JA Konrath

News, trends, and the future of publishing
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Quill
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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Quill » October 4th, 2010, 12:22 pm

Interestingly, Konrath began the year sharing the big news that he had finally broken into the big time with traditional publishing by announcing a mid-six-figure advance on a three-book deal, with feelers out for movie rights. Wonder what happened.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Mira » October 4th, 2010, 1:03 pm

Margo wrote:
steve wrote:
Full post here.
I also the notice the comment from the indie author who made it up to #26,000 in kindle books within just a few days, by selling three copies.

I repeat what I believe and what Konrath used to profess, before it became awfully good business to be the poster boy for self-pubbing: It's a mid-listers game. And a powerful game, for them.

I'm not sure I agree. I'm not sure why people feel that paper print gives them a better boost than e-publishing. You still have to do ALL the marketing. Sure, you get your book stores, and trade magazines, but I'm not sure how much more sales that will give you than getting yourself on a Kindle list.

I still think there is only one true trick to SELLING. That is a quality product. If you don't have quality, your book isn't going to sell either way - and if you do, it will also sell either way.

Those are my thoughts, anyway.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Margo » October 4th, 2010, 2:35 pm

Mira wrote:I'm not sure why people feel that paper print gives them a better boost than e-publishing.
Because getting to #26,000 in print books involves more than 3 sales.
Mira wrote:I still think there is only one true trick to SELLING. That is a quality product. If you don't have quality, your book isn't going to sell either way - and if you do, it will also sell either way.
I totally agree. I do think, however, that the better shot for debut authors is traditional publishing, and that (hate to say it) the better shot for mid-listers looks like it could become e-publishing.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Mira » October 4th, 2010, 2:57 pm

Margo wrote:I totally agree. I do think, however, that the better shot for debut authors is traditional publishing, and that (hate to say it) the better shot for mid-listers looks like it could become e-publishing.
But why is it better for debut? I guess I'm not exactly seeing it - is it the legitimacy granted by a label? I do think that has value. But other than that, not sure.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Margo » October 4th, 2010, 3:26 pm

Mira wrote:But why is it better for debut? I guess I'm not exactly seeing it - is it the legitimacy granted by a label? I do think that has value. But other than that, not sure.
You hit on some of it already. They get the author in bookstores and trade publications, at the very least. Self-pubs usually can't get into bookstores and have to arrange trade listings themselves, if they can get them. Sometimes, a publishing house goes all-in for a debut author...Kevin Hearne springs immediately to mind, as does Jacqueline Carey and Naomi Novik. The 3-books-in-3-months approach (rolled out for Kevin and Naomi...not sure how many others) shows the company is willing to lay down some dough. I suspect some nice co-op space goes with that marketing plan, or there's no point. A self-pub obviously can't do that, though I am the first to concede that few debuts get that kind of treatment.

So if a traditional house just gives the debut the shelf space and the trades, that's still something the self-pub debut doesn't have. If they go all-in, there's no comparison.

Does it grant legitimacy? With some people yes, others no. For me, it does. I don't have the time to plow through a lot of poor work to find the few gems that are undoubtedly out there. Hopefully, those self-pubbed gems slowly gain word of mouth and build an audience. But how many of them are then going to jump at the traditional publishing contract if one comes their way? Is it just another route for getting the attention of traditional publishers?

But again, once we're talking mid-list authors...whole other story. The biggest leg up traditional publishing has given Amazon and e-publishing is their decision to abandon some of their mid-list. The consolidation of houses and the shift in corporate decision-making...wow....huge impact.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Mira » October 5th, 2010, 10:39 am

Margo - you make some interesting points, but I remain unconvinced. I agree there can be benefit in having a brand publish you - it can give you some credibility in some people's eyes. Also, getting into bookstores and trade pubs is nice. But I tend to see those things as fairly minor - unless, as you say, you're one of the few, lucky debut authors the house decides to promote.

I also think one benefit of traditional publishing is the editing talent. Having a team polish your books is a very nice perk.

But there's a real trade-off here - loss of creative control, and loss of almost all profit. I see those as major, and I'm not convinced that the - fairly minor benefits - outweigh the benefits - especially given that you can hire editors. You can also hire publicists.

