Saturday, July 07, 2012

99 Cents

So is 99 cents a good price for ebooks? Does it devalue them? Are we in a race to the bottom where consumers will always expect cheap and free? Or are 99 cents sales smart ways to find new fans, climb up on bestseller lists, and lower rankings?

I've blogged about the race to the bottom before, and explained in detail why I believe the notion is wrong.

I've blogged about the value of ebooks, and how I discovered that low prices are best.

I've experimented with 99 cent ebooks and did well with it, hitting the Kindle Top 100 Bestsellers, then reverting the price back to $2.99 and making lots of money. I did the same thing two more times, and each time I cracked the Top 100, but didn't make as much.

Now it's a year later, and I'm trying it again. But rather than one ebook, I'm making all of my ebooks 99 cents for a limited time (as of now, until Monday July 9).

So if you wanted to stock up on Konrath ebooks on Amazon, Nook, or Kobo, now is the time.

Also, I asked my buddies Blake Crouch and Scott Nicholson to do the same thing.

Right we have over 100 titles at 99 cents.

Feel free to buy lots, tweet it, tell your friends and family. If an ebook isn't 99 cents, try waiting a few days. Some titles haven't switched to the new price yet.

When the sale ends, I'll be blogging about how many ebooks I sold, and if it was worth it.

Until then, here are some links:


J.A. Konrath


Blake Crouch

Scott Nicholson
Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=scott+nicholson


306 comments:

1 – 200 of 306   Newer›   Newest»
RD Meyer said...

It's an interesting dynamic, and something that worked due to novelty a while back. However, I've come to feel that recently it can hurt your sales. Rightly or wrongly, people are starting to view 99 cents as low end. It's a classic price point comparison(from a business standpoint) where people will actually pay a higher price since they perceive better quality, whether they actually get that quality or not.

The challenge for indie publishers in the future will be finding the new pricepoint to entice consumers without going overboard and pricing themselves out of the market.

Ruth Harris said...

Joe, Typo? Don't you mean JULY 9?

Jill James said...

Have a great weekend and sell lots of books!

Perry Wilson said...

I hope the experiment is successful. Finding the sweet spot for ebook pricing is challenging. I'm not convinced there is a single sweet spot. I know I will pay more for authors I know - but there's a limit - and I'm happy to toss a few dollars at a new author.

I'll keep my eye open for your results.

P.S. Power said...

I'm interested to see if it works for you all. What I've noticed is that the price people are willing to pay seems to shift a little, month to month and that sometimes they want to spend a little more.

My preference right now is to have low priced books, even if it isn't making me as much money. We have a recession on and low price entertainment just seems like the right thing to do.

Still, lowering my prices doesn't seem to lead to much higher sales in the long run. About the same really.

I have noticed at times though that raising my prices seems to increase sales for a while. I think that may be the perception of quality RD Meyer mentioned.

If it costs more, people think it's worth more.

I look forward to seeing your results though, since a lot of your work should be in a high enough rating position to get a significant boost in sales from .99 cents.

I wish you well on it and will be watching to see the results. thanks for sharing this with us.

Rich Van Gaasbeck said...

I think the multi-author sale is a very good idea. You should get lot's of "if you bought that, you may like this" cross linkage.

Bloody Mary still at $7.59 (got to read them in order, you know). Have you gotten all your eRights back yet or did you convince your publisher to join the sale and they are taking longer to get the price changes through?


Rich
"Way Outside the Box"

Greg Camp said...

Does the length of the book make a difference? I have three short stories for sale on Amazon at $0.99, but I'd want to charge more for a novel. Of course, if ninety-nine cents is what gets sales, that's what I'll charge.

Jason said...

Thanks Joe...I just purchased BURNERS for $.99 for Nook. I've been thinking of grabbing it for a while, but the lower price was a good motivator.

I also saw Henry Perez's book KILLING RED recommended in the "Customers Who Bought This Also Bought" section, but the ebook was $5.03...down from $5.49. Been wanting that one too, but it's just a little too much over my price point since I have so much other good stuff to read. Maybe when it drops to $2.99 or $3.99. (Oops...it's legacy published! Nevermind...)

Incidentally, I picked up Supersymmetry for $3.99 when it was first released. Now it's $.99. But I'm okay with paying the higher price for that one since it's a book I've been really looking forward to reading for a while.

Rob Cornell said...

No thanks. I decided a while ago, based on my own price experiments (which apply to my situation, but may not work for others). Rather than devalue the hard work I put into my stories, I'm going to let readers pay more for my books than bargain prices. So far, the trend seems to suggest I get more readers the higher I make the price (within reason).

I strongly believe in the whole perceived value thing. Price it cheap and people will think it is cheap.

Darlene Underdahl said...

Summer shopping!

Thank you!

Broken Yogi said...

Okay, this worked for me.

I came across your blog a few months ago due to my interest in self-publishing. Have to confess to never having read any of your books, they're not really in a genre I'm usually interested in.

But seeing you sell your books for 99 cents made me impulse by a copy of Origin, just for the hell of it. I'll let you know if I like it.

Just saying, as a marketing ploy to get new readers to try your work, it works for me. Probably for a lot of other people too.

Keep up the good work.

The Tattooed Writer said...

Joe, this price decrease will work for you and Blake and Scott because you guys ALREADY have high chart positions. Lowering the prices will, of course, garner you more sales. Whether it will bring in 6X as many sales and earn you the same amount of royalty as pricing at $2.99 (or whether you perceive a different value from the higher sales volume) remains to be seen.

Perhaps having a control (an author who is not already selling well) would give truer results.

Looking forward to reading more.

Casper Bogart said...

I think .99 is a great strategy to use for exactly the reason you are using it--as a sale, and as a way to build fan base.

The regular price for my short story collections, what I call DEADLY DUOS, is $2.99, but I frequently use the $.99 sale (I'm doing it now.)

That's the thing about being indie--we can experiment.

Thanks for the post.

KelseyB said...

Strategy or not.....I frankly don't care. I'm going home after work and downloading EVERYTHING I don't already have. All this disturbing goodness downloaded right before vacation. Thanks, guys!!

Anonymous said...

Just bought Origin, sounds like fun. Look forward to hearing the results of the 99cents sales test. It's been a while since we heard how you're doing.

Alan Carr said...

I'll volunteer to be a control for this experiment, with my only novel, "Dragon Master". It's not the best comp, but we'll see what, if anything, happens to the book's ~44,000 ranking over the weekend. Normally the book is $2.99, but I've set the price to go to $0.99 for the first time. I don't expect I'll see similar results to Joe, but that's the point of the experiment, right?

I'll post results on my blog after the 9th in case anyone is interested to see how a no-rank book fares in a 99 cent experiment.

Simon Haynes said...

I prefer to price novels at $3.99-$4.99, reserving 99c for short fiction. As a reader that seems fair, and I'll happily pay up to five bucks for a novel with decent reviews, or one written by an author I trust.
There's another thing - I doubt many people cram their Kindle with 4.99 books. If they pay that much, there's a good chance they'll be selective and read most of what they buy.
Speaking as an author again, if you're publishing a series and have more than two or three of the series titles available for sale, then the first should be a freebie. Everyone understands the concept of a loss leader, or 'the first taste is free', and I don't believe it devalues the work like a 99c price point across the board.
It also depends which genre you write in. If it's a niche with hardly any competition, and you only have a small potential market, why cut the royalty to the bone when fans of the genre will be happy to pay a fair price?

Christopher John Chater said...

I priced one of my books at .99 and it shot up to the top one hundred historical fiction and has stayed there for over a month. I think its a great way to get business and hopefully they will pay 2.99 for the rest of the series. The downside is that, at .99, I have to sell four times as many books to make the same amount in profit. For me its an attention getter.

Shelly Thacker said...

Good luck with your sale, Joe. I'll be interested to hear your results. I didn't have much luck at 99 cents--my sales and rankings actually improved significantly when I raised my prices. In fact, I just raised them again last week, and so far, so good. I definitely see the value in doing limited-time 99-cent sales, though, so I hope the strategy is still effective.

Anonymous said...

I'm jealous! 100 price changes is not too bad - minimal time. Last time I had to change all of my books prices it took 5 hours (I have a lot) on The River and The Big Smash.

Jude Hardin said...

Joe, Blake, Scott, best of luck with the sale. I wish I had a bunch of backlist titles to join in with.

Naja Tau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Naja Tau said...

I always enjoy reading your blog, Joe! It's great to see someone with experience talking frankly about these things. I've always gone back and forth about whether or not to lower my prices.

N. Grotepas said...

No wonder the KDP Reports page is having a technical glitch! Joe and his friends broke it with their crazy .99 cent sale! The machines couldn't keep up!

I'm probably the only one having problems.

Anyway, I really want to read one of Joe's books, but can anyone here tell me which is the LEAST violent? I have a vivid imagination and since I had my first kid, a year ago, I haven't been able to stomach violence or gore. I've had to actually stop reading some books due to my new aversion.

A.M. Schultz said...

I wrote a post on this subject a couple of weeks ago at:

http://www.amschultz.com/2/post/2012/05/why-your-ebook-doesnt-have-to-be-free.html

Since then, I have found solid arguments for both the .99 ebook and the 2.99-or-higher ebook. In your case, with a huge backlog, running a promotion to draw in new readers is a great idea -- if they buy your entire log, you are making money and are likely to have them spread the word after investing in your catalog. If you sell one book and its a hit, then they may come back for more.

Good post.

-A.M.

A.Rosaria said...

I don't agree completely with you.

Yes, I do think at $0.99 you can make a profit, I just don't think most writers can make a living selling at that price point.

I think it depend on expected sales. If you expect(and have) a lot of sales then it's viable, if not then your chances to make a profit is negligible.

Also I think by accustoming readers to a certain price point it tends to become a baseline they'll judge books on.

$0.99 may very well be the new bargain bin price. And it can work as just that, by giving a sale at the bargain price you'll probably sell a lot more.

But if your book is standard priced at $0.99 it will be seen as a perpetual bargain and might not sell that well.

Leonard D. Hilley II said...

I have found this successful in pricing the first book in my series at $.99. The sales on the other books in the series have increased and are $2.99. So, I know there is an advantage for series by having an introductory novel set at $.99

Joe Konrath said...

Yes, I do think at $0.99 you can make a profit, I just don't think most writers can make a living selling at that price point.

That isn't my point.

Before this sale, I had 1 ebook title on bestseller lists. Now I have 13. And rank has unilaterally dropped.

Once the rank bottoms out, and the titles get high up on the bestseller lists, I'll return the ebooks to full price, where increased visibility will increase sales, making up for any losses I had at 99 cents.

The goal isn't to make a living at 99 cents. The goal it to get my ebooks in front of browsers' eyes. And many browsers surf the bestseller lists.

Gary Ponzo said...

I've left the first book in my series at .99 cents and the other 2at $2.99. The first one consistantly outsells the others at a 2-1 pace, but that's okay because the monthly sales have been really solid for all 3. The first one is the teaser to attract attention and the other 2 is where I actually generate revenue.

A.Rosaria said...

"Once the rank bottoms out, and the titles get high up on the bestseller lists, I'll return the ebooks to full price, where increased visibility will increase sales, making up for any losses I had at 99 cents."

My mistake, I was stupid for not reading your blog-post more thoroughly. I now understand what you are doing and think it is something that will/can work.

Adrian said...

I'm wondering how, logistically, one goes about dropping a price of a book for a certain period of time

I could imagine going into KDP and changing the price of my book to $0.99, and then going into PubIt and doing the same, and then going into Smashwords and doing it a third time. And then, at the end of the sale period, I could go back to all outlets and revert the price.

But changes to the metadata for books can take a long time to propagate. Amazon seems pretty instantaneous, but B&N sometimes lags a couple days. It took three months for iTunes to even list my book and four months for Sony (and Sony *still* doesn't display the description of the book).

Given all these variable delays, it would seem impossible to time a price change to arrive on a particular date.

I could see Amazon resetting the price immediately but then noticing that they're being undersold by iTunes (because iTunes hasn't yet processed the price change). Given that all the e-tailers effectively require you to sell at the same price everywhere, it would seem problematic to try to restore your original price.

Patrice Fitzgerald said...

I agree that 99¢ works to get you in a better position on the charts, resulting in sales. But multiple books and a well-recognized name make all the difference. If you have just a few books, or only one, and you are way out of the charts, no one will see your price change. I had my single full-length novel at $7.99 and it was selling. Moving it to $2.99 brought it to a dead standstill. I just raised the price. We'll see.

Hearing about several new ereaders and tablets coming out for Christmas has me thinking about positioning for the holidays again... when we see the biggest profits. New ereader owners are like kids in a candy store. They can't download fast enough!

P.S. Power said...

I also have to suggest that we might be in a slight "summer dip" right now. Large portions of the country are in a heat wave, people have lost power and are feeling rough and cranky from it, so not buying a lot of books. Possibly.

Maybe they're just out at the beach having fun or a combination of both? (Who could blame them?)

What I've noticed though is that even though the sales on my best selling novel have dropped in the last few days, the sales rank is going back down. (Meaning that it's taking less to hold rank at that level. About two thousand over all for Kindle.)

So if sales are slow right now, I don't think it's totally a matter of price at the moment.

On the good side things are getting cooler in places, kids are getting bored and mom and dad will be looking for an affordable escape from the noise in the house soon!

(I say, as if I can predict what peoples buying habits will be....)

evilphilip said...

I suspect that this is a huge mistake. I'm sure Joe knows that Amazon.com recently changed the algorithm that they use to place books on the Top 100 lists and as a result the lists are currently weighted more favorably toward books with a higher price.

As a result indie authors got dumped from the Top 100 lists. When I checked a few days ago there wasn't a single Joe Konrath book in ANY of the thriller, mystery or police procedural lists.

I checked the Mystery & Thriller list just now -- there isn't a single book from Crouch, Konrath or Nicholson anywhere in the Top 100.

Indie authors tried to turn $.99 into a "Race to the bottom." and Amazon saw that they weren't making enough money from free or cheap books and put the squash on that idea.

Yes, there are some cheap books in the Top 100 of Mystery & Thriller. I think the bar is just a ton higher now than it was.

Robert said...

