Barnes & Nobel and read half of The Terror by Dan Simmons but hadn’t bought it. Smopey’s defense, “After the first 500 pages, the monster wasn’t even in it anymore, and I got bored and put it back.” The Guild claimed that Smopey owed Simmons’s publisher half of the cover price for reading without paying, and for partially crinkling page 342. The court dismissed the case…”

And:

“With Authors Guild vs. Janet’s Mother, they sued because Janet bought a full price hardcover of Stephen King’s The Cell, then loaned it to her mother to read. The Guild demanded Janet’s Mother pay Stephen King a royalty, because she had no right to read what she hadn’t bought for herself. Janet’s Mother’s legal team dazzled with the famous, “Well, what about libraries?!” defense and the suit was dropped.”

Finally:

“That lead to Authors Guild vs. Libraries, where the Guild insisted that every library extract a pound of flesh from patrons who borrowed a book, in lieu of collecting royalties. But unlike the impossibility of separating blood from flesh,  making the acquisition of a pound of flesh quite impossible, the court did decide it was possible to separate the experience of reading a book with the fiduciary duty of monetarily compensating the author for having done so. Yep, you can read without paying.”

I recommend that all authors who may be contemplating joining the Authors Guild go read the rest of Mr. Konrath’s article
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