I also - and this is a very important point - I suspect that fairly soon, if your e-book sells well, bookstores may consider giving you space. That's a new road that hasn't been tread - Konrath might want to consider that - but bookstores need profit. Especially as POD becomes more available in bookstores - bookstores and authors may come to their own negotiations.

Of course, that always leaves out for me specific people I may want to work with - ahem - I might choose a less attractive path, for example, for the priviledge of working with a particular....well, you know.....ahem. But I think it's good to see the entire thing very clearly and know your options.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Margo » October 5th, 2010, 1:50 pm

Mira wrote:especially given that you can hire editors. You can also hire publicists.
Have you checked out how much these cost? For a good freelance editor, looking at a whole novel, you're looking at four figures. Four figures in front of the decimal point. And the first number isn't usually a '1'. I've heard of top-notch editors who cost more. Much more.

I suspect self-pub operations offer editing packages that probably cost less, but I also suspect what most of them actually provide is copyediting. There's e-pubbed stuff out there that doesn't look like it's had even that.

The last publicist to pitch at a con I went to mentioned that she recommends the self-pubbed debut author expect to spend several thousand dollars.

One of the reasons that the author royalty is smaller with traditional publishing is that the house puts out the up-front cash. It's not a small amount.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Mira » October 5th, 2010, 2:09 pm

Yes - you can e-publish directly - just download your work to Kindle. So, I think many people are e-publishing without editing, which is a mistake. On the other hand, you don't need the BEST editor. Just a good one.

also, self-publishing is WAY WAY more expensive than e-publishing, so they really shouldn't be compared. And I suspect the speaker was talking about self-publishing, not e-publishing. I'm not saying there aren't costs, but you don't have to actually print the book, which is a huge expense for self-publishers.

Well, I should probably stop. Whenever I read about agents, etc. making fun of authors and their queries, I get crazy mad, and i go on an anti-industry rant.

I suspect there are pros and cons either way, and every author needs to decide about their long term goals, and what works for them.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by steve » December 1st, 2010, 11:18 am

Read one of the best stories by Borges.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by androidblues » December 1st, 2010, 1:40 pm

Have you checked out how much these cost? For a good freelance editor, looking at a whole novel, you're looking at four figures. Four figures in front of the decimal point. And the first number isn't usually a '1'. I've heard of top-notch editors who cost more. Much more.

I suspect self-pub operations offer editing packages that probably cost less, but I also suspect what most of them actually provide is copyediting. There's e-pubbed stuff out there that doesn't look like it's had even that.
But I still see published authors with typos in their work and huge plot holes. Sure many self pub books are bad, but there are a lot of bad published books too.
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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Margo » December 1st, 2010, 2:09 pm

androidblues wrote:But I still see published authors with typos in their work and huge plot holes. Sure many self pub books are bad, but there are a lot of bad published books too.
Magnitude. I'm not talking about a couple of typos.
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Re: JA Konrath

Post by steve » December 27th, 2010, 8:24 pm

Joe talks about himself some more, and about how he's made $22,000 so far this month from his ebook sales.
Read one of the best stories by Borges.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by Quill » December 27th, 2010, 10:38 pm

I'm happy for Joe. Glad to see somebody getting wealthy from their novels, and he certainly has paid dues.

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by J. T. SHEA » December 27th, 2010, 11:41 pm

Great example, Steve! Now all I have to do is write over a dozen novels and an 1,100 page guide to writing, and the biggest blog in the world. Which, at my current rate of writing, should take me until...calculating...some time in the 22nd century...

BTW, Joe Konrath has co-written a collection of horror stories with Jack Kilborn, which is one of his pseudonyms. In other words, he's co-written a book with himself. I could never do that. I argue with myself too much. We'd never agree. No, we wouldn't! Yes, we would! Shut up! Shut up yourself! I mean myself!

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Re: JA Konrath

Post by steve » December 29th, 2010, 11:12 am

Another one from Joe; he must be on a caffeine-high this week:

You should self-publish
Read one of the best stories by Borges.

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