I've actually just started experimenting in the opposite direction. My novels were all $2.99, and I was selling pretty well for several months (over 110 units a day). I raised the prices of those novels to $3.99, and have noticed a drops in sales. Not a steep drop -- at least not yet -- but there has been a drop (though I wonder, too, if that is because a lot of people are stocked up for the summer, not to mention this past weekend was a holiday). One of my titles was in the Kindle Top 100 for horror titles for several months; I noticed that when it dropped out, so did several other titles by different authors that had been surrounding it, so I'm thinking maybe the decrease in sales was just a coincidence as the algorithm was beginning to recommend a new batch of titles. Who knows. I'm not going to panic quite yet. Figure I should at least wait until next month to see how sales are, and if need be I can try pricing some of the novels at $2.99 again. I just find it hard to believe a dollar increase would be a major factor in readers potentially buying a book, but it probably is. When I release the second book of my trilogy next month, I think I'll make the first book 99 cents for a week or two, see if that helps boost its ranking.

wv: alibish

Rob Cornell said...

The goal isn't to make a living at 99 cents. The goal it to get my ebooks in front of browsers' eyes. And many browsers surf the bestseller lists.

But for many of us, the 99 cent price point will not get us on a bestseller list. Do you think it is your expansive back list that makes this strategy work for you and the others? (Certainly, this wouldn't work for someone like myself with only five novels in two genres.)

Or do you think it's something else that makes a 99 cent promotion work better for you than other writers?

T.J. Dotson said...

There is a another great .99 cents strategy: Serialization! Sort of like Hugh Howey did with "Wool".

Take you 60 - 100k word opus and break it up into 4 novellas. Call each of these novellas an "episode", "Act", or "installment".

Price the first part @.99 and the subsequent three @2.99.

Viola you just made .99 more than worth it.

A few authors are doing this and it's working out well for them.

Larry B said...

Does this strategy pertain to certain genre books, or series? I'm completely new to this, but I will be publishing my own YA/adult lit crossover book in the fall. I'm doing the research on it now. Intuitively, it doesn't seem like a .99 price would make readers of lit fiction more likely to buy the book. At least it doesn't for me.

BTW, love your blog. Just discovered it.

And, what do you think about the possibility of Amazon moving to a subscription model, like Netflix?

Jack Badelaire said...

I'll agree that for sales and promotions, $0.99 is an excellent idea, but I refuse to buy an ebook priced at that point permanently.

I've got both short stories and my new novel Killer Instincts on KDP, and while the shorts are at $0.99 apiece, the novel is at $3.99. I couldn't justify a permanent $0.99 for the book, because I can't justify selling a 92,000 word novel for the same price as an 11,000 word short story.

I also agree with those who feel price helps establish legitimacy in a product. Selling your new indie novel for less than a buck tells me you're only pricing it at that point out of desperation. I buy myself a $3.19 venti iced coffee every morning - I think I can spend $3-4 on an ebook, and so can most people who'd enjoy the book in the first place.

Merrill Heath said...

T.J. said: There is a another great .99 cents strategy: Serialization! Sort of like Hugh Howey did with "Wool".

Take you 60 - 100k word opus and break it up into 4 novellas. Call each of these novellas an "episode", "Act", or "installment".


T.J., I was discussing this very idea with another writer a couple of weeks ago. He said a lot of people have tried the serial idea but most have not had much success with it. I think Hugh is one of the few with his Wool series. But even for Hugh, I think things really took off when he published the omnibus. That has done much better than the serialized stories.

Personally, I love the idea and have plans to experiement with a sci-fi series. But the longer works seem to do best - even if they're collections of shorter works.

Ravens said...

Thx for the sale, I ordered Jack Daniels Stories for 99 cents, as an intro to your work.

Spike said...

Think about the size of the dollars we are talking about. One buck is really cheap entertainment. Four bucks is really cheap entertainment. More than 8 hours of entertainment for four bucks is really cheap in anybody's mind. We are setting the price as suppliers, instead of consumers setting the low price. I say a buck a book is killing us all.

Anonymous said...

I'll just wait until you make them free.

Isn't that the next step?

XD

Anonymous said...

Here's what's happening in the digital world, and indie authors should be very scared because the climate has chilled considerably just in the last few months:

All the tricks of getting noticed and increasing rank are gone.

Free books: Free books which led to increased sales just six months ago now almost lead to no residual bounce.

99 Cents: Want to instantly climb up the charts by pricing your book at 99 cents? Try it and see what happens. In 99% of the cases, 99 cents won't get you anywhere and to many people will make you look desperate, which hurts long-haul even if there's a temporary bump.

Social networking: Go ahead and tweet, FB and flap your lips all night and day. Join the million who are already doing it. Here's a clue: No one's listening.

Reviewers: Want some reviews? Kindle is populated with more mean, aggressive and holier-than-thou reviewers than can almost be imagined. There are lots of people out there who hate everything and will peck at their keyboard all day long letting other people know. Start rising up and they'r waiting in the shadows to shoot you down.

Traditional publishers? Remember all those trad publishers everyone took joy in bashing as recently as last week? Well, surprise, they're dominating the market, and doing it at 7.95 to 12.95. Apparently people are more and more looking for good books and less tricks.

Rest on your laurels? Past acclaim is yesterday's news. The indie dominators of the last 2 years have largely faded away, even those that went on to million dollar trad deals.

So, what do you do to get ahead? Good question and the answer's getting more complicated every day.

The best answer is to write a damn good book. I don't mean slam one out, build your catalogue or get a new cover to tweet about. I mean write a book that can't be ignored. Then set it loose into the world and hope for a kind wind to carry it to a friendly place.

The other best answer right now, today, is to get with Thomas & Mercer and let them blast the world about your wonderful book. They can drive anything to the top and keep it there.

Gary Taaffe said...

On the subject of serialisation - it works great for me. I've got 13 pre-written episodes in the Urban Hunters series to roll out. I'm about to release #4. I started with 1,2 and 3 as eBooks, then put them into a collection in eBook and print format and I'm about to format each episode into print. I’ll do more collections and eventually, put the lot into one big collection.
Teachers tell me they like my short, unintimidating episodes for new readers, boys especially. ‘The funniest books I have ever read in my entire life!’ Andrew, age 10 UK. He’s young for my Young Adult genre but I’m not complaining.
It’s been a really great way to dip my toes into writing and self-publishing. Each episode is easily manageable between 10K to 20K words long. They give me a regular sense of achievement and a modest income while I build a following. I get the flexibility to add more episodes easily and to veer off the main story to explore popular characters.
On the subject of pricing – I’m experimenting. Basically it’s $0.99 per episode but if they’re around the 20K mark I try $1.99. The collection is $2.99. Even if the first episode was 20K, I still wouldn’t sell it for more than $0.99.
I tried free but it didn’t work for me. I shot up the charts at free and dropped back to my previous position straight after. I think it’s because I got in too late, after they changed the algorithm.
On the whole, I recommend serialisation, and I especially go along with Joe’s recommendation of experimentation. I take my hat off to you, Joe, you’re a credit to your industry. I’ve learnt a lot from you. Thank you.
Gary Taaffe
www.UrbanHunters.com.au

P.S. Power said...

Free books don't lead to a bounce, due to an algorithm change. It isn't a difference in the readers, but the climate. This is important to note. Amazon in particular changed, not human nature.

You need good covers, a good book and something to help you stand apart, but you always did. That isn't new or different, or a chill in the climate against Indies. (Even though the large publishers probably want to pretend that's the case.)

Having a lot of books helps. More than you might imagine. Yes, they need to be good, but speed of writing is a personal thing and as has been shown in every case ever looked at, speed of writing has almost nothing to do with quality of work. People that take ten years to put out a single novel don't do better than people that put out one a month. It only seems like that because for years you were taught that coming out with more than one book per year was nearly impossible.

It isn't.

The market hasn't actually changed that much, it's that there is a slight shift in the market place. Those are different things.

What this means is that the Independent author just has to find out what works for them and keep going on.

Every time the rules change you have to roll with it and adapt, find a new way to make an impression and keep yourself current in the market.

This isn't the end of the independent book market, its the last gasp of the old guard, struggling to keep the opposition down. They forced changes into place to benefit themselves, but still the little guys are standing up, finding a way and making a mark.

It's hard to kill a hydra.

It's relatively easy to take down a cyclops once you poke them in the eye enough times.

David F. Weisman said...

I was recently advised by Carolyn McCray that since my sales ranking was over ten thousand I should lower my price to 99c pretty much as a matter of course.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I'm taking Joe's lead here and trying this experiment myself with two of my eBooks. Granny Smith Investigates has been selling well, fifty - a hundred copies a week at th $2.99 price but I've dropped it to $0.99 for three days to see how it goes. Same for The Rhondda Ripper which isn't selling so well, maybe a dozen copies a week. Ahh well...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Anonymous said...

EvilPhilip said:

"I suspect that this is a huge mistake. I'm sure Joe knows that Amazon.com recently changed the algorithm that they use to place books on the Top 100 lists and as a result the lists are currently weighted more favorably toward books with a higher price."

And Anonymous at 5.29pm said:

"All the tricks of getting noticed and increasing rank are gone."

If so it seems odd that Joe is trying to market his books at 99cents whether you care to call it a race to the bottom or a race to the top.

Since several people on this thread in addition to Joe are trying a similar marketing scheme I think we should wait for the results rather than jump to conclusions. Better to have tried than to have not, yes?

Anonymously Optimistic

David L. Shutter said...

Since several people on this thread in addition to Joe are trying a similar marketing scheme I think we should wait for the results rather than jump to conclusions. Better to have tried than to have not, yes?

Exactly what I think. One of Joe's biggest mantra's is: experiment, experiment and then experiment some more. Everyone knows the algorithm's have changed...sounds like it's time to experiment again.

Remember Joe's huge sales during the holidays? I recall the sales screenshot he posted was led, decidedly, by "The List", which has been around since '09. Nothing new there, But there it was, highly visible when millions of new Kindles were unwrapped.

If something new has affected or changed your visibility, then I figure it's time to figure out out to be more visible again instead of sitting and waiting for it.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Anonymous wrote: Traditional publishers? Remember all those trad publishers everyone took joy in bashing as recently as last week? Well, surprise, they're dominating the market, and doing it at 7.95 to 12.95. Apparently people are more and more looking for good books and less tricks.

This, of course, implies that traditional publishers are supplying good books and indie publishers are not.

First, that's complete bullshit. There's plenty of crap and plenty of gems in both camps.

Second, I'd suggest that traditional publishing's success—assuming your statement is even true—has more to do with NAME AUTHORS than anything else.

How are trad publishers doing with their midlisters?

I'm sure traditional publishers are cleaning up on the Lee Childs and the Janet Evanovitches, but I can tell you with certainty that Robert Gregory Browne's traditionally published ebooks hardly made a blip on the radar, and I never saw a cent in ebooks royalties.

Now that I'm publishing those very same books myself, just in the last month and a half alone I've made enough royalties to keep me fat and happy for quite some time.

Past acclaim is yesterday's news. The indie dominators of the last 2 years have largely faded away, even those that went on to million dollar trad deals.

Everything goes in cycles, and I'd argue that those who went on to million dollar traditional deals are now saddled with traditional deal pricing and traditional deal marketing.

Fortunately, they're now millionaires.

Yet I think that my own success with Trial Junkies—which spent last month in the Amazon Top 100 and is still the #3 Legal Thriller (after a riding at #1 or #2 all that time)—is proof that you can still get quite a bounce after a three-day giveaway.

Will that be true for everyone? No. But it never was. It's all about timing, luck, and product—just as it is in the traditional world.

To make pronouncements that it's somehow dead or dying is ridiculous. Only time will tell us what will happen. In the meantime, I'm quite content to enjoy the best numbers I've had since I got into the publishing game.

Fortunately, I've NEVER listened to naysayers. If I had, I never would have been published in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Rob Gregory Browne said:

"This, of course, implies that traditional publishers are supplying good books and indie publishers are not.

First, that's complete bullshit. There's plenty of crap and plenty of gems in both camps."

Oh I don't think we should go that far.

I think it's plain that there is far more "crap" from indie books than traditionally published books.

We can argue a lot about how much money authors earned from traditional publishers and whether they paid authors enough but they made sure the authors could write.

Let's not overturn the last two hundred years or more of great literature. The books were wonderful. The royalties were not.

The discovery that Amazon has made is that not everyone wants to read a great book. Some people's reading skills are not that good. Some people have terrible taste in literature. They just want a book about vampires or serial killers or whatever else rings their bell.

Previously these books had a hard time getting by the gatekeepers who were usually looking for books that they personally found interesting. Now there are no gatekeepers and writing and marketing "crap" (or whatever else you would call a book that wouldn't get you a school grade pass) is a viable way of making an income.

Hey, let's not knock it. Different strokes for different folks. Embrace the market. Write what you can. Find your audience.

Joe Konrath said...

I think it's plain that there is far more "crap" from indie books than traditionally published books.

Thanks. I've missed picking on anonymous pinheads.

First, give me an objective, universally agreed upon definition of "crap" when it comes to books.

Second, please relate how many books, both indie and legacy published, you have personally read beginning to end, and show me the ratio of crap to decent. If not, point me to that comprehensive study that shows how self-pubbed books are crappier than legacy.

Oh, wait. YOU CAN'T. Because that study doesn't exist, and your opinion isn't based on anything but subjective opinion. And cowardly subjective opinion at that.

Some people have terrible taste in literature. They just want a book about vampires or serial killers or whatever else rings their bell.

Surely someone with such high standards as yours, spending time from your busy schedule defending the bastions of of quality literature, can sign their name to their posts and offer some links that point to those with "terrible taste in literature."

Didn't think so. And since you didn't back up your anonymous opinions, silly generalizations, and blanket statements, with even a single fact, you have earned the coveted "pinhead" moniker I bestow upon those rare posters who I feel are too stupid to contribute to my blog.

Buzz off. Play somewhere else.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Let's not overturn the last two hundred years or more of great literature. The books were wonderful. The royalties were not.

I love this myth. Two hundred years of great literature? We have a FEW great works of literature that everyone agrees on and everything else is a matter of opinion. Some of it's great and most of it is forgotten and probably not worth remembering.

And many of the great ones were considered writers of commercial crap in their day. So maybe some of today's "indie" crap will be considered great literature in some distant future.

By the way, speaking of great, Poe was SELF-PUBLISHED and so were Proust, James Joyce, Mark Twain, Ezra Pound, Upton Sinclair, Carl Sandburg, Rudyard Kipling and many other great writers.

Were they producing crap?

Please.

Anonymous said...

This is the original Anon, not the 2nd one. My primary point is that all the indie tricks that have been working over the last year are gone or at most dim shadows of themselves. The out-of-the-blocks indie is now unlikely to hit the stratosphere that was so routinely hit with the Locks and Hawkins of yesterday. Free books, 99 cent books and fake reviews from shills won't elevate the indie any longer.

And RGB, you're riding high, for now, because T&M put you there.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Anon, I'm not published by Thomas & Mercer. I'm completely self-published.

Ty Johnston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ty Johnston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ty Johnston said...

My primary point is that all the indie tricks that have been working over the last year are gone or at most dim shadows of themselves.

Well ... so what?

The early outliers might have used "tricks," as you call them, but that doesn't mean they didn't find a readership. Whether their material is high literature or not is really besides the point. Those people wrote books, published them, and found their audience. If they used "tricks" to do so, what does it matter? They didn't hurt anyone by it and must have been at least good enough to have made a career out of what they love.

Those "tricks" might be gone or dying today, but 1.) That doesn't mean something else won't come along, and 2.) uh, who cares? It just means indies will have to work that much harder to promote. They'll have to write more, hopefully building their craft while building a career. If that's the future, big deal. The sky isn't falling.

(side note: Joe, sorry about the multiple posts ... my computer was having hiccups)

Rob Cornell said...

And RGB, you're riding high, for now, because T&M put you there.

I think the kids these days call that an "Epic Fail."

If you can't be bothered to get your facts straight, we can't take anything you contribute to the conversation seriously.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know who came up with the strategy of pricing the first ebook in a series at 99 cents, and then pricing the later books in the series at $2.99 ?

I'm not sure, but I think it was Amanda Hocking.

Anonymous said...

T.J. Dotson said...
"There is a another great .99 cents strategy: Serialization! Sort of like Hugh Howey did with "Wool".

Take you 60 - 100k word opus and break it up into 4 novellas. Call each of these novellas an "episode", "Act", or "installment".

Price the first part @.99 and the subsequent three @2.99.

Viola you just made .99 more than worth it.

A few authors are doing this and it's working out well for them."


That sounds like a good strategy, but I'm a bit tentative about charging 99 cents for an incomplete story.

Anon #2
(I also made the Anon post at 6:01 AM)

Anonymous said...

Merrill Heath said...

" 'T.J. said: There is a another great .99 cents strategy: Serialization! Sort of like Hugh Howey did with "Wool".'

Take you 60 - 100k word opus and break it up into 4 novellas. Call each of these novellas an "episode", "Act", or "installment".

T.J., I was discussing this very idea with another writer a couple of weeks ago. He said a lot of people have tried the serial idea but most have not had much success with it. I think Hugh is one of the few with his Wool series. But even for Hugh, I think things really took off when he published the omnibus. That has done much better than the serialized stories.

Personally, I love the idea and have plans to experiement with a sci-fi series. But the longer works seem to do best - even if they're collections of shorter works."


That makes sense to me as I would not like to pay 99 cents for an incomplete story.

Anon #2

Michael McClung said...

"T.J. said: There is a another great .99 cents strategy: Serialization! Sort of like Hugh Howey did with "Wool".'

Take you 60 - 100k word opus and break it up into 4 novellas. Call each of these novellas an "episode", "Act", or "installment".


Here's the part where we talk about craft. No, no a thousand times no do you just chop up your novel into convenient bite-size 99 cent portions. That, simply put, lacks any artistic integrity.

As storytellers, we make an implicit agreement with our readers: I'm going to tell you a story. Not part of a story. These characters may go on to do other things; there may well be an overarching story line connecting one work to another. But every title must have a beginning, a middle and an end. A story question must be asked, a story question must be answered. It may not be THE question, but it's a road marker.

Readers are pretty clever folks. They can spot a hacked-up novel meant simply to gouge more money out of them. And they will respond appropriately, by either not buying it, or by leaving scathing reviews.

You want to write serials? By all means. I love 'em myself, and have written a couple, with more on teh way. But you can't retrofit a novel into a serial in any convincing way without totally dismantling it and building it back up in a serial configuration.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Power said...
"Free books don't lead to a bounce, due to an algorithm change. It isn't a difference in the readers, but the climate. This is important to note. Amazon in particular changed, not human nature."

You need good covers, a good book and something to help you stand apart, but you always did. That isn't new or different, or a chill in the climate against Indies. (Even though the large publishers probably want to pretend that's the case.)"

That is good to hear. Indie authors will survive as long as the quality of books are top notch.

P.S. Power said...
"Having a lot of books helps. More than you might imagine. Yes, they need to be good, but speed of writing is a personal thing and as has been shown in every case ever looked at, speed of writing has almost nothing to do with quality of work. People that take ten years to put out a single novel don't do better than people that put out one a month. It only seems like that because for years you were taught that coming out with more than one book per year was nearly impossible.

It isn't."

I agree with you there, speed doesn't affect quality-IF YOU GOT THE TALENT.

P.S. Power said...
"Every time the rules change you have to roll with it and adapt, find a new way to make an impression and keep yourself current in the market.

This isn't the end of the independent book market, its the last gasp of the old guard, struggling to keep the opposition down. They forced changes into place to benefit themselves, but still the little guys are standing up, finding a way and making a mark."

The BEST thing for Indie Authors is... if the traditional publishers do their thing AND if the Indie Authors do their thing.

BOTH SIDES HAVE TO LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE.

The traditional publishers should not try to discredit the Indie Authors because frankly top quality Indie Authors could make them OBSOLETE, I truly believe this.

BUT Indie Authors should not try to take down the traditional publishers because doing so would release a FLOOD OF TOP QUALITY TALENTED AND VERY FAMOUS AUTHORS into the Indie field. It is in the best interest of the current Indie Authors to keep price competition as well as genre competition as small as possible.

P.S. Power said...
"It's hard to kill a hydra.

It's relatively easy to take down a cyclops once you poke them in the eye enough times."

That is a nice piece of writing about the hydra and the cyclops, do you mind if I use that in my novel?

Anon #2

Gary Taaffe said...

Each half hour episode in a series you see on TV is a complete story, in the bigger picture of the series. That’s the way to look at a serialisation in books. Like I say, it’s working really well for me. There’s no reason why it couldn’t work well for others too. Experimentation rules. And my experiment is working. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. The market is very big with lots of tastes. My writing has a market, I’m writing for it and I’m winning. Don’t knock my style just because you’re failing.
I write this openly and honestly. I'm not anonymous. My name is Gary Taaffe from www.UrbanHunters.com.au

Anonymous said...

"Gary Taaffe said...
I write this openly and honestly. I'm not anonymous. My name is Gary Taaffe from www.UrbanHunters.com.au"

Now that is a better strategy, using Konrath's own blog to adverstise your work.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, I'm not published by Thomas & Mercer. I'm completely self-published."

Sorry RGB, I had you confused with someone else. Congrats on your indie success.

Jay Allan said...

Here's the part where we talk about craft. No, no a thousand times no do you just chop up your novel into convenient bite-size 99 cent portions. That, simply put, lacks any artistic integrity.

You mean like A Tale of Two Cities? Chopped up into weekly installments because that's how Dickens could get paid for it.

How about Moby Dick? Ulysses? David Copperfield? All published in serial or parts before being put out as a whole.

Need a newer genre example? How about the Forever War? Hugo and Nebula winning classic SF novel, first published as a serial.

Are these crappy novels with no artistic integrity?

I hate this "artistic integrity" argument. 99% of the time it is snobbish crap.

If you want to be a successful writer then you get your material to readers any way you reasonably can. Virtually all of the writers today considered to have been great did whatever they had to do to get their work out. Would literature be better off if Dickens' widow had just ended up throwing away all those unpublished manuscripts because Charles would never let his "art" get "chopped up" because he had and "implicit agreement" with his readers?

Michelangelo didn't want to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. He hated the commission, but Pope Julius made him do it. I think he nailed it anyway.

If all of these people were able to react to their own market realities, I suspect that writers on here can do the same without wrecking their work.

Save the "artistic integrity" snobfests until you are selling millions of books.

Jay Allan said...

Let's not overturn the last two hundred years or more of great literature. The books were wonderful. The royalties were not.

First, we need to put aside the obvious difference of opinion as to what is great and what is not (I had to read Bartleby the Scrivener in high school, for example...I would put my hand in a vise to avoid having to read it again).

Consider the mathematics behind what you said. Do you have any conception as to what a minute percentage of published works from a given time have passed into becoming generally accepted as "great literature?"

You can't cherry pick a few works from two hundred years and use it to validate a gatekeeping system. How about all the failed books? How many pieces of great literature were rejected by these publishing houses and sat in a desk drawer for years before dying with the author?

Michael McClung said...

Jay Allan said:


Save the "artistic integrity" snobfests until you are selling millions of books.


I'm pretty sure that's the first time anyone has ever accused me of being a snob. But since we're getting personal, I'm sick of indie writers with make-a-buck-any-way-you-can-itis.

As for serializtion, did you actually read my post, Jay? I never said serialization was bad. I said taking an existing novel and chopping it up to make an extra buck was.

And don't come to me with the 'if it was good enough for Dickens' shtick. Most of his serials were written on the fly, unlike Trollope, who wrote everything before it was published (yeah, you forgot Trollope, who would have been a better example for your case).

And in any case, magazines are not ebooks, especially magazines of more than a century ago (or even 40+ years ago, in the case of Haldeman.

My point, Jay, since you missed it the first time around, is that there is no reason to chop up a novel into 'episodes' other than to try and make an extra buck, which is a cynical ploy. If you don't have the integrity to see why that would be wrong, that really is your problem.

Joseph Day said...

The Nonsense About Book Prices
Is a book judged by it's price? Would you forgo buying one of Janet Evanovich's books for five dollars, and instead buy one of Joe Konrath's books for 99 cents because the price is lower?

That's what someone named Joe Konrath seems to be claiming. Who is Joe Konrath? A mediocre writer who for 12 or 20 years, I forget which, tried to break into the publishing business. After succeeding with a half ass police detective series, his publisher dropped him after a few books.

Though Knorath tirelessly sings the praises about self publishing through ebooks, he recently did a deal with Ace books, which is owned by Penguin publishers, for a science fiction book. According to Konrath himself, the book flopped in sales. Of course, also according to Joe Konrath, this is because the book price was too high. Could it ever occur to Konrath that maybe his fans are tired of his junk?

Of course not. In Joe's latest announcement, he will continue his SF "series" through his own self publishing efforts. Though he doesn't say, perhaps the reason for this is that once again a publisher, this time Ace, dropped him from their list of future books.

But Joe Konrath has not been alone in his quest to seek lower book prices. I remember a state librarian, I think his name was Bart Karne, who once proposed that the library system buy from publishers books that didn't sell well. In other words, books that were so bad, their publishers couldn't get rid of them no matter what they did to promote sales. Bart's reasoning was that the library system could save loads of money in book purchases. That idea, and the fact that he offended several state senators, got him fired.

According to Konrath, he is extremely successful as an ebook writer. I think I read him saying he makes half a million dollars or more a year from his books. Now I will be the first to admit, this is quite an accomplishment, considering the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo made only 500000 in ebook sales out of total world wide distribution of 50 million books sold. But, really, it begs a question. If Joe's novels sell so well, why hasn't some large publisher picked him up? After all, with marketing muscle like Doubleday, or Simon & Schuster, the sales should be phenomenal with such a poplar writer.

I'll let you be the judge of that.

Meanwhile, I won't judge a book by it's price..

Jay Allan said...

My point, Jay, since you missed it the first time around, is that there is no reason to chop up a novel into 'episodes' other than to try and make an extra buck, which is a cynical ploy. If you don't have the integrity to see why that would be wrong, that really is your problem.

FYI, I didn't "miss" anything.

If you would care to read my post, I was not suggesting that anyone "chop up" or do not "chop up" their novel. I do not feel I have the answers for everyone's optimal path to distribution. Go ahead...reread what I said and tell me where I am telling anyone to do anything.

Let's look at what you said:

Here's the part where we talk about craft. No, no a thousand times no do you just chop up your novel into convenient bite-size 99 cent portions. That, simply put, lacks any artistic integrity.

Perhaps I am somehow failing to understand what you are saying, but "no, no, a thousand times no" sounds pretty absolute and definitive to me. Note that you did not say something on the order of, "as an author I would think about whether dividing my work damages it in some way." No, instead you comprehensively and definitively trashed the entire idea that an author may choose to distribute a novel in serialized chunks. And you did so by invoking the ever non-specific but oh so very useful artistic integrity argument.

Just exactly how does an author sacrifice their artistic integrity by offering their work in a format that they may have decided allows them to reach more readers? Do you even have any research to suggest that readers would dislike this format?

You note that ebooks are not magazines of 40 years ago, as if that statement in some way has meaning. Lions are not giraffes either - is that a valid argument that one should not be in the zoo?

Looking empirically at the comparison between an ebook format and a magazine, it seems to me that the electronic format is more suited to a serial than a magazine. A reader can just get the next installment of the novel on their kindle, where they would have had to buy the whole magazine even if they only wanted to read part two of one story. The delivery is immediate, and readers can come in at any time.

But that is not relevant anyway. Your point was that the "chopping up" of the story did the damage, so what difference does the medium make?

Also, in your response to me you characterize attempting to "make and extra buck" as a cynical ploy. Correct me if I am wrong, but this blog is largely visited by authors seeking to make a living with their writing, is it not? If an author feels they can make a little more putting out work as a serial, then what is wrong with that?

To be honest, I had never seriously considered this form of distribution before reading the comments on this post, but I do think it is worth consideration for some works.

My reaction to your post was based on your attempt to characterize an author's decision to try this form of distribution as some sort of artistic sellout. Your post is the one telling people what to do, not mine. I think authors should market their work as they see fit, and let the quality and "art" of it stand on its own.

You also noted in your response.

And don't come to me with the 'if it was good enough for Dickens' shtick. Most of his serials were written on the fly, unlike Trollope, who wrote everything before it was published (yeah, you forgot Trollope, who would have been a better example for your case)

I did not "forget" anything. Neither did I give you any "shtick." I simply pointed out that many works that are today considered great novels were first published in serial form, and I have a few very well-known examples. I was not trying to write a term paper, nor impress. I decline to debate the distribution and authorship methods of 19th century writers. I can't think of a worse waste of time.

Jay Allan said...

...continued


How do you know there is "no reason" to chop up a novel into a serial? Have you tried it? Have you polled genre-specific readers to determine if they would like or dislike such a format? Do you have market research?

And before you ask me if I have any of that, the answer is no. But I wasn't the one on here saying "no, no, a thousand times no." You were the one drawing an absolute conclusion and doing so with no supporting data whatsoever. Say you would not want to chop up your own work. That is fine. But when you tell everyone else that if they do so they are betraying their art (or some similar nonsense) it is fair game to respond.

I've been self-employed all my life, and one thing I do know is that if prospective full-time authors start shutting off their minds to possible ways to distribute their work they are drastically cutting their chances of success. If they do so because of amorphous reasons like artistic snobbery it is even more tragic.

If you want to pay your bills writing then you have to get to readers any way you can.

Great art is durable...it can survive some minor scrapes and bruises from distribution methods. I have a Starry Night mousepad...it's not the original painting, but I still think it's pretty cool.

Rob Gregory Browne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"HAVE NO IDEA how much money ...."

We get it, you're making lots and lots of money.

I've made money too, and still am, but never ever rubbed it in anyone's face.

Edward M. Grant said...

My point, Jay, since you missed it the first time around, is that there is no reason to chop up a novel into 'episodes' other than to try and make an extra buck, which is a cynical ploy.

So writers, unlike just about any other business, shouldn't try to maximise their income because that's 'cynical'?

If readers will pay more money for a serialised novel than the novel as a single book, who's losing out here? The readers are clearly happy because they're paying more, and the writer is happy because they're earning more.

Anonymous said...

Joseph Day said:

"If Joe's novels sell so well, why hasn't some large publisher picked him up? After all, with marketing muscle like Doubleday, or Simon & Schuster, the sales should be phenomenal with such a poplar writer."

I think Joe gets offers all the time but he turns them down. Traditional publishers won't offer him royalties that match Amazon and other ebook publishers.

Other authors like E J James and her best-selling Shades of Grey series seem to take a different approach. These deals have reputedly earned her £6 million which is pretty good no matter what royalty you're getting!

Joe Konrath said...

That's what someone named Joe Konrath seems to be claiming.

Where am I claiming that?

Wait... I'm not. And I never did, pinhead. Don't put words in my mouth. It makes you look stupid.

But kudos to signing your name to your post. You are an idiot, but at least you aren't a coward.

Allow me the honor of pointing out your bullshit.

A mediocre writer who for 12 or 20 years, I forget which, tried to break into the publishing business.

12 years. And I self published most of those books that were rejected. They helped me earn $600k last year.

After succeeding with a half ass police detective series, his publisher dropped him after a few books.

Thanks for reading those six novels cover to cover. I look forward to your reviews.

Oh... wait. I bet you didn't read them. What kind of moron crits things they haven't read? (hint: check the mirror.)

My publisher dropped it's mystery line when the fourth novel came out. Five and six received no in-house support, yet still managed multiple printings.

Though Knorath tirelessly sings the praises about self publishing through ebooks, he recently did a deal with Ace books, which is owned by Penguin publishers, for a science fiction book.

I keep hoping for you to get at least one fact right, but you keep saying wrong stuff.

I made a deal with Ace prior to self-pubbing. And when I saw the poor job they were doing with the first book, before it was even released, I bought out the second book int he contract. Ace, predictably, tanked the first book. They may have been annoyed with me. Go fig. But I dropped them them, you pinhead. Try and attack me on something I said or did.

But Joe Konrath has not been alone in his quest to seek lower book prices.

Now I understand why my blog commentors have been so smart these past few weeks. It's because you've been hogging all the stupid.

I've never been on a quest to lower prices. I've been on a quest to maximize profits. Get it right.

But, really, it begs a question. If Joe's novels sell so well, why hasn't some large publisher picked him up?

If you don't know the answer to that, you're even dumber than I thought.

Now reread what I've written here. See how I attacked things you actually wrote? Why don't you try it, rather than making shit up?

Merrill Heath said...

I have a plan for a sci-fi series. I have 10 books in mind. Each will stand on its own with a main plot and a couple of subplots. But there will recurring characters and an overreaching story that will carry through all 10 books. However, there will only be 10 books.

I plan to release each book individually as it is completed. They will be approximately 30k words each (around 100 printed pages) and will be priced at $1.99.

The books will also be bundled into 2 volumes of 5, priced at $7.95 (5 for the price of 4 in the bundled format). Each volume will also be available in print for $12.00.

So, readers can sample my stories for as little as $1.99. Then, if they like them they can buy them individually as they are released, or purchase the bundled volumes at a slight discount. The price of the bundled ebook volumes will be half that of the print volumes, so there is a discount for the ebooks since the cost of distribution is much less.

I feel like this is a reasonable way to approach a serialized offering. Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

Jay Allan said...

Merril,

It sounds like a well-conceived plan to me. As to how it works, I guess you will have to try it and see.

But this is a market undergoing major shifts, and I think it would be a mistake to assume that everything needs to be crammed into old formats. It could be that linked sites of short works becomes one of the popular new ways to read.

Merrill Heath said...

I guess I should've checked my math. The price of the print volumes would be $16.00 not $12.00.

Jay, I agree - a plan is only as good as its execution. Ultimately, it still boils down to content. If the content is good enough the plan will work.

Joseph Day said...

To Anonymous -

I think if Konrath was getting such great deal offers, he'd be bragging about it. And then there's also the question why he never bothered taking these "great" offers. Thank you for the polite input.

To Konrath -

Okay fatso, you want to start calling people names, fine.

First, I only skimmed through two of your Jack Daniels novels, and read the first four pages of Whiskey Sour before I became very bored. "It was raining...they called it lasagna". Oh Jesus,lol, please no more.

The books I skimmed were Dirty Martini and Cherry Bomb. Essentially they were the same story, with your hero Jack always running around and acting like an ass. Come on, Joe, the girls of Chicago are a lot nicer than that.

Btw, what makes you such an expert on police procedure and police departments. Certainly, you never were a policeman, because you'd never make the weight requirement. Let me guess -you treated some loud mouth cops to some beers, so they would reveal all the inner stuff of the Chicago PD. There's an old saying in the cop biz, and in the CIA - Those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know.

Judge by this how even superficially accurate your stories have been.

As for Konrath's comments about Ace, naturally the book had poor sales because it was the publisher's fault. Yeah, sure, I believe that.

But then if Konrath was so disappointed with publishers to begin with, why did he even bother dealing with Ace?

I'll be replying to the rest of Joe's tirade in installments if he has the guts to allow me to comment further in his blog.

But I can only do it installments. Dealing with someone as obnoxious as Joe is best done in small doses.

Joe, until next time, have a lovely day.

And if you want to lose weight, try to exercise something other than your mouth.

Bill Hunter said...

@ Joe Day

Polite? You come here and write a bunch of confrontational horse shit and are now all offended because JK wasn't polite?

You're an idiot.

Are you sure when you accuse Joe of writing crap you don't mean yourself? Because your books look like first class junk, if we want to call a spade a spade.

Of course, that may be unfair. They may very good. Let me look--OH WAIT-- rank on one is 800,000 with 0 reviews. Flying off the shelves, aren't they?

Furthermore, you run a blog with apparently no readers, since no one has chosen, at this writing, to respond to your idiotic rant.

If I were a cynical fellow, I'd think maybe you were coming here to stir the pot in the hopes someone might come to your blog, and sample what clearly look like terrible books with covers a 12 year old could make.

So--we should listen to what you have to say?

What a pinhead.

P.S. Power said...

To Joseph Day:

Do you work for a publishing company? If not, why are you attacking someone online as if they aren't a person?

What I'm getting at is you either have an ax to grind, or you're suffering from some kind of mental disorder.

If you don't know which it is, it's probably the second one.

I'm not saying this to be mean. It may be a temporary condition of being online, because you can't relate to someone in writing as a real person. It may also be something more severe.

Ask yourself this: If Joe was standing right in front of you, say on a busy public street, would you still speak to him the same way you are here?



If the answer is yes, you probably have a serious mental condition. (As in real counseling may be in order, because that is NOT socially acceptable.)

If no, then it may not be as serious, but should still be worked on. You can present ideas without moving into an attack position.

David L. Shutter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I think Joseph Day has some good points. Having a 99c promotion must mean titles are not selling as strongly as Joe keeps telling us.

Joseph Day said...

To Bill Hunter -

Ah, the real Joe Konrath now reveals himself.

Unable to fight his own battles, he's now going to have me gang faqed.

In fact, you sound so much like Konrath, am I sure this is Bill Hunter I am talking to? Or Joe Konrath?

And if it is Bill Hunter - Bill can't you think and talk for yourself, rather than imitating your God Joe Konrath. He may have the same weight as the Budda statues, but he sure doesn't have the same wisdom.

In fact Bill, who the frick are you anyhow lol?

You seem to have done a little research on me, and let people know I've written some books. If you read my previous comments, I went out of my way to avoid trolling myself.

Btw, lol, what book are you talking about being ranked 800000? There's a few ebooks of mine only recently posted. There's been no marketing campaign or promotion yet, and unlike Konrath and his wannabes, I haven't kiss assed a bunch of fools like you to write 5 star reviews the moment my books have been issued on the internet.

The same goes for the blog. It was only recently started. After all, Konrath's had about 5 years head start on me. Please gang faq that also, so more people can see the quality of Konrath's acolytes.

As for the book cover or covers, they weren't done by me. There's a lady handling that aspect for me, for a percentage of the revenues. I think it's best not to tell her what you said.

And besides, what difference does the opinion of a nobody like you matter anyhow. All you've done is make amorphous insults about me as a writer.

In the future, I shall make very specific comments about Konrath as a writer, storyteller, and general self promoter.

You started something, Konrath, and these comments are just the beginning.

Meanwhile, as for you Bill, why don't you go stroke those autograph copies Joe sent you, so he could use you as a straw man and his own best salesman.

Oh, btw Konrath and Hunter, don't put words in my mouth that I haven't said, and if you quote me, don't take it out of context, but use the whole quote. Otherwise, some people might think you're being deceptive.

Until the next flame, have a nice day.

Joseph Day said...

To Gary Dobbs / Jack Hunter

Thank you for your comments, though you may not agree with everything I said

To David L. Shutter - One of Joe Konrath's biggest stooges.

Yes, unfortunately I am getting attention, and specifically on this blog. And it's basically meaningless insults from creatures like you.

What is this June 21 rant you're talking about? If you mean a blog article I did about ebook sales, I went out of my way not to criticize Konrath.

But then slobs like wouldn't know good manners if you slept with it.

To P S Powers -

PS, I think I see your point. If I don't think much of Konrath or his stooges, then I must have a mental delusion.

Lol, seriously PS, if you really feel that way, maybe you're the one that should get a check up.

To Konrath - I never realized that you were this petty and timid, to be letting these dummies fight your battles.

I used to think you were a clown, Joe. Now I realize you're just a little kid in a man's body that needs others to to do your fighting.

Whose next that you'll be hiding behind? Your wife or mother?

Anonymous said...

“Joe Day has had a varied background and life (the more significant/weighty noun normally comes first; cf ‘a varied life and background’, although even that sounds poor. REWRITE!) Originally born in Chicago (you can’t be born anywhere ‘originally’, you’re just born the once. REWRITE!), he came to Hawaii to visit a friend for two months (odd; either ‘came to x for two months to visit a friend’, or ‘ came to x COMMA to visit a friend. REWRITE!). The friend thought it was for two weeks, and Joe ended staying with them for one year (‘The friend is singular; ‘them’ is plural. REWRITE!)...”

Bill Hunter said...

@ Joe Day

*yawn*

(Somebody pass the mosquito repellent...)

[activate:ignore]

Joseph Day said...

Bill Hunter - Thank you for choosing to ignore me. Of course, you realize, this means now you have to keep that big mouth of yours shut. No more fighting Joe's battles.

Anonymous - Didn't you remember what Joe said. Being anonymous means you're a coward.

As for your petty nitpicking, you remind me of a publishing editor from hell I once had to deal with. She even wanted me to critique her own terrible writing. And I mean man, it was terrible. It even made Konrath look like Hemingway.

If you have any manuscripts you want read, Anonymous, please forward them to Konrath. But be forewarned, unless there's money in it for him, he'll probably just ignore you.

David L. Shutter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P.S. Power said...

Joseph Day said...

"To P S Powers -

PS, I think I see your point. If I don't think much of Konrath or his stooges, then I must have a mental delusion.

Lol, seriously PS, if you really feel that way, maybe you're the one that should get a check up."

First, P.S. Power, without an "s" on the end. Common mistake, but one is my name and the other isn't, I'm sure you get the idea.

What I said however, wasn't that you couldn't dislike someone, but that mistreating people, even online, can be a sign of actual mental problems. We let it slide a lot, but it isn't normal behavior.

It's even common, but that doesn't mean it's correct.

Also, it isn't a delusional disorder, but psychopathic in nature.

What you've been writing here indicates that you don't see or value other people as being real. That you don't fear scorn or reprisal and that you think that you and your own work is naturally superior to others.

When this is pointed out, you tend (here at least, in this thread) to become more emotionally unstable.

There is a real condition that effects people online, where they become psychopathic and narcissistic in their behavior towards others for a time. Paranoia is also an issue...

This is all about how you behave, not what you feel.

Again, would you have spoken to Joe in the same manner if you met him in person? It's an important question.

Claiming that I have a mental problem doesn't mean you don't, or even that I'm incorrect in regards to asking. I could be the Mad Hatter and still be correct.

Michael McClung said...

@Jay Allan

Jay either you're arguing just to argue, or you really don't get it. On the off chance that it's the latter, let my try once again to break it down for you:

Back in the days before digital, serialization made sense because of physical constraints. You simply can't fit a whole book into a magazine. Serials weren't published outside of magazines. You get that, right? Unless you want to start talking about 17th century publishers and fascicles, which I don't because typing on this iPad is a pain in the proverbial.

The point is, the medium's constraints dictated the shape of the story, and a new art form was born.

You see where I'm going with this, and you already want to argue I'm sure, but just hang in there with me for a bit longer. I might surprise you.

Now fast forward to today. An ebook has no space constraints, so that's not a valid reason to serialize. So what is? Well, say you have a story to tell that is episodic in nature, like Haldeman's 'Forever War' or 'A Thousand And One Nights'. Good and sufficient reason. Or you wrote something that just kept going after you wrote 'the end'. Good and sufficient reason. Or by god you want to write serials because that's the medium and length you feel comfortable with. You go girl.

But it's not okay, I will tell you straight to your face, to hack up a pre-existing work that is not by its nature episodic for the sole purpose of trying to squeeze more money out of a reader.

Can you do it? Of course you can effing do it. I'm not your dad. In fact, I encourage you to do it, and to report back your results. Because your 'make a buck any way you can' attitude needs to run up against the hard truth that if you don't respect your work and your readers, you as an author aren't deserving of respect yourself.

Don't believe me. Prove me wrong. Take a finished work and hack it into a few pieces and release it into the wild, Jay.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

So...

Where were we?

Joseph Day said...

To P.S. Powers -

First, don't put words in my mouth. Read what I wrote.

Second, I'm not the one that started being insulting and calling ppl names. That was Konrath. I suppose it's okay for him to act anyway he pleases, and verbally bully anyone without fear of a similar reply.

You mention that "I don't fear scorn or reprisal". What's there to fear, Powers? It's a free country, with freedom of speech. If Konrath wants to call me a moran, pinhead, idiot, etc., because I don't agree with him,that's his right.

Just like it's my right to call him a pompous, fat and conceited egotist. If his stooge Shutter wants to swear at me and make vague accusations that are hard for even me to understand, that's his right. Just as it's my right to say Shutter has his head up Konrath's ass and they both seem to be enjoying it.

After a few email posts, you make this detailed psychoanalysis of me. Really, how serious do you expect me to take this type of opinion.

As for what I would say to Konrath's face, that would depend on whether or not he was buying the beer. If he was picking up the tab, he'd be my good buddy Joe, that fabulous writer lol who has everyone enthralled with each word he writes.

Anyhow, why don't you be like Bill Hunter,and choose to ignore me. That's going to save a lot of time for both of us.

And I still think you need that check up, Mr. Powers. The s has been added intentionally, due to my delusional paranoiac mindset and whatever else you want to think up, lol.

Joseph Day said...

To David L. Shutter, Konrath stooge

Thanks for the lesson on nomenclature. It's always so enlightning when I have some career military ass like you teach me new words.

As for name calling and personal attacks, Konrath started it and you jumped right into it with him. Now I'm a douchebag. Earlier you used the word sh**t with me. But then of course this is all my fault, because I incited you to it lol.

Btw, who the frick cares whether you're a 28A, "lowly but still coveted" lol. What has this got to do with anything?

And thank you very much for choosing to ignore me. Means I don't have to waste anymore time with you.

As for Knnrath ignoring me, that's his perogative. But I'm going to continue telling him how silly he acts.

As for me being comical and despondant, dude, why don't you just read your posts, mine, and those of your idol Konrath, and see whose the one that looks pathetic.

All you've done is make vague personal attacks on me, that I'm not even sure what they mean.

Now you have a very nice week, and be sure not to drink too much.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I went to see my doctor. "Doctor, every morning when I get up and I look in the mirror I feel like throwing up. What's wrong with me?" He said, "I don't know but your eyesight is perfect."

~Rodney Dangerfield

Jay Allan said...

Back in the days before digital, serialization made sense because of physical constraints. You simply can't fit a whole book into a magazine. Serials weren't published outside of magazines. You get that, right? Unless you want to start talking about 17th century publishers and fascicles, which I don't because typing on this iPad is a pain in the proverbial.

Ok, I'm going to use small words and keep this simple so you can understand this.

We started this discussing your pronouncement that books must not be sliced into serials. You remember that, right? It was artistic sacrilege or some other made up nonsense.

Based on that parameter, it doesn't matter why a novel is published as a serial. The mere fact that is has been done successfully disproves your hypothesis. So thank you for the lecture on the history of magazines and the distribution issues that promoted the use of serialization, but I'm afraid it doesn't matter.

But it's not okay, I will tell you straight to your face, to hack up a pre-existing work that is not by its nature episodic for the sole purpose of trying to squeeze more money out of a reader.

Let's go through this very carefully so there are no misunderstandings.

First and foremost, the primary source of my initial objection to your comments was based on your seeming position that you are the arbiter of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for an author to do. Read your original post. Read the section of your last post I pasted above.

I object to anyone setting himself up as the commissar of what is and is not acceptable conduct. You do not state that you would not do it; you do not state that you think it would be difficult to cut something well and maintain quality. You simply issue your proclamation that it should not be done ("no, no, no, never").

Second, you misunderstand or misstate my responses. The Forever War, for example, was not written as a serial, though it was initially publicized in that way. I guess Haldeman hacked it apart to make an extra buck. Take away his writer's merit badge.

Third, I don't understand why you have such an aversion to authors seeking a way to make a living at their profession. Your text practically drips with derision when you say, "squeeze more money out of the reader."

We're not exactly talking about defrauding readers here...we are just talking about delivery methods. There are advantages for a reader too. The reader can pay 0.99 (or maybe even free for the first installment) and see if he likes it. If he doesn't then he doesn't have to buy more.

It gives the author more options for marketing and trying to get readers.

But remember now, at no point did I say an author should do this or not do it, nor did I say I knew anything about how well it would work.

You are the one trying to tell people what to do, not me. You are the one laying down pronouncements like you are the last word in artistic acceptability.

Why not just do whatever you think is right for you and let other people make their own decisions without expressing your condescension. I'd wager there are plenty of good authors floating around who could easily divide a novel into several sections if they chose to do so. I don't think they need to be branded with your scarlet S as an artistic sellout desperately trying to "squeeze" a dollar from their reader.

Jay Allan said...

Because your 'make a buck any way you can' attitude needs to run up against the hard truth that if you don't respect your work and your readers, you as an author aren't deserving of respect yourself.

Again, just what is your problem with an author trying to make a living? You clearly think any effort to profitably publish violates some artistic vow of poverty.

P.S. Power said...

Serial works are valid... As long as people want to read them that way.

A lot of people are intimidated by long works (Not me, but we live in the TL;DR world now) so giving them something that they can finish in a single sitting at a time might work pretty well.

Is it cheating? Not really. A serial project that costs ten dollar but is a full book is fair, isn't it?

As long as the audience is willing to pay for it.

Michael McClung said...

Oh, Christ. Okay, let's do this, point by point:

We started this discussing your pronouncement that books must not be sliced into serials. You remember that, right? It was artistic sacrilege or some other made up nonsense.

Pronouncement, artistic sacrilege. What happened to the small words you promised, Jay?

Yes, I said very forcefully not to simply chop up your book into pieces to make an extra buck. I also said you'd need to retool the book into episodes if you wanted to serialize. Quit cherry-picking what I said, and quit putting words in my mouth.


I object to anyone setting himself up as the commissar of what is and is not acceptable conduct. You do not state that you would not do it; you do not state that you think it would be difficult to cut something well and maintain quality. You simply issue your proclamation that it should not be done ("no, no, no, never").


So your problem is not with the content but the tone. Why not just say 'I don't like your tone, buddy?' and have done with it? That, or, you know, grow a thicker skin, or see somebody about your authority issues. I never said I was a 'commissar' or any such thing. That's your perception, an I can't do a thing about it. Nor would I bother to try if I could.

More points:

It doesn't matter how The Forever War was written originally. It is episodic in nature.


Third, I don't understand why you have such an aversion to authors seeking a way to make a living at their profession. Your text practically drips with derision when you say, "squeeze more money out of the reader."


I'm all for writers making a living, Jay. I'm against hackwork and crass, cynical ploys.

Again, just what is your problem with an author trying to make a living? You clearly think any effort to profitably publish violates some artistic vow of poverty.

That's the stupidest thing I've read all week. You actually conflated 'don't chop up your book into serials' to 'you clearly think any effort to profitably publish violates some artistic vow of poverty'.

You're not interested in a discussion, Jay. You're interested in scoring points. As I said before, prove me wrong. Chop up a novel into 'serials' and put it out there for readers to decide. Anything else is just flapping your gums.

Thom said...

I just want to clear one thing up that I believe (god, it was so long ago) someone posted about serialization and Hugh's WOOL series.

Hugh did NOT chop up his novel into a series. He wrote a short first book, and the fans started asking for more. So he wrote more stories. Then he put it all together in an omnibus.

So, I just wanted to correct that impression, in this epic battle over serialization.

David L. Shutter said...

M. McClung

You hear about John Scalzi's latest? Will be released as a serialized e-release.

PW article on it here

Pretty big departure for someone as established as Scalzi and a traditional such as Tor.

I don't think serialization these days is necessarily a disingenuous way to go, but I do agree with your points on doing it strictly from a marketing standpoint.

I'm a Scalzi fan but am kinda on the fence about buying into this one.

Michael McClung said...

Hey, David-

Very interesting. I'm not really a Scalzi fan myself, though I know many are.

Thought this was interesting from the article: "...each one will have enough internal integrity to work as an enjoyable chunk of story on its own..." which is what I've been driving at.

David L. Shutter said...

Mike

Yeah, I caught that too. Seemed like an awfully generic breakdown of what they're going for.

Michael McClung said...

Well, King tried it with 'The Plant' though that was before the ereader boom, and he was writing each episode on the fly. I'm sure this one has been put to bed already, start to finish.

I see they're trying to pitch it as a 'like cable tv shows, but in written form'. Dunno if it will take off or not. Scalzi has a big name, but is it big enough? It'll be interesting to see.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Anonymous said, I've made money too, and still am, but never ever rubbed it in anyone's face.

You miss the point entirely. When I, or anyone here, mentions money, it has nothing to do with rubbing anything into anyone's face. It's about POSSIBILITIES. And the possibilities to make a very good living running your own show are very, very real.

That's something people in the publishing industry don't seem to get. That authors can now make a LIVING WAGE without their permission. I myself didn't quite believe it until I saw it first hand.

And I think anyone who makes great money self-publishing should shout it from the rooftops, for the good of all authors.

Anonymous said...

Merrill Heath said...
"Would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this."

Okay, since you asked, but please don't be upset if I disagree with you.

Merrill Heath said...
"I have a plan for a sci-fi series. I have 10 books in mind. Each will stand on its own with a main plot and a couple of subplots."

That's sounds nice, I personally would not pay for a PARTIAL story with no beginning, middle, or end.
And before anyone starts arguing with me-I SAID IT WAS MY OWN PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

Merrill Heath said...
"But there will recurring characters and an overreaching story that will carry through all 10 books. However, there will only be 10 books."

There's nothing new about that, except the part about there only being 10 books.

Merrill Heath said...
"I plan to release each book individually as it is completed. They will be approximately 30k words each (around 100 printed pages) and will be priced at $1.99."

I personally would not pay $1.99 for a story that is only about 30k words long. I consider a book to be at least 100k words long. AND AGAIN THIS IS MY OWN PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

Merrill Heath said...
"The books will also be bundled into 2 volumes of 5, priced at $7.95 (5 for the price of 4 in the bundled format). Each volume will also be available in print for $12.00."

So 5 stories of about 30k words, bundled together for $7.95.
That is a little too high of a price point for me. AGAIN THIS IS MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

Merrill Heath said...
"So, readers can sample my stories for as little as $1.99. Then, if they like them they can buy them individually as they are released, or purchase the bundled volumes at a slight discount. The price of the bundled ebook volumes will be half that of the print volumes, so there is a discount for the ebooks since the cost of distribution is much less."

If it works for you, then good for you.

Merrill Heath said...
"I feel like this is a reasonable way to approach a serialized offering."

I not against the serial format, I'm just not going to pay good money for an incomplete story.
If other people want to do so, then good for them.

I'm glad you said each story would have its own plot and subplots.

Good luck.

Anon #2

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I personally would not pay $1.99 for a story that is only about 30k words long. I consider a book to be at least 100k words long. AND AGAIN THIS IS MY OWN PERSONAL PREFERENCE.

My own personal preference is a book of about 50 to 60K words. My hero Donald Westlake wrote thrillers under the name Richard Stark that were about 40K. Great, great books.

I'd have no problem paying well over $1.99 for them.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

All stories should have a natural length - it doesn't matter if it's 10k, 100k or40k - whatever the story needs. All this wordage just makes books a product rather than a work or art.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Power said...
"It's hard to kill a hydra.

It's relatively easy to take down a cyclops once you poke them in the eye enough times."

Seriously, if you're not going to use that quote in your stories, how about stating publicly that everyone else can use it? :)

Anon #2

Merrill Heath said...

Thanks for the feedback, Anon2 and Rob. The length of each individual book will vary. The 30k words is just for planning purposes and would probably be on the low end. But I don't see these stories going over 50k words. And it may be that $1.99 is too much. We'll see.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Merrill Heath said...

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said: All stories should have a natural length - it doesn't matter if it's 10k, 100k or40k - whatever the story needs. All this wordage just makes books a product rather than a work or art.

LOL. These books would certainly be products, not art. I'm not trying to write The Great Gatsby. Just something that would be a fun read offering a little escapism. Fast-paced, tight stories without a lot of fluff. Lots of dialog. A few plot twists. And a tough-as-nails protagonist who won't back down.

I suspect you wouldn't like them but you're not the target audience either.

Jay Allan said...


That's the stupidest thing I've read all week. You actually conflated 'don't chop up your book into serials' to 'you clearly think any effort to profitably publish violates some artistic vow of poverty'.


I am not going to waste any more time on this stupidity. Read what you wrote and stop misquoting yourself.

Joe Konrath said...

Having a 99c promotion must mean titles are not selling as strongly as Joe keeps telling us.

Sales fluctuate and so do rankings. This happens with all books. No one knows why.

Smart writers continue to experiment and try new things.

Stupid writers criticize those who experiment.

Figure out which kind of writer you are.

Joseph Day said...

Well Konrath, who is it now you're insulting that doesn't agree with you?

Your most recent comment -

"Having a 99c promotion must mean titles are not selling as strongly as Joe keeps telling us.

Sales fluctuate and so do rankings. This happens with all books. No one knows why.

Smart writers continue to experiment and try new things.

Stupid writers criticize those who experiment.

Figure out which kind of writer you are."

Why don't you point this out to your sycophant David L Shutter, who keeps trying to suck up as your buddy.

An ex military jock, he has a blog on writing, made fatuous insults about me as a writer and my success, and imitating you, just called me names.

However, there's one problem with all this. Though David personal attacks other ppl in the writing biz, he's never completed any writing himself. Oh he's finishing up this novel, etc., even has the art work for it. But like I told the jerk, he never walked the walk.

I'll have more about David and you, Joe, when you ever get around to posting a new article lol. Also there'll be some interesting comments about PS Power. Did I get it right this time PS? As for Bill Hunter, nothing can be found about him. He's sort of like one of those Anonymous "cowards" you keep complaining about.

Relevant to your 99c silliness, somebody sent me an email last night. He doesn't even read your blog. I'm sorry. It's not very nice. Anyhow, baby Joe, here's what he wrote lol -

"Yeah, this is pretty arrogant on his part. 'Kind of reminds me of a kid who takes home his marbles because he doesn't like the rules of the game. I don't think he's bigger or more influential than Amazon. If he had to do all the marketing himself, he would surely sing a different tune. Most of the bloggers I know would welcome a nice arrangement with Amazon, even if Amazon takes a good cut. The undercutting of Amazon and other e publishers may give his blog a boost in the Google Rankings, but it won't last. Maybe he's using the 99-cent ploy to sell books he can't sell anyother way. If that's the case, one should question just how good his books are...you get what you pay for. Perhaps his ego has outgrown his talent."

Anonymous said...

Hey, JD, go somewhere else. No one wants you here.

John DuMond said...

Has anyone else noticed that John Locke, King of the 99 Cent E-book, has raised the price of the books in his Donovan Creed series to $2.99? I'm kind of curious as to how this has affected his sales/profitability.

Joseph Day said...

"Anonymous said...
Hey, JD, go somewhere else. No one wants you here."

According to Joe Konrath, people that use the name Anonymous are "cowards".

Why don't you go somewhere else if you can't stand up like a man or woman with your real name.

I'm sure Joe would approve this message lol. Wouldn't you, Joe?

Iulian said...

I have to be honest, every time I hear that _anything_ is 99c, I am very reluctant. This being said I downloaded tons of books to my Kindle for that amount and I've been very happy with them. My only point is this: I would've bought those books for more than 99c. It sounds like a lost opportunity for the seller, a sort of undervaluation of the work...

Joseph Day said...

To David L. Shutter, Wannabe Writer

Here's part of an email I just sent to somebody -

"But seriously, lol, once they got me going, I'm having a lot of fun.

Take this fool David L. Shutter. Just look at his blog to see how
hilarious this guy really can be. He wants to be a writer, but
evidently has been "still working on his manuscript" for over a year.
On a recent post, lol, he says he paid for a book cover on a book he
hasn't even completed . He calls me pathetic and despondent, but the
picture he posted of himself, lol, reminds me of some whipped dog you
want to kick again."

Shutter, on my three ebooks that are recently for sale, there were about eleven completed book covers from which to make a choice. They were all excellent, and it took a week for us to decide.

The person who did the art work and other promotion is a lady in the entertainment business, who is in Los Angeles, the media capital of the world. I didn't pay her anything for this. She's doing it for a percentage of the revenues. And she didn't know me before she took on this gig.

You live in Baltimore, and have some artist in Australia do a book cover for you. A book you haven't even finished, and a piece of art you had to pay someone to do.

That's the difference between a professional like me, and a nobody like you that will stay a nobody.

Btw, from what I've seen of your writing, it needs a lot of improvement. But then I guess you could say that about all of us, no matter how good we are.

If you live in a glass house, David, you shouldn't throw stones.

Now you go right ahead, and continue to ignore me.

Or are you this anonymous that's been recently popping up?

Anonymous said...

Hey, JD, you've well proven that you have the troll power to attack and name-call people from behind the security of your keyboard. Do you have any other tricks or is that it?

Jeff Shelby said...

Rob Gregory Browne said...

You miss the point entirely. When I, or anyone here, mentions money, it has nothing to do with rubbing anything into anyone's face. It's about POSSIBILITIES. And the possibilities to make a very good living running your own show are very, very real.

That's something people in the publishing industry don't seem to get. That authors can now make a LIVING WAGE without their permission. I myself didn't quite believe it until I saw it first hand.

And I think anyone who makes great money self-publishing should shout it from the rooftops, for the good of all authors.
/

RGB - exactly. It's about showing the possibilities and sharing the information. Anyone who has been on the traditional side knows how utterly impossible it is to get ANY real information. Talking about it and sharing it here and in other forums is one of the biggest benefits of self-pubbing.

Also - Rodney Dangerfield is awesome.

Joseph Day said...

"Anonymous said...
Hey, JD, you've well proven that you have the troll power to attack and name-call people from behind the security of your keyboard. Do you have any other tricks or is that it?"

Once again I repeat -


"According to Joe Konrath, people that use the name Anonymous are "cowards".

Why don't you go somewhere else if you can't stand up like a man or woman with your real name.

I'm sure Joe would approve this message lol. Wouldn't you, Joe?"

You're the one hiding dude, not me.

What's really funny, lol, is that I'm probably talking to some little kid or teeny bopper.

Michael McClung said...

I'm sure Joe would approve this message lol. Wouldn't you, Joe?

What's really funny, lol, is that I'm probably talking to some little kid or teeny bopper.


I for one find the whole 'lol' thing kind of creepy. It's like a nervous tick, or a perfunctory stab at jollility that's way, way inappropriate considering everything written before and after.

Eric said...

Why is it sometimes when I read the comments here I feel like I’m on an elementary school playground?

Some people pick fights just to be a toll or hope that the fight will increase their visibility on the net and increase the sales of their books.

To those trolls – Why do we listen to Joe Konrath? Because he has a proven track record both in producing books and in being honest in talking about sales, marketing and promotion. This is more than can be said from some of the people making comments here on the site. Let’s see, am I going to listen to the person who has 3 books out all ranked at the bottom of the Amazon list or someone who has many books out with many in the top 100? This is no brainer.

Joe Konrath also has a large enough collection of books where one can collect enough data and see statistics along with their results. A person with only one or two books can never be 100% sure if the price drop is what caused the increase in sales or if some other factor played a part.

Finally when all is said and done, when it comes to sales, marketing and promotion of e-book one size does not fit all. While some things work well for Joe they may not work for everyone. You have to tailor your approach based on your target market and not based on just one factor. I would never try to sale a Mystery book the same why I would try to sell a cookbook. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn or get ideas from other sources. Until traditional publishing were marketing was all handled by a large corporation with independent publishing everything is put into our hands. And I want to congratulate all the people who are trying new and different things.

Stitch said...

Joseph Day:

Who did your website? Did you pay someone to do it, or did you do it yourself?

Joseph Day said...

To Michael McClung -

"I for one find the whole 'lol' thing kind of creepy. It's like a nervous tick, or a perfunctory stab at jollility that's way, way inappropriate considering everything written before and after."

Michael, you're entitled to your opinion.

Lol, means laughing out load, and write lol when I'm actually laughing out load, like now lol.

As for what's been written before and after, Jesus, man, just take a look at what Konrath says to anyone who disagrees with him.

Joseph Day said...

To Eric -

I'm not sure if some of your comment is directed to me.

Regretfully, I have the impression I'm replying to another David L Shutter. Take an honest look at your Twitter page, the website you list where the last post is Feb 2011, your own web site on Twitter that has a broken link. In fact Eric, just look at your "co-writing a fantasy novel together".

Like I told Shutter, if you live in a glass house, don't throw stones.

Personal attacks have nothing to do with the advantages or disadvantages of 99c books. But like Konrath, you and the rest of his fans seem to think that's all that matters.

Also, if you're going to make comments about me as a writer, or my success, make you sure you have the facts. If I was Konrath, I'd call you a moron. But I'm sure you've already been told that many times.

Oh, and btw about my being a troll. Like I explained yesterday, I went out of my way to avoid that. It's people like you and Shudder that bring up my background.

And if you're going to insult me, why don't you at least be the man you pretend to be, and say so outright.

Sasha said...

In response to "I think it's plain that there is far more "crap" from indie books than traditionally published books."

Joe Konrath wrote:

"Thanks. I've missed picking on anonymous pinheads. First, give me an objective, universally agreed upon definition of "crap" when it comes to books. Second, please relate how many books, both indie and legacy published, you have personally read beginning to end, and show me the ratio of crap to decent. If not, point me to that comprehensive study that shows how self-pubbed books are crappier than legacy."

At the risk of also being called too stupid to post on your blog, I think it would be surprising if a higher proportion of self-published books than other books weren't crap, because there are no barriers to self-publishing. I haven't read and compared a large sample of books of both types and I can't point to a study that has. I don't see the need to come up with a universally agreed definition of "crap", either - we could each use our own because the absolute standard used doesn't matter. But doesn't it just stand to reason that if there's nothing to stop someone who has bad grammar, can't spell, or hasn't bothered to try to learn the craft just going ahead and hitting the "publish" button, then it's going to increase the crap quotient in self-published books?

This isn't the same as saying that there aren't loads of good self-published books and loads of bad traditionally published books. I don't understand why it seems so controversial or stupid to say that when anyone can publish anything with no quality control except what's in their own heads, it's going to lead to a higher rate of crap than otherwise.

I'm new to this and I'm sincerely asking the question because I want to know. If you think the question has been long past answered, can you at least link me to an earlier post where you discussed it?

Joseph Day said...

To Stitch -

Neither. Didn't do it, didn't pay someone myself.

And I'm not sure which web site you mean. There's two of them.

If this is a friendly discussion, email me at either web site, and I'll get back with you.

Unfortunately, I can't do this on Konrath's blog, lol, because it's a war zone thanks to Konrath and his fools.

Please notice, fools, I made no effort to troll my web site.

It's incredible lol. All these ppl here gang faqing me are the biggest bunch of losers and misfits I've ever seen. Don't believe me lol. Just check their background if there's anything to check lol.

Stitch said...

Joseph Day:

Never mind. I was going to offer to help with the bad grammar, typos and weird layout. But having read some more of your comments here, I realize you're not the type of person I would like to help.

Oh, and it's laughing out loud, not laughing out load.

David L. Shutter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Gregory Browne said...

I, for one would love to get back to the topic of Joes 99 cent strategy. How did it work out?

Joseph Day said...

To Stitch -

Never asked for your help or needed it lol. And quite frankly, if you were going to offer help, why didn't you just email me instead of making general comments here about a word I mispelled.

Now Stitch, lol, you go back to that game department in that hobby shop in "Sweden", and play with your thumb candy.

Joe Konrath said...

Mr. Day: Go play elsewhere. You have worn out your welcome. Future posts will be deleted.

Rob: The 99 cent sale put 13 of my books on various bestseller lists, and currently my sales are up about 30%-40% over what they were prior to the sale. So I'd call it a success.

Anonymous said...

JA, is there any way you can get this guy out of here? Ban his IP or something? Seriously, I feel dirty just being around him.

Joe Konrath said...

Sasha - blanket statements and generalizations are easy to pick apart in a debate. So is confusing personal opinion with inherent quality.

If someone thinks there are a lot of crap indie books, that should be backed up with evidence, and "crap" should be defined. Or else it is a meaningless comment that contributes nothing. And when it is said to be deliberately confrontational, I'm happy to point out the idiocy in the comment.

Mark Edward Hall said...

Thank you, Joe. I don't post here much but I lurk a lot and frankly that guy was getting on my nerves. I hope he goes and plays elsewhere.

Joe Konrath said...

Seriously, I feel dirty just being around him.

It's my house, and I choose who is invited. If he doesn't go away on his own, I'll go back to moderating comments. But usually when I ask someone to leave, they leave. Why hang out somewhere you aren't wanted?

Joshua Simcox said...

For such a "professional", Day sure is one hell of a piss-poor writer. I could type more coherent prose with my elbows.

--Joshua

Anonymous said...

Joe,

Do you have any plans to release a new solo title in the future?

Sasha said...

Joe Konrath wrote: "Sasha - blanket statements and generalizations are easy to pick apart in a debate. So is confusing personal opinion with inherent quality. If someone thinks there are a lot of crap indie books, that should be backed up with evidence, and "crap" should be defined. Or else it is a meaningless comment that contributes nothing. And when it is said to be deliberately confrontational, I'm happy to point out the idiocy in the comment."

Hi Joe. I'm saying that there must surely be a lot of crap indie books and a lot of crap non-indie books; and a lot of great indie books and a lot of great non-indie books. But it would surely be extraordinary if there weren't a higher proportion of lower quality indie books (by any standard) than lower quality non-indie books because there is no filter other than the author's own decision whether or not to publish. You could argue that publishers are imperfect as filters and I would agree but even an imperfect filter is better than no filter.

Some of the quality standards I suggested such as poor grammar and poor spelling are surely ones that we can all agree on. Not everyone who chooses to write a story can express themselves with good grammar and spelling and publishers can mostly weed those out, for example.

It's not my intention to be confrontational and I hope I'm not coming across like that. I sincerely don't understand your point of view on this.

To put it another way: we would only expect the same distribution of quality within two samples of books if we were drawing from the same population. But clearly, we're not: one group has been filtered, the other is raw. It seems to me that the burden of proof lies with the person arguing that the groups should be the same.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope Joe hasn't given up writing, but it does seem like it has been a couple of years since he wrote anything that wasn't a collaboration.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Bad show to delete Mr Day's comments - Surely everyone is entitled to their opinion. Debate equals growth after all.

Russ Roberts said...

So sad to see an otherwise intelligent blog about independent publishing degenerate into a hissyfit. The banning of Joe Day from your blog is unfortunate, because he raises some valid points about the publishing business and what constitutes good writing. Apparently, he hit on a raw nerve. So what? Criticism is part of life. No one is perfect. Why resort to name calling, when all that will do is foster bitterness and cloud the issue of getting new writers into print? I've known Joe Day for many years and in no way consider him a "pinhead" or an "idiot". Joe has a good working relationship with several legacy and e-book publishers and has never resorted to harsh replies unless provoked. Perhaps it's time to just back off a bit, let things cool down, and go about the business of promoting and publishing new authors. You have some success at this. Your blog can really help people if you let it. Just my $.02 worth. Russ

Sasha said...

I should add that there are some things that don’t follow from the argument that I’m making (that it would be weird if a higher proportion of indie than non-indie books weren’t of lower quality):

(1) that there aren’t loads of indie books as good as the best non-indie books, more than one could ever read;

(2) that there aren’t loads of bad non-indie books;

(3) that publishers aren’t too restrictive in what they publish;

(4) that publishers don’t often turn down great books;

(5) that publishing as an indie isn’t a great idea and potentially more profitable for authors.

That being so, I genuinely don’t understand why it actually matters – really, matters at all – that a higher proportion of indie books might be below any given quality threshold than non-indie books. I don’t understand why the position that the two kinds of books have the same quality distribution is so hotly defended.

Anonymous said...

Konrath the coward -

You backing off from Joe Day shows who the real coward is.

It's Joe Konrath.

Are you that scared of him?

You're a hypocrite.Let Joe Day back n and be nice to him. Maybe he'll throw you a bone, you cur.

This post has been approved by Joe Day.

E.C. Belikov said...

@Russ Roberts I have to respectfully disagree. I think the banning of Joe Day was entirely appropriate. In his original post he made one interesting point. Paraphrasing he said: that a reader is unlikely to choose one book over another based on price alone. That’s an interesting talking point. But then he went on to say that Joe Konrath was saying that a reader would choose a book based on price alone…weird, I read Joe’s original blog post, and didn’t think he said anything of the kind. In fact, he’s said many times that books are not fungible.

Then Mr. Day went on to attack Mr. Konrath’s career and integrity—on Mr. Konrath’s blog of all places—using half-truths and fabrications, then attacked several other people who spoke up in this thread. What did he expect? What would any reasonable person expect from that behavior?

Now he’s making snarky comments using the anonymous option. Very mature.

Anonymous said...

Joe Day wrote -


I'll be replying to the rest of Joe's tirade in installments if he has the guts to allow me to comment further in his blog

Joe Konrath, if you banned Mr.Day, you don't have the guts.

That's why ppl are anonymous here. They're not cowards. You just can't take the truth.

E.C. Belikov said...

@Sasha I can understand where you’re coming from, and on a purely instinctual level, I’m inclined to agree with you. But unless one can figure out some way to set parameters for “crap”, then empirically catalogue it, it’s just a blanket statement without meaning. Actually it’s worse than having no meaning, because it implicitly defines indie books as a whole as being ‘lesser entities’. I’d prefer not to have that type of prejudice, however mild, hanging over my work. Wouldn’t you?

J.L. Volt said...

To Russ Roberts and Gary Dobbs:

Joe Day was acting like a troll. His behavior was textbook definition of trolling. Why would any rational person in their right mind even entertain someone like that? Consider:

1.) He walks into a guy's blog, calls him mediocre, attacks his career with fabrications and half-truths, attacks his writing when his own writing is grade A manure, and completely misconstrues the point of his post.

2.) He brought no value, whatsoever. 99% of his comments was just him inciting flame wars.

3.) Acts like the victim when the tables are turned. "Stop ganging up on me, guys!" *Sob*

3.) The guy is delusional. Says he's a professional, and then goes on to a blog site and engages in spats with different people. I applaud you, Day, you truly are a professional.

4.) To continue the delusion theme, he also says he's a success, and his books aren't selling.

5.) He probably had penis envy. How else can you explain a random nobody on the Internet who is hellbent on sullying someone else's name? Only someone so insecure would embark on a campaign to tear someone else down to make himself feel better.

What exactly about that is not trolling? What was his so-called contribution to the debate? Because I saw nothing but vitriol and venom spewing from his keyboard.

Banning him is the right move. Let a troll stick around, and he'll fester and poison everything around him. After all, you wouldn't just leave a snake bite alone, would you? Or a deep cut on your arm? No, you'd do something about it before it gets worse.

Archangel said...

Can you all help me out here... not sure what is meant by two things on the comments here:

What does it mean that someone is 'military' and it appears to mean a slur? Is my family reading too much into the commenter who seemed to use that as part of putting another down? I hope not. We have many immediate family who served and are serving. None of us want to go back to the days during Nam where people disrespected those who were drafted and served, or enlisted and served.
So would like to better understand the meaning in using the word "military" in a string of put downs. I hope we are misunderstanding what seems like disrespect for those who serve.

Second, what is "gang faqing"? We understand fragging, we understand FAQs, we dont get what the writer means when they often use the term "gang faquing."

Thanks for your thoughts on these two things.

drcpe/military wife and husband military partially disabled veteran USAF 21 years (ret.) Proud family deployed to WWII, Nam, Korea, Gulf.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

J L Volt said - Banning him is the right move. Let a troll stick around, and he'll fester and poison everything around him. After all, you wouldn't just leave a snake bite alone, would you? Or a deep cut on your arm? No, you'd do something about it before it gets worse.

Man that's crap and I don't know what a troll is - in this context of course.

Sasha said...

E.C. Belikov wrote: "@Sasha I can understand where you’re coming from, and on a purely instinctual level, I’m inclined to agree with you. But unless one can figure out some way to set parameters for “crap”, then empirically catalogue it, it’s just a blanket statement without meaning. Actually it’s worse than having no meaning, because it implicitly defines indie books as a whole as being ‘lesser entities’. I’d prefer not to have that type of prejudice, however mild, hanging over my work. Wouldn’t you?"

Hi EC. I've suggested earlier some parameters that we could all agree on for "crap" such as bad grammar and poor spelling. I think we'd also agree on others such as authors using words that don't mean what they think they mean; redundant adjectives; factual inconsistencies; accidentally unnatural-sounding dialogue; and so on. I agree that other things might be harder to agree on, such as whether a book is well-paced, is witty and so on but don't you find some books just plain badly written by the kind of basic criteria I've suggested?

Consider your own criteria for a well-written book (technically well-written as opposed to just appealing to your personal taste). Using those criteria, don't you think that a higher proportion of indie books would fail your criteria than those that have been filtered by a publisher? A lot of indie books will have had no editing and the basic criteria I've mentioned are the kind of things an editor would pick up, whether that's one in a publishing house or one that an indie author has paid for.

Perhaps it's my use of the word "crap" that's pushing buttons here - I was quoting it from another poster and perhaps I should have said "of low quality".

I'm trying to argue that indie books probably have a longer tail of books of lower quality because of the lack of a filter so that maybe, say, 20% fall below a particular standard that only 10% of non-indie books fall below. That would mean, all other things being equal, that the average quality of an indie book is lower than a non-indie but that is very far from saying that the quality of the average indie book is much lower, if at all, or that the vast majority of indie books are poor.

This is not a matter of prejudice, it's a matter of logic. To argue that unfiltered books are as good as filtered ones, you'd have to argue that publishers make their filtering decisions completely - not just somewhat, but completely - at random in relation to any measure of quality. That's a hell of a claim to make and that's the sort of claim that needs evidence to back it up because it goes against all common sense, or so it seems to me.

We disagree, but thanks for engaging with me. This issue interests me. I am in favour of self-publishing but don't understand why we can't say, "A higher proportion of indie books are probably of low quality compared to non-indies but because the low quality books are a small minority of indie books, so what?" As Joe said on an earlier blog post, customers don't see the poor quality books way down the list whether indie or traditionally published. They don't affect the market.

P.S. Power said...

There is also the other side of the coin to consider that very few people ever mention.

A lot, even most, traditionally published works are gone over by teams of people who's job it is to take out anything controversial, edgy or that might be too new or daring for the buying public.

I think that a great thing about Independent works is that people have a chance to try something different and see if real people on the street, the actual readers, might like it.

Good editing is important, but a whole lot of publishers used that as an excuse to change key elements of most authors works.

Go look at the top one hundred authors on the NYT Bestsellers list.

Chances are out of that hundred only a tiny handful really got to say what they really wanted to in their work.

The rest was a team effort to make a "bland but safe" product.

It works, but it isn't the only thing of value in the writing world.

In a world with fewer gatekeepers there's more risk. For everyone.

But without risk, nothing new happens at all.

Sasha said...

Hi PS Powers - I had just been wondering whether there's any reason to think that the tail of the distribution of indie book quality might be stretched out at the higher end as well as the lower and what you suggest is a good point. I had also thought that indie authors might be self-selecting at the top end of the midlist such that the ones with more confidence in their writing (perhaps from a better sales history when traditionally published) might be more inclined to go indie. That would pull up the average. There may be other factors that do the same.

I hope I don't seem to be attacking indie writing. I'm not. But I think it's better to be honest about what goes on at the lower end, especially since nothing hangs on it. There's nothing for indie authors to be ashamed about if some people who aren't very good at writing are self-publishing because there's nothing to stop them. It's no reflection on the quality of the work of any other author, just as a bad book by a non-indie is any reflection on a good one. It doesn't mean that the best indie writers aren't as good as the best non-indie writers or that the indie midlist isn't as good as the non-indie one. Or better, as you say.

J.L. Volt said...

Gary Dobbs said:

"Man that's crap and I don't know what a troll is - in this context of course."

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=troll

troll - One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

Joe Day: Textbook Troll. A perfect case study.

Denise Winters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise Winters said...

Also,
I think there is a merit in .99 cent sells and even non-indie published books use them. I have been upset on more than one occasion when a book published by a house went on sale for .99 in order to mark the release of an anniversary addition or another book in a series.

As a matter of fact, if the marketing teams of the publishing houses are doing .99 and free promos, maybe they are something that others should look too. Not everything the marketing departments and publishers come up with works, but I think it is helpful to look at what they are trying. There have been a few books,especially with series, I might not have looked at were it not for the promo. Especially books in the realm of paranormal and urban fantasy which I usually do not buy. And I will likely try a couple of Konrath's in part because I have not been a huge mystery and thriller reader until recently, and that because I began getting used books in the genre free or cheap.

Denise Winters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise Winters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ramon said...

I have to admit that all this debate about $.99 has me thinking. I had never considered doing it, but I'm starting to consider perhaps running a sale, like Joe is doing, to see if it will spur some sales. As he said, it's about being read more than profit. Obviously this will only work if you have a number of works published already, so I'm thinking this may be an option for me to consider. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I sure hope Joe hasn't given up writing, but it does seem like it has been a couple of years since he wrote anything that wasn't a collaboration."

I noticed the collaboration as well.

I think it is a publishing tactic for the following reasons:

1.) The built in audiences are atomatically "doubled", as in Konrath's audience gets mixed with the other author's audience.
2.) Konrath gets to improve his writing by collaborating with writers that might be better tham him.
3.) The other author will probably do some promoting on his/her own, at least on the other author's blog.

I noticed this a long time ago, but didn't say anything as I was going to use the tactic myself and didn't want it to be in widespread use.

But I now realize that I like working alone.

Anon #2

Anonymous said...

Sasha said:

"Hi Joe. I'm saying that there must surely be a lot of crap indie books and a lot of crap non-indie books; and a lot of great indie books and a lot of great non-indie books. But it would surely be extraordinary if there weren't a higher proportion of lower quality indie books (by any standard) than lower quality non-indie books because there is no filter other than the author's own decision whether or not to publish. You could argue that publishers are imperfect as filters and I would agree but even an imperfect filter is better than no filter."

I'm inclined to agree with Sasha. You don't need stats to assume that books not proofread and vetted for spelling, grammar and consistency will be of lower quality than books that are.

Even on this thread we have seen much criticism of quality of the ebooks, both of Joe's fans and his detractors.

It is fair to question the meaning of "quality literature." But to ignore that "quality literature" exists and that the skills of traditional publishers have helped authors reach that benchmark is probably a mistake. Like thinking a McDonald's burger is the equivalent of a healthy meal.

Joe is making an excellent living, probably earning more than many writers "of quality." There is a market for all kinds of literature, good, bad and indifferent if the stories are engaging enough to find an audience.

Anonymously Optimistic

Joe Konrath said...

You don't need stats to assume that books not proofread and vetted for spelling, grammar and consistency will be of lower quality than books that are.

I agree. But you do need to be psychic to know 100% which ones have poor spelling, grammar, and consistency without reading them.

So, unless Sasha is psychic, or has personally read hundreds of self-pubbed ebooks, it's a blanket statement and a bad argument.

Joe Konrath said...

BTW, when I kick someone off my blog and they come back as anonymous sock puppets... sad. Sad and weak and pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Joe said:

"So, unless Sasha is psychic, or has personally read hundreds of self-pubbed ebooks, it's a blanket statement and a bad argument."

I don't think Sasha is psychic but I think it's something that indie writers don't like to hear.

But it's your blog Joe and I hear and respect your opinion.

Anonymously Optimistic

Anonymous said...

Joe Konrath is a coward.

He's afraid of anyone smarter than he is.

Whoever you kicked off your blog, why don't you invite them back so they can answer you?

You're an overstuffed chicken.

Joe Konrath said...

Joe Konrath is a coward.

Joe Konrath is now turning off anonymous comments because you are boring him.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

Joe, glad to hear your experiment was a success. I'm debating putting another one of my books up on KDP Select for a few days to see what happens, but will definitely keep the 99 cent promo idea in mind.

I love that we can experiment with pricing, etc. And I love that we are in complete control of it. When I suggested to one of my former publishers that they do a low-price promo on one of my books I was quickly shot down. A bit frustrating, to say the least.

I notice, however, that some traditional publishers are trying the free and 99 cent promos and I'd be curious to know how it worked out for them. I'm not sure if readers are willing to take the leap from free or 99 cents to $11.99 and above for an ebook. But I have no way of knowing how successful such experiments were.

Wayne said...

It's interesting how many writers have no clue about business. Joe Day's point, from what I could tell outside of trolling, is that a sale means Konrath's carrer is sinking. That's kind of silly. Does Walmart or your local grocery store offering sales imply they are going out of business? I've no clue how Konrath is doing but sales are normal parts of business.

Sales do help people with larger backlists though more than others. The more material you have for people to go on to buy the better.

Kris Rusch has several business posts in her blog that might help people.

T Ludlow said...

Sasha

I agree with your view that an indie book is more likely to disappoint than a non-indie. There’s no reason an indie should not reach the same heights as a great legacy book, but at the same time they can fall much lower. I’ve read many indie novels that I’ve found to be shockingly poor; not for subjective reasons (tastes vary, obviously) but for some of the objective measures you mentioned in your email (spelling, grammar, deviations from internal logic, factual errors etc). I also agree that the burden of proof lies with anyone proposing the opposite ie that there is no qualitative difference between the output of indies and the traditional publishers.

(A note of caution, however; I’ve found that I now read the works of indie authors with a far more critical eye than those produced by legacy publishers. I expect to find mistakes in an indie book, so I look for them.)

Perhaps we need an experiment; picks a genre then choose five debut novels from legacy writers and five from indies. Give them to thirty readers (don't tell them which is which) and ask them to guess.
But would anyone be genuinely surprised if they could tell the difference?

Joe Konrath said...

I also agree that the burden of proof lies with anyone proposing the opposite

Nope. The burden of proof lies with the one making the claim, not denying the claim.

If you said you had a gremlin in your garage, it would be your job to prove it, not mine to disprove it.

If you state all people named Dustin are left-handed, it is not my job to find a right-handed Dustin, even though I easily could. It is your job to show every Dustin in the world is left-handed.

On Kindleboards there is a thread of over 100 writers who have sold more than 50,000 ebooks. I could make blanket statements about that, such as "self published ebooks sell more copies and make more money than midlist published ebooks" but I'd have to defend a statement like that. Otherwise it is meaningless and adds nothing to the discussion.

No doubt some self-pubbed ebooks sell more copies and make more money--I'm a perfect example of this. My self-pubbed titles have greatly outsold my legacy backlist. But I wouldn't generalize.

Saying an indie book is more likely to disappoint is such a generalization, and as such is meaningless. Too many factors are ignored in a blanket statement like that.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

But would anyone be genuinely surprised if they could tell the difference?

I would be surprised if they could, for the most part. My own personal opinion is that many traditionally published books are horrendously written and edited, so I'm not sure you'd find much difference.

But that's only my opinion.

After the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey, however, I have to conclude that traditional publishing doesn't give a DAMN about how well written a book is. Their bottom line is sales.

I don't think this was always true, but one editor did tell me recently that publishers are now looking for blockbusters. Much like the movie studios. They aren't targeting the average reader, but he sometimers who only read a book or two a year.

So I guess it's up to the independents to give their readers the kinds of stories they love.

Merrill Heath said...

Joe said: If you said you had a gremlin in your garage, it would be your job to prove it, not mine to disprove it.

If you state all people named Dustin are left-handed, it is not my job to find a right-handed Dustin, even though I easily could. It is your job to show every Dustin in the world is left-handed.


I actually do have a gremlin, but he's not in my garage. He lives in my terrarium with an elf I caught - who, incidentally, is named Dustin and is indeed left-handed.

Rob said: After the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey, however, I have to conclude that traditional publishing doesn't give a DAMN about how well written a book is. Their bottom line is sales.

I don't think this was always true, but one editor did tell me recently that publishers are now looking for blockbusters.


I think this has been the case for a long time. I can't tell you how many rejection letters my father received that stated: "I love this book. It's beautifully written. But I don't think I can sell it."

Of course, there have also been numerous articles on the plight of the midlist author. Like this article published back in 1997.

Joe Konrath said...

Joe's comments aren't welcome here, Russell. And you should reread this thread and reconsider the quality of your friends. Because he's an idiot.

I get millions of hits a year on this blog. Does Joe seriously want people who Google his name to have this thread come up as the #1 search result? Anyone reading his vitriol will no doubt find him as repellent as the other commentors here.

I won't delete these comments of his, but if he has a brain in his head, he should. They don't do him any good. They certainly won't help him sell books.

When in a hole, stop digging.

Archangel said...

There's a principle of econ, called loss leaders. Many small and big corps use it; giving away something for free/ or below actual cost to the retailer, in order to stimulate sales of (these are all and/ors)
1)other items not on sale
2) in order to bring new but also old customers in 'the door' to see what's new (In AMZ terms, that could also include newest reviews of works, newest interviews, forthcoming works, etc.
3. In econ, placing units on sale are a form of branding, making the store known often even more so than the product(s) on sale.
4. Sales in econ are considered 'relational' that is, building of not just trading in units, but making a statement, that from time to time, you can, if you wish, buy here at reduced cost/ or our loss leader cost.
5. The idea in a below cost sale, is to lasso new and old customers, to move as many units as possible, not to this time, make money in the moment, but build momentum for tomorrow.
6. When mfg or authors or painters or whomever are prolific, they often have more leeway to offer sales, as there is much to see. However, if a Sony 48" HDTV were the only item in the entire store but at 19.99, hoards would come nonetheless, so what's called "perceived quality' in econ, is important to assess before a sale also.
7. However, on the other hand, if one were to give away brats and beer to sell same TV at 1500.00 each, jillions would show up for the brats and beer and not buy, but have a great time. This is why often, corps like rental share condos make you listen to the spiel first, and then you can have your brat and beer, nowadays given as a coupon rather than a party of like kind.
8. People in large sales groups know there are more than just one kind of customer: in home goods, for instance, many will buy at full price those Ralph L. Sheets because they are redecorating or want to give as a gift, or just have them now. But many, including the above class, will also show up at the once a year 'white sale' of bed linens and such, and buy at reduced prices, cant move it prices, clearance prices.

In sales econ, there's no good, right, bad, wrong way to sell. But, there is a trajectory to sales in different kinds of products that one can study, and see that actually most sales are cyclical, and follow a pattern.

For indie publishers, everyone is still finding their own pattern. One way to learn what one's own pattern might be in terms of most useful, is to study other's successful patterns, like Joe's for instance.

Keeping in mind that the basis of all sales and retail is not exactly type of product, but the oldest law: demand.

Sales build up demand, create a locus (re that particular author) where people know they can go to get the quality THEY perceive as present, and for the price(s) they are willing to pay.

Just my .02

Thanks.

drcpe

Thom said...

I don't think Joe's sale is a loss leader. My guess is, at this point on his titles, even the royalty split on .99 shows a profit, albeit a small one.

Joe Konrath said...

My guess is, at this point on his titles, even the royalty split on .99 shows a profit, albeit a small one.

Every one of my titles has made a profit. Even the novel I paid translate into German.

Now it's just a matter of maximizing profits, finding that sweet spot between units sold and price per unit.

Casper Bogart said...

Joe K wrote:
Now it's just a matter of maximizing profits, finding that sweet spot between units sold and price per unit.

Yes, the sweet spot.

While this is unlikely to happen, in my wish book we'd see Amazon adapt some refinements to royalty splits:

Stay the same at .99, but bump up to 50% + delivery charges for $1.99 to 2.98.

This would help those that write short fiction. right now, it's hard to find that sweet spot for shorter works, although we're trying.

David L. Shutter said...

For what it's worth, I've deleted my comments regarding Mr. Day.

When confronting fire, gasoline is a poor substitute for water.

My apologies to all for my part in disturbing the original discussion.

Joe Konrath said...

A flame war isn't a debate. And an idiot who deliberately tries to start a fight isn't worth debating. Day is the latest idiot in a long line of idiots. They aren't worth my time.

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/07/be-deliberate.html

Everyone is welcome to come on my blog and debate rationally.

But I don't welcome pinheads who get every fact wrong and lead with insults. I don't feed trolls. Period. I ban them and block them, because it hurts those who actually do come here to learn and to debate.

That's the whole of it. It's impossible to insult me, because I don't care what people think.

It may be possible to beat me in a debate. But it hasn't happened yet. All I get are whiny little bitch boys who insult, cherry pick, make shit up, and call that confrontation. It isn't confrontation. It's schoolyard immaturity. It's what pinheads mistake as a battle.

There's no battle. You're a moron, and I delete you.

If someone opposes my views and wants to debate, I challenge them to quote me, refute my points, make a counter argument. Instead the majority gets facts wrong, acts like pinheads, and then gets pissy because I told them to play elsewhere.

Don't like me? I don't care, remember?

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2012/05/tone.html

Does it make you feel good to disagree with me? How small. Try to do wit using facts, logic, and reason, and I might show up on your blog one day.

Joe Konrath said...

Flame wars are like car accidents, David. You're only human if you slow down to gawk.

And it is amusing to see how delusional some people can become. But I didn't see any reason for you to apologize in this thread.

David L. Shutter said...

Appreciate it Joe, but what you said recently reminded me of something I told myself awhile back after witnessing an incredibly immature spaz-fest elsewhere.

It's not a web prescence to have. The internet has enough clowns. The magnitude of this weeks train wreck caused that to slip my mind.

Moving on: I'm curious to hear if you have anything to say about the Amazon algorithm changes.

Joe Konrath said...

I'm curious to hear if you have anything to say about the Amazon algorithm changes.

As far as I've been able to discover, Amazon hasn't had any algorithm changes.

When new data enters a system, it can alter the outcome without the equations changing. I really can't say more, but I'd stop thinking about how Amazon changed things, and start thinking about what those perceived changes could mean.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

I too humbly aplogise for having an opinion on this which is not in the guidelines of this blog. Damn my free thinking ways.

Michael McClung said...

Hi Joe,

I'd say I was sorry for my part in hijacking the thread, but it wouldn't be very honest of me. I figure if you want me to lay off, you'll have no problem letting me know.

Your house, your way.

I don't always agree with you, but I'm always keen to hear what you've got to say.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Joe Konrath wrote: It may be possible to beat me in a debate. But it hasn't happened yet. All I get are whiny little bitch boys who insult, cherry pick, make shit up, and call that confrontation. It isn't confrontation. It's schoolyard immaturity. It's what pinheads mistake as a battle.


I say - then let's debate.

Joe Konrath said...

I too humbly aplogise for having an opinion on this which is not in the guidelines of this blog.

I didn't kick Day off for his opinion. I kicked him off for being an ass.

Contrary opinion is fine. Contrary opinion backed up with logic and fact is better. He didn't use logic or fact. He used lies and insults, and then didn't respond to any of my counter-points.

If you also want to be disruptive, insulting, and lie, you too can play elsewhere.

I say - then let's debate.

Do you know how? It involves taking something I said and refuting it by constructing a counter-argument using facts and logic.

Ready when you are. Find something I said you believe is wrong, and try to prove it. But watch out for cherry picking, taking quotes out of context, confusing opinion with fact, straw men, and ad hominem attacks. Being sarcastic, and even insulting, is fine, if you can catch me in a lie or acting stupidly. But name calling without provocation is juvenile and pointless.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

OK Joe - first I don't do name calling. The point I am trying to make is that a well reasoned argument is a better defense then banning people from the comments on this otherwise excellent blog.

Now there are claims that you are inflating your sales figures so what do you say about this?

Also the poster who said there was more crap being published indie style than traditionally, was shot down unfairly. There is rubbish in all forms of publishing but with no constraints it stands to reason that more crap will slip through the indie net. Now I may be a pinhead but I don't think you answered these points in any valid fashion.

My final point is that whlst Jo Day did resort to name calling, you did call him a pinhead and an idiot.

And lastly is it true you did a deal with Ace Books for the SF novel? If so this would seem strange given all you have said about the gatekeepers etc.

None of these questions are intended to offend - I like your writing a lot, but I do sense some BS here.

Yours
UN-anonymously Gary of The Tainted Archive.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Also Joe you agree to a debate but say no insults which is fine and dandy but you wrote this -

It's impossible to insult me, because I don't care what people think.

It may be possible to beat me in a debate. But it hasn't happened yet. All I get are whiny little bitch boys who insult, cherry pick, make shit up, and call that confrontation. It isn't confrontation. It's schoolyard immaturity. It's what pinheads mistake as a battle.

There's no battle. You're a moron, and I delete you.



Now Joe to me that splurge there is not only arrogant but contains several insults. BUt like you I don't give a damn so no offense taken.

E.C. Belikov said...

Joe, I’m not trying to butt in here, but I wanted to add my opinion to this debate. Please let me know if you’d rather I stay out of it.

Gary said: “Also the poster who said there was more crap being published indie style than traditionally, was shot down unfairly. There is rubbish in all forms of publishing but with no constraints it stands to reason that more crap will slip through the indie net. Now I may be a pinhead but I don't think you answered these points in any valid fashion.”

I actually felt like I made a valid point against Sasha’s argument. Unfortunately I was too busy yesterday to address the counterpoints, but to be honest I felt like they were simply reiterations of the original. But I’ll state my opinion on this subject in more detail.

When you say it ‘stands to reason’, you’re saying it stands with your reason. It’s your opinion based on your gut instinct and perhaps, your personal experiences with indie and traditionally published books. Well fine, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and I’m sure there are plenty of other people who share it.

However you have to realize that you’re not debating with fact here. To come up with some facts on this subject using the scientific method you would need to:

1. Design a fair, unbiased study.
2. Cull your Test Material (i.e. indie/traditional books w/o cherrypicking)
3. Recruit an appropriate Control Group.
4. Perform the study.
5. Compile and catalogue the results from the study.
6. Draw a conclusion.
7. Repeat study with new Test Material and Control Group to confirm results.

Going through those steps would go a long way toward proving or disproving your opinion. But until we have some type of solid evidence, it’s just a gut instinct.

So when someone says: “Indie writers, in general, write more crap”, it is their responsibility to provide backing for their claim—otherwise it is just an unsubstantiated blanket statement that may be unfair and possibly harmful.

Since the rest of your questions are directly related to Joe, I’ll let him answer them, even though I’m tempted to tell you about Timecaster (the SF novel in question), since being a huge SF fan, it is my favorite of all Joe’s books, and I know the circumstances around that situation.

Michael McClung said...

E.C.-

I'd (respectfully, as you've been nothing but a gentleman) disagree with you on one point.

If someone says 'it stands to reason' then the argument is one of logic and reason, and should be taken so.

There's a whole school of Western culture devoted to just such debate.

No-one here likely has the means or ability to set up a rigorous study based on the scientific method. To insist on such measures is to de facto negate any discussion on the matter at hand, which does no-one any good.

E.C. Belikov said...

Whoops, I forgot a HUGE step in my previous post.

To design a proper study you'd need to define the parameters of a quality book.

Sasha went through some objective qualifications such as: spelling, grammar, syntax, but at that point any story that’s been through a thorough line edit and proofread is going to qualify. That’s just the tip of the iceberg and I’m afraid everything below the waterline is completely subjective.

So in the event you did a study the results would have to have an opinion-qualifier statement like “A greater number of readers felt that [group A]’s books were of a higher quality than [group B]’s”, or something like that.

E.C. Belikov said...

Michael,

Thank you for the respectful disagreement. You make a valid point and I want to assure you it’s not my intention to dismiss anyone’s opinion out of hand. Perhaps the scientific method is simply too ingrained into my way of thinking.

I would accept as evidence, were one to say “I’ve read X number of indie books and X number of trad published books this year and I’ve found Y result”. I wouldn’t call that definitive, but it is evidence.

How would you suggest the argument be made?

Michael McClung said...

First, let me say right up front that I'm not personally interested in debating this particular issue, though I find the topic interesting.

That said, there are lots of formal rules for debate, but they all boil down more or less to this:

http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?76020-Standard-rules-for-debates&p=1703393#post1703393

Each side gets an introductory post. Each side gets two follow-up posts for rebuttal. Each side gets their 'closing arguments'. Then all of us in the peanut gallery go off and form our own opinions.

That, in a nutshell, is debate. The person with the best reasoned argument 'wins'.

Jude Hardin said...

I sometimes refer to this post when seeking a definition of "crap" when it comes to writing. It's probably about as objective as we're going to get.

Do we see more of those mistakes in self-published books vs. traditionally-published ones? I don't know of any scientific studies, but maybe Joe or some other authors who have judged contests, etc., or anyone experienced with slush piles, could make an educated guess.

My personal opinion? I have noticed over the past few years that the quality of self-published fiction has improved. But that might be because more and more authors who were formerly traditionally-published are going indie.

At any rate, I think it's a good thing authors have more choices now than at any time in history. And--even though there are no formal gatekeepers when it comes to self-publishing--if you're writing crap, readers will tend to let you know about it.

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